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Author Topic: Windows ME problems  (Read 2420 times)
jeffcox
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« on: September 26, 2004, 05:06:32 AM »

PLEASE SUPPLY RELEVANT INFORMATION:
Operating System Version: Windows ME
Problem Application Name & Version: Scandisk and Defrag
Problem Hardware Make & Model:Dell 4100 w/ Pentium 3
Error Messages:



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I have been cleaning this computer for a friend of mine. His complaints were a general slowness and eratic behavior of his PC. For instance, his computer will not shut down properly and the cd was not working. Also, it hangs on shutdown both under SAFE MODE and normal startup (but it gets further under safemode). He has also lost his fonts in some of his programs and the characters are replaced by "square" graphic characters. That is just the start of his problems.

I inventoried the Add/Remove programs and only found one item to uninstall...
ViewPoint Media Player

I went thru his startup (msconfig) and stopped autoloading a lot of stuff...
AOL tray
PCHealth
Works Auto Update
Works Portfolio
Creative Registration Reminder
Direct CD
RealPlayer (starting hidden)
Music Match Jukebox
Quicktime
Universal Plug and Play (ssdpsrv)
MSOffice startup
Kodak Easyshare
Kodak Easyshare autoupdater
Creative AudioHQ
Money Express
I got rid of most of this because he really did not need them in the startup and he had alternative ways to start these when he did need them. (i.e. from "START/PROGRAM FILES" and from the "DESKTOP" shortcuts)


I then scanned the machine with Norton 2004, AdAware, Spybot S&D, Trend Micro Housecall, and Computer Associates online scanner.  At this point, the CD began to work again.

Then I loaded the machine with Spybot IMMUNIZE and Teatimer, SpywareBlaster and ZoneAlarm firewall.

The machine was booting faster and it was running much faster when I gave it back to him. He took it home and said he tried to run scandisk and defrag under Windows. He called me and told that they would not run. (I know, however, that scandisk runs in DOS because the machine kept running it when I did a cold boot because, as I mentioned, the computer will not shut down properly.)

(NOTE: There is obviously some culprit that none of the scanners is telling me about that is writing to the disk... scandisk shows NO progress and I believe that it is because our culprit is writing to the disk and the scandisk scan is starting over again.)

I advised him to boot into safe mode or do a clean boot and then run scandisk and defrag. When he followed the clean boot instructions and he said that the computer went into "safe mode" on its own. But, from there, he was able to successfully run scandisk and defrag in safe mode. Then other problems started... He tried to boot up normally and he says that he is getting Windows Error messages. I'm trying to get ahold of him now to identify exactly what they are but am unable to contact him tonight.

I sent a HiJackThis log to your viruses forum.  They said that the HiJackThis log was clean and told me to try another approach.  I assume that this is considered to be a different approach.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

thanks,
Jeff

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NoelMVP
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2004, 08:16:42 AM »

ZoneAlarm is known to cause a number of problems in ME, depending on the exact version installed - try exiting from it and running scandisk/defrag (although it's easier to boot to Safe mode properly<g>)

merely unchecking the PCHealth entry in MSCONFIG isn't enough to stop it running - you need to also disable/remove the entry in the Scheduled Tasks GUI

Uninstall UpnP (Add/Remove Programs|Windows Setup) rather than disabling it - that way it won't accidentally get activated again.

Going from Clean Boot to Normal Boot will have reset all teh entries in MSCONFIG to Active - so you'll have to uncheck the other items again.

See  how the system reacts to that, and give details of the EXACT error messages, and we'll go on from there.
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Noel Paton
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jeffcox
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2004, 08:27:41 PM »

Thanks NoelMVP.  Here's the latest...

The error message that he was getting was a blue screen with white letters.  He got it after he ran scandisk and defrag in SAFE MODE and he did a "warm" restart from "START|SHUTDOWN".  (So he says that did not go back into msconfig and click "normal startup", so the selective start-up that I provided for him should still be OK.)  After he got the error, he told the system to "continue" and it booted up but he said it took nearly 15 minutes to do so.  He only saw this error one time (which I did not realize) and he is not seeing it anymore.  He says that the current set of issues are as follows... the scandisk, defrag, shutdown failure and broken fonts.

He can ONLY run scandisk and defrag in SAFE MODE.  He can not run them with a "clean boot" from the hard drive nor can he run them with the "selective startup" that I had set up for him.  So it does not look like the problem is ZoneAlarm, does it, if the machine will not run the programs in "Clean mode"?

He is not only talking to me about this but he is also emailing Dell.  (However, Dell is not doing him any good because he never gets the same person twice and he is always "starting over again".)  So, I asked him to get the machine back over to me this week where I can look at it first hand.

Oh yes, about the PCHealth, I did remove the entry from the scheduled tasks when I removed it from the start-up.  Thanks for asking anyway as this is important.

And, yes, uninstalling the unPNP is a good idea.  I will do that as you suggested.

So, it looks like something that is starting in both CLEAN mode and selective start-up must be writing to the disk and is causing defrag and scandisk to fail.  

Oh yes, while I was on the phone with him, he mentioned that he is recollecting that his issues started when he installed AOL 9.0 Optimized... but he wasn't absolutely sure of that.  I have already shown him that he could get a more efficient and cheaper Internet dial-up connection than AOL.  He told me that I could kill that beast if I felt I had to although he does not have an install cd for it if his family wants him to reinstall it.

Any more ideas after seeing this update?

thanks,
Jeff
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NoelMVP
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2004, 09:14:48 PM »

At a guess AOL9 may be the source of the problem - it'd be worth uninstalling that an reinstalling an earlier version (there must be a few million CD's lying around somewhere<g>).

The error message may well have related to IPHLPAPI - which is a recognised problem with ME and AOL9.

A Clean Boot will ALWAYS reset the startup axis (when reverting to a normal boot) - while a Safe Mode boot will not. If your friend has done a Clean Boot (properly) then he/you WILL have to reset the startup items. If the startup axis is still 'trimmed', then he hasn't bee clean-booting at all, and you need to check exact;ly what he has done.

Zone Alarm loads VxD's, IIRC - which are amongst the first items to be loaded, and unless your friend did  a proper clean boot, it's likely that these were still active.

You still haven't given any idea of what the error messages are when runnign Scandisk/defrag.

The fonts problem may be fairly simple to solve - look here

Try:- "Description of and Troubleshooting the Marlett TrueType Font"
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;[LN];134861




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Noel Paton
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jeffcox
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2004, 10:16:37 PM »

I'm sorry NoelMVP, there is NO error message to show you from scandisk and defrag.  You start them and they run forever and do nothing.  Scandisk starts to show some activity and just kind of locks up at that point.  Pretty much the same with defrag but it runs just a little longer before going "idle".  My research says that this is common when some program is writing to the hard drive while these programs are running.  (They either restart their scanning from scratch or they just march in place and show no progress.)  I'm sorry I was not more explicit when describing the problm running these programs.

So you think that uninstalling AOL9.0 will remove this?!  I'll get him to try this.  

And I looked at the font page you sent me to.  It seems to be speaking about scroll bar arrows, Maximize and Minimize buttons, option buttons, check boxes, and other controls in Windows.  What I am seeing being replaced is actually TEXT that is on a CD menu (for instance the text that serves as a menu from the opening page when you load up the Norton 2004 CD.)  Do you think these font characters are contained in this same Marlett font set?

Jeff
« Last Edit: September 26, 2004, 11:23:22 PM by jeffcox » Logged

 
jeffcox
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2004, 01:09:56 AM »

Hey friends, I just got this computer delivered back to my house last night.  My friend thought he could resolve the issues by himself but finally gave up.  He did accomplish one thing however... he took a guess that the shutdown problem started when he installed the Kodak software so he uninstalled it.  Sure enough, the machine started shutting down properly again.  I will work with Kodak to see if they have a solution to this.

I spent about 5 hours with the machine and got all of the scandisk and defrag issues resolved.  Norton 2004, ZoneAlarm, and Statemanager were all writing to he disk during the scans and defrag operations and scandisk and defrag were restarting their work when they detected that the disk had changed.  This must be peculiar to Windows ME because no XP machine that I have worked on has had that issue.  My advice to him is to do his scandisk and defrag operations in SAFE mode.  Note: I learned this by using the FILEMON program written by Sysinternals.  It is a  good one to keep in your toolbox friends.  

Well, that leaves me with one more problem!  The FONT problem.  And I really need help from you folks on this one.  Please....

What is happening is this...
When I insert his Norton AntiVirus CD in his reader, the TEXT that is on a CD menu (for instance the text that serves as a menu from the opening page when you load up the Norton 2004 CD) is being replaced by graphic characters like squares.  Do you think these font characters are contained in the Marlett font set that contains the scroll bar arrows, Maximize and Minimize buttons, option buttons, check boxes, and other controls in Windows?  If anyone has any ideas, please pass them along.  This character substitution is also happening in one other program that Tom owns and it is happening on the hot "menu" items on "menu" screens in that program as well.

Thanks,
Jeff

Attached is a screenprint in MSWord if someone wants to see it...


Download Attachment: norton cd screenprint.doc 98.23 KB
Right click and select Save Target As... then rename the file as shown here and save.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2004, 01:44:27 AM by jeffcox » Logged

 
NoelMVP
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2004, 06:19:19 AM »

Two pieces of advice -

1) get rid of Norton - it does NOT work well with ME!
2)
The fonts problem may be fairly simple to solve - look here

Try:- "Description of and Troubleshooting the Marlett TrueType Font"
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;[LN];134861


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jeffcox
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2004, 03:10:39 PM »

OK.  I went thru this marlett font exercise with the following results...

SUMMARY
The Marlett.ttf file is a TrueType font file installed in the Fonts folder. The file's Hidden attribute is set and the file is not visible in Windows Explorer. [I verified that the font is there, hidden and in tact.]

MORE INFORMATION
The Marlett TrueType font is used for displaying scroll bar arrows, Maximize and Minimize buttons, option buttons, check boxes, and other controls in Windows 95. The font is explicitly loaded by the GDI at startup. Windows 95 performance is enhanced by using a TrueType font instead of bitmaps for controls. [I do NOT see any alphabetic characters in the font.  I confirmed that the font should not have alphabetic characters in it by looking at the font in my XP computer.]

The Marlett.ttf file is located in the Fonts folder with other TrueType fonts. The file is hidden, but the font is visible in programs' Font menus. [This is correctly set up.]

If the Marlett.ttf file is damaged or missing, numbers or garbled characters appear in place of controls. [My controls are OK.  It is text that is bad.]

If you need to replace the Marlett.ttf file, extract it to the WindowsFonts folder. Set the file's Hidden and System attributes.

The Marlett.ttf file is located in the Win95_06.cab cabinet file on disk 6 if you are using Windows 95 disks, or in the Win95_05.cab cabinet file if you are using the Windows 95 CD-ROM. After you extract the file to the WindowsFonts folder, set its attributes by typing the following line at a command prompt:
attrib +s +h c:windowsfontsmarlett.ttf

For information about using the Extract tool, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
129605 How to Extract Original Compressed Windows Files

If after replacing the Marlett.ttf file numbers or garbled characters still appear in place of controls, try deleting the Ttfcache file in the Windows folder. This file is rebuilt automatically when you restart the computer. Problems with the Marlett.ttf file can also be caused by exceeding, or approaching, the approximate limitation of 1000 fonts. [I do not have this tftcache folder on this ME computer.]

If this does not work, verify that the Hidden attribute is set for the Marlett.ttf font file. To do so, follow these steps.
In My Computer or Windows Explorer, right-click the Marlett.ttf file in the WindowsFonts folder, and then click Properties.
Click the Hidden check box to select it, and then click OK. [The file has the hidden attribute set.]


So, we know that this font is OK.  Is there anything else to look at?  Note that I found a listing of ALL of the fonts that are in Windows ME when it is installed.  I figure no application would ever have an installation that would not use this standard set of fonts.  I verified that they all exist on this ME computer and made sure that they display properly.  They are all OK.  This blew my mind as I thought that a font was bad.  What else can this be?
« Last Edit: October 01, 2004, 03:19:16 PM by jeffcox » Logged

 
jeffcox
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2004, 01:07:17 AM »

One last question about this issue...  

We have reinstalled Windows using the setup file that is on the hard drive.  Microsoft documentation said that it would replace missing or damaged files by doing this.  The font issue still lives on.

The latest recommdation is to reinstall Windows with a clean install.  Bu I'm beginning to think that this is a hardware issue.  I'd like to state why and ask my expert friends if they agree or disagree.

Reason #1: The owner of the PC now tells me that the problem was intermittent when it started.  It would do this occasionally and then it would go away.  It happened more often and then became a constant problem.  I hav seen electrical things deteriorate before and this sounds like might be a possibility here.

Reason #2: I'm wondering it if might be the video card.  All of the stuff that is messed up is on the left hand side of the screen.  Now, take note of this... The owne showed me that, if you play Spider Solitare, the cards deal VERRRRRY SLOWWWWWLLYY on the left hand side of the screen.  When the cards being dealt are targeted to the right side of the screen, they resume their normal dealing mode (i.e. speed).  

Anyone have any ideas?

thanks,
Jeff
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2004, 12:22:22 PM »

Reinstalling Windows over itself doesn't fix the font issue, but you have found this out already. It's because the Windows fonts are read-only.

You can go into the fonts directory and make sure that Marlett.ttf isn't read-only. You can then easily copy over any Marlett.ttf from any other version of Windows (on a floppy for instance) to your WinME machine.

You should be doing this from DOS though, so boot up with the WinME startup floppy.
on the DOS prompt, type attrib -r c:\windows\fonts\marlett.ttf {hit Enter}
change floppies
copy a:\marlett.ttf c:\windows\fonts {hit Enter}
attrib +r c:\windows\fonts\marlett.ttf {hit Enter}
remove floppy
reboot.
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2004, 12:21:49 AM »

Well, I tried this and I proved my theory that I explainerd above that it is not be the Marlett font that is causing this after all.  The Marlett font does not contain any alphabetic characters and it is alphabetic characters that are messed up.  But, rather than find out that I was wrong, I took this suggestion and ... I still have the font problem.
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