Brainstorming - laptop stuttering (limited info)

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El Moose Monstero
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Brainstorming - laptop stuttering (limited info)

Post by El Moose Monstero »

I want to preface this by saying that I do not have access to the laptop in question, so this is a remote diagnosis and so I recognise that there isn't an awful lot anyone can do with the paltry information available - I just would like some brainstorming on likely causes so I can at least give the owner some comfort or a worst case scenario until she's back in range of a repair shop.

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My friend has a laptop which periodically freezes and loops a small fraction of whatever sound was playing at the time. If she moves the laptop, it sorts itself out, but still does it for a few times after before finally settling down. That's all we've got to go on, basically, and it may be that her USB ports are breaking down as well as they don't recognise her MP3 player or her phone. However, the laptop is 4 years old, a Toshiba Satellite Pro M40 on XP, with its hard drive replaced last year due to hard drive failure, so my first thought on USB problems was that it might be two seperate problems.

Any ideas? Obviously the moving it to solve it thing implies a hardware fault, is it likely to be a hard drive thing or could it be something on the motherboard like the graphics card?

Is there any basic test I can get her to do which might help her diagnose the problem further? I've asked her to listen to the machine when it freezes to see if she can hear ticking/clicking which might indicate a hard drive problem, but I'm not massively knowledgeable here. Any brainstorming, and I know I've not given much to go on, it's all I've got, would be appreciated.
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Re: Brainstorming - laptop stuttering (limited info)

Post by Old Plympto »

Have you tried checking out the statistics on the Task Manager, perhaps check out which application is pushing the CPU (something which has inordinately high CPU %) before it begins to stutter - just to eliminate the fact that it might or might not be an application problem?
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Re: Brainstorming - laptop stuttering (limited info)

Post by Turin »

Since you're spit-balling, eliminate everything but the external connection (the MP3 player on USB) first. See if you can replicate the behavior without the MP3 player plugged in -- take one of the files off the player and run it off the laptop.

If you can't replicate the behavior without the MP3 player, I'd try updating the drivers for the USB ports -- I've never heard of this being a problem, but if it's an older machine and it's a newer device... maybe? I have seen USB port hardware failure (I'm looking at an older machine right now with a couple bad ports, actually), so that's certainly a possibility. Try using different ports if there's more than one on the machine.

If you can replicate the behavior without the MP3 player, it's probably not related to the connection. In which case you need to eliminate the application (try using a different app to play, check system resources, make sure you have the appropriate codecs, etc.), and then drivers (update them).
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