Help Me Diagnose Win2k Sporadic Mouse Freeze? - Windows NT

This is a discussion on Help Me Diagnose Win2k Sporadic Mouse Freeze? - Windows NT ; Friends, I've tried a bunch of things to diagnose a problem. What else should I try? Starting yesterday my mouse on my Windows 2000 SP 4 Pentium III box would sporadically freeze. But the machine wasn't locked up: after a ...

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Thread: Help Me Diagnose Win2k Sporadic Mouse Freeze?

  1. Help Me Diagnose Win2k Sporadic Mouse Freeze?

    Friends,

    I've tried a bunch of things to diagnose a problem. What else should I try?

    Starting yesterday my mouse on my Windows 2000 SP 4 Pentium III box would
    sporadically freeze. But the machine wasn't locked up: after a couple minutes
    I could move the mouse again, but it would jump around erratically.

    I can work for a few minutes at a time normally, but then this happens for a
    while, then goes away.

    I've seen this kind of behaviour when running software stuck in an infinite
    loop that does no I/O. It uses up all the available CPU time so none is left
    for the user interface. But the task manager doesn't show any tasks using up
    CPU time overly quickly. It could still be the case if such a runaway task
    were in the kernel though where it wouldn't show up in the task manager.

    My first thought was that I had a virus, so I went into safe mode and did full
    scans with ClamWin (http://www.clamwin.org/ - an open source antivirus tool),
    PestPatrol and AdAware. No problems found.

    At some point I discovered that I would freeze partway through boot unless I
    chose safe mode. At this point I error checked all my partitions. No problems
    found. Then I started removing PCI cards. This led me to think I had two
    problems at the same time:

    One of my cards had come partway out of the slot. I think it might be damaged
    because I still couldn't boot with it screwed down. I removed it, and now I
    can boot normally, but I still get the mouse freezing.

    Thinking maybe that the loose card had damaged my motherboard, I am now testing
    memory with MemTest86 (http://www.memtest86.com/). Sometimes motherboard
    faults show up as failures in the memory test. It's been testing for twenty
    minutes now with no errors found. I've found in the past though that sometimes
    it can take longer for a fault to show up, because it might be subtle and only
    respond to particular tests.

    My next test will be too boot off a Knoppix CD (http://www.knoppix.org/). This
    is a full Linux distribution that will run from CD without needing to be
    installed on my hard drive. My reason for testing with Knoppix is that if it
    is a hardware fault, then Knoppix will have problems too. If it is a software
    bug, then Knoppix will work well but Windows won't.

    I will try reinstalling Service Pack 4.

    I would suspect that the mouse is dying, but I don't have problems with the
    mouse under safe mode.

    Well, lookee here: after a half hour with MemTest86, a test fails (#6 Modulo
    20, ones & zeros, cached). I'll have to get new memory. But I'd be surprised
    if that's my problem because my mouse freeze happens almost immediately,
    whereas memtest86 took a half hour of thrashing on the ram to discover a problem.

    Thanks for any advice you can give me.
    --
    Michael D. Crawford

    Read "GoingWare's Bag of Programming Tricks" at:
    http://www.goingware.com/tips/

  2. Re: Help Me Diagnose Win2k Sporadic Mouse Freeze?

    Michael D. Crawford wrote:
    > I've tried a bunch of things to diagnose a problem. What else should I
    > try?
    >
    > Starting yesterday my mouse on my Windows 2000 SP 4 Pentium III box
    > would sporadically freeze. But the machine wasn't locked up: after a
    > couple minutes I could move the mouse again, but it would jump around
    > erratically.


    Removing most of my PCI cards seems to have got my box working again.
    The only one left is the ethernet card. I also have a video card that's
    not PCI, what's that other kind of slot called? I forget now.

    I suspect that it's actually my motherboard's PCI that's bad. When I
    booted with Knoppix, boot froze while trying to load the ohci1394.o
    driver, which is FireWire. I had two FireWire cards installed, so I
    removed them. Knopping would then boot into X Windows, but would then
    still freeze.

    Another possibility is that my sound card was fried. I didn't have
    speakers hooked up to it so I don't know whether it worked or not. But
    it was the last card I removed and then my computer started working fine
    again.

    I did a backup first thing after I got it working again. Had I not been
    able to make my computer work, though, I still would have been able to
    recover my data as my drives seemed to be working OK.

    After removing all but the ethernet and video card, Memtest86's Test 6
    no longer fails. When I go to bed tonight, I'm going to leave Memtest86
    running overnight configured to run the extended tests.

    When I get caught up with my work I'll try to determine whether one of
    the PCI cards is bad, or the motherboard, or both. I was never happy
    with my sound card. A new Pentium III motherboard wouldn't be expensive
    but would be inconvenient.

    Later,

    Mike
    --
    Michael D. Crawford
    crawford@goingware.com

    Read "GoingWare's Bag of Programming Tricks" at:
    http://www.goingware.com/tips/

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