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Virus ??
abNORMal Oct-27-00 05:39 PM
I've had a lock up problem with a Dell 733 for a couple of months and I think I have the problem half licked. (Creative CD Software being one of the culprits).

During troubleshooting, a tech support guy told me to run chkdsk, which shows the Total Available Memory being 647,162. He says if it doesn't show the full 64Mg (655,360), I probably have a virus, or possibly 2.

I've downloaded the latest virus files, run Macafee and Norton, but they report nothing found.

The machine seems to be behaving, but it's only been a couple of days.

Is this memory size thing valid? Are there other "virus indicators" I can look for?


1. RE: Virus ??
lbyard Oct-29-00 06:25 PM
In response to message 0
The 655,360 Bytes Total memory is the first 640 Kbytes of memory (a Kbyte is actually 1,024 bytes X 640 = 655,360 Bytes), not 64 Mbytes or all of the memory in the computer. Having less than 655,360 Bytes could be caused by a virus, but other things can cause it as well. If the latest McAfee (thatís what I use in my shop) followed by Norton, with the latest virus databases, didnít find a virus I doubt you have one. Most viruses reserve less memory than 655,360 - 647,162 = 8.2 Kbytes. I would make a clean boot floppy, copy chkdsk.exe from C:\>windows\command to it, write-protect the floppy, boot to the floppy, and run chkdsk again and see if there is any significant change. If not, than the difference is not being caused by something on the hard disk (unless chkdsk.exe is infected). Larry

2. RE: Virus ??
abNORMal Nov-01-00 02:14 PM
In response to message 1

When I ran chkdsk from a floppy boot, it showed 655,360. What can cause the discrepancy under normal boot?

I still had the lock-up problem, so I started pulling hardware. Soundblaster card went first. Still locked up. Modem next. Seemd OK. I started every program I could until the system ground to a halt, then closed them down, and it didn't lock.

Re-installed the sound card. Seemd OK. Reinstalled the modem. Now I have a conflict (but it doesn't seem to be locking up). In Device Mgr/Sound Video and Game Controllers/Conexant HCF RTAD Speakerphone Modem Serial Wave has an exclamation mark.

Will updating the modem driver help?


3. RE: Virus ??
lbyard Nov-01-00 04:44 PM
In response to message 2
Are you running chkdsk on the hard disk from a DOS window in Windows or are you booting to the DOS prompt and running it?

Try going into the CMOS setup and disabling the motherboard COM ports. Larry

4. RE: Virus ??
abNORMal Nov-01-00 05:53 PM
In response to message 3
I was running chkdsk from a DOS window. Doing this on a Win95 laptop and a couple of different Win98 desktops shows 655,360, but not on this machine.

Do you think the com ports are the source of the exclamation mark or the memory size problem?

5. RE: Virus ??
lbyard Nov-01-00 07:30 PM
In response to message 4
I do not think the COM ports have anything to do with memory shortfall. They may be the source of the conflict. Disabling them will also free-up a couple of IRQs. Larry

6. RE: Virus ??
abNORMal Nov-02-00 01:12 PM
In response to message 5

I decided to upgrade to the latest driver for the modem before I did the COM ports. (I know-- another jerk who asks for advice then doesnít take it.) I applied it, and it installed a second driver. I then deleted the first one and rebooted. I missed the point at which to intervene in the boot and invoke the CMOS menu, so I let it boot and, for the heck of it went and looked in Device Manager. The conflict was gone! Everything looked shipshape. Better still, it hasnít locked up since I reinstalled the sound card and modem. (BTW Ė when I reinstalled the cards, I swapped the locations. I donít know if this had anything to do with it or what.) I forgot to check the memory size in chkdsk to see if itís now what it should be.

Thanks for your responses Larry. Even thoí it was hit and miss to track this down, just having this forum to bounce things around and research similar problems others have had was valuable.

While Iím babblingÖ

This problem has been going on since August 29, when I got the machine, and I now realize it was a delivered problem. The conflict was there, but it didnít show up in Device Manager until now. Dell tech support was all but useless in resolving this, and their Customer Service was more than useless. They were extremely uncooperative.

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