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Random Rebooting and Lock Ups


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#1
JessCC

JessCC

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Need a lot of help and support here as I am a computer hardware n00b. I have a problem with my computer randomly rebooting and occasionally locking up. Here's a history of what has happened:

My computer is a 4 year old machine

Windows XP
Pentium IV 2.4 GHz
2 x 256MB RAM = 512MB
NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440 with AGP8X graphics card

I have not added or taken out any hardware since getting someone to build it for me 4 years back, so, technically speaking, everything should work the same as before. This random rebooting and locking up problem started happening right around September. I would be doing something as watching YouTube or replying emails and it reboots. Or I'd leave the computer on to download a file, and the next morning, I'd see a fresh window without the programs I ran the night before, so, another random reboot. Sometimes, it would just lock up, and I am not able to CTRL + ALT + DEL my way out, so I have to shut down manually by pressing the start up button for 5 secs or so... I am now running on a loaned "new" hard disk (as though a reformat), with my old hard disks unplugged... still reboots or freezes. So, I'm assuming that this rules out hard disk failure.

There have been a couple of occasions whereby the computer reboots itself, CPU still running but monitor is on standby, not showing anything.

I know it's not software or virus, so it HAS to be hardware, but where do I start? My friend has recommended me to change a new motherboard. I suspect (after reading up on it) that it would most probably be the video card problem, but I don't know how to go about testing one by one without having to buy something new and killing my pocket on the way. A little help?

Confused and bemused,
JessCC

Edited by Jessica Ooi, 07 November 2007 - 12:50 PM.

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#2
Samm

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Welcome to G2G, JessCC

First of all, can you tell me what sort of temperature your cpu is running at please? If you don't already have a utility for monitoring this, then try something like Speedfan:

http://www.majorgeek...ownload337.html

Speedfan will probably report several temperatures, so just let me have all of them. Run the computer for a while first, preferably doing something intensive such a playing a game or watching a video etc, then record the temps.

Apart from that, does there appear to be any sort of pattern to the reboots or lock ups? i.e does it only happen in certain applications or at certain times? Are you getting any blue screen or STOP errors?

Have you got SP2 installed?
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#3
JessCC

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I shall try out the link you gave me to monitor the temperature when I'm back home.

As for the second question, my computer would reboot while I'm watching a video on Windows Media Player, or while listening to my MP3s on WinAmp, or reboot while I'm checking/replying my emails, or reboot while I'm surfing YouTube, or reboot in the middle of the night when I leave it on to download a file or just reboot before I could even open any programs! I've tried to notice if there's a pattern, but I can't find any. I've not gotten blue screens or STOP errors.

I only have SP1.

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#4
Samm

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Ok, check the temps & let me know.

While you're at it, could you also download & run Winaudit please?

http://pxserver.com/WinAudit.htm

Run it, wait for it to finishing compiling the report and then save a complete copy of the report as a 'Web Page[include images]' file. Then can you please email the report to me (as an attachment) at storm36@blueyonder.co.uk
Do not post it in the forum.

Be aware that Winaudit will create 3 HTML files. EG if you named the report MYREPORT for example, it will create MYREPORT.HTML, MYREPORT_LEFT.HTML & MYREPORT_RIGHT.HTML. I need all 3 files!
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#5
JessCC

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Hi Samm, right now, I'm running on a loaned hard disk as my main disk drive, will it affect the report? A friend loaned it to me as though I've formatted my hard drive as I wasn't willing to format the old one yet (too many info, no extra space to store it). Right now, I've disconnected my older hard drives and letting this new one run by itself, therefore, eliminating my hard disks as the source of the reboot. Will the report generated by WinAudit give you less of a proper account to my system with this change?

Right now, I am using Speed Fan and the highest temp I've reached so far is 52C for CPU, lowest 45C.
Ambient runs between 33C - 39C.
Remote: 38C - 45C
HD0: Running at a solid 47C for now. Started at around 30s.

Anything else I should look for?

Thanks for taking the time to help me with this problem.

p.s. A side note - I decided to open the cover of my CPU case since the temp has been registering in the high 40s, low 50s and with the side cover opened, the CPU temp is registering at low to mid 40s. Thought I might report that finding too. The more detailed, the better the diagnosis, right? :)

Edited by JessCC, 11 November 2007 - 06:44 AM.

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#6
JessCC

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I don't know if this will help but the last report from the Event Viewer before the computer rebooted was this: "The IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service service entered the stopped state." I'm currently lost while looking at the Google results for this problem. Hmm....
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#7
Samm

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Re. the loaned hard drive, if you are still experiencing the same problems with the loaned drive, then running the winaudit report is still helpful. Winaudit would only be pointless if the problems stopped when you started using the loaned drive.

In regards to the temps, you cpu temp is ok. It may be a bit high, depending on the type of cpu you have but not dangerously high by any means. The only temp that is slightly worrying is the hard drive temperature. Even this isn't high enough to explain the problems you've been having but keep an eye on it anyway & let me know if gets hotter than this.

Re. the imapi cd burning service:
If you go to Start -> Run.. and type services.msc [click OK], this will open the MMC where you can stop/disable/enable services. Locate the imapi cd burning service, right click on it & select properties. Change the startup type to disabled, save the changes & reboot. See if this makes any difference to your problems.
NB, if it doesn't help at all (or makes matters worse!) then repeat the procedure & change the startup type to manual.
Be aware that while this service is disabled, you won't be able to use Microsoft's own inbuilt CD burning facility.

BTW, I'd also strongly advise that you install SP2. It can resolve countless potential problems with XP. Be aware though that very occasionally the SP2 install will render the system completely useless so make sure you have backed up any important data prior to installing it, preferably to another drive, blank CD/DVD or flash stick. I'd also advise you create a system restore point as well. The SP2 install will do this for you but occasionally it hangs so best to do your own one first. Before you install SP2, it's also highly advisable that you check for malware first. I suggest if you don't already have it, you download & run Spybot (remember to update it before running the scan):
http://www.safer-net...g/en/index.html

Edited by Samm, 11 November 2007 - 12:54 PM.

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#8
JessCC

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Hi Samm, guess what? The loaned hard disk that I'm currently using is running on SP2. So, that kinda rules out the instability of SP1/SP2 thingy, right? Will run the Win Audit and send you the file soon.
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#9
Samm

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Thanks for the report. Glad to hear you already have SP2 installed - that's one thing that can be ruled out now.
Strange question maybe but thought I'd better check - when your friend lent you this hard drive, did you reinstall XP on it with the drive connected to your computer or was XP already installed on it prior to placing it in your machine?

The first thing I've noticed from the report is that you seem to have a HUGE number of connections to uTorrent. Have you tried closing all these connections to see if it makes any difference to the stability? I noticed you have windows firewall running - if you want to make sure that the connections are closed, you could temporarily block uTorrent in the firewall (then reboot). Try closing down MSN as well while you're at it!

Other suggestions are:

1. The problem could be your USB modem - it wouldn't be the first time I've seen a USB ADSL modem cause lock ups & instability in a system

2. You have 256MB of memory - with all the connections to uTorrent plus everything your system is trying to do at the same time, this is really going to be pushing it it's limits

3. The system error event log reports a load of IE errors (lock ups). Although I don't think the problem is with IE itself, you could try using a different browser (eg firefox) just to see if you experience the same problems.
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#10
JessCC

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Hi Samm, my computer rebooted even after I disabled the IMAPI thing.

The loaned hard drive already came with SP2 installed on it, because it's my friend's. He recommended me to change my Motherboard, really. I still suspect graphics card, but, I'm the n00b. haha...

The thing with my ADSL modem is that I've had it for years and it has not given me any problem prior to Sept, when all this rebooting started happening. As for uTorrent, I download video files, but I've been downloading since about last year, with no problems as well. Prior to this, I had another 256mb of RAM in my computer, which has since been taken out as my friend said it wasn't working properly anymore (I think). So, I've had 512mb of RAM, but it still rebooted back then.

The problem with this is that it can reboot while I'm online, or while I'm NOT online. It could reboot right after it has started loading.

Oh, with my old hard drive as the active drive, I was using Firefox, not IE, but it still rebooted.

Should I go with my friend's suggestion of changing the motherboard?

p.s. I AM thinking of rebuilding a new computer but not until early next year, when I've saved enough. The reason why I'm trying to figure out this problem is to replace whatever that I need to replace to sustain my computer until I've rebuilt a new one.

Edited by JessCC, 12 November 2007 - 05:49 PM.

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#11
Samm

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Ok, a couple of thoughts re. your last post...

1. The problem could be with the power supply in that case (I'd lost track of the fact a few posts back that the main problem is rebooting!).

2. As your friend suggested, the problem could also be with the motherboard. Unfortunately, motherboard problems can be very hard to diagnose - it's often easier to eliminate everything else first. It's a relatively simple procedure to swap out a PSU, so if you can borrow a compatible one (standard ATX PSU should be fine) off a friend, it may be worth trying this first.

3. Out of interest, what makes you think the problem may be the video card?
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#12
JessCC

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Power Supply is something that I could look into. I don't know if my friend has an extra PSU, but will have to ask. I think I'll try with the PSU, and if it's still the same, then motherboard it is!

Well, I've seen a few results out of google.com that states that some of the cause of random rebooting is video card failure, sort of. And ONE time, I actually had an error message regarding my "NVIDIA" card. (the error message that asks whether you want to send or don't send a report to Microsoft). But that only happened ONE time, on one of the rebooting occasions. Still trying to figure out what's going on. :)

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#13
Samm

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Ok, let me know how you get on with the PSU.

Edited by Samm, 15 November 2007 - 05:10 PM.

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#14
JessCC

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I don't know if this would help or add to the confusion of my on going problem, but for the past day or so, my computer would reboot a handful of times after it just finished loading the taskbar on my desktop. And on a couple of occasions, it would reboot, and then you see the usual black screen with the Windows logo (right before the blue screen that says "Welcome" or "choose your user") and after that, it is BLACK screen. It wouldn't even get to "welcome" or even load up my desktop. Maybe this is why I think graphics card?
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#15
JessCC

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Hi Samm,

Changed PSU. Tested it on the loan hard drive, so far, haven't rebooted yet.

For now, I have an even worse problem. I tried to connect my old drives, either the 80GB SATA or the 20GB IDE, I've encountered a stumbling block.

First, the 80GB SATA. I tried to connect that as a slave drive, pressed the power button, fan spins for a second and stops spinning, green light still on, nothing on the screen. It did not boot up at all. I had to manually switch it off, as the power is still running. I tried to connect it as the master drive, same thing. It won't boot up! And it worked fine yesterday, when I connected my SATA as slave drive with the old PSU.

Now, the IDE... I connected the loan hard drive as master and IDE as slave... I got a black screen with words, one of which jumped at me stating something about "terminal overheated" or something like that... I pressed F4 to resume, booted up fine, but IDE could not be located.

Argh... I'm driving myself nuts here HOPING that my HDD has not turned bad. I can't afford to lose them just yet... I haven't backed them up yet. Sigh...

Any ideas? The problems just seem to keep coming. :)


Ok, let me know how you get on with the PSU.


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