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Computer sporadically "locks up" (Hard drive problem?)


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#1
sw619

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Hi. I'm not really sure how to address this problem, but here's the situation:

While I'm on my computer, after some time has passed (it could be from one hour to many hours), my computer would periodically "lock up." It would seem that it has frozen. My Winamp is locked in place, playing the same 'bit' over and over again, and my cursor won't move. Then, maybe thirty seconds to a minute later, it's back to normal. Another minute after that, it locks up again and does the same thing, regulating itself after so-and-so time. Any ideas?

From my inexperience, I think it could be one of my hard drives (master drive, I would think). Perhaps it's getting old. Most of the components in my computer are pretty new except for my hard drives. It might have something to do with the 'pin' not moving properly against the hard drive, or it just can't be read well? (Excuse me for the layman's terms; I'm not too sure what the technical terms are.) At any rate, it's been bugging me.

Oh, on another note, it's been giving me problems this session as well. About half an hour ago, it started up again, but I was in the middle of something, so I didn't want to force shut off my computer (I would normally have to do that since it wouldn't shut off by itself when I go to "shut down" during the period that it's restored.) When I was finished with what I did, I noticed that it hadn't been locking up for a few minutes, and even now, as I write this post, there are no problems.

Perhaps something to note while I'm doing this is what I see in the "Performance" tab on my Windows Task Manager. When I am restored from the lock-up, I'd see a CPU Usage spike from about 8% (my normal usage, considering the applications I'm running) to about 70-80% just passing. That seems to be the period of time (my computer probably reads it as an instance, hence seeing just a spike) when my computer locks up.

I hope this gives you an idea of what kind of problem I think I have. If you have any advice at all, I'll be glad to oblige. If you also need more information, I'll do the best I can to supply you with it.

I was thinking of scrapping this computer and just saving up for a new system. I know this isn't the right forum, but I just want a general estimate on how, all together, the parts for a custom system would cost if I went out and bought the parts. (I have an uncle that specializes in building computers, so he could help me put it together.) I don't need a very high-end system with 2+Ghz processors or anything. This computer right now is a 1.1Ghz, and that's enough for what I need it for (school work, listening to music, watching videos, and surfing the internet.)

Sorry for the long post, but I thought it was important to have most of this information in to give you a sense of what I'm experiencing. Thanks for reading!
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#2
GrantG

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If you shop around, you can quite easily but a complete base unit good enough to listen to music,basic admin work etc for under £200. I recently built a 3.4ghz Prescott based system for under £200. Then I upgraded the ram and harddrive, taking it up to about £400.
I know this sort of spec is probably far too good(if that is possible?!) for the basic things you need it to do, but I'm certain you can make a decent build for 25% of the price PC World will give it to you for.
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#3
sw619

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If you shop around, you can quite easily but a complete base unit good enough to listen to music,basic admin work etc for under £200. I recently built a 3.4ghz Prescott based system for under £200. Then I upgraded the ram and harddrive, taking it up to about £400.
I know this sort of spec is probably far too good(if that is possible?!) for the basic things you need it to do, but I'm certain you can make a decent build for 25% of the price PC World will give it to you for.


Ah! That's really affordable. I'm still a student, but, where I am, working Saturdays will allow me that kind of money in a little over a month. Thanks for the input!
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