A fellow of my acquaintance works for customer support for a large ISP. We got to chatting about the snarls of my own home PC.
I basically have a single, but complex, symptom. Once I start the computer, for anywhere from approximately 15-60 minutes, there are no problems. Then, the on-screen mouse cursor begins to periodically freeze upon clicking. The first few freezes only last a second or three. But the longer I stay on the computer and make mouse clicks, the more frequently the freezes will occur AND the longer each individual freeze will last. After a while, every third or fourth mouse click causes a 30-60 second freeze. If I slog through all that, eventually the computer freezes for good (no “blue screen of death”, though) or better yet – the computer quits sending info to the monitor, and the screen goes dark.
A warm or cold boot fixes all … for a while. Rinse and repeat.
So anyway, the ISP fellow suggests first to reinstall the mouse driver. I’ve done that a few times – no dice. His next theory is something known as a memory leak.
I’m not 100% clear on what a memory leak is, but the ISP guy mentioned that I might have programs that open on startup and run continuously in the background. Now, around 6 months ago, I went into MSCONFIG and cleaned up a lot of these startup programs. Still, I looked again last night, and it looked there might be even a little more fat to cut. For instance, Symantec PC Anywhere was opening on startup for some reason, so I cut that out of the startup programs.
My question to the board is threefold:
a) How else can I go about ferreting out and resolving a possible memory leak?
b) What software is available out there that can help? Norton Systemworks, perhaps (if that’s the right name)?
c) I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been surfing the Web on a cable modem for the past six months without using any kind of firewall. Could buggy software have been hacked onto my PC, and could such clandestine installs be the cause of the symptom above? Could it even be a low-grade annoying virus? Or does it sound more like a memory leak?
Relevant PC info:
- Computer is 3 1/2 years old (can’t afford a new one).
- 450 Mhz Celeron Processor
- 128 M of RAM
- Runs Windows 98, with no service packs I am aware of except the service pack that comes with the download of IE 6.0.
- Checking the Properties of My Computer, it indicates that “77% of resources are free”. Does this mean RAM usage, or something else?
- I fiddled with the Virtual Memory recently in an effort to fix the freezing cursor. It used to be set for Windows to manage it automatically. I set it to use no more than 2 gigs of disk space, though I have about 13 gigs to spare. This modification had no effect on the freezing cursor.
Thanks to anyone in advance who can offer any advice!