Last Updated on September 30, 2010 by Dave Farquhar
Sound card woes. Gatermann recently ran into some problems with sound cards forcing his Internet connection to drop. It had literally been six years since I’ve seen a problem like that before, but he kept running into it. Finally, it dawned on me: Try changing slots to force it to use a different interrupt. Therein was the silver bullet. The problem didn’t go away completely, but the culprit arose: the Sound Blaster 16 emulation. So I had him go into Device Manager and put the SB16 emulation on a different interrupt, and the problem went away.
It’s been forever since I’ve seen an honest-to-goodness interrupt conflict. This particular PC has every expansion slot filled with something or other, which is why he ran up against it. Keep that in mind: Just because we have PCI and plug and play these days, doesn’t mean you won’t ever see an interrupt conflict. On a well-expanded system, this ancient problem can occasionally rear its ugly head (while Microchannel required their cards to be capable of interrupt sharing; PCI only *recommends* it–so not every PCI device can share an interrupt, particularly if an ISA device has grabbed it. Alas, Microchannel fell victim to IBM’s greedy overly restrictive licensing terms and raw-dead-fish marketing, so as a result we have cheap PCs today but more headaches than we necessarily need. Speaking of raw-dead-fish marketing, I could mention that the Amiga’s Zorro bus had true plug and play and hundreds of interrupts from Day One in 1985, but nobody wants to hear that. Oops, I said it anyway.)
This problem used to happen all the time when people would put their modems on COM4 and a serial mouse on COM2 (or COM1 and 3). Since those ports by default shared interrupts with one another, you got goofy symptoms like your Internet connection dropping whenever you moved the mouse. People don’t configure their COM ports that way anymore, which is what’s made that problem so rare.
I think I finally got that G4 deployed. Wednesday it decided it didn’t want to shut down, and I had to reinstall the OS to fix it. Then on Thursday, it decided it didn’t want to recognize the mouse button anymore. I still don’t know what exactly I did to fix that–I booted off a spare MacOS 9 partition, ran a battery of disk repair tools and a defragmenter, and the problem went away. So while Mac users can snicker about interrupt problems, their machines aren’t exactly immune to weird problems either.
From: “Gialluca, Tony”
question: RE Optimizing Windows and Temp files
Hi Mr. Farquhar,
In you book on page 112 you discuss placing temp files on a ramdisk. On this page you show an example where:
Set temp=ram disk letter:\temp Set tmp=ram disk letter:\temp
Shouldn’t you also include changing[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Volum eCaches\Temporary files\folder] to “ram disk letter:\temp” also ??
Per the description
([HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Volu meCaches\Temporary files\description]) says: “Programs sometimes store temporary information in a TEMP folder. Before a program closes, it usually deletes this information.\r\n\r\nYou can safely delete temporary files that have not been modified in over a week.” The only potential pitfall that I can think of is if windows or programs (say during installations) need this area to remain persistant through reboots, even though the files may be of
a temporary nature…
Your thoughts would be appreciated …
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know that registry key existed (nor did the book’s technical reviewers, evidently). That registry key, too, should be changed, yes. Thanks!
You are correct that if a program does a hard reboot (rather than just exiting to real mode and reloading Windows), you’ll lose the contents of the ramdisk and thus the temp folder. Fortunately, most programs seem to use the temp directory the way they’re supposed to–for temporary, fleeting things. Now if they’d just learn to clean up after themselves…
Of course, this also applies to my advice on creating a temp partition, on page 62.
Thanks much; this is very good information.
From: “Gary M. Berg”
Subject: Maxtor hard drives
Since you’ve been talking about WD and Maxtor hard drives…
I heard rumors just after Win2K SP1 came out that the service pack had problems with machines with Maxtor hard drives. I’ve not been able to find much of anything else on this. What have you heard?
That’s a new one to me. Maybe another reader has heard something, but it sure seems odd. I can’t imagine Microsoft didn’t test SP1 on the major drive manufactuers’ drives (Fujitsu, IBM, Maxtor, Quantum, Samsung, Seagate, and Western Digital), and with Maxtor being one of the Big Two in retail….
Once I get my current big project off my back this weekend, I’m half-tempted to try it just to see. Unless someone already has…
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.
2 thoughts on “Sound card and hard drive troubleshooting”
I have a Samsung 20GB and just upgraded to SP1 and immediately had hard drive trouble. It never caused any trouble until SP1 and now whenever I run Backup and sometimes during program installations I can hear the drive click twice the system just all of a sudden goes down for reboot. When it runs the BIOS I get funny characters in the place of the name for Primary Master and it says the master hard disc failed. Turning the power off and back on, the computer boots normally with no sign of trouble (WinXP doesn’t even check the discs).
If anyone finds an update or figures out why this is going on please drop me an e-mail.
In regards to my last comment, I think I’ve fixed the problem (at least on my PC). All I did was use the Partition Magic 7 Pro dosutils disk to convert the samsung harddrive to FAT32 and then installed WinXP with the setting to “Leave partition unchanged.”
It’s been copying files from a network computer for a few hours now and no sign of hard disk failure.
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