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PCBUILD  November 2003

PCBUILD November 2003

Subject:

Re: BIOS Error Beep

From:

Emie <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PCBUILD - Personal Computer Hardware discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 14 Nov 2003 13:40:53 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (80 lines)

 Hello Ian,

 Pretty unusual situation Ian.  I will try to describe to you the situation
the best I could and I hope I can make sense out of it.  As far as I'm
concerned the customer's system was working as it's supposed to.  However,
today I spent time with it and found his CPU reached 60 degrees C.  That's
mighty unusual for an Intel chip.  His resources was down to a mere 35%.
Hardware tests showed everything normal,  Bench & Diagnostics showed normal.
Voltages ( had to take leads one at a  time) was per spec.!

 Here's one that really blew my mind.  I found 5 Start up folders
strategically scattered and embedded inside Windows subdirectory hidden by
as much as 5 tiers deep!  I thought, "Well, one of those XP's little
secret."  I opened the folders one by one and found that the first Start up
folder was a mirror image of the regular  Start up files X 2 plus other
weird alpha-numeric filenames.  The 2nd folder was again a mirror image of
the second folder with files multiplied by 2 again. The 3rd  older followed
the same pattern, again files increased to a factor of 2!  In other words,
it's like the first folder files were multiplied by 2 then, the total files
from the  first folder was again multiplied by 2 as shown in the 2nd
folder.... and so on to the 5th Start up folder.  Each time, the sum total
of each folder was increased by a  factor of 2.  Naturally, the file
extensions and some suffixes were all funky!

Our programmer tried to debug/decode some of the files and he was able to
find one that links all the Start up files from each folder and loaded into
the physical memory  in chunks!  It sounds to me like sophisticated process
but the end result was... the files choke up the systems physical memory
gradually!  The files were constantly cascading  and choked the memory.
Windows several times performed memory dump to the HD.  Weird and I don't
know what it was doing. Oh, one thing Ian, the heat sink, the Crucial 512 MB
333DDR chip and the 40 Gig HD were all ultra hot to the touch, like an
electric iron.  Having seen enough of that crap, I shut down the system and
told the customer what we found.

 After taking the components apart and making sure cables, wires and jumpers
are okay, my guru Tech put it back together and reformatted the HD, Reloaded
WinXP Home and now it seems to be acting like a real P4 system.  My
programmer thinks a Trojan was behind all that but we'll never know for
sure.  I dunno, it's  more of like someone was playing a bad joke on us Ian.
We just couldn't figure out what was causing all that.  Did the guy had a
bot planted on his system?  Was his system prepared remotely for a DDoS
attack?  Did a Trojan reprogram the system for a self-destruct?  Lots of
questions Ian but I guess I'll get it off my mind  for now.  By the way, the
BIOS 3-long beep codes, we believe, was the memory's cry to indicate that it
was pushed to its limit, processing information more than it  can handle.

Well, I hope that makes sense to you Ian.  My brain just could handle the
puzzle.  Or maybe I'll say it's the Trojan's signature?  Who knows... I
appreciate your  time Kiwi dude.  I hope everything's goin' a-okay with you.
Have a nice day!

 Emie DelRosario

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ian" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2003 6:39 PM
Subject: Re: [PCBUILD] BIOS Error Beep


Emie, I'd be more curious as to what the customer had recently done with or
to his machine.  That's assuming it's been running normally up until
recently?

It'd be pretty unusual for hardware-related behaviour like that to pop up
out of the blue, unless the BIOS had been radically altered by the customer,
the machine had been subject to a power surge or the ram had been changed
to a type that's unsuitable.

Ian Porter
Computer Guys Inc.
Arrowtown
New Zealand
[log in to unmask]

              The NOSPIN Group is now offering Free PC Tech
                     support at our newest website:
                          http://freepctech.com

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