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Computer very unstable.


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#1
eldor

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My computer has recently become very unstable. It looks to be a hardware problem as I reinstalled windows xp completely fresh and the problem still occurs.

What happens is I boot up and get to the desktop screen, then the monitor switches off and the computer stays in this state. When I look in the event log it says nothing in particular has happened.

Any ideas about how I go about diagnosing the problem?
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#2
The Skeptic

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Can you boot the computer in safe mode? Is it stable?

Have you tried to connect another monitor?

Please give us some details about your computer.
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#3
eldor

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Interesting in safe mode the screen gets all corrupted but I can still move the mouse around.

I have a Samsung SyncMaster 940BF. My graphics card is an ATI 9800. My computer is a Dell dimension 4600.

I have not tried another monitor as at the moment the only other one I have has been stored away.

My thoughts are that it is either:
1. graphics card overheating (not sure how best to go about cleaning it without damaging it, when I looked at it last it did not look particularly dirty)
2. graphics card is defective. (I don't have a spare one to try it out, and when I try and use the inbuilt intel graphics card my monitor does not turn on.)
3. Not enough power supply for all the components (since getting the machine I have added the graphics card, and a dvd drive and more memory).

What are your thoughts?
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#4
The Skeptic

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All the options that you brought up are logical.

1: Temporarily disconnect some of the hardware (CD drives, extra hard disk, all usb bevices etc) to reduce the load on the power supply unit. See if it makes any difference. Could you mention the output of the psu (in watt).

2: Remove the add-on video card and connect to the built in connection. If it works then the problem is with the add-on video card or with it's driver. Go to device manager > Display Adapter. Expand the option by clicking the + sign. Right click each of the items and uninstall the driver. Reboot and let windows find and install a driver. If it works, reinstall the original driver for the video card(s).

3: If nothing helps then I would take the effort and try another monitor.
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#5
eldor

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Well temporary disconnect of the extra hardware I bought has not helped. My Power supply is rated at 260W.

I am almost certain the problem is the video card. I cleaned it as it was a little dusty but this did nothing.

I got a VPU Recover error on startup. Since then it has not been crashing, however I think the only solution is to get a new graphics card.

Thanks for your help.

Edited by eldor, 19 October 2008 - 03:20 PM.

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#6
The Skeptic

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A 260W power supply unit is a not sufficient for a modern computer and I can't remember when I last saw one. Replace it with 450-500w. This can easily cause the problem.
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#7
eldor

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Unfortunately this Dell comes with a non standard power supply so that is not so easy to switch. I am at the point where I would rather get another computer than start upgrading components on this one as it is already 3 years old.
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#8
The Skeptic

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Yes, I understand that. It's just amazing that Dell produced a computer with such a tiny PSU.
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#9
eldor

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Yes, I understand that. It's just amazing that Dell produced a computer with such a tiny PSU.


It probably saved them 2cents.
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