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(Post Link) post #1 of 24 Old 16-05-15 Thread Starter
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Poorly PC

Broth in Law has a poorly PC< and has asked me to try to help sort it out. It was failing to start up at the black "starting windows" screen.

Safe mode stops working while running CLASSPNP.SYS.

Telling it to start up with the last known working configuration has got it further - but the computer runs so slowly as to be basically unusable.

At the moment I'm removing the 2 memory sticks one by one to see if it's them. Bios is reporting CPU temp as being in the 30's, and all fans are working, so it's not that.

I could replace the GFX card, but that seems unlikely to be the cause.

Have run a 'startup repair', which found no issues, and a memory diagnostic, with the same result.

Any other ideas?

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Try changing the drive mode from ahci to compatibility in bios
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(Post Link) post #3 of 24 Old 16-05-15 Thread Starter
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Never come across that. What does that do? What will it indicate if it works, that the drive is on its way out?
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It forces the drive controller to communicate using ide rather than sata drive language, if it works your bro installed an incompatible update.

Look in programs for the updates section, if thete are recent updates around the time it stopped working one will be the culprit.
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Having looked at bios, the choices are AHCI, RAID or disabled, with the latter chosen.
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start up with the last known working configuration then do a system restore
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(Post Link) post #7 of 24 Old 17-05-15 Thread Starter
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Done that. It wouldn't do a system restore, saying it was failing to find C:

I can't decide whether this is a sign that the drive is failing, or if it's because he's had the restore information going to an external drive (which is attached).

Did an image restore instead which did seem to work - and problem persists.
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Try the guide here to repair your apparently broken classpnp.sys

There's not much you can't do from the recovery console.

Good luck!
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Used a few of those in recent and past times. Dex87.

Need to archive those instructions, or make a sticky perhaps? :
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(Post Link) post #11 of 24 Old 17-05-15 Thread Starter
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Tried that, it won't run for some reason.

It turns out what I thought was a recovery disc is a genuine Windows installation disc. And the computer does have two hard drives in it. Can I install windows to the second drive and see if that fixes things? Will doing so delete all the current data from that drive? Will the license allow me to do that, or throw a wobbler? And how will the computer react to having to installs of windows? (Of course, I could unplug the first drive if that's the problem?)
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(Post Link) post #12 of 24 Old 18-05-15 Thread Starter
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Can't sleep, so some more computer work to tire me out!

Something nagging at my mind finally hit me. When trying to get anything to run on the computer, and looking at the 'my computer screen', there was something odd. One of the drives was not reporting it's size - but not the main drive, the secondary. Initially I'd dismissed this as not important, but I decided to play the hunch.

So disconnected that secondary, and hey presto - computer is working again.

Very strange that a secondary drive with no OS on it was bringing the whole thing to a halt. Perhaps because is is the slave to the C: being the master?

Is there any way I can connect this drive to the computer again to see if anything is recoverable without it doing the same again? Can I connect as a second master drive maybe?
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Can you disconnect and connect it as an external post-boot? That would be an easy way (or connect to a different PC) to see if it's causing it all to crash...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazza View Post
Very strange that a secondary drive with no OS on it was bringing the whole thing to a halt. Perhaps because is is the slave to the C: being the master?
Unless the computer is really, really old, the hard drives don't have a master/slave relationship; each drive has its own SATA channel.
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It's not that strange bazza, did you check the BIOS to see which drive the system was trying to boot from? Should be under Boot settings > Boot device order. Obviously you won't be able to check this now you've removed the offending drive though...

Just because that drive wasn't showing in Windows as having anything on it, doesn't mean there wasn't the remnants of something lurking. An old boot sector maybe that was confusing the boot sequence, that's where my money is.

I see this fairly regularly amongst my more techy friends, usually after they've tried to triple boot Windows 7, whatever variation of Linux the neckbeards are into at the moment and some prealpha version of Windows 10...
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(Post Link) post #16 of 24 Old 18-05-15 Thread Starter
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The suspect drive was a newly added one - definitely not the boot disc. Although when I say newly added - the computer didn't stop working on it being added. It was working fine for a month or more.

Paddy - I know that the modern SATA in theory doesn't have master and slave, but the BIOS still seems to refer to them that way.
It'sd about a 6 year old PC.
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(Post Link) post #17 of 24 Old 18-05-15 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmicusPro View Post
Can you disconnect and connect it as an external post-boot? That would be an easy way (or connect to a different PC) to see if it's causing it all to crash...
I dunno. Can I? How would I connect it as an external drive? Using the eSATA port I assume? But that'll need a different cable?

I could attach it to a different computer reasonably easily. But I don't want it to naff one of mine up!
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You can get SATA-to-USB cables pretty cheaply.
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(Post Link) post #19 of 24 Old 22-05-15 Thread Starter
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OK, so connecting the hard drive to my own computer also resulted in it failing to work.

Seems quite strange. Why would this happen? It's not the boot drive. Looking at performance stats, it's not because the attempt to access the drive is using all processing power.

It's not really important, happy that the drive is goosed, but it'd be nice to understand why that brings the computer to a shuddering halt.
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If the operating system is continually trying and retrying to read or otherwise access the drive, it can load the system bus so much that everything else grinds to a halt. The PC architecture isn't very good at handling bus saturation.
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(Post Link) post #21 of 24 Old 22-05-15 Thread Starter
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That's the kind of thing I thought. But when I managed to get the task manager up, it was showing low CPU and RAM usage, so I assumed it wasn't the case.
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The CPU isn't considered active while it's sitting waiting for I/O and that's what happens a lot under bus saturation. In Windows 8 (and perhaps other versions too) you can look at the performance tab of the task manager. If you choose Disk on the left you can see the percentage of time the disk is active. If this remains at or near 100% for any period of time then you'll notice a degradation in performance because the system is constantly waiting for the disk to catch up. Using the resource monitor you can also see the queue length - that's the averaged number of processes waiting for disk I/O to complete. If that gets up to around 10 then things start to get slow.
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(Post Link) post #23 of 24 Old 22-05-15 Thread Starter
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Aha.

Well I'm not planning on attaching it again to check that, but it sounds a likely theory.
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You're welcome.
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