I came to this website as a last resort. I am desperate and in urgent need of some advice - non-superficial advice.
Just to set my status: I am a very experienced XP user and have been using it for the past 5 or 6 years. I am in no way a beginner/novice, etc.
For the past year or so I have been experiencing a weird flaw in my Windows XP, something that has never happened before. I use Windows XP SP2 PRO. Just a standard installation disc. No tweaks, no changes.
Ever since I moved to the UK and gotten broadband on a 8Mbps dial-up modem, I have been experiencing this problem. I thought that if I got a router with a secure NAT firewall, it would have resolved the problem, but it didn't.
Here's the problem:
Out of NOWHERE, the first symptoms of the problem are heard through my speakers. In most cases, it starts with slight cracking sounds and in rare cases (when watching a movie or listening to music) it makes a heavy glitch noise. After the sound symptom, my screen starts flashing BLACK and then comes back (the power button remains green). As time progresses, it flashes black more and more.
It turns out that when I restart after that, Windows either states that a system file is missing and cannot load, or when I log onto my account, it states that a file is corrupt.
Okay, so the problem has something to do with my system files (system32 mainly) becoming corrupt out of nowhere.
Since then I have become a devoted CHKDSK user, because after I run it, I have a 50/50 chance of my Windows being restored (and my 3 other HardDrives that are sometimes affected).
At first, about a year ago, my PC would last me about 2 or 3 weeks before I have to completely format. Now, about 30 minutes after XP is back on, I get the black screen flash.
I have tried almost EVERYTHING I can think of to find the source and I cannot find the solution. I thought it must be a hacker who keeps attacking me, even though I have 4 firewalls:
-Zone Alarm Security Suite
-Sygate Personal Firewall Pro
When I put Windows Vista Ultimate on, this problem disappears, so I thought that maybe XP had an obvious vulnerability to hackers.
BUT: at one time, my router was turned off when i formatted and I got the black screen flash and system crash AGAIN. So i thought - maybe the problem is internal - like a hidden trojan on one of my other 3 harddrives. Well, then I decided to plug in the hard drives one at a time to see which one gives a problem. Without going further than my main secondary one (with all my installations), I crashed, so it definitely wasn't HDD 3 and 4. My HDD2 was scanned and scanned and scanned thoroughly for anything suspicious and I got rid of everything that might be the problem (even files that I got a year ago that COULD have been the problem) but with NO LUCK. I'm STILL stuck.
Then I thought again - maybe it IS a hacker. But how can he get through 4 firewalls?? (Still possible, obviously).
On 18 December 2007, Service Pack 3 Release Candidate was released for Win XP, so I decided to get another clean XP installation CD and to put service pack 3 on. The problem is STILL HERE.
I cannot find ANY information on the internet regarding the black screen flash. Only the corrupt system32 stuff everyone talks about, but no one gives a source or a solution to the problem.
I have a static IP, for whatever bizarre reason.
I have some custom ports forwarded on my router (6112 and 6909), but I crashed even with those ports closed. My UPNP is disabled, DMZ is disabled and INCOMING PING is ENABLED.
This problem only seems to surface when I'm actually ON the PC. When I'm away, it never occurs.
3rd Party Software info:
I have left out EVERY installation that I normally install on XP in order to find the route of the problem, but I still crashed. Sygate cannot be the problem, cuz I only started using that recently. I don't know if Zone Alarm can be the problem, because I've used it for over 2 or 3 years now.
Processor: AMD Athlon64 3500+ - 2.21 Ghz
Motherboard: MSI Neo4 SLI Platinum
RAM: 1024 MB DDR RAM
HDD: 200 GB Western Digital HDD
Graphics Card: Asus GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB PCI-Express (NVidia Chipset)
Audio: (Internal) Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit
Router: Plus.com AR-7200 (non-wifi)
Can ANYONE help me? Ask as many questions as you want. I can probably answer all of them - anything that I haven't mentioned here.
What is the problem? How do I prevent it? I don't wanna go to Win Vista, because my PC is only good enough for it for about a week, then it starts going slower than I want (and I'm a super fast PC user).
PLEASE! HELP!!! I am desperate!! I have formatted my PC about 9 times in the past 48 hours and I am getting sick of it. Formatting used to be so much fun. Putting everything back on with a clean, fresh start. Now it has become an obligation.