Sunday, May 9, 2010

Calling All Geeks

Honorshammer needs your help.
Saturday night I was using my computer. I was playing a game not named WoW. All of a sudden I got an error message about and a dialog box asking me if I wanted to use the .Net debugger or another one. I hit cancel. After a few minutes I fired up WoW and noticed it took a very long time to load. The blue bar moved very slowly, and I never actually loaded into the World. Instead I was returned to the character selection screen with a Disconnected from Server message.
So what is the amazing catch all fix for computer woes? You reboot it! So I did and that’s when things really went south.
It took my computer 4 minutes to go from POST to the account selection screen. It usually takes less than a minute. Now I consider myself pretty computer savvy so I started trouble shooting. I checked memory utilization and it’s never over 1G. I have 4G RAM in the system.
The first thing I thought about was I caught some nasty virus. What I did at this point was boot into Safe Mode and run Malwarebytes Anti Malware. It came back reporting my system was clean. I ran Norton Internet Security Virus Scan in normal mode, it came back clean. I ran Adware Smart Scan, it came back clean. I ran Spybot S&D, it came back clean. Finally I ran CCleaner - cleaned temporary files, cookies, recycle bin, registry errors, etc. I rebooted again and no change.
Next I went into MSConfig --> Start up --> removed all entries and rebooted --> no change.
I decided to check the hard drive and ran the diagnostic tool from my hard drive manufacturer, that came back saying all my drives were good. I even went old school and ran chkdsk from a command line.
The next thing I tried was System Restore, but I could not restore to any data point. It would go through its Restore Process, and reboot, but after it came back up, I would receive a message that said it could not restore to the date I selected, and no changes had been made. I tried about a dozen different restore points. None worked. I started looking for stuff that could be blocking it. I went into Norton and turned off no tampering, but I still couldn't restore. I uninstalled Adware and Spybot and tried again, but no luck, I still couldn’t restore. I even disconnected from the internet and went into Norton and turned everything off. Then I tried to restore but again it failed. I tried to restore from Safe Mode, but it wouldn’t restore.
I’m about out of options. I can’t get into WoW.
I’m running a Defrag overnight in hopes that will fix the issue, but I’m not holding out much hope.
At this point, assuming that the defrag doesn’t fix it, I have two options.
Option A) Wipe it and rebuild the OS
Option B) Take it to a computer shop and have them ‘fix it’
Calling the place where I bought it won’t work because I bought it as a pieces/parts off Newegg and assembled it myself. I did say I was somewhat computer savvy. She’s been running like a dream since about December 2008. Either way Honors is on the DL until I can get this fixed.
If you are good with computers and can give me any suggestion to try to get this thing working again, I’d be very interested in your ideas. I'm running a Pentium Dual Core 2.5GHz with 4G ram. My Hard Drive has 60G open space.

18 comments:

jmac28083 said...

I ran into a problem similar to this and I went thru all the fixes that you attempted. Ran system and virus checks to make sure nothing was where it was supposed to be. Everything ran fine. The last thing I did was unplug all of the plugs that connect to computer parts (hard drive, graphics card, Mother board) from the Power supply and then plug them back in. Everything has worked fine since then. I hope your able to fix your problem.

JK said...

1) Slow makes it sound like your hard drive may have slipped out of DMA mode into PIO mode. There should be instructions to check this available from Microsoft - check Google to be sure.

2) Your WoW install may be messed up. Try moving any addons out of the directory and starting it like that. Alternatively, you can try running the Repair utility in the WoW directory - it will take a while, but it may solve your problem.

lethal said...

Wipe it is almost always a better solution. Seems like you have done more than most PC repair shops would do anyway.
Aside from the usual disc/antivirus/anti-malware I run MemTest, cause RAM can throw up strange errors.

Wipe and start again fixes everything, just make sure you backup.
and after format/install/drivers image the HDD so you can do it again easier

Anonymous said...

I'd think info on your operating system, the game that isnt wow as well as the error message would help to complete the info-package for the geek-readers to figure things out.

Sougent said...

Did you run a memory check? If some of it's gone bad you might not have enough to run WoW very well.

Aloix said...

One thing I do when I'm troubleshooting weirdness is check the 'Event Viewer'. There may or may not be something there, and it may or may not be useful, but it should be ruled out. Check particularly under the 'System' events, if there is anything suspicious around that time. If you have an error, google the EventID and go from there.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Id say the best thing to do is wipe it clean and start over. I tend to have to do this once or twice a year due to just normal system use (windows user here). I also have an external hard drive with a copy of wow on it so the recovery process isn't too painful. Best of luck to you ;)

Kren - ex Uvahstone on Moonglade said...

I'd suggest the following:
Boot up normally, and when it's settled at the desktop, use task manager to display a list of all processes. Sort them by user name, and have a look at what's running under your user account, and see what you recognise and what you don't. You should be able to do a web lookup on process names for stuff you don't recognise to help you identify drivers for printers, sound cards etc.

Also, while in task manager, have a look at the CPU time on those processes... once it's settled down, it should be chugging away with the system-idle process on 99% or so... have a look and see if any other process is using CPU cycles for some reason. Likewise with the memory footprint - see if something has got it's knickers in a twist.

Given the time spent on this so far, I'd be in two minds as to how to fix it. You've tried the obvious stuff, and then the not so obvious stuff... if you reformat it and reinstall, you'll get back online and probably perk up your system anyway - but you'll never know what caused it. Depends how much your curiousity burns I guess!

Ryan said...

Have you tried a memory test? Like Memtest86 or does your bios possibly have it built in, I know mine does.

Firespirit said...

Honors,

I work with .net framework at my place of work (ok, I tried typing that like 5 different ways, and it didnt sound right any way, so just going to leave it as is). I have to day - I hate it. Its extremely frustrating, and highly unstable.

THAT being said, once you get a .net framework error, the error probably runs all the way down to the core of the system. Have you seen it since? You can try removing all of the frameworks (.net only, don't want to make it worse), then re-downloading and reinstalling from Microsoft's website.

Likely, it is not going to do anything. Usually when we encounter a problem like this (and it happens fairly often), its a full system wipe and rebuild.

Hope you figure it out!

Ryan said...

Just b/c .net debugger shows up doesn't necessarily means its a .net issue, thats probably the only debugger he has installed via Visual Studio or such and when something crashes, it wants to debug it. I have explorer crash on me sometimes and .net debugger pops up sometimes wanting to do the same thing. I've tried to figure it out, but this PC is a pre-loaded image at work that one of our moron tech team guys did.

Honors Code said...

Game that was not wow was Champions Online. For my OS I am running XP home SP3. I have a Vista disk but I'm going to install xp again it I can't fix it. Defrag was still running this morning when I left for work.

Honors Code said...

I have visual studio installed but I wasn't using it when the error popped up.

Anonymous said...

You should repair your installation of .net, and you should run the windows updater to see if there are any critical updates.

Thorned said...

Reboot and check the Windows Event Viewers Application Log. If there is a problem with a process there should be a message whats wrong.

Also think about how much time you want to invest into correcting this issue and how much time you need to wipe the system.

Grimadin said...

OMG GEEKS UNITE! Transform into GEEKTRON and save our tank's PC!

Sorry to hear you are having problems Honors. Thats a new one to me. I would probably go the route of wipe and reload if I had the time.

The idea of keeping a copy of wow in a external drive is GENIUS. With my internet at home it takes me as long to download all the patches as it does to install the unpatched game off the disks so its a multi hour chore.

yk said...

tl;dr version:

1) clear your %PATH_TO_WOW_INSTALLATION%\WTF folder and attempt to start. This is worth a try if you have not already attempted.

2) download snoopfree (anti-keylogger) from snoopfree dot com; install it; deny everything if there's a pop up (pay close attention to those that you denied and zero in cautiously). This one is highly recommended as I have had personal experience with keyloggers that are not detected by antivirus.

2) download HijackThis from majorgeek dot com; do a system scan and view line by line to inspect. Should anything suspicious. check the box and fix it. If the entry does not go away, you can attempt to use "dellater" program to have them removed.

3) during wow logon process, open a cmd window and do:

netstat -n

pay attention to addresses that start with:

12.129.225.x

the ones that link to port 3724 is the wow server you are hitting. A ping test to it can verify if you can connect to it correctly.

But from your description that you can get to the char selection screen. You shoulda be connecting fine to your realm server unless something is preventing you from doing so. I would check the event log (Both Application and System folders in Event Viewer) and see any suspicious entries.

Honors Code said...

@JK

You sir are freaking brilliant. I googled the DMA/PIO stuff and ran through the instructions and my PC is back to flying.

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you