Welcome to my defrag-safe mode hell

Welcome to my defrag-safe mode hell

Summary: Pictured above is a partial screen shot of the visual that the Windows' Defragger on my Thinkpad T42 is presenting to me right now. I think this is bad.

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TOPICS: Windows
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defrag.jpg

Pictured above is a partial screen shot of the visual that the Windows' Defragger on my Thinkpad T42 is presenting to me right now. I think this is bad.  In fact, I hope it's bad because maybe by correcting it, I'll correct my system.

This morning, I woke up to hell that's worse than the blue screen of death: a hung system. You know the type: mouse frozen, unresponsive keyboard --- but a very rapidly blinking WiFi interface (why is it that when these things happen, nothing seems to work but the one single thing you most don't want to be working?). There's so much stuff on this system that there's no telling what caused it to hang.  It's something that's been happening all too frequently as of late.  A scan of what's being loaded at bootup (using RUN msconfig) makes me wonder if conflicting drivers are getting loaded just to make Windows a happy camper on the Thinkpad's hardware.  For example, there are at least  : pwrmonit ("Power Monitor," I'm guessing), BMMLREF (something that has to do with IBM's Battery Maximizer), and BatInfEx & BatLogEx (is "Bat" a visual cue that this also has to do with the battery).  Then, there are a bunch of drivers and software that are called during bootup from directories with the word "Thinkpad" in their path, but it's hard to know what exactly they're for or if I can bypass them in hopes of getting the system working again. This has always been a complaint for me. Why can't I right click on any driver file in Windows to find out what happens if I stop loading it. In laymans terms.

Today, the situation got worse because now, the system won't boot either. It booted fine yesterday.  I get to the Windows splash screen, but after that, something goes terribly wrong and the hard drive, which sounds normal up until a point, starts to make a rythmic grinding noise as though it's trying to get at something it just can't get at. I'm convinced that's the problem (does anybody know how to make use of a Windows bootup log to isolate whatever's gumming up the works?) I've spent all morning trying to get to the bottom of the problem with no luck.  So, in hopes that it might magically make my problems go away, I've booted into safe mode and am defragging my hard drive.  To boot into safe mode (if you want to do this), you have to repeatedly hit the F8 key at just the right time when a system is booting up.  Do it too early and you'll get a keyboard error.  Do it too late and your window of opportunity to boot into safe-mode is missed and you have to start over (just what you want to do: constantly power-cycle an already misbehaving system).

Finally, the screent that comes up for me in safe mode is, if you ask me, evidence of a problem unto itself.  At the top of my screen, it says I'm running:

Windows XP Build 2600.xpsp2.050301-1526: Service Pack 1

The "sp2" part supposedly stands for "Service Pack 2".  So, why does it say "Service Pack 1" at the end?

Topic: Windows

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114 comments
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  • It's because you don't have SP2...

    I love it when someone gets a crap computer from an OEM, doesn't know anything about Windows, then proceeds to bi**h, p** and moan when stuff don't work right.

    From site: http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2005/03/18/398550.aspx

    Confusion over whether you have Windows XP SP1 or SP2
    Some support people have asked me why the "About" dialog seems to be kind of schizophrenic as to whether a machine has Windows XP SP1 or SP2.

    About Windows
    Microsoft? Windows
    Version 5.1 (Build 2600.xpsp2.040919-1003 : Service Pack 1)
    Copyright? 1981-2001 Microsoft Corporation

    Why does the version string say "xpsp2" and then "Service Pack 1"? Is this machine running SP1 or SP2?

    It's running Service Pack 1. The build number string is a red herring.

    Why does the build number string say "xpsp2" when the computer is running SP1?

    Because Windows XP Service Pack 2 was a victim of changing circumstances.

    After Service Pack 1 shipped, there was no indication that Service Pack 2 was going to be anything other than "just another service pack": A cumulative update of the fixes that had been issued since the release of Service Pack 1. Therefore, the release team created a new project, called it "xpsp2" and when a fix needed to be made to Service Pack 1, they made it there. It was called "xpsp2" because the assumption was that when the time came to release Service Pack 2, they would just take all the fixes they had been making to Service Pack 1 and call that Service Pack 2. In other words, "fixes to Service Pack 1" and "working on Service Pack 2" were the same thing.

    Of course, things changed, and a "new" Service Pack 2 project was created for the "real" Service Pack 2 changes, leaving the old "xpsp2" project to be merely the place where Service Pack 1 fixes were developed.

    Yes, it's confusing. We're kind of embarrassed by the whole project naming fiasco. That's what happens when plans take a radical change after work has already started.

    Anyway, there you have it, the long and boring story of why fixes for Service Pack 1 have "xpsp2" in their build string.

    I'd reconsider getting another Thinkpad (Lenovo or IBM vintage) as obviously you got had, but bad.
    quietLee
    • re: stuff don't work right

      "I love it when someone gets a crap computer from an OEM"
      You mean all OEM Windows computers are crap??? Dell, HP, IBM, Gateway, etc. can't make a decent computer?

      "doesn't know anything about Windows, then proceeds to bi**h, p** and moan when stuff don't work right."

      Wait a minute, I thought a read somewhere Windows was popular because it was sooooo easy to use. No training needed, just turn it on and it works... Now your saying grandma has to know what service pack she is on?

      Hey grandma read this, it'll explain it all:

      >After Service Pack 1 shipped, there was no indication that Service Pack 2 was going to be anything other than "just another service pack": A cumulative update of the fixes that had been issued since the release of Service Pack 1. Therefore, the release team created a new project, called it "xpsp2" and when a fix needed to be made to Service Pack 1, they made it there. It was called "xpsp2" because the assumption was that when the time came to release Service Pack 2, they would just take all the fixes they had been making to Service Pack 1 and call that Service Pack 2. In other words, "fixes to Service Pack 1" and "working on Service Pack 2" were the same thing.
      Of course, things changed, and a "new" Service Pack 2 project was created for the "real" Service Pack 2 changes, leaving the old "xpsp2" project to be merely the place where Service Pack 1 fixes were developed.<

      riiiight......
      dwest_z
      • Yo' gramma

        don't write for ZDNet - as an expert!

        As for Dell etc. (PS - include new Intel Apples here) - yep. They all make crap. And I'll defend that statement.

        Modern PC's are designed for one thing only - quick and effecient assembly. Least amount of cost factored with a reasonable component lifespan. So you get mediocre components - on-board video and sound which are CPU hogs, lousy air flow, minimalist power supplies, and an OEM software install. Oh the joys of an OEM OS install. A one size fits all design that provides the gift that just keeps on giving in terms of future problems.

        Want fun? Take a brand new, clean OEM machine with any flavor of Windows on it. Your choice of registry cleaner - let it rip. When it's done go over the list of problems. And that's before any other programs are installed.

        So yeah - I learned my lesson years ago - all the PC's in my house are DIY.
        quietLee
        • Right on...

          the money! DIY is the way to go. I don't yet know how to assemble a notebook, but desktops... Oh, yeah! Building the machine up from scratch is so much better. I can support your statement totally that most manufacturers build crap. The components are low quality; the offered configurations do not always place proper components with each other. A particularly hideous culprit in this practice is Dell. At work, we are forced to buy Dell desktops because my institution is locked into a contract with Dell. I configure the PCs that we buy and also take care of the machines (I work in a totally IT-unrelated field). I have often despaired of the deficiencies of these name-brand machines. Gateway and HP have recently improved their customer service greatly; Dell... (should be renamed 'Hell') is another story altogether!!
          suirauqa
          • Right on again

            If you think Dell is HELL you should just think back at the Packard Bell days (Packard Hell). Now that was a piece of crap. I owned two just because of finances. I got the sh_ts of that. I went out one say and picked up all the parts to build one and had it on line the next day. But I did spend over a month getting everything up right. I am going to build another one after Vista is out long enough to let everybody else hassle of all the first bugs.
            limodriver17@...
          • Packard Bell

            Oh yeah. First PC in the house. A 486SX that would take an overdrive CPU. A magnificant 4mb of RAM. A monstrous 500+MB hard drive. A 1200 baud modem. Single speed CD-ROM. Windows 3.11 (yes, I spelled that one right. Windows 3.11).

            And right out of the box the CD-ROM drive wouldn't work. Was supposed to be THE Xmas gift for the family. Panic set in! Wife was NOT happy. No time to get back to the store - so I opened up the case - stupid #$!*'s didn't connect the molex power connector to the drive...

            Between that and loading DOS based games for the kids began either a never ending journey, or a journey into a never ending hel.......
            quietLee
          • 486SX?

            My first "real" PC (beyond the Timex Sinclair I had hooked up to a RadioShack cassette player and a small b&w TV) was a 386SX2-16 with 8MB of RAM and a 20 MB hard disk drive. In its day (around 1986 or 1987) it was a real screamer.

            Anyway, I used to work on a lot of Packard Bell PCs and they were all crap. In fact, many of the ones I took apart had Compaq hard disk drives in them. I found out that they were rejected Compaq drives that PB snapped up and stuck in their systems. Unethical and deceptive.

            I agree with the comments about Dell. I used to work on Dells also (we got them by the palette load to place in a large public library system) and we had way too many problems with power supplies, CD-ROM drives, and FDDs. Really disappointed with them.
            jvenezia
          • My Gateway laptop works fine...

            Gateways where "bad"?
            BlazeEagle
        • Yo' Lee ! YOU are the red herring

          "So yeah - I learned my lesson years ago - all the PC's in my house are DIY."

          Well, I guess we all can't be as lucky as you to build DIY LAPTOPS!

          OOPS! I guess you missed that part of the article.

          So sport, tell me, when was the last time you built a DIY laptop?
          OH YEAH! NEVER!
          why is that? well... there is only ONE company (AOpen I believe) that even makes kits for diy laptops and THEY are so prohibitavely expensive (both in parts and the kit itself)and hard to come by that it's just easier to go OEM, then there is the issue of finding all the RIGHT parts to make the laptop work (again a difficult process) so it's STILL easier to go OEM.

          The BEST thing one can do is buy the laptop, minus the OS natch, and install a non-oem OS that way you can be fairly certain you avoid problems from bloatware and you retain as much controll as possible in what goes into the system and what doesn't.

          In the future, thoroughly READ the ENTIRE article before you start pontificating and make yourself look like a fool.
          shadowgryphon@...
          • Uh oh, you caught me!

            Spoiler alert - I did read the entire article. Actually, I suggested yesterday that David had a Hitachi hard drive, and yep, he admitted it....

            And here I need to hang my head in shame, for truth I have yet to build a DIY laptop.

            Then to paraphrase, let's not go there, as it's such a silly place...

            I don't own, intend to own, will spend a single penny on a laptop. They are the same as disposable diapers. Leaky, fragile, prown to fail at the worst possible moment, the only thing you can do with them when there is cra* in them is throw them away (and now you understand the reference to a diaper)....

            My company issues laptops - so that is how I get them. Their money, not mine. I'm on my, lessee, 4th. Been thru hard drive failures before. So please - maybe read all the posts before you decide to flame? And as they used to say about ASSuming....
            quietLee
        • cmon lee stop dissing the hardware

          OK so you work for Microsoft:
          "We're kind of embarrassed by the whole project naming fiasco"

          You've dissed Laptops and OEM computers. This isn't really fair. My laptop from Dell was ultra cheap and great at what it does (VisualStudio.Net and some C for embedded hardware).
          I wouldn't run 3d games on it.

          Dissing OEM Desktop computers isn't really fair either. At the low end, people want to surf the internet and email each other. An integrated Intel chipset is fine for this. A lot of the time Dell and other OEMs use Intel boards.

          Other OEMs include Alienware machines. Hardly crap now are they?

          It's hard making and selling a PC and making money out of it. It's a very very competitive game (some folks would say you Microsofties wouldn't know a lot about competition).

          Anyway when you make hardware you have to assemble a whole load of black boxes from different manufacturers, and assemble them, try to make them work (including software and testing), and make it look like a branded product, and all before the components become obsolete, and then you have to tell the public about it.
          Think about XP and how long vista has been coming: 5 years? Imagine if Dell took that long to launch a new model... they'd be out of business in a second.
          I tend to do DIY PCs (obviously not laptops) also, but a lot of people don't have our skills, and they rely on OEM machines, so please show some grace and don't diss their workhorses.
          stevey_d
          • his hard disk is fried it happens just back up and change it

            That happens to DIY PCs too. (remember Deathstars?). Some stuff wears out or breaks. Yagotta is giving best advice on how to deal with it. (USB caddy, freezer etc etc)
            stevey_d
      • youre a mental midget

        He gave the long technical explanation as a bo0nus... but nobody's grandma needs to know that. You could just tell her to ignore the sp2 and look at the typed out SERVICE PACK 1, as anyone over age 5 would conclude would make the most sense. Which seems more likely to be correct?

        Does she really need the whole background story about why it says sp2? No. She should just assume it might stand for Spider Panda the 2nd, an homage to some exec's dearly missed childhood pet.

        Stop trying to find anything even halfway wordy or technical and act like it's the smoking gun. Or at least next time make sure it's something technical that someone would NEED to know. There's plenty of that around, so why go after this?
        atbestvague
  • Methinks his drive is shot

    IBM sold out to Hitachi. The sound David described is close to what I heard when a drive in a Compaq Evo POS I was using was about to die. I was lucky - was able to do a final back up all my data. Right after mine went south, another notebook in our group developed the same problem - that user wasn't so lucky.
    quietLee
    • Yes, immediate backup.

      Even if the hardware is not shot, he's going to have to create some room or develop extreme patience. There's not enough room for defrag to work.

      And I hope he clears enough room to install StartUp Inspector for Windows. Which includes advice about what has to start with the program. The advice may not be perfect, but it saves a lot of time over checking things.
      I'm guessing he'll also find a lot of applications working on his resources and CPU.

      Plus, with those problems, I'm wondering how recently he's scandisk'ed. And if he has, whether he ran a program to delete .chk, et al afterwards.

      Taking this one back from the brink is going to require attention. If it's possible.
      Anton Philidor
      • Continuous defrag.

        My favorite light defragger is from mst. Monitors and defrags continuously, and probably complains when it lacks room to maneuver.

        Be $15 well spent. Might be able to save it if he's paying for Norton or McAfee and can substitute Avast!.
        Anton Philidor
      • I just couldn't resist this one...

        Put it in a box, send it to Murph....
        quietLee
        • ... with a Solaris splash substituted.(NT)

          .
          Anton Philidor
      • Virtualisation...

        ...a lot written about the benefits: what about the cost; what also about the need for partitions, backups, replacements? Data still has to be backed-up/replicated and system resources have to be kept 'on-tap'.

        This all tracks across to Murph's post of the day: if you work in a Linux environment get it right as often as possible (not what Murph said but what I think); if you work in a Windows environment do as Msoft does - get it right at the right cost.
        Fandorin
    • Or, at least, he should proceed as though it were

      Treating a working physical drive like a damaged one at worst wastes a few hours. Treating a damaged one like a working one often routes the files on it straight to /dev/null

      Decisions, decisions ....
      Yagotta B. Kidding