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Windows 7: Weird set of issues - crash, "Microsoft call" and dead monitor

03 Jul 2013   #1
tgfyhre

Windows 7 32bit Home Premium
 
 
Weird set of issues - crash, "Microsoft call" and dead monitor

This is a strange one so I hope somebody can help give me their opinion.

My girlfriend's sister was upset the other day when I arrived at her house because she said her HP Pavillion XP computer (which is at least 5 or 6 years old) crashed and Microsoft called her about a virus. I immediately told her to hang up because it was a scam and Microsoft doesn't call people about viruses. So then I asked what happened and she said all of a sudden she got a blue screen and then it shut down on her. Like 5 or 10 minutes later she got a phone call saying they were Microsoft and they detected a virus on her computer.

I went in and checked the error logs and the only thing I could find were several errors involving "FTsata2" which looks like it's been going on for a little while at least. I ran her Avira, which was up to date, and ran Spybot, and no viruses were found. She said that Avira's "Luke Filewalker" popup came up before the crash, but no virus or activity was logged for Avira when I checked. I then ran ccleaner to be safe, and then rebooted. It seemed to start up fine, so I left.

About 2 hours later, I came back and her monitor was no longer working (also an older HP). I turned off the computer with the power switch and powered it back up, and the monitor didn't react. Just random flashes, but the blue power button kept blinking, which I found out indicates a problem with the monitor. I took it home to try it on my PC, and sure enough, the monitor is dead.

This now seems very strange that:

- she got a blue-screen of death and the computer crashed
- she got a call from "Microsoft" within minutes saying she had a virus
- her monitor died

all within a few hours. She doesn't want to buy a new computer unless she absolutely has to, so she wants to try a cheap used monitor first just to see if the PC still runs. I suggested that she at least start with a new monitor, but she's now afraid that maybe her PC killed her monitor. This may be a stupid question but is that even possible? Does any of this make any sense? She's afraid her PC still might have issues and plugging in a new monitor may fry the new monitor too. Is there any way possible that this can happen? I told her that can't happen and this whole thing is just a bunch of weird coincidences, but she insists it's got to be all linked somehow, and I admit, the timing is really unlikely to be just a coincidence.

Any thought other than the obvious "get a new PC"?


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03 Jul 2013   #2
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

Is the power source of the monitor independent? If its power comes from the PSU I'd start looking badly at the PSU. There is no way to damage a monitor through a VGA/DVI cable. It is data-only.

In other cases (more likely), my guess would be that the area where she lives did experience voltage spikes, and while the PSU managed to maybe survive this and protect the PC (of course this caused the crashing), the monitor did not.
The main reason why I always recommend people to get a decent UPS (Uninterruptible power supply). At worst it's the UPS that dies.

I'd call coincidence on the "microsoft" call, that is and has always been a scam. Unless they got up a few notches and start making voltage spikes to then farm people scared by the bluescreens).

As for the BSOD, please follow these instructions and upload the results, so a BSOD analyst can have a look at them and see what did happen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2013   #3
tgfyhre

Windows 7 32bit Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobafetthotmail View Post
Is the power source of the monitor independent? If its power comes from the PSU I'd start looking badly at the PSU. There is no way to damage a monitor through a VGA/DVI cable. It is data-only.

In other cases (more likely), my guess would be that the area where she lives did experience voltage spikes, and while the PSU managed to maybe survive this and protect the PC (of course this caused the crashing), the monitor did not.
The main reason why I always recommend people to get a decent UPS (Uninterruptible power supply). At worst it's the UPS that dies.

I'd call coincidence on the "microsoft" call, that is and has always been a scam. Unless they got up a few notches and start making voltage spikes to then farm people scared by the bluescreens).

As for the BSOD, please follow these instructions and upload the results, so a BSOD analyst can have a look at them and see what did happen.
The power supply for the monitor is independent from the PC - it's just a basic monitor with a standard power cable. The connection to the PC is VGA.

I don't think she has a proper surge protector, just a basic power strip, so it may have been a surge after all. I have a good UPS for my PC and a surge protector. I wasn't there for the BSOD so I don't know what it said.

She refuses though to believe that it was a coincidence that she got the call moments after the crash/possible power surge.

So then it's not possible for the PC to fry the monitor if it has it's own power cable, simply through the VGA cable? I didn't think so but I told her I would verify it just to be cautious.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Jul 2013   #4
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

Quote:
I wasn't there for the BSOD so I don't know what it said.
BSODs write logs so that someone can see what the heck happened later (logs are also more talkative than the blue screen), this to extract them, then upload so we can have a look. It's all automated, don't worry.

Quote:
She refuses though to believe that it was a coincidence that she got the call moments after the crash/possible power surge.
The fact she needs to be convinced with is that such calls are utter and outrageous scams. That's the only thing I'm 100% sure of. MS does not and never did give a flying ... about virus infecting your PC.

Given that it was a scam, that just links the scam to a possible power surge.

Quote:
So then it's not possible for the PC to fry the monitor if it has it's own power cable, simply through the VGA cable?
Correct. VGA is data-only cable, there is no way for it to carry enough juice to fry anything.
Unless someone throws a bucket of water on the PC anyway, and everything short-circuits.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2013   #5
tgfyhre

Windows 7 32bit Home Premium
 
 

Thanks again! Yeah, she's convinced that it wasn't Microsoft now - she just can't believe the timing. She thinks somehow a virus crashed her computer and the same virus alerted the scammers who put the virus on her PC, who then called her after the crash had occurred to try and scam her. I wasn't aware that scams worked like that - I thought it was just random calls. I think it's just one of those crazy coincidences but it does seem really odd.

I didn't know about that BSOD tool - thanks! I'll give that a try too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2013   #6
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

yeah, scams work like you said. How the heck did they get her phone number from a virus?
That virus would be a pretty damn smart piece of code to scan inside her stuff on the PC to find things that could eventually lead to her phone number. Then someone has to waste time to search the phone number with the data the virus has acquired.

Compare the above to "grab a bunch of phone numbers ---> profit".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2013   #7
tgfyhre

Windows 7 32bit Home Premium
 
 

Yup, I agree. It doesn't sound plausible. As weird as the coincidence is, I think that's what it was. By the way, will her PC still have the dump info I would need if I wanted to run the SF Diagnostic tool? I didn't configure it beforehand and she's running XP not 7, also I ran ccleaner on it the other day so I don't know if that would have cleared everything out or not. I'm leaning towards thinking it was a surge like you suggested since the monitor got fried at the same time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2013   #8
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

Yeah, CCleaner usually nukes those logs in a vane attempt to do something.

That program should work on XP too, at least for what we need. Otherwise the files we need are located in C:\WINDOWS\Minidump.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2013   #9
tgfyhre

Windows 7 32bit Home Premium
 
 

OK, well thanks again for all the advice. Very much appreciated!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2013   #10
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 

Make sure that "Remote Desktop" and "Remote Assistance" are disabled.
Weird set of issues - crash, "Microsoft call" and dead monitor-xp-remote-assistance.png
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobafetthotmail View Post
Yeah, CCleaner usually nukes those logs in a vane attempt to do something.
It nukes them to recover space.
You can change what CCleaner removes by adjusting the Cleaner selections.
Weird set of issues - crash, "Microsoft call" and dead monitor-ccleaner-options.png


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