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Computer Freeze


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#1
pluisje

pluisje

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Hi all,

I'll try to be complete...

Since a week I have upgraded Norton 2003 to Norton 2006. Yesterday, I upgraded my memory from 2x256 to 2x1024 and ran a defrag on the disks, as some games started to lag a bit. I was planning to upgrade the memory anyway and I suspected that Norton 2006 was just a bit heavier than 2003 and the combination with online gaming was hitting the edge now and then.

Since yesterday as well, my pc freezes. It can take an hour, it can take 15 minutes, but at some point it just... stops. HDD stopped completely, the only sound from the case being all the fans (I have 2 case fans, a CPU fan, a Power Sup fan and a GPU fan). The screen remains the same, nothing happens anymore. If the screensaver was on, then it freezes, if energy save was on, the screen remains black. In other words, the monitor is working fine, there are just no signals coming. I don't know whether this means it keeps displaying the same image on its own or whether the GPU is still refreshing that same image, but anyway...

I have tracked my steps on the pc, naturally, and here are my conclusions:- It could be the new version of Norton 2006 conflicting with something or working incorrectly, but why did it work for a week then, before starting to freeze? Note: I'm not sure when I installed Norton Systemworks 2006, might be a few days after installing the Norton antivirus and internet security/firewall.

- It could be the new memory. I inserted the memory at 11:00 am, ran a defrag during the whole afternoon (on each partition seperately, one by one, and I was watching the World Cup, so at times it was idle :) ). After dinner, at 8:30 pm, I started Guild Wars (pc was still on, but had been idle for a bit; GW is like World of Warcraft for those who don't know). I thought it was a game lag/bug and rebooted. Within a few minutes, it froze again. Of course I replaced the old memory, but after 15 minutes or so (no GW, just virus scan, as it was time for the regular scan but the freezes had interrupted it), it froze again, with the perfectly fine old memory. <edit> the memory modules, according to the shop, are from the same batch.

- Maybe I hit something when placing the new memory, but I can't see anything. A transistor cilinder near the video card which I had to remove to acces the memory? It isn't standing perfectly straight, but only a bit, I think it's ok. (For the record, I am not skilled enough to start using tools and equipment on my hardware except a screwdriver for the case :blink: )

- It could be the defrag. Maybe something went wrong and something got corrupted. I booted from the windows CD to see if I could run a repair, but it only said "which windows partition do you want to log into" (in dutch, I hope the translation is ok) and then I was in C:/WINDOWS> ... and didn't know what to do anymore. Doing stuff the the CD without booting from it gave me the message that the system was newer than that of the CD (CD is XP + SP1 2003 OEM and I have SP2, so that is correct). Any suggestions on this are appreciated. How do I check what should be repaired (if anything) and then how do I do it?

- Option: I just got back from a trip and wanted to place some photos on my HDD. I couldn't. This is an old problem that I solved with a BIOS upgrade (was an USB problem). I think I did the photos (I managed to transfer 3 of 149) before the new memory and therefore also before the defrag, but I'm not sure (I'm not at home right now). If this is something new (USB pen is still working fine, as is, I think, my iPod), then it could be related, which might give some of you omniscients a clue :whistling: It might also just be the Nikon Transfer program.
The heat of the system is not really higher than usual I think, but I cannot check during the freeze. After one reboot, I got a bit of a higher temp, but I had been running GW and the antivirus, so it might just have been sweating a bit. Or it just got too hot, could be (but I'd rather expect a spontaneous reboot than a freeze). I used SpeedFan to check the temps, but I only get a Temp 1, Temp 2, Temp 3, Local Temp, Remote Temp, and another Temp 1, and I don't know which is which :help: I did clean the system, even though it was not really dusty yet.

I believe there is something in Admin Tools -> Services called Symantec Core LC, so I checked and it is on (just to be sure. I am planning to do a memory test on the new RAM (http://www.memtest.org , right?), but haven't had the time yet. I might try deinstalling Norton 2006 and reinstalling 2003, but that will be an annoying lot of work with all kinds of downloads and updates that need to be run, so I'd rather do that (for a whole day) as a last resort. I consulted the wall with my head, but my significant other half made it clear that the wall was too expensive for that.

My specs, from the top of my head:

Windows XP SP2
Norton 2006 AntiVirus, Internet Security & System Works

AMD Athlon 2800+ Barton (with the default heatsink + fan, nothing added/upgraded).
Kingston 2x1024 DDR 333 (2x166) PC3200
Epox 8RDA3+ nForce 2 motherboard
Western Digital 120GB HDD encased in a CoolMax silencer/cooler.

Thanks in advance for any ideas and suggestions!

Edited by pluisje, 20 June 2006 - 03:29 PM.

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#2
kunwon1

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Sounds like you're on top of things :blink:

Only thing I can think to suggest is to run chkdisk, to check the possibility that defrag screwed something up. I'm sure someone else will be along to suggest something else though, so you may want to just wait for someone who knows more than me to reply :whistling:

cheers
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#3
wannabe1

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Hi pluisje...

Interestingly, I am working a very similar problem in another topic and it seems to be leading me directly to Norton System Works 2006. See if uninstalling the Norton stops the hanging.

wannabe1
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#4
pluisje

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Thanks for the suggestions :whistling: You might just have hit the nail on the head, wannabe1. I think I might have been a bit incomplete in my specs... (my HDD is partitioned, see below)

I was planning to stay offline to see if things would change by removing the total Norton package bit by bit. Turns out I might not have to; "might", because you never know if you solved a crash problem until it, well, crashes again :help:

Here is what my dear beloved found (not I): In Norton Systemworks 2006 there is a feature called Norton GoBack. If you made any changes to your settings and thing go wrong, then you have the option to go back before window is started again after a reboot (quick summary, never used it). Apparently, this feature doesn't work with a partitioned HDD. As I divided my 120GB into 3x40GB, this might have been the cause. (Note: might be that Symantec Partition Magic does work, since it is the same manufacturer. But that is just a rumor; Norton Firewall asks me if Norton AntiVirus should get permission to update its virus defiinitions :woot: )

When I got back home, she had been running Norton Antivirus, worked like a charm. She had also played GW for say 15 minutes, nothing appeared wrong. This morning I played Doom 3 in the highest settings to see how far I could push my luck; turns out I can play it smoothly without any trouble (I could also do this with the 512MB memory, but now and then that was pushing the limit in high detail situations).

So, I'll keep my fingers crossed! If anything happens, I'll keep you updated. If not, chances are that she solved the problem :)

Thanks a lot! :blink:

Edited by pluisje, 21 June 2006 - 02:57 AM.

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#5
IO-error

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Ican almost certainly tell you that it's Norton 2006 that's lagging your system.
Norton uses more RAM than it has to.

Norton will adjust the amount of RAM it uses byt the total amount of RAM in your system.

Example: If you have 512 MB, it will use 340 MB
If you have 2 gigs it will use 1.3 gigs of RAM.
It won't show up like that in TaskManager, but it will take that much RAM as soon as Norton gets attention (by a suspicious file or such).
I'd suggest to remove Norton, because it only runs smooth on supersystems such as:
AMD DualCore 4800+ with 2 gigs of ram and a HDD of 10K RPM.

The more Symantec stuff you use, the slower your system gets.

<offtopic>
I wonder what the minimum specs of Norton are now that they know the minimum specs of Windows Vista...
My guess would be that it needs a gig of ram minimum and a pc of 4 Ghz.
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#6
pluisje

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I'll keep that in mind. However, I am very satisfied with the security that Norton gives (in all of 3 years only 1 spyware annoyance which I got rid with CWShredder, I think, and Norton didn't do anti-spyware at that moment) and I have no lag problems, really. I had a hanging problem, not a lag problem.

I used to need to stop GW when the virusscan started (well, actually I stop the scan), but even then the lag was not of the order that I realized immediately Norton was running, most of the time. With the new mem, I should be able to run an active Norton with GW or Doom 3 at the same time. In other words, 512 MB - 340 MB = 172 MB left and 2 GB - 1.3 GB = 700 MB left, so I will have more memory left than I had in total before the change. Specs for Doom3, high quality are 512 MB.

I think it should be logical that a program will use as efficiently as possible the resources at hand. If it interferes will critical tasks or processes, that is another story, but that hasn't been the case. If another task was using >50% mem and Norton started to be active and take 70% mem, that would be odd. But if Norton and the other task were both competing and ending up at 50%-50%, well, that's what you get when you run two heavy tasks at the same time, right?

But I will keep it in mind, thanks :whistling:
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#7
IO-error

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You say that now :whistling:, but watch when Norton takes more RAM than 1.3 gigs...

And think of it... 1.3 gigs of ram for a virusscanner in IDLE-MODE...
Think of what it will take when it has to scan or update...
And their scans don't care that you are playing Doom3...
That means it will either crash and on reboot and report that Doom3 was in the way, or it will hang for a long long time.

Norton 2006 is great for security, but it's not for a real gamer.
The perfect gamer antivirus is self-made build-in hacks that prevent anything from entering. Such as deleting the function to run VBS/E JS/E scripts. Or don't install Flash/Java/Quicktime (it brings iTunes with it >_<).

The perfect anti-virus is you, not a program that abuses the lifespan of RAM and processors (and harddisks).

You have ~200 MB left when running Doom3, that means that 1.8 gig is in use. Your processor is under heavy load to constantly calculate with that ram of Doom3 and Norton at the same time.
Norton is set to ignore what Windows tells it to do.
Example: You can't shut down it's processes, you can't set affinity* of it and you can't lower it's priority.

(*Affinity is to select which core of the processor should handle a process)

If Norton says: "SCREW THIS, I need more ram and more power, more resources cuz I wanna make a scan right NOW >_< !!!".
Then Windows crawls in a corner, frightened, let's Doom3 choke to death and give resources to Norton...

Oh well, you bought Norton 2006 already, so there is no way to persuade you into uninstalling it. That would just be a waste of money.
I feel sorry for those trapped by Symantec :help:.
Next year, DON'T upgrade :blink:, instead don't use a shell (to prevent the crap from spyware and most of the virii).

Meh, I wanted to give tons of performance hints, but you are probably not even interested in that. If you are, PM me and I'll give a ton of performance tips.

Good luck.

Edited by IO-error, 21 June 2006 - 03:54 AM.

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#8
pluisje

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Update:

As promised: I just received a message from home that the computer crashed again, so apparently the issue isn't solved. I will run a memtest and chkdsk as soon as I have the time. However, I think that the combo Norton GoBack and HDD partition is still not a good idea, it just didn't solve my problems.

One thing I overlooked: with 2x1024 MB instead of 2x512 MB, the CPU might not be hotter than usual, but the chipset will be busier, right? The nForce2 chipset is what steers the memory-processor combo/interaction or some such thingy, right? Correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe that one needs more cooling. That would explain why the issue started after installing the new memory instead of more than a week after installing Norton.

This is just a new idea, please refer to my initial post for a full list of possibilities.
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#9
wannabe1

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What happens if you put the old RAM back in? Does it still hang?
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#10
pluisje

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Yes, that was one of the first things I tried. I put it back and it hang again. Then I put the new memory back in again.

In the mean time I have run chkdsk on C: I haven't done that on D: and E: yet, but my wife has run a similar function through Norton Systemworks (apparently more or less the same... need to restart the pc and before windows starts up it runs the check). Nothing was wrong.

I have run memtest 1.65 about the whole night. As in, I started it late in the evening and didn't realize it took so long, so I left the pc on. It didn't hang, but along the line it found an error. I don't know how severe this is, so I'll just post the screen messages:

WallTime 8:06:04
Cached 2048 M
RsvdMem 84 K
MemMap e820-std
Cache on
Ecc off
Test std
Pass 6
Errors 11
Ecc Errs 0

Tst 7
Pass 1
FailingAdress 0004c177ff8
Good c2297da1
Bad c3297da1
Err-Bits 01000000
Count 11


I can see Err-Bits = Bad - Good :whistling: I watched the first pass, there were no errors. However the next morning at the error message, it says Pass 1, so I don't know how I should interpret that and I don't know at what time in the night the message appeared.

Edited by pluisje, 24 June 2006 - 08:58 AM.

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#11
wannabe1

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The machine beeping and failing to finish the post would indicate a RAM problem. Try reseating the RAM sticks in their respective slots, making sure they "snap" into place.
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#12
pluisje

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Thanks a lot, wannabe1. Turned out the BIOS reset worked (edited that from my last post since it was something besides the original point, to keep the thread focussed). So at least the pc runs now. I checked that the RAM was securely in place, just to be sure. SO... I am back at the initial situation, more or less, so I should expect the freezes to come up again.

Memory: After the reset, the BIOS states a FSB speed of 100MHz, although that should not be correct :whistling: But for the moment, I left it at that. I wonder whether it will recognize that 166MHz is possible at the next reboot. In the mean time, I will run a memtest at this speed. Thus far I ran Norton AV and GW (the last with a bit of lag, maybe because FSB is now 100MHz instead of 166MHz?), will try Doom3 next. Then I will try at 133MHz, see what happens. Also run a memtest. Then I will finally switch back to 166MHz, which it has run succesfully on for ages until the new memory last monday. With the different memtests I can check whether the memory starts to fail (more errors appear) when I push it to higher speed.

Overheating: In the mean time I will monitor the temperatures at each FSB speed, in case overheating was the problem. Is this possible, that an increase from 2x256 MB to 2x10224 MB will increase the temperature (e.g. of the chipset) and brought about the freezes? I will update this thread when I have some results.

In the mean time, if there are any suggestions or if someone snaps their fingers and says "Of course, the solution is...", I'd be very grateful :blink:

Edited by pluisje, 24 June 2006 - 09:10 AM.

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#13
pluisje

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Maybe the most recent findings will shed some light on my problem. As promised...

New update:

I've run my pc for two days on different FSB speeds, played games (albeit a bit laggy) and run memtest. Here are the results, including the earlier memtest results for 167 MHz FSB. I had no freezes anymore at 100MHz and 133MHz FSB, and at 167MHz, not immediately, but very quickly, the freezes were back again...

Color coding as follows (black means same for all FSB speeds):
FSB Speed 100 MHz
FSB Speed 133 MHz
FSB Speed 167 MHz

Std info 100 MHz 133 MHz 167 MHz

WallTime 8:15:10 7:56:47 8:06:04
Cached 2048 M
RsvdMem 84 K
MemMap e820-std
Cache on
Ecc off
Test std
Pass 4 5 6
Errors 6 3 11
Ecc Errs 0

Error message (1 each run of memtest)

Tst 7
Pass 0 0 1
FailingAdress 0004c177ff8 - 12.17.4 MB
Good 208c6386 700ea06a c2297da1
Bad 218c6386 710ea06a c3297da1
Err-Bits 01000000
Count 6 3 11


Notice that it is the same bit each time: at 1217.4 MB. So if whatever I'm running needs more than 1217.4 MB and creates a random number (Test 7 is Random Number Sequence in memtest), could that give a freeze? Then that would mean that at 167MHz FSB, it would need 1217+ MB and at lower speed it doesn't, because I didn't have freezes at those speeds.

I also monitored the temperatures speedfan reads: Temp2 and Temp3 are given at reboot post as CPU and System temps, respectively. I can't find out what all the remperatures mean other than that, I just don't know computers well enough :blink:

Same Color Coding, going from standard temperature (with at most a screensaver) to gaming temperature: Std -> Game or just Std if there is no difference


Temp1 12 13 13
Temp2 50 -> 54 55 -> 61 59 -> 64 (then somewhere after that freeze, and upon reboot: 61)
Temp3 33 33 33
Local Temp 40 -> 45 42 -> 47 42 -> 46
Remote Temp 58 -> 64 58 -> 65 59 -> 68
Temp1 50 53 59


High! But... not too high I think. Better cooling is definately on my list, but I doubt that will solve all the freeze problem. Notice that the CPU was around 64 Celsius at the freeze.

So, what is the status so far:

0) We upgraded Norton 2003 to 2006
... a week passes, we use the pc...
1) I upgraded my memory from 2x256 MB to 2x1024 MB and run a defrag
2) The pc starts to freeze when I play a visually heavy game or run antivirus... complete hang, need to push the reset
3) I put back the old memory, but it froze as well with the old memory. Tried it only once, then put the new memory back in. Could it be that the old memory actually still works but that the pc was still too hot in case overheating is the problem?
4) I have run chkdsk, nothing was wrong
5) With the new memory I ran the pc at different FSB speeds. I ran memtest, with the above results. I also monitored the temperatures, with the above results. Only at FSB 167MHz it starts to freeze again.

Questions:
- The memory gives an error at the same bit each time... Should I go back to the store and get new memory? I assume a memtest would give some error sometimes on a fine memory, but this is the same thing again and again.
- I suspect I need to spend some money, but on what? I don't want to spend a fortune on one thing and find out afterwards that it didn't solve the problem. So, memory? (free) Cooling? (need that anyway, but how fancy) CPU? MoBo? (Maybe the bus is irregular since the new memory?) Chipset? PSU? I have a 300 Watt, but since I have nothing extra in PCI, it should be sufficient, right?

I just want a fine working pc at 167MHz without trouble every 30 minutes... (I don't consider working at 133MHz a solution, really) Thanks a lot in advance! :whistling:

Edited by pluisje, 26 June 2006 - 06:36 AM.

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