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Frequent freeze ups


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#1
MrSmartAlec

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I've submitted other similar threads to other tech sites such as this. This problem is becoming a real pain because no one seems to have the answer. After booting up my computer, I will begin to experience short "freeze ups" where my sound, keyboard, mouse, and internet stop working. Seconds later they will become operable again but after about 15-30 minutes of having the computer on, the freeze ups become more frequent and I am forced to restart. Initially I thought the problem was that my keyboard and mouse were going bad but recently bought a new set and the problem persists. It can't just be my USB ports because my internet cuts out as does my audio. This lead me to believe something was wrong with my motherboard. I just bought a new setup so I'll be upset if it's faulty, especially since I bought my motherboard open box and I can no longer return it. Everything else with the motherboard seems to be in working order. With the other sites I've posted this problem at, they've told me to install drivers. Being open box, my motherboard didn't come with any installation software. I was then forced to go the manufacturer's site and then go to the download section for my motherboard. There I chose to install the latest chipset for my operating system (windows xp media center). I installed that and restarted. The problem wasn't resolved. They then vaguely told me to download "everything", "usb, lan, chipset, ect.". I reluctantly went down the list and downloaded and installed most of what seemed important from that site. As I expected, nothing really changed. Now I'm stuck and really unsure of what to do. Any suggestions?

EDIT: If this isn't the proper place for the thread, please move it. Thank you.
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#2
wwarrior

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After booting up my computer, I will begin to experience short "freeze ups" where my sound, keyboard, mouse, and internet stop working. Seconds later they will become operable again but after about 15-30 minutes of having the computer on, the freeze ups become more frequent and I am forced to restart.


Hi SmartAlec

Can you describe your system specs a bit ?

EG: Motherboard model and video card model.

I know of a few heating issues in some model mobos that have an easy fix.

Also, when it freezes up, does it hard lock ? - EG: Will the mouse even move ?
When it is doing it frequently, can you perhaps have Task manager, performance running and note the Cpu usage (- See if the Cpu is getting pinned when it is 'frozen'

At a guess, it is a heating issue, a harddrive bad sector, or an app that is doing it.

The system event log may reveal more but that can come later ..

Regards
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#3
MrSmartAlec

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Thanks for the reply,

My specs are as follows...

CPU - Q9550 2.83
OS - windows xp media center (dxdiag says its xp professional, whatever that means)
motherboard - asus p5q-e (open box)
RAM - hmm, I know I put in 4 gigs of OCZ but my dxdiag says I only have 3070mb?
GPU - radeon 4870x2
PSU - corsair 750W

Yes, my mouse is frozen when the problems occur. I'm not sure how you said to check my CPU usage and what you mean by "pinned".
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#4
wwarrior

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Thanks for the reply,

My specs are as follows...

CPU - Q9550 2.83
OS - windows xp media center (dxdiag says its xp professional, whatever that means)
motherboard - asus p5q-e (open box)
RAM - hmm, I know I put in 4 gigs of OCZ but my dxdiag says I only have 3070mb?
GPU - radeon 4870x2
PSU - corsair 750W

Yes, my mouse is frozen when the problems occur. I'm not sure how you said to check my CPU usage and what you mean by "pinned".

Hi

That motherboard is fine - although perhaps after it's been running for a bit, place your thumb on the large heat sink with the EPU sticker on it - bottom right, below the memory.

Is it very warm/hot ?

Your Ram is fine (32 bit Os's can only 'see' 3.12 gig of ram - Xp, Vista, etc - so 3.07 Gig is normal)

Your power supply also appears to be good (great even)

To check your cpu usage, press CTRL - Shift - Escape at the same time - Windows task manager will appear - click performance.

You can now see a chart of the Cpu usage sampled every second or two..

See if it spikes heavily to 100 % (gets pinned) when it freezes.

If your cpu is getting nailed routinely, perhaps try clicking on "Processes" at the top - then click "CPU" twice to bring all the applications using the Cpu to the top.

Note which application is using the Cpu heavily at the time - you may notice it is a program that can be safely closed - then you can close it and recheck it and see if it no longer freezes.

Also, a hard drive with cancer (bad sectors) could cause this too. Perhaps running a disk check on it and doing a surface scan at some point might reveal something.

To do this - right click "C" drive.

Click properties, tools, Check now

Put a tick in "Automatically fix file system errors" and then "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors"

It will ask to schedule a scan when you reboot.

Allow it to do this - but do it at a time when you won't need the computer for like an hour or two as it takes time to do a full surface scan subject to how large the drive is.

This will scan the entire drive for physical errors. This is good - the bad part is, if it finds errors, it will only display them for a few seconds, and then continue on into windows.

You will not be able to see what it found / fixed.

To review the status of a drive after a surface scan, you can do this.

Click start, run - Type in CMD - press enter

At the C prompt, type in CHKDSK - press enter.

This will do a quick scan (but make no changes) and then give a status report on the drive.

Note if there are indeed any bad sectors. - if there are, I would consider swapping it under warranty (if it's feasible.)

Let us know how you go.

Note: - You could also try running the computer with it's side off to see if it is a heat problem. If it helps, adding a strategically placed fan could also help.

Rog ..
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#5
MrSmartAlec

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Ok, here are the results I've gotten from what you've suggested...

1. That EPU part of the motherboard was warm, but not hot, certainly not to where I had to remove my finger.

2. The disk check came back "clean".

3. CPU usage when the freezing occurs jumps from 0-2% up to 20-50%. Then immediately back down to 0-2%.

4. CPU application usage during these times showed "system idle process" to be at the top with a 99 below it. Followed by others with 1's and other low numbers.

I just got my new Xigmatek 120mm cpu heatsink/fan in today so that'll be put on in the near future. Overheating just seems like an odd problem to have because cool air is being blown out my case and I have an antec 300, which as I'm sure you know, has good cooling. One thing that I noticed though, is that my GPU actually overlaps that EPU sign. Not sure if that matters or not, just pointing it out. Thanks.

Edited by MrSmartAlec, 29 December 2008 - 11:09 PM.

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#6
wwarrior

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2. The disk check came back "clean".

3. CPU usage when the freezing occurs jumps from 0-2% up to 20-50%. Then immediately back down to 0-2%.

4. CPU application usage during these times showed "system idle process" to be at the top with a 99 below it. Followed by others with 1's and other low numbers.

One thing that I noticed though, is that my GPU actually overlaps that EPU sign. Not sure if that matters or not, just pointing it out. Thanks.


Hi

2 - That's good ! Nice to rule that out ...

3 - When it goes to 20 - 25%, can you see what application is doing that ?

4 - 99 % idle is normal for a machine at idle.

Your Gpu overlapping a bit is fine.

How long does it freeze for ? What are you doing at the time ? Does it do it in safe mode as well ?

Also, as it appears to be a new machine, perhaps visit the CMOS, then go to the hardware monitor section and note the Cpu temperature.

Perhaps the Cpu is not quite seated brilliantly and has a heat issue there.

Let me know - if not, it may be an application doing it.

Rog ..
Edit - Whilst in CMOS, perhaps consider disabling a few things that might not be needed

EG: Is the 1.44 Floppy disk enabled but none present ? - That will be enabled by default.
Do you need the Com and LPT ports enabled or the midi of the onboard sound card ?
I disable things I don't use.

Edited by wwarrior, 30 December 2008 - 04:48 AM.

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#7
MrSmartAlec

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Alright, here's what I've found out...

1. There doesn't seem to be any application in particular that is running during the freezes. I'm not entirely certain but I'm not noticing any.

2. When it does freeze, it's only for about a second. It does sometimes seem to have a pattern where it will freeze, unfreeze, wait a couple seconds, freeze and then unfreeze all in about 10 seconds. Then it will be fine again for another 5-10 minutes (this isn't every time, just noticed it when I was watching a DVD.

3. I'm also not doing anything in particular that has a pattern of freezing it up. I could be surfing the web, playing a game, or nothing at all. As a matter of fact it just did it while typing part of this response lol.

4. While in safe mode, it didn't freeze. However, I may have just been lucky as I was only in safe mode for a little over a half an hour. But still, no freezing. One thing I did notice though was that while using that SpeedFan program, my CPU temps were well above normal at 60+ C. Not sure if this is a normal thing when in safe mode or not, but my CPU temps when in normal mode are usually high 30's, low 40's (idle).

5. Didn't know what CMOS was but figured out how to get to BIOS which is I guess the same thing basically? I'm only assuming that because I found that hardware monitor when I hit the del button to bring BIOS up. The CPU temp. read 37 C. My motherboard temp. read 40 C.

6. I wasn't sure what you meant by disabling things I didn't need. I looked through the tabs but nothing seemed relevant to what you told me to do, sorry.

Just out of curiosity, something weird happened after that disk check I did. When it booted back up to windows, I got a "new hardware installed" message. It said that some PCI uhh "IDP" or "IPD", or something like that was installed. Not sure what that is? Nothing has changed that I can tell, I just wasn't sure what that was because I didn't put anything new in.

EDIT: Those high temps. that I mentioned in SpeedFan were not next to the label "CPU". They were next to the labels "Core 0, 1, 2, and 3". I assumed those were my CPU temps. because I have a quad core processor. I'm not sure if this is in fact accurate.

Edited by MrSmartAlec, 30 December 2008 - 04:47 PM.

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#8
wwarrior

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4. While in safe mode, it didn't freeze. However, I may have just been lucky as I was only in safe mode for a little over a half an hour. But still, no freezing. One thing I did notice though was that while using that SpeedFan program, my CPU temps were well above normal at 60+ C. Not sure if this is a normal thing when in safe mode or not, but my CPU temps when in normal mode are usually high 30's, low 40's (idle).

5. Didn't know what CMOS was but figured out how to get to BIOS which is I guess the same thing basically? I'm only assuming that because I found that hardware monitor when I hit the del button to bring BIOS up. The CPU temp. read 37 C. My motherboard temp. read 40 C.

6. I wasn't sure what you meant by disabling things I didn't need. I looked through the tabs but nothing seemed relevant to what you told me to do, sorry.

Just out of curiosity, something weird happened after that disk check I did. When it booted back up to windows, I got a "new hardware installed" message. It said that some PCI uhh "IDP" or "IPD", or something like that was installed. Not sure what that is? Nothing has changed that I can tell, I just wasn't sure what that was because I didn't put anything new in.

EDIT: Those high temps. that I mentioned in SpeedFan were not next to the label "CPU". They were next to the labels "Core 0, 1, 2, and 3". I assumed those were my CPU temps. because I have a quad core processor. I'm not sure if this is in fact accurate.


Hi

I am still unsure as to whether it is hardware or software at this point.

Lets narrow it down a bit.
Incidentally, if the machine was here, I would reinstall a fresh windows on a new drive and test that. Assuming you don't have that luxury, lets try these things.

Hardware Side
============


Re point 4 - High temps in safe mode may be due to the power management not running and the cpu getting full power - this is normal. It gets cooler when in windows at idle so that's ok. I was just ensuring the fan was actually seated on the chip ok - and when it's running and at around 35 - 40 deg, it is.

5 - CMOS and BIOS mean the same thing

6 - In the CMOS (BIOS), at the top left, first or second section down, you will see a list of your drives. Typically, the 1.44 Fdd is enabled. (This is for legacy settings whereby a defaulted CMOS will always 'see' a boot disk.)

If you have no 1.44 Floppy disk installed, disable the 1.44 FDD

Also, there is a section called Integrated Peripherals. Have a look in here. Do you use the Communication ports at all ? COM 1 / COM2 or it may be called COM 'A'., If you never use the 9 pin com port at the back of your machine, consider disabling this. It was classically used in the past for external dialup modems (33.6 k, 56k, etc) but these days has little use except for maybe updating firmware on certain devices (Set top boxes, etc) - you can always turn it back on if you need it.

Same goes for the LPT (Printer port). By default, it will be enabled. Subject to it's settings, it may also be taking(sharing) a DMA channel if it's set to ECP/EPP. Not ever going to use the large, 25 pin connector at the back of your computer for an old printer ? - Disable this one too. (This can cause intermittent freezes if a machine is polling that printer port and it isn't finding something it wants btw)

While in the CMOS, does your motherboard have a boot sector virus protection on it ? - Disable this too - Boot sector viruses are virtually long gone and typically travel via the 1.44 Fdd or other older methods. Enabling can cause problems when adding certain software and of course, reinstalling OS's. I'm surprised they still bother with that one, but again, it's a legacy thing.

A few notes here if I may - As you say it's a new comp, but had no box - you did indeed default the CMOS when you got it, right ?
EG: Before adding your Operating System, you went into the CMOS and set everything to the factory defaults and saved changes ? (or defaulted it, then changed what you needed, then saved changes)
If not, the last chap may have set it to an odd / overclocked / unstable state and you may still be using those settings which is causing the problem.

Next, you say the machine seemed to add new hardware after a reboot. Are there any conflicts or unknown devices etc in Device Manager ?

Control Panel ===> System ===> Hardware ===> Device Manager

Look for red X's, yellow exclamation marks and the like

Software Side
============


Can you post a hijackthis log ? If I spot any suspected malware, I will get you to repost it in the malware section for viruses / spyware, etc. so one of the malware guys can have a look.
If it is software doing it, it may merely be an application causing it. I know of a few apps off the top of my head that I've seen cause this fault in the past.

Next, the System event log may be written to when the machine is freezing.

To check this, go here:

Control Panel === > Administrative Tools == > Event Viewer.

There will be 4 - 7 tabs on the top left.

Clear all these events first so we can 'start afresh'

To clear events in all categories, do this:

Right click each one, then click "Clear All Events" - Click no when it prompts to save them.

All cleared ? - ok, start using your pc normally - Then wait til it freezes.

As soon as it stutters, immediately go back to the event viewer and click each category - see which one has a warning or error and click on it. Typically, this will be in Applications or System

Maybe post what you find here.
Information ones can be ignored, but errors and warnings can show if something is wrong. If Windows is writing to the event log at these times, it may be in here.

================

As a final note, what sort of devices are plugged into the machine ?

EG: What external things are plugged in - EG:PS/2 mouse, Usb keyboard, Ipod's, 5.1 speakers, Printers, Cameras, etc

Also, are any using the front Usb ports or perhaps an external hub ?

For testing, maybe consider stripping it down a bit and unplugging unnecessary Usb devices - like Printers and things.
Speakers, keyboard, mouse, screen, NIC cables, are ok.

Let me know what you find.

Perhaps you could also post if there is anything else unusual that the machine has on it with respect to hardware - like a hardware/software Dongle (or key) for example.

Rog ..

Edited by wwarrior, 30 December 2008 - 06:48 PM.

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#9
MrSmartAlec

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Ok, again I couldn't find most of what you asked me to disable. There was no section labeled "Integrated Peripherals". I went down all of the sections looking for anything related to what you mentioned but the only thing I could find was on the "Main" section, which was that 1.44 floppy that I now have disabled (with no luck because it just did a freeze up again).

You made an interesting comment about my motherboard being open box and that the last "chap" may have changed it's settings that my rig doesn't agree with. I'm not too sure how I would check this because I don't know if I set the settings back to default as I had someone else setup my new system. That was good thinking though, I hadn't thought of that possibility.

I did what you said for the event log and found that the only triangle I got (after letting it freeze up a few times) was ONE yellow triangle with the description of "Dhcp". Everything else was information.

The device manager showed no errors.

As far as what's plugged into my system, I have a usb keyboard and mouse plugged into the back, and some Creative Labs headphones plugged into the front. And it doesn't make a difference whether or not they are plugged in as I've already tried that.

I'm not sure what you mean by a Hijackthis log.
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#10
wwarrior

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Just reading your posting again - I misunderstood thinking it froze in CMOS but you meant, of course, when back in Windows.
==================
Ahh - I just remembered where I had seen that fault before. It was also on an Asus motherboard and it was due to the onboard sound card being used. (It was a faulty series board) and I merely used an offboard sound card instead which solved that problem.

This was despite my trying drivers, etc etc and loads of other fixes.

Let's try this - disable your onboard sound card - Or, use another pci one instead of your onboard one (for now)

I will grab a manual for your board and then direct you to where the Com/LPT ports are in your Cmos and your sound card, etc.

In the meantime, maybe ask the person who built it if they did 'Default' or factory reset the CMOS. If not, perhaps the chip has been 'shined up' (overclocked) or the voltages have been played with.

Rog ..

Edited by wwarrior, 30 December 2008 - 08:33 PM.

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#11
MrSmartAlec

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Real quick,

Did you mean for me to disable that sound card now or wait until you got that manual? If you meant for me to disable it now, how would I go about doing that?

I'll get in touch with the guy who installed my stuff to find out if my settings have been defaulted.

Thanks.
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#12
wwarrior

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Did you mean for me to disable that sound card now or wait until you got that manual? If you meant for me to disable it now, how would I go about doing that?

Can you disable it now in the CMOS and then test it ?

You will have a hardware section (It is called Integrated peripherals on many boards but I know, not your one ;-)

The hardware section may be tucked under another section - Have a quick look - when you see the sound card, it will also be in the same section as the Com / Lpt ports.

Disable those things - but especially the sound card - I have a hunch.

Else, I will post back where to find this in a few minutes.

Rog ..

Edited by wwarrior, 30 December 2008 - 08:25 PM.

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#13
MrSmartAlec

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Ugh, sorry man, disabled the sound thing (the only thing related to sound that I could find anyway) and I just got another freeze up. I still have sound though...I guess that my headphones alone have their own sound system?

However, the only other thing listed along with this sound device I found was a bunch of LAN settings and maybe something else but nothing to do with a printer or coms. I found these under a section labeled "onboard device configuartion".

Edited by MrSmartAlec, 30 December 2008 - 08:43 PM.

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#14
wwarrior

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Getting manual now - 60 %, 61 % ... Ahh - here we are ..

Ok - This BIOS uses a top down hierarchy, so it is in a different place.

This is where the sound card and com ports are located.

Advanced CMOS

And the Sound card and Com Port is here:

Onboard Devices

Did you disable the onboard sound card from this section ?

Edit - Also, unplug your Usb headset too - I know it will be boring without sound for a bit ...

Edited by wwarrior, 30 December 2008 - 08:48 PM.

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#15
MrSmartAlec

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That's the one, unfortunately.
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