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Win XP Pro constant crashing - need help urgently


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#1
smorshed

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I need help desparately guys. I have a 3 year old computer that's starting to give out me. Within the last couple of weeks, it constantly keeps crashing on me. It reboots to the login page, and then once I press enter, my desktop will show and then my computer immediately restarts. Sometimes, it'll seem fine for a few minutes, until I try to watch a video and then it'll immediately restart again. I'm thinking about getting a new computer, but I feel like there might be a really simple solution to my problem. I'm not a computer pro so I'm looking to you guys to help me out. Here are my comp specs:

AMD Athlon 1400
256 MB RAM
30 Gig hard drive
16 MB video card (maybe...told you guys I wasn't a comp guy)

That's all I know about my comp. The funny thing is that if I only check my email and stuff then my comp doesn't restart as soon. It'll actually let me stay on it for quite a while. It almost seems that as soon as I get the Windows Media Player going the computer crashes. I pretty much uninstalled most of the programs from my computer to see if it would help, but nothing's worked yet. If you guys could let me know what I should post here....my error logs....or anything at all to help you, that would be great. Thanks.
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#2
wannabe1

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Hi smorshed...

The first thing I see as an issue is the video card. 16 Megs won't run much in the line of video files and gaming would just about be out of the question.

At three years old, it could probably use a good cleaning, too. I would imagine the CPU cooler is pretty well packed with dust and grit. This would cause the processor to run hot and cause the problems you describe. Does it seem to run pretty good when you first start it and get worse the longer it's run? That would be a symptom of heat.

Run Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter from System Tools...that might help a bit, too.

wannabe1
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#3
smorshed

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Thanks for the prompt response. My comp does stay on for a while and then restart. I will give it a good clean and see what's up. As for the video card...I'm not really sure if it's a 16 MB one or not. It's been running videos just fine for the last 3 years. I'll look into finding out for sure what it is and report it back here. Thanks again.
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#4
wannabe1

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Download Everest from the link in my signature and run it...it'll tell you everything you want to know about your machine. :whistling:

wannabe1
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#5
smorshed

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Hi Wannabe1,
I downloaded this program from the web that tells me the temperature of the CPU and the case and it initially said 85 degrees celcius for the CPU and 35 for the case. I then took your advice and cleaned the inside of my computer, and you were right, it was covered in dust bunnies. The inside of the fan was pretty much clogged with dirt. So I gave it a good cleaning, as well as the rest of the inside. Then, as soon as I restarted my computer just now, the temperature program is telling me that the CPU is 48 degrees celcius and the case is 29 degrees celcius!! That's a drop on the CPU by almost half. You were right...that is most likely why my computer kept crashing. I guess I'll have to wait and see if it crashes again or not. Anyways, thanks a bunch for all your help and I'll post anything else that happens on my comp. Cheers.
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#6
smorshed

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OK, so I spoke too soon. My comp is working ok now for the past hour or so, but the CPU temp is almost at 66 degrees celcius. I've already cleaned the insides thouroughly. Any suggestions wannabe1?
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#7
wannabe1

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Did you get the CPU cooler (finned thingie under the fan) good and clean? Are all the fans running quietly and spinning at a very good clip (you should be able to look through the spinning blades almost as if they weren't there)? 66*C is still too hot...we need to get it closer to 50*C.
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#8
smorshed

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Ya I did that earlier today. Now it's down to 60 degrees, however, when I first cleaned it the CPU was at 50 degrees. It was kinda hot in my room when I came back from work, but no idea why it would go all the way back up to 68 though. I'll clean it again tomorrow and see what happens. The good news on the other hand is that my computer no longer keeps restarting on me.
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#9
wannabe1

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The first temp you posted (85*C) is considered critical and will always cause problems. Maybe it's time for a new CPU cooler/fan assembly. They're pretty inecpensive considering the investment they are protecting...not to mention your data. They start at about 10USD and can run to the 80 dollar range (and up for the real fancy ones). Don't scimp if you go this route...I'd plan on spending 30 to 40 dollars for a real decent one. The one I use was 60 dollars and uses heat pipe technology...CPU temp is 36*C and doesn't vary at all.
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