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Old 03-24-2006, 11:02 AM   #1
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Another weird off topic request

Well, Iíve got another weird question for you all. Last spring I was having a problem with #1 childís car and asked the forum to direct me to a good site to help me troubleshoot. With your help, I found Automotiveforums.com. Great site, I might add. Now Iíve got another one you.

Iím having computer problems with my home network. And before you Apple guys start yelling at me, read on McBeth, there be a question here for ye, as well. Iíve searched the Microsoft Knowledge Base and it is spotty, at best. Most of the sites that turn up in a Google search are filled with Geekinese, jargon that only an 18 year old pimple face could understand, advice filled with nonsense political junk and the like. So hereís question number one of two. Does anybody know of a forum out there that gives reasoned, thoughtful advice about working on Windows issues? A site that explains things in everyday terms that a non-geek can understand? You know what Iím talking about, a site like Airtreamforums.com that caters to Windows users.

Now for question number two (for all of you Apple guys and gals). Is there a site like this for Apples? Iíve about had it with Microsoftís kluge filled, security-hole-riddled junk they call an operating system. The problem is that we have five computers at home and a work laptop that all have to work happily together, so I canít simply replace all the WinTel stuff with Macís. And even if I could afford to do that, my company provided laptop will always have Windows.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jim
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Old 03-24-2006, 11:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Well, Iíve got another weird question for you all. Last spring I was having a problem with #1 childís car and asked the forum to direct me to a good site to help me troubleshoot. With your help, I found Automotiveforums.com. Great site, I might add. Now Iíve got another one you.

Iím having computer problems with my home network. And before you Apple guys start yelling at me, read on McBeth, there be a question here for ye, as well. Iíve searched the Microsoft Knowledge Base and it is spotty, at best. Most of the sites that turn up in a Google search are filled with Geekinese, jargon that only an 18 year old pimple face could understand, advice filled with nonsense political junk and the like. So hereís question number one of two. Does anybody know of a forum out there that gives reasoned, thoughtful advice about working on Windows issues? A site that explains things in everyday terms that a non-geek can understand? You know what Iím talking about, a site like Airtreamforums.com that caters to Windows users.

Now for question number two (for all of you Apple guys and gals). Is there a site like this for Apples? Iíve about had it with Microsoftís kluge filled, security-hole-riddled junk they call an operating system. The problem is that we have five computers at home and a work laptop that all have to work happily together, so I canít simply replace all the WinTel stuff with Macís. And even if I could afford to do that, my company provided laptop will always have Windows.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jim
why don't you just use THIS forum?

start by telling me what your problem is.
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Old 03-24-2006, 11:51 AM   #3
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Well, since you asked.....

We have a computer that acts kinda like what we used to call a file server. Many of our files are stored there and it acts as the internet gateway for the network. I think the hard drive is trying to fail. But before I spend the money, I want to know for sure the hard rive is the problem. About a year ago, the computer would suddenly shut down and a simple CLI type message would appear on the screen that reads "operating system not found". Reboot and it woulod run fine for a while. Then the whole process would start all over again. It mysteriously stopped doing that after a few days. Now it has started again. But wait, there's more!

Other strange things are also happening. The Microsoft firewall has been disabled, and the internet settings have been changed so as NOT to allow any of the other computers to attach to the internet. And even when I change things back to the proper settings, you stll can't get to the internet (from the other computers) or even view the other computers on the network. Weird. It's almost like the hard drive is having a problem and the registry has been affected in some way.

Yes, I do run anti-virus and spy-ware software on all of the computers.

Any Ideas?

Jim
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Old 03-24-2006, 12:33 PM   #4
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so, can I assume that this computer has 2 ethernet cards in it...one connecting to a cable/dsl modem, the other to a hub into which your other computers are connected?

If so, the first thing I would check is the "internal" network segment...nic, cables, hub. on the surface, it sounds like your second nic failed. but it could be as simple as a loose/bad cable. you can't "see" your network computers from the gateway--how are you looking? ping test? can the other computers "see" the gateway?
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Old 03-24-2006, 12:46 PM   #5
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Your assumptions are correct, 2 nics as you described. I have have checked the obvious things like loose connections. I intend to move the DSL to another computer tonight and bypass the "bad" computer altogether and see if I can get the network back up. In other words, I have had the some of the same ideas you mention, but just haven't had a chance to try them yet.

It seems odd that I would be having software issues and a NIC card go south all at the same time. This "bad" computer is on battery back up and a surge protector, so I don't think it got zapped or anythig.

You want to hear another weird one? When this started last year, and then just as suddenly stopped, Windows began occasionally (not allways) asking for the product I.D. to be reentered, and then wouldn't accept it. This along with some of the other behavior the software has exhibited is what makes me think that this is a software issue more that hardware.
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Old 03-24-2006, 01:54 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Free Mac support site with Forum & Tech assistance

This is a great site with the same format as Airstream Forums....

@ http://www.macosx.com/forums/

I realize you are a non Mac user, but your question might be answered here as the members use both pc & mac

I found it after our G3 Pismo notebook froze up while trying to install OS 10.4

There are Forum members with over 5000 posts who are friendly & fast!

Apple Tech Support could not solve our problem, but I followed the advice of a Forum member & solved the problem in less than 12 hours!

Registration is free & help from Forum members & volunteer Techs is free
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Old 03-24-2006, 01:57 PM   #7
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Jim, thanks for the link. Now if I can just find one for Windows, I'm in like Flint.

Jim
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Old 03-24-2006, 02:18 PM   #8
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Fans, baby, Fans

We find that a lot of problems can come about as a result of overheating - caused by a fan or fans that has either become clogged with dirt, or has had a bearing failure due to heat and dust. Once we found that a cooling fan had fallen off of the CPU chip on the motherboard causing all of our problems.

My partner who is the real geek put all of our hard drives in removable caddies that have dual fans in the caddy. Periodically we swap out the caddies just to put in ones with clean and/or new fans. Makes a world of difference.

Remember to check the power supply, drives or drive caddies and motherboard. We have a couple of servers with 11 fans in each of them. One goes bad and you get squirrelly problems that come and go unpredictably. We found one fan that was blocked because someone had set an empty paper plate on top of the computer, and it got knocked down behind the computer....

Also your power strips.... If you've had one really bad lightening storm or a lot of up-and-down power outages, go buy new power strips. They really work right ONCE.... They often give their lives, or at least surrender their powers the first time they save your data.

Paula Ford
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Old 03-24-2006, 02:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Your assumptions are correct, 2 nics as you described. I have have checked the obvious things like loose connections. I intend to move the DSL to another computer tonight and bypass the "bad" computer altogether and see if I can get the network back up. In other words, I have had the some of the same ideas you mention, but just haven't had a chance to try them yet.

It seems odd that I would be having software issues and a NIC card go south all at the same time. This "bad" computer is on battery back up and a surge protector, so I don't think it got zapped or anythig.

You want to hear another weird one? When this started last year, and then just as suddenly stopped, Windows began occasionally (not allways) asking for the product I.D. to be reentered, and then wouldn't accept it. This along with some of the other behavior the software has exhibited is what makes me think that this is a software issue more that hardware.
don't assume anything. start at the begining. don't jump ahead. check the cables...again. check for link lights. surge protectors may give "some" protection, (not much), but nics go bad for other reasons, too. "just because". Its not just a "hardware failure" we need to test for; we need to check the network channel on these computers, so to speak..the path through which data flows..nics, cables, hubs. that involves both hardware, and software. then work your way up the troubleshooting tree. establish communication, first. (connectivity with the lan); then worry about "wan" stuff. one step at a time...

windows is weird; nothing it does surprises me anymore. Someone or something changed other settings; how do we know they've been put back correctly? if "connection sharing" isn't setup right, none of the client machines will be able to communicate with anything, because they get their addresses from the gateway machine. so...what is the address on the internal nic in the gateway machine? what is the ip address on one of the clients? does it have one? can you ping one machine from the other?
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Old 03-24-2006, 03:14 PM   #10
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Thanks, Chuck. I'm headed home now to work on this. I have spare NIC's, Hubs and cables, connectors, crimp tools and so on at home. I think my best bet is to isolate the "bad" computer from a couple of known good compters, build a simple 2 PC lan and then add back compters and services one at the time until I find the busted link in the chain, so to speak.

Thanks for the help, everybody. Hopefully I'll be talking to you again in a few hours.

Jim
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Old 03-24-2006, 03:32 PM   #11
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Here is a Microsoft Windows forum.
http://www.ozzu.com/forum18.html
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Old 03-24-2006, 05:19 PM   #12
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So I get home from work, turn on the bad computer, then go upstairs and turn on good computer number one. Everything works. I'm talking to you now from good compter number one. Highly strange. Lets see how long it stays up and functioning.

Hey Paula, is that why you bought that new trailer? Server farm gettin' too big for the old one? Where do you set up an operation like that in an Airstream? Forward of the axles I suppose.

65, thank you very much for the link. I'll check it out next.

Jim
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Old 03-24-2006, 05:34 PM   #13
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Routable I.P. addresses.

192.xxx.xxx.xxx are not routable, right? I think that was how Windows home networking set everything up in the beginning.

Bad computer and good computer number one are both on that lan segment and working. "Good" compter number two is on 169.xxx.xxx.xxx and not working on the LAN. Humm...the plot thickens.
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Old 03-24-2006, 05:49 PM   #14
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Ok, so we just crashed. Stayed up about 45 minutes before the bad computer crashed and I got the "operating system not found" message.

When it happens again, I'll take it off the LAN and get a normal LAN up with out it.
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