# Strange problems on two computers: Possibly an undetected virus?

1. Feb 9, 2004

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Earlier tonight Tsunami's laptop started producing a very high pitched squealing sound. She thought it might be her hard drive - it did sound a bit like a bearing failure - but to me it sounded more like audio feedback; it wasn't, but it sounded much like that. Then, about an hour ago I had the same thing happen as soon as I connected to a particular site. I was googling at the time and shut down the link so quickly that I'm not sure where I was.

Tsunami's computer went to the BSOD [blue screen of death] and required a re-boot. A serious error was detected. Then, all of her inbox mail in Outlook Xpress was gone. Later it reappeared with nothing other than a virus scan done! No virus was detected.

Since in nearly 20 years and seven computers I have never seen this happen, it really got my attention.

Any ideas? Has anyone else had this happen?

2. Feb 9, 2004

### Zantra

well I don't think the wizzing you heard was connected to a virus- usually it's either the fan or the hard drive plates-happens when the drive goes bad. If you're confident enough, pop the cover and see if you can track down the noise. The only 2 moving parts in a computer that can cause a wizz,whir,etc are the fan, and one of the drives(HD, CD, floppy). If it's not smoking, you're doing good:)

My quote for service rendered is as follows:

Bad answer: $25/each Good answer:$50/each
Dumb looks: free

You know, I could make a killing on the side- I swear

Last edited: Feb 9, 2004
3. Feb 9, 2004

### phatmonky

Suggesting McAfee, and that he deletes temp files by deleting all files labeled as "*.tmp"??? Man, I'm glad Ivan knows what he's doing, or he might actually follow your advice.
Just for future reference, windows isn't the only program that saves .tmp files, so I'd be very slow to actually go that route if I were you.

4. Feb 9, 2004

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
I once deleted all *.tmp files, a few days later when I wanted to scan something.. the scanner wasn't working apparently someone had downloaded the software and didn't place it right. Luckily the software was still available, so I could download it again :P

But really, if you are smart enough not to save your files in that folder, what harm can it do to delete them??

5. Feb 9, 2004

### Zantra

McAfee is a personal choice, I'll give you that- so everyone's entitled to thier opinion. Deleting *.tmp doesn't delete the temp directory, just files with the .tmp file extension- this will leave the temp directory intact. It's the same as if you right clicked C:\, properties, and went to the cleanup button to remove temp files. Just my funky way of doing things. But folks, as a general practice it's never wise to install programs in the temp directory- it's called that for a reason, and you never know when routine maintenance will wipe it out.

As far as Ivan's abilities-I think he can handle himself around a PC Oh and BSOD, AKA Fatal exception errors are generic messages, and even if you gave me the message letter for letter, I still couldn't troubleshoot based solely on that message. It usually indicates that 2 things have attempted to access the RAM at the same time. It literally could be ANYTHING.

Last edited: Feb 9, 2004
6. Feb 9, 2004

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
Ivan, I suspect your computers have been working overtime and are nearing a stress breakdown. Just because you don't need the sleep, doesn't mean they can work 24/7

7. Feb 9, 2004

### firefly

I agree it doesn't sound like a virus... it does sound like a possible hard drive problem.

This is the only symptom that happened on both, right? I sure hope so... Not all squeals were created equal - that'd I'd chalk up to a coincidence. But if you had other problems (crashes, errors, file corruption) then I'd reconsider the virus option more seriously.

We don't like that. The fact that it came back up (without any problems?) is somewhat reassuring. (But it didn't even force a scandisk on boot? did it seem to take longer to load windows?)

So you have some sort of AV sounds like. And possibly it's set up to run after a bad shutdown sequence?

Unfortunately.... YES, and YES. Not the thing with Xpress, but I was using a different mail client. And my mailbox, along with several other files were corrupt. That doesn't mean this is your case, but...
I fixed it, but it had more problems within a year, so it became evident the HD was kaput.

Anyway, my first advice to you is, before you do anything, ANYTHING else, ESPECIALLY before delete ANY files temp or otherwise....

1. BACK UP all your data files - burn a CD, 12 CDs or whatever you have to do.
2. If both the PC's are acting up (beyond squealing), isolate them. Drop the lan, serial or whatever connects them.
3. Do the scan disk - see what happens - note if any SYSTEM or SYSTEM32 files were affected.
4. Update virus defs if necessary and run a full virus scan (juuuuust in case).
5. Delete temps and defrag.

Whining/squealing on a PC that has no trouble I'd consider first the fan. In a PC with hard drive issues, it could be the hard drive itself, which may be simply a mounting issue (loose - kill who built the PC) or... really bad stuff (platters, drive arm... icky. bad. replace. unlikely don't think about it.) But I'd still vote for the fan: an HD with bad logical read areas spins a lot more doing with having to do retry reads, so generating more heat, so causing the fan to work more, so potentially "wearing" out the fan (better news).

Good luck to you. Hopefully it will be ok. Usually it is the simple things. A couple bad sectors on Tsu's PC. A squeaky fan in yours. BUT DO BACKUPS!!!!!

8. Feb 9, 2004

### phatmonky

You are missing my point. I know what you are advocating, and what I'm saying is that either running a disk cleanup (not my preference either), or manually deleting the files in your two temp folders is a better practice.
I personally am an authorized installer for a proprietary medical records software that used .tmp for it's own uses. If you were to delete one of these files at the wrong time, you'd have problems, DESPITE the fact that this file is NOT stored in the c:\temp or windows\temp directories. In addition, .tmp files are not the only temp files on your computer. Plenty of programs use the c:\temp as their temporary chache for unpacking compressed installation files, without asking you if that's where you want it at.

2> I'm not sure what this is in reference to. I didn't mention a BSOD or any of that :)

9. Feb 9, 2004

### Staff: Mentor

Yes, backup, you should do that regularly anyway.

Zantra's advice is good. Depending on the OS you may not have much in your temp file. I believe Windows 2000 dumps the temp files like NT? At least my sys admin said I no longer had to defrag or manually clean out my temp files which is something we had to do at least monthly, or else. They were pretty strict on laptop maintenance by users.

10. Feb 9, 2004

### NateTG

Observation 1:
If you had a system failure and you're running windows, your file system can easily get mangled, and I haven't heard many good things about checkdisk.
Observation 2:
An alarm on your computer could easily sound like speaker feedback.

Is it possible that you had a CPU or HDD overheat?

11. Feb 10, 2004

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Thanks for the input and ideas everyone.

Everything seemed to check out. My problem stopped as soon as I closed the link. Tsunami's problem seems okay for now. I am a little suspicious that NateG may be on to something. Tsu sits in a position that potentially could block the fan ports. What bothers me still is that two computers exhibited a problem that I've never seen within a few hours of each other. Very strange!

12. Feb 10, 2004

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
No rest for the wicked; not for me or our computers!

13. Feb 10, 2004

### timejim

What OS are you using? The noise sounds like a mechanical problem but is it coming thru your speakers? If so, a software problem is indicated. As far as email being deleted, outlook express is notorious for being a suckin vacuum for viruses. This happened to me once and I changed my email password and it hasn't happened again.
Good luck.

14. Feb 10, 2004

### firefly

If it's NT you have scandisk (don't recall for Win95/98). But scandisk is much better than the ol' checkdisk. Scandisk can detect and repair many more problems. In some cases you can simply restore the crosslinked files after it fixes your fat, and can avoid a reformat.
One stupid simple thing about Express is by default it turns on message "preview" - if you haven't done it already, this should be turned off (View | Layout) as it will open messages and some attachments, depending on the attachment "type" which can be faked and has been exploited by viruses. But if I understood correctly your mail reappeared... that could have been a simple HD read problem too, if overheating is what started all the trouble.

15. Feb 10, 2004

### firefly

I'm glad. But i do hope you've run the scans... esp on the FS, but also for viruses.
Ok. Trash the rest of the ideas. You guys have goblins in the house.