A past customer calls and says that he thinks the video card is about to breakdown.
I arrive (at the time, only his wife is there, & she cannot help much). I run lots of tests, to see If there is a hardware problem. I check voltages, I run stress tests on the CPU, memory, video cards (2D & 3D tests), and nothing unusual is found. Eventually, I notice a big slowdown in response, if I run 3D graphics tests & also a 3D screensaver. But I can’t tell if it’s just the vid card being overworked.
The hubby comes home & say it only seems to happen during DVD & AVI playbacks. Sure enough, its so slow, that the mouse cursor only updates every 10 seconds!
Having seen this before, I know it’s probably a problem with a video codec, or a system DLL. But it could also be a registry issue. Since I cannot be sure an in-place reinstall of XP will fix the problem, I recommend a full windows reinstall.
In over 14 months of operation, this is probably the second time I’ve recommended a full reinstall in order to fix a problem… but given the severe slowdown & it’s next to impossible to track down the source of the problem, there is no other choice.
They agree to backup everything & I return in 1 week & do the reinstall.
Then I hit another snag: XP couldn’t find drivers for many motherboard devices. Including the ethernet adapter (but the usb drivers are fine). Ok, I look around the computer room, looking for a CD with the motherboard drivers (they must have it, as I sold them a new hard drive 6 months ago, so they must have used the driver disk at that stage).
I can only find a video driver CD (I install it, since I’ll have to do it eventually).
They have a cable modem with a USB port, so even the ISP installation CD would work, (anything to get me onto the internet & download the latest mobo drivers). Given that the CDs cannot be found, I take the PC to the office, download the latest mobo drivers, burn them to CD, install them to the PC, and I can finally get it working on my internet connection.
I take the PC back, but for some reason, the ethernet connector won’t get an IP address from the modem… I know it was working at my office, so I try some ipconfig commands, but no luck. I power-cycle the modem, and bingo! we now have an internet connection.
Another long, drawn-out problem, is finally resolved!
If anyone has a simple way to ‘refesh’ all the video-related files (codecs, dlls etc), I’d be very interested to hear about it!