Problems with computer (ActiveShield?)

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Scott_J, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    When I turned on my computer this morning, I got a window that said (paraphrasing): "ActiveShield could not be installed due to insufficient space. Please close some open programs and try again." I have over 90GB available on my HD so I don't think space is the issue, and I don't have any programs automatically start at start-up except McAfee. None of the windows I had open were showing up in the taskbar, and after restarting the taskbar is now gone completely. I also can't pull up my Start menu at all (even using the keyboard button). Anyone know what's going on? I'm on a Dell PC running Windows XP. Thanks.
     
  2. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I hope you get some more definitive replies; but here's two ideas. Activeshield is part of McAfee. If the message actually used the term "install" it might have been trying to do an automatic update of the program. In which case the install may have failed on a bad disk sector. Try running disk check and then doing the upgrade manually.

    If the message really said "started", then maybe you had a memory corruption fault. I'd get a memory checker utility (usually can get one free on CNET/ZDNet) and see if that tells you anything.

    I just re-read, and you say the computer is consistently not booting correctly. So you may have to start in Safe Mode to try these things.
     
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I agree that it sounds like it was trying to update and something failed. You might try to boot into safe mode with networking and see if you can update McAfee in safe mode.
     
  4. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    The actual word in the error message is "cannot initialize ActiveShield." I tried Safe Mode and still wasn't able to do anything with McAfee. It wouldn't even let me uninstall it. System Restore wouldn't work in Safe Mode, and I can't even access it in normal mode.

    I was playing around with the computer a little more to figure something out, and when I tried to open Windows Media Player, it said it couldn't open it because of low memory. Other weird stuff that's happening is I can't use the pull-down menus on HTF, I can't copy/paste in IE. It seems like it's more than just McAfee. Any other thoughts? If I restore my computer to the factory defaults (which would be a last resort), would that fix the problem, and how would I backup stuff before doing that?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  5. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    I think it's bad memory. If you don't want to try the memory check utilities, see if a local computer shop will test it for you.

    Could be the motherboard too, but since memory is cheaper and easier to fix try that first.
     
  6. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    How do I go about checking my memory? I can't seem to find any programs online that do that.
     
  7. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    Scott:

    Start by checking your RAM integrity -- http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

    Have you installed any new software recently, or could something have been installed to your system without your knowledge? Did Windows update try to install something recently?

    It sounds to me like a program is a.) blocking the loading of the McAfee AV software, and/or b.) causing a memory leak that is taking up too much RAM. The symptoms you describe sound to me like insufficient (not faulty) RAM. (Your available HD space would have no bearing on this at all.)

    Do you have at least 512Mb of RAM? You can check out the trial version of a program like MemTurbo http://www.memturbo.com/Download.html to check your RAM usage.

    Also, go to the Start button, select Run and run "msconfig". Then look at the Startup tab to see part of what's loading when you start the system. See if there is anything there that seems completely unfamiliar (unless you do this a lot quite a few things are likely to be unfamiliar, actually). You can also do Google searches on the names of programs to see what they're actually doing. Uncheck programs that you think may be unnecessary. You can always reactivate them if something "breaks."

    You should also check the HD integrity. Go to My Computer, right click each HD and select Properties. You'll find error-checking under the Tools tab in the window that appears.

    Restoring the factory defaults would be an ABSOLUTELY LAST DITCH solution and one that I've RARELY had to use. Before you do that, just try reinstalling Windows, making sure to start the process from within your existing Windows desktop, then just do an update or repair.
     
  8. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I tried MemTurbo, and everything looked fine (it showed over 300MB free, I have 512). I unchecked almost everything that was on the Startup tab, to no avail. And I couldn't use that program in your first link because I don't have a floppy drive, and I couldn't access my CD creator program.

    If I reinstall Windows, I need the actual Windows disc, right? Guess I'll have to get that from Dell.
     

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