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PC just shuts down
when adding items to the cart

 1:00 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've got customer with a problem. When he tries to add an item to my shopping cart, his PC will re-boot! And it doesn't happen every time, but frequently enough that my site is not usable to him.

The OS is WIN98 2nd Ed.
McAfee Firewall - disabled for our testing.
IE 6.0

I have NO IDEA what to tell this fellow. Checking my logs there are no errors associated with the IP address. The logs appear normal.

The page in question is a PHP page, with a REWRITE rule in place to display the html page name in the browser address bar... same as hundreds of other pages on the site.

Any suggestions? I'm going to pop over to MS and see what I can find also.



 1:12 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well.... this is a HUGE long shot.... how much RAM does he have?

When I still had 98SE on my main box, I did have issues sometimes with online catalogs. I always thought it was a RAM thing, since I had only 98mb.

I do still have 98SE on my antique laptop, with only 64mb RAM, and once I'm online, I almost cannot simply load catalog pages. I never even ATTEMPT to actually ORDER something.... As well, after I've BEEN online for a while (I feel like that's in the neighborhood of over 30 minutes though I haven't really "timed" it), I can't even get new pages to load.


 1:36 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I just spoke with him again, and he is scanning his system with Ad-Aware and a virus program (McAfee again?). Previous scans haven't turned up anything malicious.

I'll call him tomorrow and ask about RAM. That actually might make sense. I continue to make my pages bigger and bigger with PHP - trying to cram as much product as possible onto a single page. The customer has not had this problem in the past on my site, either, when I hard coded everything onto a regular html document. Those pages were generally smaller.

I found something on MS about web pages with really long names causing a buffer overrun (W95 and W98), but this problem reports a hang, not a re-boot. Just curious, POST'ing all my data should not be causing any long names, since everything is sent in the header. What about really long header info tho? I think the only possible scenario with this particular item would be the cart sending back a really long name - ie., royally screwing up the return page. I don't believe that for a minute.


 1:40 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, as I said, I don't even really have hard data to back up what I posted, just some "gut feelings".

I don't THINK I ever had problems with long-header strings though - wouldn't you get some sort of off-the-wall error message with that? Or if the machine is going into the reboot cycle with it, you'd at least (I think) see the BSOD....


 2:05 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Another longshot. Do you have any sort of code beyond PHP attached to the submit form like Javascript?


 2:10 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I looked the page over right away lorax, wondering the same thing. Nope, not even a hint of JS on this particular page. There are multiple forms on the page. At first glance they all look fine... no superfluous input types or data that I have seen. Each form is clearly seperate from any other form.


 2:15 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well grandpa, that wouldn't have anything to do with this one user's problem anyway, because if the forms were whacked in some way, you'd have MULTIPLE users with problems.


 2:23 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

because if the forms were whacked in some way, you'd have MULTIPLE users with problems.

That's what scares me, maybe I DO, and finally someone told me about it. I'm always the last to know anything.
I can say the page works for me....


 2:24 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Alright. Here's my last guess before I wander off to bed. Since it seems it's only his machine, it's likely the problem lies there. The issue could be as simple as he doesn't have the latest Service Packs or some security fix installed. I'm NOT suggesting you get involved with updating his system. :)


 2:36 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

My brain wandered down that path also, lorax. And I'm not sure I can rely on his answer anyway. If it is a matter of patches/Service Packs then he's own his own. I will bring it up to him, however.



 2:44 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

grandpa, if you had multiple users with problems I think you'd have heard from more than one of them. Whether people who have trouble with your site order or not, they're bound to TELL you they had trouble! Human nature....


 4:24 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I once had this problem and it turned out to be a defective motherboard. The machine would reboot whenever certain-type scripts were run no matter which site I was on. Does he ahve this problem with other, similar sites?



 4:39 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does he have this problem with other, similar sites?

Sites similar to mine? Bwaa-haa-haa.

Seriously, nope, mine is the only one. But you jogged my memory a bit about another PC problem I dealt with years ago. It too, turned out to be a motherboard problem.


 7:47 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

On a side note, if I may, I really like the way MS has laid out their information. Its easy on the eyes. And they still have a sense of humor. Searching for 'Reboot Articles' brings up this result: 'Top 10 Reasons to Move to Windows 2000'.

What I can now tell him is that he MIGHT:

  • have too much memory
  • have not enough memory
  • have faulty hardware

    <add>I checked my page again, and it was NOT valid html. <smack>I corrected that, and now also provide header information.</add>

  • piskie

     9:44 am on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

    You could tell him to try running "System File Checker"

    When I ran W98 SE if I had unexplained problems I ran SFC and found it fixed a hell of a lot of them.


     3:03 pm on Oct 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Since nobody else has the same problem with your site, I would just take the order over the phone. I get a couple of problems a year like this, but never a computer reboot. The one I have is that the customer is redirected to the home page, directly from the shipping screen, instead of the payment screen. Since this is hard coded in my script, this is impossible.

    But sometimes the impossible happens. I would only worry if I got multiple occurences of the same problem.


     10:40 pm on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

    An update to this thread, my customer reported back today that he cleaned up several virii and/or trojans from his system.

    It would have been nice if he had 'really' done this before I started researching his problem...

    Thanks to all for the input.


     12:43 am on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Ain't folks, fun, though?


     2:23 am on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Sounds like a trip to the woodshed might be in order. ;)

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