This starts like any other IT story, where I removed some malware and such from a computer for a friend. A week later, he calls me up complaining, XP won’t go into standby anymore — it just shows the “Preparing for Standby” screen and never changes. I figured it was caused by one of the drivers, I updated during my OS work. So I fetch his PC and bring it back home to work on. I power it up, and test standby. Just like he said, it freezes at the standby screen; immediately I power cycle the machine and roll back the video driver from device manager, thinking this fixes all the standby issues I’ve seen. I cockily reboot the machine. When it hits the desktop, I force a standby with the shutdown dialog box and it promptly locks up.
At this point, I start cursing while rolling back all the drivers I updated a week or two ago — there were only three updated driver, video, audio, and modem. After a reboot, I let the PC sit for a few minutes until standby kicks in; of course it goes into standby without any problems, and I breath a sigh of relief. Not wanting to jump the gun, I let it go back into standby and it locks up. So rolling back the drivers, fixed it for one use of standby, which would be a hard sell as ‘fixed’ to someone who uses standby. At this point, I’m perplexed, so I look back over the system for some malware. As I expected, the system comes up clean. The only thing I notice which could be the problem is McAfee. So I headed to http://mvt.mcafee.com and downloaded the Virtual technician to repair Mcafee. It repaired some services and installed the newest DAT, which seemed to help with the slow performance the system was experiencing, although no change in the standby situation – still one good standby and locks up on the next.
From here I consider many many options, and chase down many blind alleys rechecking drivers, and registry keys. While systemically going through the system, I notice iTunes is giving an error when opened – “Warning! The registry settings used by the iTunes drivers for importing and burning CDs & DVDs are missing. This can happen as a result of installing other CD burning software. Please reinstall iTunes.” http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2372) which was no help, and come across several other articles which cite random drivers in %windir%system32drivers causing the problem with itunes. One article I ran across said they fixed iTunes by installing the newest Gear drivers. I figure I have nothing to lose and download the drivers from http://www.gearsoftware.com/support/drivers.php I install the drivers, reboot, and figure might as well try test standby again. Surprisingly, standby worked twice in a row. After five or six successful standby attempts, I reboot and start over with testing — still good after another five or reboots.
After five days of troubleshooting, it turned out to be corrupted Gears drivers. If only I had know that days ago, I could have saved myself a huge hassle.