“Plug and play, motherfuck!”

Okay, so, several days later, my computer is still freezing randomly. The only thing I’ve noticed is that it seems to happen consistently when I leave eDonkey2000 running. It’s almost guaranteed that if I do this before I go to bed that it will have frozen up on me by the time I wake up in the morning.

(I should interject here that I’ve been on my own this past week. Michelle has gone to Florida to visit her brother. The house feels empty and time is, oddly, moving very slowly for me. It feels like it’s been about a month since she left. They say that as you get older time seems to speed up. The reasoning is that there are fewer “new” things happening to you. Well, if my routine is having Michelle around (and I don’t want to ever lose that routine) then her absence has thrown me into a mode of living where things, while not necessarily “new”, are no longer “routine”. My “habits” are gone and I feel slightly unsettled by it all – almost as if I’m in some kind of strange dream. So, sure, you want to make your time on this Earth last as long as you can, in a subjective sense anyway, but if the way of doing that involves the absence of somebody you love so that things seem to last longer, I don’t think I can justify that. I’d rather not feel the emptiness. <smile>)

Last night I went out with Glen. As fate would have it, he tells me that he also is experiencing freezes on his computer, and that it also only started happening to him a couple of weeks ago – around the time that he downloaded a new set of Microsoft updates. I can’t believe that this is a coincidence. There has to be something in common to our two systems that’s affecting both of us. Everything points to these Microsoft updates – even though I’ve already removed all of them and the problem persists.

I’ve run “sfc /scannow” to restore all DLLs, etc., to their correct versions. I’ve also considered the Windows “repair” option, and, if that doesn’t work, a complete reinstall. But I decided to query Google another time. If it’s happened to the both of us, surely we can’t be the only people to have been so affected…

Would you believe it? I came across this newsgroup post. Here are some excerpts:

“After installing the latest 9 windows updates on August 9, 2005 my system locks up or freezes after it has set for a period of time 1-5 hours. It has always been rock solid up until this problem.”

Okay, so it’s not just me…

“I see others in this group are having similar problems. Has anyone figured out which update causes this problem.”

Yes, exactly. What’s the culprit here? I’ve already uninstalled everything and it’s still happening. Still, after having worked at Microsoft, I know that some updates make changes that are never reverted when you uninstall them. So, more importantly, I’d like to know the culprit and the solution here. (There’s something comforting in knowing that you’re not the only one experiencing the same discomfort.)

“Forgot to add that the only thing I can do after it locks up is turn the power off.”

You’ve got that right!

“I have also experienced the same”

Somebody else too! At least I (or Glen and I) won’t be suffering alone here…

“I have uninstalled the latest updates but the system still freezes after 4 hours of error-free operation.”

Exactly. Or, more or less anyway. I’ve never actually timed how long it takes for a freeze. But I have removed the updates and the problem has persisted.

“Have you got a Marvell Yukon Ethernet Adapter integrated to your ASUS Mother?”

Whoa! I have an integrated Marvell Yukon ethernet adapter, and it is integrated to an ASUS motherboard…

“Try uninstalling the latest driver which must have been downloaded together with the latest Windoews Update patches…Together with the Windows update came this Ethernet adapter update”

That’s right! I suddenly remember that, at the time that I got the latest Windows updates, I also updated my ethernet adapter (from the driver supplied by ASUS) with the latest driver supplied by Microsoft. I’d actually forgotten that I’d done that, and had, instead, only remembered the Microsoft OS updates.

“The first thing I did was to uninstall the windows updates but the problem (freezzing after some time) was still there. Then I re-install the windows updates and uninstalled the Ethernet adapter update and the computer has been runing again without problems! No explanation but it worked!”

No way! So, it sounds as if it wasn’t the Microsoft updates at all – or, at least, not on their own. I immediately rolled back the driver for my ethernet adapter.

(Or, to paraphrase, “Roll back the driver, motherfuck!” I should mention that the title I chose for this journal entry is a quote from one of my most enjoyable movies, The Big Hit. It’s not a prime example of artistic film making by any stretch of the imagination, but it made me laugh, and it’s one of those movies that sticks in my mind. It’s part of my DVD collection. I won’t say anything else, other than if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I still laugh to myself whenever I think of this scene.)

At this point, I’m pretty sure that I’ve figured out the problem. I know that the freezing started on August 9th, immediately after I downloaded a couple of Microsoft updates. I also know that uninstalling those updates didn’t fix the problem and, looking at the description of those updates, they would seem to have no correlation to the problem I was seeing. I’d forgotten that I’d also installed the ethernet driver update at the same time.

To “clinch the deal”, I called up Glen with this information. I started off by telling him that it probably didn’t apply to him, since it was in relation to a Marvell Yukon network adapter. Imagine my surprise when he told me that he also had the very same adapter, it was also integrated into his ASUS motherboard, and that he, also, had downloaded the updated Microsoft driver for this device around the time that he downloaded the other Microsoft updates – and his own freezing problems started to occur!

It’s far too much of a coincidence to not be the source of the problem. Also, remember that I can “sort of” replicate the problem (cause the freezing) by leaving eDonkey2000 running over night. Since this application makes use of my ethernet adapter for its Internet traffic, that only further supports the theory that these freezes are all network driver related.

So. Tonight I’ll be firing up eDonkey2000 and continuing with a download. I’ll wake up tomorrow and check things. If my computer hasn’t frozen I’ll be feeling pretty good about the situation.

Normally, I wouldn’t post something like this at this point in time for fear of jinxing the situation. (Yes, there is some sort of cosmic principle that works against me. If I have to choose between X number of things to pick the right one, it will always be the last thing I select that’s right. Glen understands this too, because he’s equally cursed in the same way.) But, in this case, I think that, perhaps, I might just have a good chance of having figured this out. We’ll see.

3 Comments

  1. I got bugged by the same issue. The latest Marvell Yukon driver v8 downloaded through Windows Update has a flaw! Random freezes of the PC and reproducable freezes after downloading a large file (180MB). I reverted to v7 (downloaded from Gigabyte web site) and no problems since.

  2. I just want to say THANK THE FUCK OUTTA YOU FOR SHOWING ME THE WAY OUT OF MY 3 WEEKS OF HARDWARE HELL!!!! I tried everything else. I replaced my video card, RAM, power supply, hard drives, floppy, CD/DVD and all the cables. I replaced the motherboard, I installed a fresh OS on the replaced HD, I ran a huge extension cord to another plug on another circuit, I got a UPS. NOTHING worked. The only hardware not replaced was my CPU.

    Here I find kindred spirits in the same personal hell and discover that a few clicks of the mouse would grant freedom from the oppressively frozen PC monster on my desk.

    I LOVE YOU!!!!

  3. I do feel for you partners since I had the same issue.I was too trying to figure out what was wrong.If I had nothing else to do I would probably gone bonkers like poor Nick,but I have a job.So I just could not pay attention to the issue,just kept it in the back of my mind for a month.Then one day I just thought I’m tired of emule so I click the close button and voila my computer is still running in the

    morning when I wake up !? I just type “emule freeze crash windows xp yukon” and well you figure the rest of the story…And They all lived happily ever after…

Leave a Reply