User's PC is unstable



  • This story starts long before Windows 10, it goes back at least 10 years to Windows 7.
    My boss's computer has had a litnay of issues over the years, and NOTHING I do seems to make it stable.
    In the beginning, It was an HP Elitedesk 800 G1 SFF with Windows 7 Pro on a Windows domain.  There would be glitches, slowness, lack of saving, etc.  SFC would report all is good, Spinrite wouldn't report any issues - yet, on a semi regular basis these issues would occur.  One random day, the sound stopped working - opened a ticket with HP and they ended up replacing the Mobo.  That seemed to solve the issues for a while, but the problems came back.

    This computer was replaced with another HP Elite (some newer model) and onto Windows 8 Pro and eventually 8.1 Pro.... yet the problems continued. Her access to Outlook would lag, yet no one else's would.  The time it took to save to the network would be very slow compared to other people, etc. SFC and spinrite scans revealed nothing.

    Three years ago she was given another brand new computer, at the same time, a new cable was run from her office to the DC bypassing all in wall cabling and the patch panel to remove the cable as a possible cause for issues.  Things were OK for maybe 6 months.  Since then - every few months the same issues seem to swell up, then settle down (with nothing really being done to cause a fix).

    Another computer was given to her last year, HP Elite 800 G4 with SSD.  I also installed a UPS for this computer.  Starting 3 months or less after getting the new machine, more of the same issues.  Several weeks ago, Excel specifically was having more trouble than the rest.  A repair job was run on Office 2016 Pro Plus Open Value and issues where detected and resolved.  Well, now, a short time later - Excel is back to having more issues.

    She's already requested a new machine - again.  I'm prepared to give her one (HP ProDesk 600 G3 mini). This time she's telling me that she feels the issue is 90%+ around Excel.  She doesn't believe it's hardware related (so the new machine is on hold), as she's not having issues in other programs - primarily it's Excel having issues. I've offered to completely remove Office, do some cleanup, then reinstall to see if things settle down.  Currently waiting on that.

    So - what have I missed - what would you work on as a way to resolve these issues?



  • Can you explain in greater detail what issues she is experiencing with Excel? Application hanging? Is she the only user editing certain, very large files or is this across the board?



  • It sounds like something in that particular office. How old is the building?

    I've seen issues where you could plug up a UPS on one side of the room and the computer would spit and sputter and have all kinds of issues. Yet, when I ran an extension cord across the room to a different outlet, it was happy as a flea in a dog park.



  • @dafyre said in User's PC is unstable:

    It sounds like something in that particular office. How old is the building?

    I've seen issues where you could plug up a UPS on one side of the room and the computer would spit and sputter and have all kinds of issues. Yet, when I ran an extension cord across the room to a different outlet, it was happy as a flea in a dog park.

    Yeah but it's this specific user and he already installed a UPS for her



  • You've looked at any custom Excel Add-ins? When you say not stable, you mean that certain apps bog down? High CPU usage?



  • @wirestyle22 said in User's PC is unstable:

    Can you explain in greater detail what issues she is experiencing with Excel? Application hanging? Is she the only user editing certain, very large files or is this across the board?

    this morning - while she was "simply staring at the numbers" Excel just 'freaked out' and closed two windows, and changed the dimensions of a third.

    Also this morning - Launched Excel, found desired sheet in the recently used list, clicked on it - and Excel opened a blank document instead of the desired sheet.

    Opening Excel files takes a long time compared to other persons experience.

    These files are not huge, most of them are a meg or less.



  • @dafyre said in User's PC is unstable:

    It sounds like something in that particular office. How old is the building?

    Frankly - I think her office is haunted 🙂 The building is about 30 years old.

    I've seen issues where you could plug up a UPS on one side of the room and the computer would spit and sputter and have all kinds of issues. Yet, when I ran an extension cord across the room to a different outlet, it was happy as a flea in a dog park.

    really? even over a UPS - OK I'm assuming a non active UPS then...?



  • @Mike-Davis said in User's PC is unstable:

    You've looked at any custom Excel Add-ins? When you say not stable, you mean that certain apps bog down? High CPU usage?

    There are zero add-ins. Bog down, things simple won't open, choose from recent list and instead get a blank document, can't save - network error, even though no other user has an issue saving to the same location on the network.



  • @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    @Mike-Davis said in User's PC is unstable:

    You've looked at any custom Excel Add-ins? When you say not stable, you mean that certain apps bog down? High CPU usage?

    There are zero add-ins. Bog down, things simple won't open, choose from recent list and instead get a blank document, can't save - network error, even though no other user has an issue saving to the same location on the network.

    Incredibly weird man



  • Possibly a third-party application/driver causing the issue?



  • Sounds like bad internet use habits to me.



  • @black3dynamite said in User's PC is unstable:

    Possibly a third-party application/driver causing the issue?

    There is nothing weird installed on these machines.

    Windows 10 Pro x64, 1803
    Office 2016
    Greenshot
    Adobe Reader
    Chrome
    java
    wiztree
    Dymo label printer
    Panda AV

    our software loadout is pretty darn light.



  • @Obsolesce said in User's PC is unstable:

    Sounds like bad internet use habits to me.

    I don't even know what this means? are you saying you think the user is getting her computer infected?

    While of course that's always possible - Believe me when I tell you this user is not a web surfer. She's just not.



  • @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    @Obsolesce said in User's PC is unstable:

    Sounds like bad internet use habits to me.

    I don't even know what this means? are you saying you think the user is getting her computer infected?

    While of course that's always possible - Believe me when I tell you this user is not a web surfer. She's just not.

    But just to make sure, have you done crazy deep scans on her machine? MBAM, Super Anti-spyware, etc, scan from safe mode, all that jazz?



  • @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    This story starts long before Windows 10, it goes back at least 10 years to Windows 7.
    My boss's computer has had a litnay of issues over the years, and NOTHING I do seems to make it stable.
    In the beginning, It was an HP Elitedesk 800 G1 SFF with Windows 7 Pro on a Windows domain.  There would be glitches, slowness, lack of saving, etc.  SFC would report all is good, Spinrite wouldn't report any issues - yet, on a semi regular basis these issues would occur.  One random day, the sound stopped working - opened a ticket with HP and they ended up replacing the Mobo.  That seemed to solve the issues for a while, but the problems came back.

    This computer was replaced with another HP Elite (some newer model) and onto Windows 8 Pro and eventually 8.1 Pro.... yet the problems continued. Her access to Outlook would lag, yet no one else's would.  The time it took to save to the network would be very slow compared to other people, etc. SFC and spinrite scans revealed nothing.

    Three years ago she was given another brand new computer, at the same time, a new cable was run from her office to the DC bypassing all in wall cabling and the patch panel to remove the cable as a possible cause for issues.  Things were OK for maybe 6 months.  Since then - every few months the same issues seem to swell up, then settle down (with nothing really being done to cause a fix).

    Another computer was given to her last year, HP Elite 800 G4 with SSD.  I also installed a UPS for this computer.  Starting 3 months or less after getting the new machine, more of the same issues.  Several weeks ago, Excel specifically was having more trouble than the rest.  A repair job was run on Office 2016 Pro Plus Open Value and issues where detected and resolved.  Well, now, a short time later - Excel is back to having more issues.

    She's already requested a new machine - again.  I'm prepared to give her one (HP ProDesk 600 G3 mini). This time she's telling me that she feels the issue is 90%+ around Excel.  She doesn't believe it's hardware related (so the new machine is on hold), as she's not having issues in other programs - primarily it's Excel having issues. I've offered to completely remove Office, do some cleanup, then reinstall to see if things settle down.  Currently waiting on that.

    So - what have I missed - what would you work on as a way to resolve these issues?

    Wish I could help but I can only sympathize with you. One single user located in a single area with 5 other users who do not exhibit the same issues. Changed EVERY SINGLE THING over the years. Even had her login as a new user on another users machine with a newly created account so I could eliminate Doc's, Profile issues, you name it.

    She and I both have come to the conclusion that she, herself, is as you put it, "haunted." 🙂



  • Had an issue with Excel that I posted about here. Large portions of sheets were just greyed out and wouldn't re-paginate. Re-imaged the laptop twice. Once with a newer version of Windows 10. Updated drivers and BIOS. New RAM. Nothing ever fixed it. Replaced the laptop with another identical model/spec 2 weeks ago and it seems to have resolved it. Also had to get the mobo replaced on that older one, due to constant blue screens and fan malfunction errors. Maybe it won't have that problem now? Who knows.



  • @wrx7m said in User's PC is unstable:

    Had an issue with Excel that I posted about here. Large portions of sheets were just greyed out and wouldn't re-paginate. Re-imaged the laptop twice. Once with a newer version of Windows 10. Updated drivers and BIOS. New RAM. Nothing ever fixed it. Replaced the laptop with another identical model/spec 2 weeks ago and it seems to have resolved it. Also had to get the mobo replaced on that older one, due to constant blue screens and fan malfunction errors. Maybe it won't have that problem now? Who knows.

    yeah - sounds like my situation for sure - only I have replaced the computer at least 3 times already, and yet... the problems keep coming.

    I'm wondering if @dafyre idea about power could be the issue?

    There is a condenser for the IT AC unit right outside her office. I'm sure the power runs through the wall near where her computer sits. I moved the computer away from the outside wall a few years ago, requiring installing longer cables for monitors, keyboards, etc. Yet the problems continue, granted The computer only moved maybe 4 feet from that wall.

    I could maybe get her computer 6 feet away if I completely reconfigure her desk, though I'm sure she won't like that, or likely allow it.



  • @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    @wrx7m said in User's PC is unstable:

    Had an issue with Excel that I posted about here. Large portions of sheets were just greyed out and wouldn't re-paginate. Re-imaged the laptop twice. Once with a newer version of Windows 10. Updated drivers and BIOS. New RAM. Nothing ever fixed it. Replaced the laptop with another identical model/spec 2 weeks ago and it seems to have resolved it. Also had to get the mobo replaced on that older one, due to constant blue screens and fan malfunction errors. Maybe it won't have that problem now? Who knows.

    yeah - sounds like my situation for sure - only I have replaced the computer at least 3 times already, and yet... the problems keep coming.

    I'm wondering if @dafyre idea about power could be the issue?

    There is a condenser for the IT AC unit right outside her office. I'm sure the power runs through the wall near where her computer sits. I moved the computer away from the outside wall a few years ago, requiring installing longer cables for monitors, keyboards, etc. Yet the problems continue, granted The computer only moved maybe 4 feet from that wall.

    I could maybe get her computer 6 feet away if I completely reconfigure her desk, though I'm sure she won't like that, or likely allow it.

    No wifi? At least to test?



  • @wrx7m said in User's PC is unstable:

    @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    @wrx7m said in User's PC is unstable:

    Had an issue with Excel that I posted about here. Large portions of sheets were just greyed out and wouldn't re-paginate. Re-imaged the laptop twice. Once with a newer version of Windows 10. Updated drivers and BIOS. New RAM. Nothing ever fixed it. Replaced the laptop with another identical model/spec 2 weeks ago and it seems to have resolved it. Also had to get the mobo replaced on that older one, due to constant blue screens and fan malfunction errors. Maybe it won't have that problem now? Who knows.

    yeah - sounds like my situation for sure - only I have replaced the computer at least 3 times already, and yet... the problems keep coming.

    I'm wondering if @dafyre idea about power could be the issue?

    There is a condenser for the IT AC unit right outside her office. I'm sure the power runs through the wall near where her computer sits. I moved the computer away from the outside wall a few years ago, requiring installing longer cables for monitors, keyboards, etc. Yet the problems continue, granted The computer only moved maybe 4 feet from that wall.

    I could maybe get her computer 6 feet away if I completely reconfigure her desk, though I'm sure she won't like that, or likely allow it.

    No wifi? At least to test?

    LOL - actually, I bought a USB WiFi adapter for it to get it off the wired LAN in case that was the cause (again no change).

    But for your mentioned test - that would only be doable if I was placing the whole computer in another room. I mean I suppose I could buy 20 ft long monitor cables and USB cables to put the computer as far away from the outside wall, yet leave the monitors where they are...

    I will inquire about completely re-arranging her office and where she currently sits as a test to see if things are better..



  • @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    There is a condenser for the IT AC unit right outside her office. I'm sure the power runs through the wall near where her computer sits. I moved the computer away from the outside wall a few years ago, requiring installing longer cables for monitors, keyboards, etc. Yet the problems continue, granted The computer only moved maybe 4 feet from that wall.
    I could maybe get her computer 6 feet away if I completely reconfigure her desk, though I'm sure she won't like that, or likely allow it.

    This is a troubleshooting tip, but I don't think it is your problem. Make sure you are not on the same circuit as the AC unit, if you are worried about EMF, go to the hardware and a 36"x36" piece of sheet metal and place it beside the PC on the AC unit side, as a shield.



  • @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    This time she's telling me that she feels the issue is 90%+ around Excel.

    Do other users EVER access the SAME Excel documents?
    If other people open the same file, do they have issues?
    When you gave her a new machine, did she get a new user profile too?
    Do you use Folder Redirection or Roaming Profiles?

    I have seen this many times. ALWAYS in Law Firms and sometimes in churches. It is usually MS WORD in Law Firms, and Publisher in Churches.

    If happens when someone edits and saves as, repeatedly, forever. They created a document several years ago and saved it. Then they opened it, made changes, and saved it under a new name. then they open the new document, edit it, save it under a new name, and repeat this over and over.

    It happens in law firms with trusts and wills, and it happens in churches with weekly bulletins, funeral programs, etc. Often these edit/Save as/ Repeat cycles will also span MS Office upgrades, so you then add those nuances into the mix.

    In all cases, making them stop using the document over and over and creating a new one from scratch will fix the problem.

    The issue is that MS Office apps keep all the revision history in the document, so it doesn't take long (especially if the document spans new versions) before the document is so cluttered with trash, that it causes all these flake issues.

    I hope this is your issue, because it is easy to fix. Good luck!



  • Common factors are: user and Excel.

    Assuming other users use Excel for the same spreadsheets without issues, common factor is just the user.



  • @wirestyle22 said in User's PC is unstable:

    @dafyre said in User's PC is unstable:

    It sounds like something in that particular office. How old is the building?

    I've seen issues where you could plug up a UPS on one side of the room and the computer would spit and sputter and have all kinds of issues. Yet, when I ran an extension cord across the room to a different outlet, it was happy as a flea in a dog park.

    Yeah but it's this specific user and he already installed a UPS for her

    Yes, even over a UPS. If the voltage in the wall varies widely (but not widely enough for the UPS to activate), it can cause problems.

    @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    @dafyre said in User's PC is unstable:

    It sounds like something in that particular office. How old is the building?

    Frankly - I think her office is haunted 🙂 The building is about 30 years old.

    That is a possibility. Especially if the building is in an area that's had anything major happen (folks dying in floods, etc, etc). However, it's more likely that the wiring in the building is also 30 years old and causing voltage fluctuations (see my response about that above).

    I've seen issues where you could plug up a UPS on one side of the room and the computer would spit and sputter and have all kinds of issues. Yet, when I ran an extension cord across the room to a different outlet, it was happy as a flea in a dog park.

    really? even over a UPS - OK I'm assuming a non active UPS then...?

    Yes. I'm not talking about a $1,000 UPS though. We're talking about the $150 Walmart special designed to keep your computer alive for a 3 minute blackout.

    Even the cheap UPSes these days have some kind of line filter on them that help deal with the voltage swings, but if it's swinging widely within a certain range, but not so far as to cause the battery to engage, that will definitely cause problems.



  • @scottalanmiller said in User's PC is unstable:

    Common factors are: user and Excel.

    Assuming other users use Excel for the same spreadsheets without issues, common factor is just the user.

    I blame Microsoft, and then the User... not always in that order.

    I have seen ONE (and only ONE) case where we had to give the user a wrist strap that was grounded to their desk to keep their computer working right. (This was back in the late 90's / early 2000's.). I've never seen anything like it before or since.



  • Blaming the user wont get @Dashrender anywhere. It's his boss. What I would do is set his boss up with a Mandatory roaming profile as a test. If she doesn't have any issues then it's her. it's an unarguable fact at that point.



  • @wirestyle22 said in User's PC is unstable:

    Blaming the user wont get @Dashrender anywhere. It's his boss. What I would do is set his boss up with a Mandatory roaming profile as a test. If she doesn't have any issues then it's her. it's an unarguable fact at that point.

    Always blame the user... even if they won't accept responsibility for it. 😃



  • @Dashrender -- Is this building a doctor's office / hospital?

    Edit: Fixed Typo



  • @scottalanmiller said in User's PC is unstable:

    Common factors are: user and Excel.

    Assuming other users use Excel for the same spreadsheets without issues, common factor is just the user.

    no, the Excel sheets are unique to her. Sadly.

    I'd love to blame the user, but I just don't see her doing anything unusual. In fact, from a general perspective, she's one of the least likely people to be doing weird/bad things on her computer.



  • @Dashrender said in User's PC is unstable:

    @scottalanmiller said in User's PC is unstable:

    Common factors are: user and Excel.

    Assuming other users use Excel for the same spreadsheets without issues, common factor is just the user.

    no, the Excel sheets are unique to her. Sadly.

    I'd love to blame the user, but I just don't see her doing anything unusual. In fact, from a general perspective, she's one of the least likely people to be doing weird/bad things on her computer.

    I'd still test it with a Mandatory roaming profile



  • This post is deleted!

Log in to reply