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Old 05-02-2010, 01:09 AM
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Default Another computer problem has cropped up....

I'm not sure if it's a virus, or some kind of software glitch.

I'm currently using a Toshiba laptop, running Vista Home Premium for the OS.

Two days ago, my family started noticing something odd. The Start button, the "show desktop" button, and the arrow for the Quicklaunch window will "flash" rapidly. It's not really a "flash", but they get highlighted, like when you hover the mouse over that button. I cannot access that function while it's doing it. I can use any of the programs that have icons on the desktop. When I'm actively using a program, the "flashing" doesn't occur, however, should I try to click on one of the afflicted buttons, they all begin "flashing" again.

I tried to add a log entry to my fishing log, which is a spreadsheet. I couldn't type anything! It would recognize one character, but as soon as the second character was typed, it would over-write the first. I couldn't enter a date. I could cut/paste data from previous cells, but I couldn't type something new. I have not tried to open a text document; to see if I can type in that.

Obviously, I'm typing in a web browser.

Any ideas? I'm about at my wit's end with computers. One down, and no money to get it fixed. One acting......strange. No money to get IT fixed. PeppA says hers is acting funny, but I'm not sure how.

Yes, we are running a network, but I don't think the individual computers can see each other; they just share internet access.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

Something that needs a lot more looking at...

*What are you running for antivirus? And is it fully updated? Download MalwareBytes, update, and run a scan, it's one of the, if not THE, best ad/spyware removal programs out there, and free!
*Do you have all your Microsoft Updates?
*Do you have the latest version of Java and Flash?
*What 3rd party toolbars are running in your browser?
*Perhaps download and install the latest driver for your video card
*What programs do you have set to launch from the quicklaunch menu?
*What other programs are loading in your systray?
*Have you recently switched hardware peripherals on the computer..such as a new scanner, new printer, etc? Where you left the old software from the replaced hardware still installed before physically removing that peripheral?
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:15 PM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

I assume you've rebooted -- did the problem persist after doing so?
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

I've rebooted a few times, and the problem persists.

Now, it's worse. I can't get the thing to boot up at all. I came home from work tonight. The screen was dark, and I assumed it was in hibernation mode. The LED's on the case of the laptop were lit up, so I assumed it was working. I wiggled the trackball, and nothing. I started tapping the SHIFT key on the keyboard, and again, nothing. I pressed and held down the Power button to reset the laptop. It went from Blue (working), to Violet (not sure what that means), to Red (usually means it's hibernating, then cycled through all three colors, but never actually went off. I pressed the Power button yet again, and again, nothing.

I've currently pulled the power cord to let the battery drain. I'll plug it back in tomorrow and see if I can get it up and running again.

If I can't get it running, I'll just have to put it away. I don't have the money to take it in to a shop. We'll have to survive with PeppA's laptop until I can get some money, which should hopefully be sometime soon.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:28 AM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

Not even booting or rebooting at all?
At what point does it appear to be hanging?
If Windows starts to load, and gets wonky, could be a malware problem...as they can cause a computer to hard lock.
If it's having issues even loading the hard drive..and beginning the OS boot process, that sounds more like a hard drive beginning to fail.

How old is the computer?
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK View Post
I've rebooted a few times, and the problem persists.

Now, it's worse. I can't get the thing to boot up at all. I came home from work tonight. The screen was dark, and I assumed it was in hibernation mode. The LED's on the case of the laptop were lit up, so I assumed it was working. I wiggled the trackball, and nothing. I started tapping the SHIFT key on the keyboard, and again, nothing. I pressed and held down the Power button to reset the laptop. It went from Blue (working), to Violet (not sure what that means), to Red (usually means it's hibernating, then cycled through all three colors, but never actually went off. I pressed the Power button yet again, and again, nothing.

I've currently pulled the power cord to let the battery drain. I'll plug it back in tomorrow and see if I can get it up and running again.

If I can't get it running, I'll just have to put it away. I don't have the money to take it in to a shop. We'll have to survive with PeppA's laptop until I can get some money, which should hopefully be sometime soon.
Long-shot: Remove the battery entirely, then reinsert and try to boot.

My guess is you've had a HD failure. You can pick up a new HD for a laptop for about $50. Google "laptop hard drive." PITA, but the computer will run much better after you get it installed and everything set up.
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:05 PM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

That particular laptop is about 3 years old. It sat, unused, for a year and a half, as I thought it was dead.

The only action I get on that thing now is the LED's for the power, battery, power button, and maybe the HDD? The screen doesn't do squat. I haven't tried hooking up an external monitor, just in case the screen or graphics card died.

Money's to tight right now for me to do anything other than wait until I get another job. Then I'll take the desktop pc in to a computer shop and see what's wrong with it.
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

As mentioned it could be a number of things, my guess would be a virus. Not being able to type in an excell spreadsheet and weirdness like that usually equates to a virus or malware.
Good luck with it. Hope you get it back up and running soon.
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

actually, the 'funny typing' and blink-highlighting sounds suspicious like a keyboard fault.

hooking up an external monitor would answer the question of a display or display adapter failure -

were you able to get to power up, there's typically a key to press to interrupt the boot sequence and get into the BIOS where you can set the boot order - either from hard drive, or CD, or floppy (if it has one).

you can make a bootable disk for the floppy/cd that will start the machine without it even knowing about the hard drive - i.e. you can exclude any kind of virus for testing purposes.

since it will not even power up, sounds most definitely like hardware failure, of some sort.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

I was thinking that the keyboard might be acting funny, but, while I was experiencing problems with a spreadsheet, I could type a post on a forum no problem. I wasn't able to open a word processor to try typing in that before the thing died.

I'm beginning to believe the HDD might have failed, or I might have contracted a virus.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

From my experience HDD failing would not affect typing ever. Weird / unusual stuff like that has usually meant a virus to me. After rebooting the virus engrains itself even more. Whenever you suspect it might be a virus you do not want to reboot ...that allows it to latch into places / files that it cannot access while the OS is up and running.
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

Have you tried a stern warning? A threatening look? Maybe wave a MAC ad in front of the computer?

Ya never know...

If you could at least boot to the start up menu you could run the repair function and/or check disk to see if it really is the HDD. If you don't have anything critical stored on the computer that you can't afford to loose, try loading in the original factory disks or an OS disk.
If it boots to the OS disk and installs and the computer starts working again, then it was a virus, but you still would need to run a good anti-virus/anti-malware program afterward to be sure it is gone. Myself, I was kinda leaning towards a worm giving the weird goings-on it was doing before it completely crashed.
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

What is your laptop model number, Allen? I had a similar problem with my laptop, although it is a different brand. I remember when I was researching how to fix it, I came across mention of certain Toshiba's having the same problem.
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

It's happened to several other people as well, unfortunately, no one has nailed a fix yet. A few clues, but nothing definitive.

It seems many problems are associated with the process "explorer.exe".

Could be an integral Vista bug.

I'm not running Vista or W7, so I can't be of much more help. Apologies.

But Google "vista flashing type" or other combinations. I've read many forum members describing the exact same thing as you.

The typing bit where you can't type in Excel or Word is because something is running and moving your cursor back to head and dumping the type buffer (that’s my SW assessment of the matter). But I've no idea why.

Also Google "vista explorer.exe flashing".

Good luck!


http://www.vistaheads.com/forums/mic...-flashing.html

http://www.vistax64.com/vista-genera...-blinking.html

http://www.vistax64.com/vista-genera...ck-launch.html
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

Maverick, the only problem with trying to boot from the OS disk, is that there ISN'T an OS disk. The last three computers I've bought have the OS on a supposedly "protected" sector of the HDD, and they will not supply an OS disk with the system. One of these computers had an OS failure, and I was able to get an OS disk, but that was three years ago.

FM, it's a Toshiba Satellite A135-S4527.

Keltin, thanks for the heads-up about other folks having the same problem. When I get a chance, I'll read up on it from the links and searches you've suggested.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:42 AM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

>>no OS disk
if you bought it new, (typically) part of the set up is to make "recovery CDs" - which not many people do, the first time, that is.

you can order them from Tosh, thy charge, this place is less expensive:

http://www.recovery-cd-disk.com/vmch...l?keyword=a135
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Another computer problem has cropped up....

Yea, always do the recovery CD's right off the bat. The OS partition is no good if you can't get to it! A lot of times I will also purchase the actuall, full OS just to have it on hand. In most cases I will remove the OS partition and the main one, then re-partition to just one and install the OS then then all the drivers. I like this because it gives me a clean, uncluttered starting point with just one partition on the main HDD.

My son is on a Toshiba Satellite right now, bout a year old. Not sure what model number. I will be on the look out for this though to see if it crops up on his.
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