Solved: Freezing or Looping Process

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Thread Starter
Jul 11, 2005
I've tried all the tricks I know and the suggestions I have found on the internet on forums like this one and others, but still haven't cured my problem. My computer has started freezing up about every 3 - 4 minutes and stays locked for a few minutes each time. The problem started on July 2nd after I tried to stream the Live8 concerts on AOL. The stream would stop after a minute or so and I gave up after a few tries and closed out the website. The computer sat idle for about 30 minutes after that and then the freezing problem started after I tried to use it again. I don’t know if the AOL streaming has anything to do with the problem or was just a coincidence. I’ll try to list the symptoms and steps I have taken to cure the problem as simply as I can in hopes someone can diagnose what is going on.

- Compaq Deskpro PC with a Pentium III running Windows 98SE with 512 MB RAM
- Internet connection is via Comcast broadband cable. I have their Support Agent program blocked from running by itself.
- PC has two harddrives – came with a 20 gig and I added an 120 gig over a year ago. The 20 gig has about 45% free space and the 120 gig has about 55% free space. Generally I use the 20 gig for operating system, programs and applications and the 120 gig for storage - wave, jpeg, mp3, etc. files.
- Compaq monitor, HP printer, Visioneer scanner, Vicrom webcam, Philips Rythmic Edge soundcard
- Internal CD-ROM drive, Internal CD-R burner
- Black Ice firewall, Symantec Antivirus
- Ad-Aware, Spybot, Registry Mechanic, Tracks Eraser Pro – all run at least three times a week.
- Very simple system

Problem symptoms:
- Screen, keyboard and mouse freeze every 3-4 minutes for a period of 2 -3 minutes, although I haven’t been able to determine if it is happening at exact intervals
- Freeze can even occur when computer is booting up
- Usually happens when working with programs or applications, but can also happen when the computer is idle.
- Happens whether I am on the Internet or not
- Ctrl -Alt-Dlt has no effect, although if I do this the task manager comes up after it unfreezes
- If sound is playing when the freeze occurs (music in a game, listening to a wav or mp3 file, etc) the last second of sound is looped over and over. This leads me to believe the system is not so much freezing as getting stuck in a processing loop.
- To unfreeze, I can either wait until it unfreezes or do a hard shutdown and re-boot
- While frozen, CD-ROM and CD burner drawers can be opened and closed, but that is a mechanical function. If I do this during the frozen state, the hard drive light does not blink as it does if I do this when the computer is in normal state.
- The clock in the tray freezes along with everything else, but immediately updates to the current time when the system unfreezes minutes later. Again, this makes me think the system is locking in a loop, rather than actually halting.
- Computer does not freeze when running in Safe mode.
- No error messages come up.

Steps I have taken to correct the problem:
- Ran Ad-Aware, Spybot, Registry Mechanic in both Safe and then normal modes. Interestingly, the computer does not seem to hang when running these scans.
- Ran Tracks Eraser Pro to empty all temp files, cache, etc
- Ran complete system virus scan and defragged (in Safe mode) both harddrives.
- Opened case, blew dust off motherboard, processor, heatsinks, soundcard and other boards
- Re-seated memory and other plug-ins, checked connections to soundcard, etc.
- With cover off, pointed large cooling fan on motherboard in case problem was overheating. No change in performance.
- Using Task Manager, each time the computer froze I would turn off a running process and wait for it to freeze again. Eventually all process except “Explore” were ended, but freezing continued to occur.
- Unistalled and re-installed sound card.
- Installed FreeRam XP Pro 1.40 to manage memory, although it shows system is normally running well below capacity with the program adjusting anything. It freezes along with the rest of the system and doesn’t indicate a jump in
- Installed Spyware Blaster
- Installed HijackThis to help diagnose problem.

There is no new hardware or software installed, other than FreeRam, Spyware Blaster and Hijack This which were installed after this problem began. The soundcard was the newest item installed (over a month ago and has given me no problems to date) and I uninstalled and re-installed that just to be sure. I also replaced the disc battery on the motherboard about two months ago so it is relatively fresh.

Here’s the Hijack This log:

Logfile of HijackThis v1.99.1
Scan saved at 9:48:11 AM, on 7/13/05
Platform: Windows 98 SE (Win9x 4.10.2222A)
MSIE: Internet Explorer v6.00 SP1 (6.00.2800.1106)

Running processes:

R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer,Default_Search_URL = http://0-OL1OIZ-XOLXII1-OXLI10OZL1L...OL.COM/92671ac527/ac00krtyx_65v/ogsearch.html
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL =
R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Local Page = c:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\OOBE\BLANK.HTM
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Local Page = c:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\OOBE\BLANK.HTM
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Window Title = Microsoft Internet Explorer provided by Comcast High-Speed Internet
O3 - Toolbar: &Radio - {8E718888-423F-11D2-876E-00A0C9082467} - C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\MSDXM.OCX
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [ScanRegistry] C:\WINDOWS\scanregw.exe /autorun
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [TaskMonitor] C:\WINDOWS\taskmon.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SystemTray] SysTray.Exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [PP7600usb] C:\PROGRA~1\VISION~1\PAPERP~1\FBDirect.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [CriticalUpdate] c:\windows\SYSTEM\wucrtupd.exe -startup
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [vptray] C:\PROGRA~1\SYMANT~1\SYMANT~1\vptray.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [StillImageMonitor] C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\STIMON.EXE
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [LVComs] C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\LVComS.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Gene USB Monitor] C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\USBMonit.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Zone Labs Client] C:\Program Files\Zone Labs\ZoneAlarm\zlclient.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [AELaunch] AELaunch.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SxgTkBar] SxgTkBar.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [HDTray] hdtray.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [HDHelp] tbhdhelp.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [LoadPowerProfile] Rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,LoadCurrentPwrScheme
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [HC Reminder] c:\COMPAQ\Modem\HC.EXE
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [Machine Debug Manager] C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\MDM.EXE
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [LoadBlackD] C:\Program Files\Network ICE\BlackICE\blackd.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [TrueVector] C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\ZONELABS\VSMON.EXE -service
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [rtvscn95] C:\PROGRA~1\SYMANT~1\SYMANT~1\rtvscn95.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [defwatch] C:\PROGRA~1\SYMANT~1\SYMANT~1\defwatch.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [LoadPowerProfile] Rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,LoadCurrentPwrScheme
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [SchedulingAgent] mstask.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\RunServices: [KB891711] C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\KB891711\KB891711.EXE
O4 - Startup: Microsoft Office.lnk = C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\OSA9.EXE
O4 - Startup: BlackICE Utility.lnk = C:\Program Files\Network ICE\BlackICE\blackice.exe
O8 - Extra context menu item: Add to filterlist (WebWasher) - http://-Web.Washer-/ie_add
O9 - Extra button: Yahoo! Messenger - {E5D12C4E-7B4F-11D3-B5C9-0050045C3C96} - C:\PROGRAM FILES\YAHOO!\MESSENGER\YPAGER.EXE
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Yahoo! Messenger - {E5D12C4E-7B4F-11D3-B5C9-0050045C3C96} - C:\PROGRAM FILES\YAHOO!\MESSENGER\YPAGER.EXE
O16 - DPF: {C3DFA998-A486-11D4-AA25-00C04F72DAEB} (MSN Photo Upload Tool) -
O16 - DPF: {AE1C01E3-0283-11D3-9B3F-00C04F8EF466} (HeartbeatCtl Class) -
O16 - DPF: {90C9629E-CD32-11D3-BBFB-00105A1F0D68} (InstallShield International Setup Player) -
O16 - DPF: {41F17733-B041-4099-A042-B518BB6A408C} -
O16 - DPF: {8714912E-380D-11D5-B8AA-00D0B78F3D48} (Yahoo! Webcam Upload Wrapper) -
O16 - DPF: {DF780F87-FF2B-4DF8-92D0-73DB16A1543A} (PopCapLoader Object) -
O16 - DPF: {0A5FD7C5-A45C-49FC-ADB5-9952547D5715} (Creative Software AutoUpdate) -
O16 - DPF: {F6ACF75C-C32C-447B-9BEF-46B766368D29} (Creative Software AutoUpdate Support Package) -
O16 - DPF: {B8BE5E93-A60C-4D26-A2DC-220313175592} (ZoneIntro Class) -
O16 - DPF: {E5D419D6-A846-4514-9FAD-97E826C84822} (HeartbeatCtl Class) -
O16 - DPF: {01113300-3E00-11D2-8470-0060089874ED} ( Configuration Class) -
O16 - DPF: {D77EF652-9A6B-40C8-A4B9-1C0697C6CF41} (TikGames Online Control) -
O16 - DPF: {4EA7C4C5-C5C0-4F5C-A008-8293505F71CC} (CodeSupport Control) -
O16 - DPF: Yahoo! MahJong Solitaire -
O16 - DPF: Yahoo! Spades -

Any ideas as to what my problem is? Power supply maybe? Is there a program I can use to test my power supply?
I also suspect in may have something to do with my monitor. Sometimes the monitor won’t ‘wake up’ when it the computer has been idle for an extended period. The system wakes up, but the monitor remains black with the pilot light blinking. (I don’t use a screen saver.) Sometimes turning the monitor off and then back on will bring it up, but sometimes I have to re-boot the system to bring the screen back on. This may be unrelated to the freezing program…or?
Sorry this post is so long, but I read through the forums and tried all the fixes suggested to other people with similar problems before writing (like cooling the motherboard with a fan) so as to hopefully not waste your time. Any help you can provide is much appreciated.


Dec 5, 2003
First, although this may not be related to you probem, try disabling Black Ice firewall. I believe that Comcast already has a firewall. You can call Comcast to make sure.. (y)

Also, it looks like you still have Zone alarm firewall installed. You don't need three firewalls. Get rid of it.

Are you absolutely sure your cpu fan works? What does it do during a freeze?

What kind of motherboard, make and model, do you have? How old is it?


Thread Starter
Jul 11, 2005
Hulk, thanks for the reply.
I had tried disabling both Black Ice and Zone Alarm one at a time and each by themselves. I've been running both of those programs for at least the last two years and they hadn't been in conflict before. The Comcast Support website offers a McAfee firewall as an optional service for free for a trial period, then you have to subscribe. Of the two (BI & ZA), it seems like ZA has more features such as an uploading/dowloading activity meter. I'm curious as to why you suggest deleting ZA over BI?
The CPU fan works fine and cleaned the blades of any dust to be sure. It continues to run during the freezes. Again, I feel it is more of a 'processing loop' (something either starting up or shutting down) than a freeze, especially since any audio playing goes into a one second endless repeat until the sytem resumes normal operation.
I thought of the overheating angle, too and that's why I opened the case and pointed a 12" fan to blow directly on the motherboard for 30 - 45 minutes while I tested the machine.
The motherboard is the original HP that came with the machine, so that makes it four and a half years old. (Yeah, I know, ancient in computer terms. I have a newer computer in another room.) I'm not sure of the model, but here's cpu, motherboard and memory info from an Everest report:
--------[ CPU ]---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CPU Properties:
CPU Type Intel Pentium IIIE, 800 MHz (6 x 133)
CPU Alias Coppermine, CuMine, A80526
CPU Stepping cC0
Instruction Set x86, MMX, SSE
Original Clock 800 MHz
L1 Code Cache 16 KB
L1 Data Cache 16 KB
L2 Cache 256 KB (On-Die, ATC, Full-Speed)

CPU Physical Info:
Package Type 370 Pin FC-PGA
Package Size 4.95 cm x 4.95 cm
Transistors 28.1 million
Process Technology 6M, 0.18 um, CMOS
Die Size 90 mm2
Core Voltage 1.70 V
I/O Voltage 3.3 V
Typical Power 11 - 25 W (depending on clock speed)
Maximum Power 16.0 - 37.5 W (depending on clock speed)

CPU Manufacturer:
Company Name Intel Corporation
Product Information

CPU Utilization:
CPU #1 9 %

--------[ Motherboard ]-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Motherboard Properties:
Motherboard ID <DMI>
Motherboard Name Compaq Deskpro

Front Side Bus Properties:
Bus Type Intel GTL+
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 133 MHz
Effective Clock 133 MHz
Bandwidth 1067 MB/s

Memory Bus Properties:
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 133 MHz
Effective Clock 133 MHz
Bandwidth 1067 MB/s

Chipset Bus Properties:
Bus Type Intel Hub Interface
Bus Width 8-bit
Real Clock 67 MHz (QDR)
Effective Clock 267 MHz
Bandwidth 267 MB/s

Motherboard Manufacturer:
Company Name Hewlett-Packard Company
Product Information
BIOS Download

--------[ Memory ]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Physical Memory:
Total 511 MB
Used 417 MB
Free 93 MB
Utilization 82 %

Swap Space:
Total 1536 MB
Used 152 MB
Free 1384 MB
Utilization 10 %

Virtual Memory:
Total 2047 MB
Used 570 MB
Free 1477 MB
Utilization 28 %

Physical Address Extension (PAE):
Supported by Operating System No
Supported by CPU Yes
Active No

I appreciate the help!


Dec 5, 2003
About Black Ice vs Zonealarm, I don't have a preference. I thought BI was already installed and Zonealarm was active too. One of them needs to be disabled. But it doesn't sound like its related to your problem.

This is only my opinion but you may have a bad motherboard. Perhaps its just old. It would account for the freezing. Is there a lot of dust on it? Is an open electrical connection like an open wire touching it?

Perhaps someone else can come to the rescue and either confirm or discard my theory, but it seems like you have tried every thing else.

Good Luck,
HULK! (y)


Thread Starter
Jul 11, 2005
I think (knock wood) that I have solved the problem. I used a back-up in Registry Mechanic to go back to a state before 7/2 and that seemed to help a bit, but the computer still did some unusual things. After some searching in this forum and other resources, I found info about problems with a Microsoft patch (KB 891711) that my system was running. I have uninstalled that and so far, everything is back to normal. I don't know which had the bigger impact, but at least I'm back in the game. (y)
Thanks to Hulk and anyone who gave this some thought.
Please mark this thread as solved. (I'm too green to the site to know how to do that.)

...and just because this problem is solved doesn't mean I don't have other questions about tweaking this box-o-wires, but I will post those in new threads.
Jun 12, 2004
" After some searching in this forum and other resources, I found info about problems with a Microsoft patch (KB 891711) that my system was running."

Poerboy, I hope you didn't hurt yourself searching. If you'll read all the replies to your post a little more carefully, you'll see the KB 891711 issue was addressed in post #4.


Dec 5, 2003
No Problem,

Thanks for your support Poerboy.

Although it seems like Junker really did figure it out. :eek: ;) (y)

PS to mark a problem go to Thread Tools at the top of the page, use the drop down box and select "Mark As Solved"



Thread Starter
Jul 11, 2005
Yes, Junker your link was one of the resources I used, but I also looked for second and third opinions on this site and others. Hulk, I suppose you should give the winners ribbon to Junker. :)

The machine is still doing some unusual things like not always recognizing the CD burner drive on start up and asking me to save that setting, but I'm dealing with that anomaly.


Dec 5, 2003
Poerboy said:
Hulk, I suppose you should give the winners ribbon to Junker. :)

Okay, I transfer my virtual ribon to my virtual partner.... :confused:
Jun 12, 2004
Poerboy. I'm not looking for the "winner's ribbon" but when you doubt the opinion of the most senior and experienced members of this forum, (hewee, BobCerelli, Chessball, bassetman...) and others who responded to the post mentioned above, and take credit for yourself in solving the problem, it really hits me wrong. I'm glad your problem is almost fixed. Just remember that all problems are not life threatening and don't require mass amounts of time and money to fix. That's all that's needed to be said on this sublect. You can mark this thread solved by using the drop down menu, in the box at the top of the original post. Good luck.
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