This is topic Computer experts: how bad a sign is this? in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
The last couple of days my laptop has been seizing up every once and awhile for a second or two. Not so bad. But I've also noticed that the clock is slow. I've noticed it falling behind by an hour or two. This has happened a couple of days in a row.

Is this thing about to die on me?
Posted by Mr.Funny (Member # 4467) on :
I don't know, but I'd definitely back up all of your important data, if you haven't already.
Posted by Earendil18 (Member # 3180) on :
Clock issue could indicate a dying CMOS battery. Could you elaborate on these seizures? Does everything slow down for a few seconds or does everything FREEZE for a few seconds? Tom might know more about what's up.
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
The seizing up normally happens when I'm moving the mouse cursor. It stops dead in its tracks for a little while, then teleports to its new location after the comp starts working normally again.
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
That sounds like you might have some sort of spy ware or worm running in the background. The first thing I would do is run a spyware checker and a full scan of the hard drive for viruses and other evil doers. If that doesn't fix it, try defragging the hard drive.

My first sense is that the clock problem is unrelated, probably a dying CMOS battery.
Posted by Boris (Member # 6935) on :
I've actually seen Java issues that seriously affect the clock (on my own computer I've seen the clock run 3 minutes in 1 actual minute), so spyware may be an issue. What you should do is start up in safe mode (press F8 a few times before the Windows Logo pops up and then select Safe mode from the list. If a list doesn't come up, restart and try it again). If you experience the same hesitant mouse syndrome in safe mode, chances are you have a hardware issue. If not, the problem is probably entirely software related. Another thing you may want to check is RAM. If you don't have enough RAM in the computer to run the OS and all services, the mouse can stall out and stutter because the computer doesn't have the resources to track it and display properly. Press ctrl-alt-del in windows and check the performance tab. If the available entry in Physical Memory is below 40-50000, you need to free up some memory. Spyware and viruses chew memory to bits, so a virus scan and adware remover will help a lot. I always recommend AVG as a virus remover and Lavasoft's Ad-Aware for spyware removal. Neither programs take up excessive amounts of memory (Norton antivirus, except for the corporate edition, installs over 10 services on your computer that are always running and always slow down your computer by using up most of the memory. McAfee is just as bad or worse). Spybot Search and Destroy is also good, but I don't have a link to it right now. It's usually good to have more than one spyware remover, but never more than one virus scanner (virus scanners can conflict with one another easilly). Grisoft (AVG's production company) also offers a free spyware scanner that seems fairly good, but I don't have a lot of experience with it. Check it out if you like.

In the event that even safe mode displays the same problems as regular mode, the cause is either a failing hard drive or motherboard. The latter seems more likely given the clock issues. The same circuit that controls the system clock in BIOS also controls the frequency of the entire computer. It's called the Real Time Clock (RTC) controller. If it goes bad, any number of things can go wrong, so that's another likely cause of your twitching mouse. A bad CMOS battery can cause lockups and failed system starts, but I don't recall seeing one cause stuttering in a computer (CMOS batteries really don't do much more than allow power to be consistently present, which keeps the CMOS from losing all it's information. It also makes sure the clock keeps running so time is always accurate.)

Anyway, good luck trying to figure out the problem.

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