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Strange Problems


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#1
Chez101

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I am putting this under hardware..as I am assuming it could be a hardware prob and not a system prob.

My computer runs fine when warm and has been going for a bit..no problems what so ever. I can do restarts fine, shut it down for a bit and boot up fine, however, if I have turned it off the night before..it takes about 20 attempts to get it to boot up. Normally..first boot will boot right into Windows..but freezes after a couple of mouse clicks...then the fun begins. I have to hold the power button in to turn it off..and when I go to start up again..it locks during various stages of bootup. Sometimes it wont even turn the monitor on or start the hard drive, even though the power starts..I just get a black screen. Other times it may get to the memory testing stage, or detecting hard drive stage, or maybe one or two screens later and then it just stops..sometimes restarting itself, other times the monitor just goes off and once again I have to hold the power button in to turn it off. My best method of boot up is..when it locks, turn it off, leave for a few minutes. The longer I leave it, the further into boot up it goes. But if I leave it too long...it all starts over again.

Since this began, I tried leaving the computer on overnight. Thats all good, and if a warm night it is still going the next morning. But on a cold night..and if I have just left it..it will lock itself up at some stage.

So am totally frustrated..and not sure where to start. Sorry this post is long..but trying to cover any questions that may be asked.

Problem started after new hard drive installed. But prior to that..machine was locking at random..and old hard drive sounded sick. So replaced hard drive and these latest problems started. I loaded the bios disk when I set up the new hard drive..but when these problems started I set it back to default settings..no difference whatsoever.

The only thing I can think of is memory..but people are telling me they have never heard of memory not working when cold. But I am attributing other problems to memory as well. If I am running a game, sometimes the pc will restart itself if I have the game paused in the background, but have stopped to check mail or something. Game will normally work fine if I am not using other programs. However before I was able to pause in the background with no other issues.

Am running Windows XP on AMD Athlon 2600+. 1.92GHz, with 512mb DDR. I downloaded the latest NVidia drivers for my video card, and that side seems ok anyway.

Any ideas. This is driving me insane.
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#2
Kemasa

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Based on what you said, I would not suspect the memory since when it starts it seems to have other issues which do not sound like the memory. It sounds like a cold issue, which does occur, but not as often as heat issues, so people don't tend to think about it.

I would suspect a problem with the motherboard or CPU. First thing to try is to make sure that the processor is properly seated, as well as any other parts in a socket (gently push down on them).

If you are willing to troubleshoot it more, you can get a can of freeze spray and once the machine is running, spray areas to see if you can get it to fail. Using a heat gun (intended for electronics), you can also try to warm areas up to see if it can work. A hair dryer can also be used, but be very careful to not cook anything.

Since it started after installing a new hard drive, it might be that you bumped something or flexed the motherboard, but it does not sound like a hard drive issue.
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#3
p-zero

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It alsmost sounds like a connection is loose or you have some bad wiring. Also, is your CPU overclocked? When I OCed mine, it would do some weird things like reboot in the middle of a game or make applications crash (lockup).
And technically, CPU are superconductors, which means they NEED to get hot in order conduct electricity. So at low temps they arent going to conduct very well. Try reseating the CPU, reapply the silver heat transfer goop (not a lot), and see if that helps. Also, what is the ambient air temp (the room temp the comp is in) when this happens?
-P.
PS: Also, make sure all your power,reset, etc. connectors are properly seated.

Edited by p-zero, 17 April 2006 - 12:39 PM.

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#4
Jack123

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01 – Chez101 – [Strange Turn On Problem]
17th April 2006

Hello Chez – Welcome to – [Geeks to Go] –

Since this began, I tried leaving the computer on overnight. Thats all good, and if a warm night it is still going the next morning. But on a cold night..and if I have just left it..it will lock itself up at some stage.


What part of the world are you posting from – Australia/New Zealand [??] Extreme Day & Night temperatures[??]

Problem started after new hard drive installed. But prior to that..machine was locking at random..and old hard drive sounded sick. So replaced hard drive and these latest problems started.


Did the old drive sound like it was starting at slow speed & then change abruptly after warming up? And then did the PC – reboot automatically during or around the speed change?

How old is PC? Sounds like you may have combination of - condensation & heat
1- Temperature Problem –[Main Problem/symptom]
2- Temperature Sensing Problem – [The confusing/masking factor]
3- Dust build-up problem – [Root Cause]
4- Poor connections – [Due to age & excessive dust/corrosion and condensation]

Try reseating Memory Modules – Video Card & Hard drive Cables & inspect for bent or damaged connector pins – Also reseat all motherboard connections & check pins for damage

Inspect CPU Heat-sink & Fan Assembly for Dust buildup & clogging of fins – I suspect the PC probably needs a good dust cleaning – check all fans for proper operation & check fan blades for damage – Clean out filters if there are any –

Just post back the general condition of what the inspection uncovered

Jack123

Edited by Jack123, 17 April 2006 - 12:38 PM.

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#5
Chez101

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Thanks for the replies..

Jack..in answer to your questions..am in NSW Australia..its been getting down to about 6degrees at a night here. Left machine on last night..it only went down to about 10..and everything working fine this morning..

Machine itself has been rebuilt at various stages of its lifetime..current motherboard and cpu about two years old. With the old hard drive..it would start and run fine..but then you would hear it slow, as if struggling to run, and then a click and then just freeze. Would have to turn off pc manually and reboot.

I have not had time to look into any of the above suggestions..but will do so in the next day or two and report back. Thanks for all your help everyone.
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#6
Jack123

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02 – Chez101 – [Strange Turn On Problem]
18th April 2006

Machine itself has been rebuilt at various stages of its lifetime..current motherboard and cpu about two years old.


This is useful info – We may be able to establish a starting point for a planned procedure

Is this about the time –two years – that this problem started – within last two years [??] If so – give a detailed report of – everything – that was done on/to the new motherboard. Use following list as a guide for this report -
1- Did you replace motherboard?
2- Did you install CPU? – Did you remove protective backing before applying the – Heat Transfer Paste?
3- Describe amount of paste used – Too much is Bad
4- What Manufacturer & Model # of motherboard
5- New memory or using old memory – Manufacturer & P/N - [Probable Suspect] – Compatibility?
6- How about Power Supply – Updated - Manufacturer & P/N [Another Probable Suspect] Compatibility?
7- Take p-zero’s advice on overclocking –

Also, is your CPU overclocked? When I OCed mine, it would do some weird things like reboot in the middle of a game or make applications crash (lockup)

8- How about Video Card – Replaced/Updated? – Does it have a Fan – Working Properly? Try Reseating Card
9- Also if you have a Temperature & Voltage Utility – Include Temperatures & Voltages in report – If you have the motherboard Installation CD – There should be a – [Probe Utility] – If not download the free Home edition of Everest – Run this program – it may just point out over-clocking issue – Memory Issue – PSU Issue
http://www.filehippo...d_everest_home/

Both Kemasa & p-zero have excellent troubleshooting ideas -
p-zero –

Try reseating the CPU, reapply the silver heat transfer goop (not a lot), and see if that helps.


By the way – p-zero – that is a – Wild Looking Machine! - that you have
http://www.pcstats.c...eid=1760&page=3

Kemasa –

I would suspect a problem with the motherboard or CPU. First thing to try is to make sure that the processor is properly seated, as well as any other parts in a socket (gently push down on them).


I would refrain from exerting too much pressure on Motherboard – while installed in the PC – especially if this is a Tower installation – It may flex motherboard too much and add to problem. It would be advisable to remove motherboard from PC -

If you are willing to troubleshoot it more, you can get a can of freeze spray and once the machine is running, spray areas to see if you can get it to fail. Using a heat gun (intended for electronics), you can also try to warm areas up to see if it can work. A hair dryer can also be used, but be very careful to not cook anything.


If the motherboard has a hairline crack or bad solder connection – extreme hot – cold temperatures will Highlight the problem. This is a very definite possibility – whenever upgrading with a new motherboard. And it generally will not show up immediately. The same is true with the CPU installation.

Sometimes the Motherboard is stressed during the mounting/installation process, and a hairline crack will occur. Also the same situation/condition can happen with the CPU installation. A lot of stress is obtained – both to CPU & motherboard – during the CPU installation – also make sure that the – CPU Locking Device – is properly locked & is secured.

Also take a peek at this Geek to Go Link – Just for ideas – Lots of info is contained there -

http://www.geekstogo...als-t87517.html

I will step back for now & let Kemasa & p-zero lead you the solution - I will continue to track this thread -

Jack123

Edited by Jack123, 18 April 2006 - 08:06 PM.

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#7
Kemasa

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Based on something you said in your last message (disk), I would check the voltages, either with a meter or with a program like Everest.

http://www.softpedia...e-Edition.shtml

It could be that when the power supply is cold it is not operating properly.
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#8
Chez101

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First Jack..there is a lot of info there to take in..but all I can say without consulting my partner (who installed cpu and motherboard) is that it worked fine for near on two years before this problem started. Video card is also about two years old. Power supply about a year old..yet when this problem occurs..power supply does not appear to be problem. Have no issue getting power to the machine...and when it locks..all sounds normal (fans, hard drive etc) except nothing is happening.

Machine was fine last two days..nice warm weather..not one single crash. It ran, rebooted etc fine. This morning its a little cold here (about 7 degrees)..problems started again.

I have yet to fully check all the suggestions..as I run six companies and getting time to do techwork on my pc is not easy. Hope to investigate further over the weekend. Thank god for my trusty mac machine though..that never fails..

thank you everyone who responded..will report back as soon as I can

Edited by Chez101, 20 April 2006 - 04:13 PM.

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#9
Jack123

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03 – Chez101 – [Strange Turn On Problem]
20th April 2006

First Jack..there is a lot of info there to take in


Yes it is a lot to absorb – We are just hungry – to have more information – We can give you endless amount of things that may be an issue – We are just trying to – Jog – your memory –

The key word is – [Cool Temperature] – so when problem shows up again – Use the – Heat Gun Technique – Carefully pick a critical spot and heat up – while trying to boot PC – Just don’t make – The cure worse than the disease –

Maybe it is the location ?? – On the – Top Side – of the World – [Heat is our Problem] – So maybe – Down Under – on the Bottom Side – [Cold is your problem] – hee hee –
Cheers -

One last question – Did PC receive any severe shock – Hard Knock – Fall - ?? – Moved location ?? Hard Travel ??

I think you have the idea/approach to troubleshoot – So just go at – carefully – and let us know of your findings – Just ask if you need – help or just want some info – We are all interested in helping here at – Geeks to Go

Good Luck -
Jack123
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#10
Chez101

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Sorry its taken me so long to report back in. Over the last few weeks, I went through a few of the suggestions with no luck..but finally this morning..after an extremely cold night..the damm thing would just not stay running at all so I called a tech. At first he thought it was the video card..but after putting a new one in..problem was still existant..so he tried out a new power supply and presto..off she went. So after all that it was the power supply.

Thanks for all your help guys..and I hope this message helps others that may run into this type of problem in the future. Even the tech guy was surprised it was the power supply..based on the bahaviour of this problem.
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