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Computer Freezing - Last Resort!


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#1
mrblue

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This is a problem I've had for years, but lived with it. I thought I had solution recently, but it hasn't worked!


I have 2 laptops:

Laptop A is a Sony Vaio, with XP (Service Pack 2), 768 MB RAM, 40GB HDD, Pentium 4, CPU Speed 2.8GHz

Laptop B is an old Sharp with Win 2000 (Service Pack 4), 192 MB Ram, 10 GB HDD Pentium 3, CPU Speed 67.1 MHZ


I have ADSL from BT with a 1GB connection. Netgear Router.

I mainly use Laptop A.

I work from home, and I have the same applications on both laptops that display real time price data from various financial data sources. So I have prices constantly changing on the screen, together with realtime charts etc.

Now if I use these applications on Laptop A, after a few minutes, or hours it freezes, and I have to shut down and re-start. (The restart is then slow, and I may have to re-start a second time). Laptop A ALSO freezes occasionally WITHOUT running these applications; but it's more likely to freeze with the applications running.


After a few hours of running these applications on Laptop B, windows displays a message along the lines of "windows is resizing the pagefile size due to the data, press OK to continue". I press OK, and everything continues perfectly!!!!! SO Laptop B works BETTER than Laptop A!!!!!!!


Now, I think the problem has something to do with the way XP is managing the Page File, which I thought was automatic. So, I used the advice from this link http://www.petri.co....ptimization.htm to adjust my settings in Windows on Laptop A. I thought this would solve the problem but it hasn't. I set the Minimum Paging File Size in Virtual Memory to 1152, max to 3456 MB on my C: drive. This didn't work. I then set it to "System Managed". This also failed to solve the problem.

On Laptop A I have 8.5 GB free on C: Drive, and 18GB free on D: drive. Drive D: is currently set to "no paging file". I was thinking of moving the Page File to D: but I don't know how to do it, or whether that would solve the problem anyway. I've already put in an extra 256MB of RAM, and putting in another 256MB is also an option, but I don't think that will help; after all Laptop B ONLY HAS 192MB Ram!!!!

Oh, I did send it back to Sony TWICE whilst it was still under its 12 month warranty, but they didn't solve the problem. Whenever they tested it, of course, it didn't freeze!

Posting on here is now my only hope, or I simply continue to use my old, slow Laptop B.

I look forward with interest to anyones advice!

Kevin
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#2
gerryf

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Laptop B
Put in more RAM...192mb is inadaqute for running Windows 2000 and more than one application at a time. It's borderline too low for just one application.

Laptop A
Test RAM _ it sounds like a bad RAM module.
http://www.memtest.org/

Test for heat
download Everest Home

http://www.geekstogo...tion=show&id=13

unzip it, install it, and then save a report and ATTACH it to your next post (or scroll down to SENSORS section and look for heat on mainboard and CPU)
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#3
mrblue

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Thanks Gerry,

I am reliably informed that I already have the maximum RAM in Laptop B, and this particular model cannot be upgraded further!! It is a Sharp PC-AR10.


Whilst typing this is the message that has just appeared on Laptop B: It is "Your system is low on Virtual Memory. Windows is increasing the size of your virtual memory paging file. During this process, memory requests for some applications may be denied. For more information, see Help. (Press OK)"

However, I will do the other 2 things you suggest and post the file here with my next post.

Your heat theory sounds interesting - it does make a lot of noise before it freezes...

Regards


Kevin
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#4
gerryf

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What Windows is doing during that error is increaseing the size of the page file--it is to be expected with that little memory. This is not really an error, just an alert.

If you really want to set a larger size for the pagefile on B, you can, but do not set a max size.

How much space is on the drive? Set the minimum to a 1000mb and the max to available space. Windows will not use the max, but it will stop those messages since it will not have to keep readjusting the size.

It would be a good idea to run a defrag before setting a static sized page file
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#5
mrblue

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Yes, I realise that the message displayed by Laptop B is Windows just telling me what it's doing. It really doesn't bother me at all, (pressing "OK" once a day is no hardship) so I probably won't play with the settings on this laptop. (If it ain't broke don't fix it).

Laptop B has 2.7GB free on C: and 3.4GB free on D:

Oh, by the way, do I run the memory test and heat test on laptop A WHEN I'm running the software? Right now, Laptop A is quiet as a mouse and working fine, but the software is running on Laptop B. I presume to get a true reading I'll have to start the applications running on laptop A and hope that the tests complete before it freezes!!!!!!!


Kevin
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#6
gerryf

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Run the application and see if the the temp is even picked up--it does not read every pc, especially when it is a laptop



I don't believe it even takes a constant reading, but just reads it at start up--refreshing might refresh the values



Or, you can try this one (attached)--I have had slightly better luck with this one and laptops



And it does keep a constant, real time temperature

Attached Files


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#7
mrblue

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Gerry

I downloaded your real time heat test. I will let you know what happens.

2 questions: What do I do if it turns out to be a heat problem? My warranty ran out months ago.

Secondly, can you tell me exactly which link to download from that Memory Test site? There seem to be quite a few options.

Regards


Kevin
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#8
gerryf

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If it is heat, are the air vents clear? It depends on the setup on how you will clean it. Can you see the fans beneath the vents? I always prefer to hold the fans in place and blow a can of compressed air over them to clear the dust. Holding the fans in place is important because a can of compressed air will spin the fans above rated speed and burn out the bearings. On a laptop, sometimes you can use a paper clip to hold the fans from spinning and blow the air across them

Sometimes, you need to open the laptop and remove the cpu/heatsink and clean the dust from there....it varies.

For memtest, if you know how to burn an iso, get this one
Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)

if not, get this one and run it from a floppy
Download - Pre-Compiled package for Floppy (DOS - Win)
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#9
mrblue

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The Temperature is fluctuating between 54C and 60C, and I haven't run the apps yet!! I can't do it now because the US markets are about to open.

The laptop resides normally on a marble table, or on my knees, which of course are covering the vents. Maybe I'll prop the laptop up off the table on a platform to keep the vents clear.


I didn't understand the mem test thing, but I think it's heat anyway.


Kevin
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#10
gerryf

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way too hot...I think heat too

I always prop my laptop up an extra inch in the back

I have the same CPU in a laptop here and I idle between 42 and 46 degrees depending on how much dust I've accumulated.
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#11
mrblue

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Gerry

Yes, I believe it's overheating.

When I first turn it on its 36C, and this then rises to 47 or so.

Funny thing is when I leave it for a while and the screen saver is on, this takes the temperature UP to 59C!!!

So best I turn off the screen saver I think!

When I run the applications the temp goes up to 50-55C, and then I think what happens is if it reaches 60C thats when it freezes. Tried getting rid of the dust but hasn't really helped. Looks like something I'll just have to live with.

By the way I increased the Page File size in Laptop B and that message has stopped appearing, and seems to operate a little more efficiently also!!!

I'm surprised this problem isn't more common, I'm sure dust gets in to everyones computers!!!

Maybe I'll try and contact SONY and see what they have to say, but I won't hold my breath.

Anyway, thanks for all your help. Problem not solved but at least I know what it is!!

Regards

Kevin

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#12
gerryf

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Not sure easy that laptop is to work with, but I open mine up every 6 months or so, clean out the fans and heat sink, clean the CPU and heatsink and reapply a fresh bit of arctic silver (not that arctic silver won't last, but once you break the contact, you need to clean it up and start fresh).

My heatsink clogs up something fierce, and there is no way to clean it short of removing it. My sister in law has cats and hers is obscene when I clean it out.
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#13
mrblue

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Gerry

Just found this on the Sony VAIO web site:

"October 12, 2005

Heating issue concerning the VGN-S series

The slim design and high performance components of the Sony VAIO VGN-S3 and VGN-S4 series notebook computers have resulted in a configuration where the Video Chip, CPU and Hard Drive are located in the same area - under the right side of the palm rest.

The placement of these components has resulted in a operating temperature that is warmer than traditionally experienced with other systems. This elevated operating temperature is normal for these higher performance VAIO computer models.

NOTE: To ensure the coolest possible operating temperature, it is recommended to maximize your system airflow by making sure the air intakes and vents are free of obstruction during the operation."


Not very helpful really at all. Not sure if my laptop is part of this series, but basically it's a design fault. Don't they test these designs before manufacture? My laptop is not "Fit for purpose" in my view. In other words, running normal applications, including a screensaver, makes the [bleep] thing overheat!!! No wonder the problem arose almost from day one of me obtaining it. My warranty ran out May 2005, but if I'd known this I maybe could have swapped it for a different model without this design fault. I wonder if I have a legal case against someone???
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#14
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One thing in your favour, perhaps, is that they have acknowledged the fault after your warranty ran out, so you would not have known to make a warranty claim
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#15
mrblue

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Gerry

(My laptop is not part of the series that Sony say has a heat issue).

I've now taken a slightly different view of the problem: I believe the overheating is a symptom rather than the cause. Some time ago someone mentioned to me that they had a similar problem, that they tracked down to the graphics card, which they solved by turning off some of the advanced features of the graphics. (I would have no clue how to do this.)

Is it possible that the flashing coloured numbers and charts of my real-time applications are causing a faulty graphics card to in turn cause the laptop to overheat? Is this possible?

The other day I had my Internet Explorer and MS Outlook minimised down to the tray, and nothing else running. The screen saver came on, the fan started whirring and the temp rose, and yes, it froze. I then changed the screen saver to a blank screen, and yesterday, the same thing happened. Could the screen saver be putting undo stress on my video card??? Now I have no screen saver and all seems to be fine again.

I've started a dialogue with Sony e-support, and this is the latest instalment:

*** NOTES 09-Jun-2006 Action Type: Info
Dear Kevin

Thank you for your reply.

Please be advised that the systems running temperature would increase when using more processor intensive programs.

We would recommend you install the BIOS update from :-

http://www.vaio-link...egory=0&serie=P CG-K&m=1519

If you do not wish to check the machine for possibility that dust maybe obstructing the operation of the fan we would recommend you test your system in its factory settings by doing a recovery of the system.

This is the only way we have to discern between software and a hardware problem.

If you perform a standard recovery, you can save your personal data on the D: drive.

If you want to check how to perform a recovery, then please follow the link below:

http://www.vaio-link...ella.asp?S=4026

If you do not have problem of machine overheating in its factory settings it would be unlikely be a problem with the video card or indeed the machines having a hardware problem.

For hardware problems we can offer a chargeable repair and return service.

Please advise us of the results from above suggestions and we can advise you further.


What is a BIOS update?

I'm not sure about this system recovery thing, as I don't want to mess up my laptop, but testing the screen saver with the computer in its factory settings would seem to make sense. It would get to the crux of the matter once and for all.

What are your comments/suggestions on my slightly different thinking?

Should I do what Sony suggests?

Thanks in advance

Kevin
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