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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 11th, 2003
Novicius
 
Join Date: July 11th, 2003
Posts: 3
jvall is flying high
Default Could Limewire give me a virus that would crash my computer? Help!!

Hi,

I downloaded LimeWire a month ago and began downloading mp3 files. In the last month my computer has had a series of problems that have gotten increasingly worse, to the point where I can't even boot it. My computer is somewhat old, and I'm trying to tell if it is a virus, software problem, (caused by Limewire) or a hardware problem.

Here's what happened:
1. Internet Explorer started crashing.
2. Limewire started to crash my computer when I started it.
3. Started getting BSOD whenever I ran more than one application at a time.
4. BSOD practially all the time - kernel32.dll errors, vsx errors
5. Tried to download anti-virus software but it crashed every time. Computer also crashed when copying files.
5. My IT friend decided it was the OS (Win 98) and started to reinstall it but computer crashed in the middle of installation and then would not boot.
6. Thought maybe the hard drive was bad and got a different hard drive (used but functional). Connected it as the master - tried to install W98 - but it doesn't start up all the way (desktop w/ no icons, no start menu)
7. After much agony and experimentation determined that one of my RAM chips was bad and removed it. Crashing when copying or downloading files stopped, but my directories are all messed up because it had crashed when reinstalling W98.
8. Got it to work briefly with my old drive as the master and the new one as the slave, but suddenly today it won't even boot and the startup disk does not recognize the drive. Eek!

Could a virus from Limewire actually cause hardware problems and destroy my RAM? (and/or my hard drive? Could it cause serious problems with my OS? Or is it a hardware problem and not related to Limewire?

I'm reluctant to reformat my original hd because I got the computer from a friend, and it has a lot of software that I can't replace. Of course at this point, I don't have many other options.

Any comments or help would be MOST welcome!

Thanks,

Julie
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old July 12th, 2003
Novicius
 
Join Date: July 11th, 2003
Posts: 3
jvall is flying high
Default

Thanks for your reply.

I only downloaded mp3 files - no exe's or anything. Perhaps somewhat stupidly, I didn't have any anti-virus software installed. Maybe this is a silly question, but can mp3 files give you a virus? Or the spyware that may have been put on my computer?

Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the problems started happening when I was using Limewire (it was the first to crash). At this point I just need to figure out how to fix it, whatever the problem is!

Any ideas?
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old August 3rd, 2003
Devotee
 
Join Date: July 12th, 2003
Location: Wiltshire, England
Posts: 21
NightOwl is flying high
Default

IMHO this has nothing to do with LW, it's almost definitely a memory thing. When the chip fails, your operating system doesn't necessarily know, and will still try to write to that part of the memory, causing page faults, etc. You probably compounded the problem by trying to reinstall Windows, as, although the memory is defective, the fact it's in the computer would make it believe there is memory there. End result? Computer falls over, temporary files and folders get corrupted, files become folders, and next thing you know your hard drive is a complete mess and all your software and operating systems are corrupted. BSOD!

I would leave the original hard drive alone, install the OS (after removing the knackered memory) on another drive temporarily, and try to recover whatever you can from the original. Then format and replace your original drive and reinstall everything again. A pain, but there you go - such is the way of 'puters!

Further to that, when everything is reinstalled, if you've got a spare drive put all your mp3's and other data files on there, and take a Ghost image of the primary drive. That way you won't have to reinstall everything again if (when?) it fails. Just ghost the image back - you can even ghost a new drive if the original completely fails.

Hope this helps,

Pete
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old August 3rd, 2003
Novicius
 
Join Date: July 11th, 2003
Posts: 3
jvall is flying high
Default

Hi Pete,

Thanks for you response - you're right, it is unlikely that it's related to Limewire - just an unfortunate coincidence.

I think I've been able to piece together what happened, if anyone else with similar problems could learn from it:

My RAM went, causing all sorts of random problems. Reinstalling Windows 98 was a BAD thing to do without knowing what the problem was - my friend gave me a free hard drive to make it up to me. That just messed up the file system on my computer.

However, the new drive (with a fresh OS, WIn 98 again) hung when booting. I used msconfig (from safe mode) to finally figure out that it was the video driver. I installed a new driver, and then it booted, so I was able to copy most of my applications to the new drive (I had already backed up my crucial files, but not my apps)

I originally had the old drive as the master and the new drive as the slave, but then this week the old drive failed! So now I have to use the new drive - reinstalling all the drivers for my ethernet card, video card, sound card, etc. and configuring it.

A question: Is it just a concidence that my RAM and my HDD would go in the same month? (The HDD is from '97 and the RAM is from 2000) Or is there something going on that could damage my other hardware?

Another question: Just for my education's sake, _could_ a virus damage hardware? (theoretically speaking) Could spyware damage hardware?



P.S. Running Norton Anti-virus on my old drive showed no viruses, so I KNOW now that that wasn't the cause... I'm pretty careful about what I open/download.

Thanks, and happy computing!

Julie
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old August 3rd, 2003
Devotee
 
Join Date: July 12th, 2003
Location: Wiltshire, England
Posts: 21
NightOwl is flying high
Default

In response to your first question, are you absolutely sure your HD has failed? You may be able to get it back after FDISK and FORMATting it from a DOS prompt using a boot disk. Although the file structure will be trashed, the hardware might not be. If you do recover from this, I wouldn't rely on the drive - just use it for archives.

As to the second question, in theory it must be possible, but in practice highly unlikely. It would be fairly easy when you're sat in front of a PC you want to break, but doing so with a virus or remotely would be difficult.

I wouldn't not use a firewall , though, in addition to a good virus software. I've recently bought Norton Internet Security Pro which includes a copy of Antivirus pro, which you could get as an update from their online store - and no, I don't work for them

Hope it all gets sorted,

Pete
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