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Cannot click active windows at times, pc freezes and is a struggle to


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#16
Samm

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Oh yeah. Sorry, I completely missed your previous post - only saw the one about chkdsk!

Re. the log - same as before - Administrative tools - Event Viewer - System. Check the dates for errors pre-dating 24th July
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#17
kingtaz

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from the logs, errors only go as far back as the 23rd july unfortunately!! from it there are a further 4 errors of CRT, 3 errors where DCOM is the source and 7 warnings where the source was cdrom

hope this is of some help

cheers

kingtaz
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#18
Samm

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DVD/RW - You are right in assuming that you don't need the DVD drive if you have a DVDRW as the Rewriter will do both reading & writing. So yes, I would suggest for now at least, you disconnect the DVD drive & just use the DVDRW. (see below for instructions regarding this).

PSU - the problem with the power ratings on PSUs is that they reflect the maximum (or peak) power output. This is not the same as the maximum sustained output. The sustained, or continuous, output is usually something in the region of 3/4 of the max peak output. It is the sustained output that really matters, not the peak. The other consideration is that the power output is divided amongst the power rails i.e. the 5V, 3.3V, 12V etc that the PSU produces. These figures are measured in amps and should also be on the label on the side of the PSU. All of these factors make it difficult to accurately measure whether a particular power supply is powerful enough for your system. On top of that, individual components in the system use a mixture of power rails (eg drives use the 12V & 5V rails, motherboard & cpu use mainly 3.3V and 12V) and they each use different amounts of power at certain times. For example, a hard drive will often use more than normal on boot up because the drive has to spin up when first powered on. Optical drives use very little until a disc is inserted & it is required to read it.

It is possible to calculate how much power each component requires (often this info is given on the label of hard drives & optical drives for example) but normally you can make an educated guess as to whether a PSU is likely to be adequate for a particular system. In your case, I would suggest it's borderline. If disconnecting the DVD drive for example, makes the system more stable then I would suggest you need a better PSU.

Re Disconnecting the DVD drive. When you open up the case you should see that both optical drives share a the same ribbon cable. The hard drive should be on it's own ribbon cable. On the rear of each optical drive there will be some pins with a plastic jumper cap. The pins are normally marked 'M' 'S' 'CS' (not necessarily in that order). The jumper cap will be on one these settings. Make sure the power is disconnected from the system then disconnect the ribbon cable & the power cable from the DVD drive. Next make sure that the DVDRW drive has it's jumper cap over the M (Master) position. You may need to remove the drive from the case in order to do check this. Once it's in the Master position, the drive must be connected the end of the ribbon cable (as opposed to the middle connector on the cable).

Any questions, please ask.

PS Don't worry about giving long detailed replies - I much prefer to have too much information than not enough!
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#19
kingtaz

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thanks for that samm. ill carry out the stuff in that post in the morning (off to bed just now!!) and get back to you then. sounding like i might need a new power supply unit by the sounds of things though!!

cheers

kingtaz
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#20
kingtaz

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ive now disconnected the dvd rom drive.

i also found out the reason why my external hard disk drive is not working. the usb port it was connected to has burt out, as well as the usb cable that was connected into it. the usb cable does now not work obviously and the port that it burnt out is now of no use either. i could smell some sort of strong burning smell, almost like plastic burning, last week around my pc area but i never noticed exactly what it was but now i know what the cause of that was.

Now, do you think that has anything to do with the problems im having? perhaps having that external hard disk drive was using too much power and the cable overheated or is it just one of those things that happens and it is sheer coincidence?

thanks and let me know if theres anything else i can be doing as well

cheers

kingtaz
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#21
Samm

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Yes, it's definitely a possibility.
You mentioned that the external drive had its own power supply & this would have provided the majority of the power that the drive required so the port shouldn't have got overloaded. What's more, if a USB device attempts to draw too much power from the port, XP tends to shut the USB port down temporarily with a warning message. That said however, if the port and cable have both been burnt out, then I guess just about anything is possible!

To be on the safe side, it would be best to disable the USB port completely. However, this may not be possible without disabling all the USB ports. If the USB port in question is on the main back plate (i.e on the same panel as your mouse/keyboard/rear audio ports etc) then it is going to be soldered to the board. If however this is a front USB port or a rear port that is on it's own bracket (i.e like the video card/monitor port) then you should be able to unplug it. If so, then there should be a cable inside the machine which connect the USB port to the motherboard, in which case, disconnect the power then unplug this cable.

Otherwise the only other way is to go into the bios & disable the USB. Like I said, this will mean you lose all USB functionality (so don't do this if you have a USB keyboard/mouse!). If you have a PS2 keyboard/mouse, then you could try disabling USB temporarily just to see if this makes any difference to the problems you are having with lock ups etc.

Ultimately though, if you have literally blown a USB port, then it's possible there's other damage to the board as well. It may not stop the rest of the board appearing to function but could cause problems.

Case scenario for you....
A few weeks ago I was asked to fix a system that had started displaying strange behaviour. Eg after the system had powered off, the PSU fan would start back on again of it's own accord a second later, the case lights would flash & the system would make a weird noise. When powered on, the system would boot up normally but none of the USB ports would work, nor would the PS2 mouse port. (PS2 keyboard worked fine). Given that the system was using a poor quality motherboard & PSU, I diagnosed (correctly) that the USB & PS2 mouse controller had blown & that damage in the motherboard's circuitry was causing the PSU to semi-power back on after shut down. I replaced the motherboard & for good measure, replaced the PSU as it was underrated and not a particularly good quality one at that. After a fresh reinstallation of Windows (necessary due to the replacement motherboard), the system now works perfectly.


My point I guess is this - it seems unlikely that the blown USB port is the cause of your problems as you've been having these problems before the port blew, right? However, once one part of a motherboard blows like this, it's often only a matter of time before other parts follow suite, so a new motherboard may be required here sooner or later. And yes, when you replace the board I would also strongly advise that you replace the PSU as well! I would recommend a branded PSU such as Thermaltake, Hiper, Antec, Silverstone (there's plenty of others as well) with a max. power output of at least 400W (ideally 450W or more).
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#22
kingtaz

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the usb that blew was one that was not solded on. it was one was on its own bracket, with 2 usbs on that bracket. the 2 however are connected to the same plug as it looks like the wires are joined together. shall i just remove the 2 of them? i have another 2 side usb ports anyway so not like i really need them that much.

how much do you think it will cost to get a new motherboard and new psu unit? i was actually thinking i might as well just buy a new pc. i have 1gb of ram memory and from looking inside theres only room for one more memory slot. the memory i have is PC2100 which from looking around shops and online, is one of the dearest there is so will cost a fair bit to upgrade in the future or even now.

also, with buying a new motherboard, will the processor not need to be upgraded to be compatible with it? the only useful things of value i have in my pc are my hard disk, dvd RW drive which is new and a new graphics card i got last year. the rest doesnt seem to be very good now ( pc is over 4 years old now) and the processor is not exactly the best either. think its worth my while upgrading the new parts?

also, just a question on the CRT errors that were evident in the events log eariler, is CRT not something to do with my monitor? is that whats casing the CRT errors?

thanks

kingtaz
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#23
Samm

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Ok, good news on the USB in that case! Simply disconnect the USB plug from the motherboard (you are right - there will be two ports on that one plug so you will lose both ports).

Given that the blown USB is not soldered, where does that leave the damage? If it's just the bracket/ports that appear damaged then you might be OK. When you disconnect the USB lead from the motherboard, using a torch or spotlight, just check the board for any signs of damage as well i.e bulging capacitors, discolouration or charring, or any faint burning smell. If the board isn't actually damaged, then there's no need to replace it.

If you do decide to replace it however, then you can still buy motherboards that will support your memory & cpu etc. If the board is working fine & you decide to replace it anyway, then obviously you 'may' be better off selling the complete system & starting again - entirely up to you obviously.

Re. CRT errors. You're correct in that CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) does indeed refer to the monitor. However, in this case, I believe that the error is being caused by the video card (or video card driver) rather than the monitor. Google the error & you'll see what I mean...
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#24
kingtaz

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hi

one thing i did notice when i opened up the pc was that there was what looked to me like 6 small batteries (as thick as a AA but they obviously werent) on the motherboard all with some sort of orange substance on the top of them. they were located next to the fan and the psu unit. i moved the orange substances off the top of the batteries and it went away but it did look like the orange stuff has indeed come from they 'batteries' and they looked 'bulging' at the top if u know what i mean!! ( not a flat end like a normal battery) this anything to worry about?

in saying all this, the problems seem to have gone! the active window clicking has gone now and hasnt troubled me for days. also, the pc starts up quite normal now and hasnt really crashed in the last few days. seems like it is running a bit smoother now

cheers

kingtaz
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#25
Samm

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If your system continues to run smoothly, then it looks like disconnecting that USB drive or the DVD drive has obviously made a difference.

Re. the motherboard - the battery like things you described will almost certainly be capacitors. The capacitors contain electrolyte & are there to smooth out the supply of power around the motherboard. If there was a sticky substance on top, then this is almost certainly electrolyte leaking out. This is not an uncommon problem with older motherboards, particularly as they age but can cause problems.
Unfortunately theres not much you can do about it & the board isn't worth the cost of repairing. You can obviously keep using the board for as long as it continues to work, which may be another week or another 5 years, who knows.

See how it performs over the next few days & give me an update then. :whistling:
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#26
kingtaz

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thanks samm. will let you know how things go in the next few days. the system did crash today though so not sure that everything 100% yet. let you know though

kingtaz
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#27
kingtaz

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hi samm. just to update you on how tings are going.

seems things have taken a turn for the worse with starting up the pc. took me ages the other day to try and switch it on, and when it did it kept crashing almost instantly.

also, just 10 mins ago, the system restarted itself for no reason and displayed no message or anything, just simpy rebooted.

Having looked at the event viewer logs, all crashes etc are due to CRT errors. When i click to view the properties of the error, it says 'CRT invalid display type'. I done a search on google for this along with the ati2mag that was also displayed on the error and found many forums where people are having similar problems and it seems to be 100% to do with the ATI graphics card. many have said they never had problems before until they installed the ATI card.

do you think it is solely the problem of the ATI graphics card? what do you suggest i do?

thanks

kingtaz
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#28
Samm

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Hi there

Hmmm, that's pretty much the conclusion I came to when I googled the CRT error myself. However, the impression I got was that the problem was with the driver as opposed to the actual card itself. Does your own research agree with that?

One possible way of finding out if this is a driver issue would be to run the system in safe mode just to see if it stops crashing.
There's a couple of ways of doing this, the easiest method is as follows :
Go to Start -> Run and type msconfig and click OK.
Click on the Boot.ini tab
Tick the SAFEBOOT option checkbox, then also select the /NETWORK option.
Click apply & OK then reboot.

When the system restarts it will look like cr@p. This is due to the video card drivers not being loaded so the system can only use native video support. It also means that no other drivers (eg sound card etc) will be loaded but networking ones will so you should still have internet access as normal.

Also, you won't have any of your normal startup programs loaded - e.g antivirus, firewall etc. This makes it slightly more risky although you may find that you can start some of these manually. To return the system to normal (ie boot up with all drivers loaded) simply uncheck the SAFEBOOT option in msconfig.

The idea here is simply to see of the system still crashes. If it doesn't (you may want to run it for a few days to be certain) then the problem is almost certainly a driver issue or a startup program issue.
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#29
kingtaz

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hi samm

lets say it was a driver issue, what would be the best course of action? ive updated the driver and the problems persist so would installing an earlier driver work? by the sounds of the research ive found on goole etc, there does not seem to be a suitable solution to this. did you see any at all?

im considering just getting a new graphics card to get rid of this and selling this one on ebay. you think thats wise? would that get rid of the problem or do you suspect it will persisit on another graphics card?

im trying to remember whether i had problems or not before gettin this new graphics card last year but im not too sure. the main problem i remember is the not clicking active window ( which has now totally gone as it hasnt happened recently at all, thanks for sorting that out) but im getting annoyed with the constant restarting and crashing now.

it does seem tho that once the pc has been on for a while then it wont crash. its 99% of the time happening immediately at startup. any ideas why?

thanks again for replying

kingtaz
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#30
Troy

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Well this certainly is an interesting thread! I've been following along reading it, just thought I'd pop in with some information (if you don't mind):

It seems like your power supply unit is not good enough, generic-brand PSU's can cause all sorts of issues. I've had an underpowered PSU cause all sorts of issues before, so I strongly recommend you get a quality-brand name unit that outputs a decent amount.

If your motherboard has leaking capacitors, I would replace it immediately. As Samm has said, it may continue working for a week or 5 years, but it still could be causing problems, so why risk it? (Unless you can't afford to replace it!).

I have the Radeon 9550 - but mine is made by Sapphire (and I don't have problems with mine). I have never heard of Connect 3D. This is an old card that also isn't particularly great at all. For some reason the Support section of the Connect 3D site (link) only has links to ATI drivers version 7.2 - the latest is 7.7 from here. Have you got the 7.7 version?

You have mentioned buying more parts and/or a new computer, don't forget it's strongly recommended that you don't buy parts from eBay as you can easily get ripped off buying a faulty part without a return policy... But if you do give us some idea of a budget and/or the parts you want to replace, we can help you with that too.

Just trying to be helpful! Cheers and good luck! :whistling:
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