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All apps fail, XP restarts on its own...


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#1
mrpoisse

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Im not a newbie computerwise, even if its my first post in here.

Heres the story: a few weeks ago, while working on the house high-amps electrical appliances, the major breakers jumps, and the whole house went into blackout (my computer included). ;)

Afterwards, I got multiple problems... XP restarting on its own, apps getting "fatal errors" after a couple of minutes of me using them.

I figured I needed a format anyway, so I did. It took me 4 times to install the OS correctly because I was getting errors during the installation.
When I finally got to windows, its the apps (Winamp and MSN messenger etc) that would take a couple of times before I can get through all the installation process (I was always getting errors that would just shut the installation down).

Im really thinking its a harware problem, probably related to the power failure in the house (but not sure). :tazz:

Question is, how can I diagnose my hardware???
I figure its not related to the videocard, so it could be the board, the CPU or the RAM...
- CPU is Athlon XP 2400+
- RAM is one chip of 512Mb DDR (not sure of the speed but same as board, think its 266)
- board (will post it back, its from ASUS but not sure of model).
- Ill also post the temps/speeds tomorrow

I read about memtest86 in another thread, I dont know what it is. how to I make the test? is there anything else I can do to diagnose?
I do not have a spare RAM, I do have a spare CPU, but its a PITA to remove the heat sink... so I thought id ask first. :thumbsup:
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#2
Doby

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Hi,

The first thing you want to do is run memtest, download for free Here

Follow the instructions but in short you make a bootable floppy and run the test without the OS.

Run for 3 passes if it lists any errors then thats most likely the problem if it makes it thru the 3 passes without any errors let it run for 5 or 6 hours to be sure.

It could also be and maybe more likely the power supply with the blackout you had but check the ram first and report back.

Rick
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#3
mrpoisse

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Here is more info on my system...
(I will run memtest tonight and report back as soon as possible).

- my board is an ASUS A7A266 (socket A 266Mhx FSB ATA100)
here are the temps and voltages (got a first read from cold start then waited an hour to take the second read... but it wasnt under any important load.)

MB temp - 73F - 88F
CPU temp - 94F - 115F
CPU fan speed - 3800RPM - 3900RPM
Power fan speed - 2200RPM - 2300RPM

VCORE voltage - 1.6V - same
+3.3V voltage - 3.2V - same
+5V voltage - 4.8V - same
+12V voltage - 12.1V - same
+3VSB voltage - 3.3V - same
+5VSB voltage - 4.9V - same
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#4
Doby

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Your temps and voltages look good.

Check the ram and post back

Rick
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#5
mrpoisse

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alright, I ran memtest for a little more than 4 hours, and after 7 passes, I had 9400+ errors...

I thought that there'd be some kind of "print report to a file" option, but I was unable to get into the © Configuration menu...

unfortunately, I didnt look at one whole pass, so I cannot tell which test #s went wrong.

Is that info enough or should I do something else?
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#6
Doby

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Replace the ram, any error with memtest id no good and will show up someware sometime and if you have that many errors it should be replaced and is most likely your problem.

Rick
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#7
Doby

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Oh yea check the brand of ram you have and goto there website, some brands have a lifetime warranty

Rick
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#8
mrpoisse

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thanks a lot Rick!
Ill do that and let you know about the outcomes.

Your help has been very appreciated!
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#9
Doby

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Your wecome, yes please do let us know

Rick
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#10
mrpoisse

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Well, I got a hand on a 256Mb DDR266 RAM-bar, and swap my own 512Mb with it, to run the memtest again with RAM I knew was good.

After 1 pass, I got no errors (which is good news I guess).

So, to make sure my 512Mb RAM was not good, I swapped it back, and ran the memtest again.

To my surprise, after 1 pass, I got no errors... :tazz:

So now Im currently "testing" my computer... Im thinking maybe the RAM was just "not in place perfectly"... although its kindda weird.

Anyhow, if I do have more problems, Ill probably look into the PSU.
Would that be your move too, Rick?
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#11
Doby

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Well 1 pass is not enough to fully check the ram at least 3 passes for a quick check and 5 hours to be sure.

But I agree if the ram was somehow not seated correctly this could cause your problem and errors in memtest, I would run the computer awhile and see if the problems go away.

If you install known good ram and the problems are still present then yes the next step would be to trouble shoot the psu but your voltages look good. That ain't always conclusive though.

Rick
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#12
hrdwrjnkie

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The other issue you could be having (before you go out and buy a new stick of RAM) is if the PSU is fizzleing (is that a word?) or dead, it will not supply enough voltage to the RAM to consistently power it. This will cause errors in memtest. Switching to the 256MB chip (which reequires less current) could have temporarily made it 'seem' better.
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#13
mrpoisse

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Doby, I just wanted to tell you that I finally changed my RAM a month ago, and so far so good.

Just so that you know.

Thanks for the help! :tazz:
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#14
Doby

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Your welcome

and thank you for posting back and letting us know the new ram was the fix, this is important for others with similar problems and reading along

Rick
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