Stuttering PC - what's wrong?

#1
Hello Wisdom of Arrse

My PC has recently developed a 'tic' - there is a tiny freeze in the beat rate of the computer so that about every second or so the computer freezes for a millisecond. Best way to spot it is by moving the mouse pointer in gentle circles and you can see it stop briefly.

Any ideas what's wrong? It's no problem for work but a pain for movie playback and games.

Dell Precision 690 with hodloads of memory and processing power, running Vista 64 Ultimate.

Thanks!
 
#3
Which antivirus are you using? (My guess is McAfee which came bundled with the PC)

Try disabling it temporarily and seeing if the problem goes away.
 
#4
Dell Precision 690 with hodloads of memory and processing power, running Vista 64 Ultimate.
There's your first problem. Knowing Vista, your PC is probably doing that for absolutely no reason.

Buy Windows 7 x64 or chuck an old XP on there. You'll have a better time with your PC that way.

As said above, check your system event logs to see if there's a persistent error in there. Failing that, boot the PC in to safe mode. If the issue disappears when you're in safe mode, you know it's an application/software driver causing the problem. If it's the same, you might have dodgy video card drivers or some crap RAM.
 
#5
Kaspersky is the antivirus. It's not responsible.

Nothing particularly telling on the event logs - certainly nothing occuring every second.

Safe mode doesn't exhibit the problem. So looks like I have to wade through the apps...

Thanks!
 
#6
I'm disaapointed. I thought the thread would be of the "y -yy-- er --y your n-n-nicked" sort.
 
#7
I would be looking at something unnecessary running at startup: click on the start button and type msconfig, go to the startup tab then uncheck the applications you don't think should be running on boot. You can always go back and re-enable them later.

I would also check that your drivers are all up to date. Any updates should be listed under Start -> Control Panel ->Windows Update -> Optional updates.

msr
 
#8
Plug in an external hard drive and see if it runs a programme ok from that. If you eliminate software issues you could have a problem with your HDD.

Try defrag too and see if that helps.
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#9
Plug in an external hard drive and see if it runs a programme ok from that. If you eliminate software issues you could have a problem with your HDD.

Try defrag too and see if that helps.
It doesn't happen in safe-mode, so not a HDD issue.
 
#10
It doesn't happen in safe-mode, so not a HDD issue.
Probably is a background programme issue then... as mentioned it could be anti virus.. I had a similar issue on my old PC.. had pretty poor RAM too. Gave me an excuse to buy a new one despite the long haired RSM's protestations! Good luck anyway!
 
#11
Your PSU may about to fail.
 
#12
Probably is a background programme issue then... as mentioned it could be anti virus.. I had a similar issue on my old PC.. had pretty poor RAM too. Gave me an excuse to buy a new one despite the long haired RSM's protestations! Good luck anyway!
It's not antivirus, he's told us that. Do try to read the whole thread before making unhelpful comments.
 
#13
Interestingly it has now added an alert to the boot sequence, claiming that I have a memory configuration mismatch and urging me to 'enter setup for Memory Info details'

Msconfig seems to be doing the trick... It's not the startup services, I've turned these off and the problem persists so I'll work through the apps.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
you can sit with task manager running and see which service is peaking, it could be the cache settings, memory leak if its sharing with video ram, indexing service which is just a nuisance or possible a bit of malware of a botnet you've picked up

have you tried a restore to see if that helps?
 
#15
Have you fixed it?
 
#16
Nope. Thanks to assorted very helpful advice on this thread I have isolated the problem to the nvidia 4500 drivers under 'display adapters' - turn them off and the problem has gone. Unfortunately rolling the drivers back a version doesn't fix it, nor does going to the latest version. So it's something in disagreement with the display adapters... Like what?
 
#17
Nope. Thanks to assorted very helpful advice on this thread I have isolated the problem to the nvidia 4500 drivers under 'display adapters' - turn them off and the problem has gone. Unfortunately rolling the drivers back a version doesn't fix it, nor does going to the latest version. So it's something in disagreement with the display adapters... Like what?

Vista most likely... Try the Win7 upgrade from here if you qualify: Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Student Software UK Download | Software4Students.co.uk

msr
 
#18
if its identified as the GPU, then tracking back to when it started might assist you.

For example, did you update the drivers prior to that? Updating, rather than utterly removing all trace of a pervious driver version, plagues the system with bits of orphaned DLL's which sometimes conflict with a later version. ATI cards used to be a massive saga with this (older ones X800 series).

Download the latest drivers from Nvidia, then uninstall the old driver pack from control panel, then open the hardware profiel and uninstall the card form the display drivers list, it will ask if you want to delete the drivers as well, yes you do. It will expect you to restart, not just yet. Go into both the root C: to delete C:\NVidia and in programs to delete anything that says NVIDIA.

Then reboot, system will reboot, using the MS default drivers (check in hardware profile).

Then execute the new driver exe file and let the drivers install all the way through, after re-start you at least have a clean set of drivers installed.

Another dirty program which caused no end of saga's was the mobileme app, which over time ran up the cpu load, but that has been fixed now by later releases, incase you were using that.

After all that, if there's no change then I am out of ideas, sorry.
 
#19
Thanks PL; sadly no joy. Looks like it's something deep in Vista.

Looks like I'll have to try the upgrade path to Win7 or dig out an old copy of XP. It's running a 64 bit system (2 x 3ghz and 12gb RAM) so I'm a bit out of my depth. Do I need a 64 bit replacement? Will XP be OK?

Also, I have the Vista Ultimate disc and product key. Is this key required to get the upgrade version to Win7 - or some other proof of purchase/ownership?

Anyone out there know this stuff?
 
#20
You dont need a 64 bit OS, but to access the 12 Gig of RAM you will. Otherwise the system will only see a max of 4 Gig. There is much of a debat eon exactly how this does or does nto work, but for now lets just stick with you will lose the benefit of 8 of the 12 gig with a 32Bit OS.

So I suggest a 64 Bit OS, and Win 7 is the best choice for furutre proofing to some extent, and its a pretty good OS i think.

You can get a CDKEY from a website for around £16 for Win & Ultimate 64 Bit, providing you know someone who has a DVD to install from, all Win 7 disks are the same, regardless of the packaging, the CD Key is what defines your "version" at install.

Upgrade is a misleading description of the licence that MS gives you, in reality you dont need to have a previous version, they dotn care, in terms of the licence upgrade is normally cheaper than OEM or retail, but it requires a painful install process and sometimes needs you to either install and old OS first then install it, or validate from an old disk. Its a massive saga for no good reason. OEM is licenced for one machien once, and Retail is as many installs as you like, on one machine at a time.

Best way is borrow someone elses install disk, and buy the CDKEY online, that way you have a genuine install which passes all WGA checks, forever, without having to mess about with cracks.

For Win 7 get Ultimate, there isnt much price difference between it and the others when your bying CDKEY only. I did this for a machine with Win 7 Pro when it first came out, but now use Win 7 ultimate.

If there is a hardware failure though then the stutter may still be there after everything is done mind.
 
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