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Win XP system crashes on boot up


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#1
nasdaqer

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Hi there -- hoping that someone can offer me some advice on how to proceed. My system crashes upon start up. Sometimes it makes it into the windows XP splash screen, but typically its much before that -- usually about 15 - 20 seconds in. I have tried using boot utilites, but as soon as I start to run any sort of diagnostics, the system totally locks up.

I did try swapping out the RAM as well as trying to boot from my secondary HD, but to no avail. My other thought is maybe the processor is overheating? The fans are all running -- the proc, video card, and case fans all OK. I haven't installed anything in a long time, so I don't think its software / virus related. Also, the problem has been coming in for a while. When I would have the computer on for longer than 20 mins, it would lockup -- CTRL-ALT-DEL did noting. Desktop would show everything, but keyboard and mouse wouldn't provide any input.

What to try next?

system specs: Asus P5GD2 mobo, 4gb crucial DDR2, winXP, P4 3.0ghz
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#2
Digerati

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Can you boot into the BIOS without it locking up? Safe Mode? This could be a number of things. RAM, but you tested that. So I would look at the graphics card, but I always want to know if I am supplying good power, so I tend to start with swapping in a good PSU. Heat does not normally cause problems in the first few seconds, unless the CPU fan stopped, or there was no thermal paste. The fans are spinning and no thermal paste would have been a problem from day 1.

Make sure the interior is clean of heat trapping dust. Inspect the motherboard for bulging or leaking electrolytic capacitors. These failed or failing capacitors are a common cause of sudden, but seemingly random system lock ups and reboots. The capacitors look like tall soda cans, many of which surround the CPU socket.

All older motherboards, and many of today's less expensive motherboards use electrolytic capacitors containing a liquid electrolyte. Failing (including flawed and/or abused/over-heated) capacitors literally bulge at the seams due to excessive internal pressures. Extreme (and very rare) cases result in a firecracker type explosion that can really stink up a room. Typically, electrolyte just oozes from the pressure relief point, which appears as a symbol or letter stamped in the top of the capacitor casing. The electrolyte can be caustic to motherboards and flesh. Look for white to dark-brown, dried liquid or foam on the tops or bottoms of the capacitors. Bulging capacitors are a sign leakage is about to occur.

A motherboard with bulging or leaky capacitors can be repaired, but often it is more cost effective in the long run to replace the motherboard.

Be sure to first power down, unplug the computer, and keep yourself discharged by touching the bare metal of the case before reaching in.
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#3
nasdaqer

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gotcha -- thanks for the prompt response! Just ordered a new PSU from NewEgg, so I wll try that out when I get it.
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#4
Digerati

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Whoa! I did not mean for you to order a new one!
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#5
nasdaqer

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No worries -- I was wondering myself if it was the power supply. Turns out its not. New power supply in the case, and the same problems. How can I tell if its the processor or the mobo?
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#6
Digerati

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How can I tell if its the processor or the mobo?

You can't - not without risking another CPU.

Any beeps during boot?
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#7
nasdaqer

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yes -- all the normal beeps. I have the Ulitmate Boot Disk in, and I can get through the BIOS, the all the splash screens and even into the main menu for the Boot Disk, but as soon as any tests start, the computer shuts off
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#8
Digerati

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If you can boot into the BIOS then the CPU would appear to be fine. Please read my previous replies. You might test your RAM using one of the following programs. Both require you to create and boot to a bootable floppy disk or CD to run the diagnostics. Using the floppy method is generally easier (and another reason to include floppy drives in new builds). However, the CD method is just as effective at detecting RAM problems. Allow the diagnostics to run for several passes or even overnight. You should have no reported errors.

Windows Memory Diagnostic - see the easy to follow instructions under Quick Start Information.
or
MemTest86+ (for more advanced users) - an excellent how-to guide is available here.


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#9
nasdaqer

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Thanks -- I will make that my next step. I did swap out the 2 memory sticks, swapping spots on the mobo as well as running with just 1 at a time.

Are there any mobo specific tests / things I can look for?
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#10
Digerati

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You could try UltimateBoot CD.

Edited by Digerati, 26 June 2009 - 10:18 AM.

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#11
nasdaqer

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Tried that already. Crashes whenever any tests start
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#12
rshaffer61

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New build or old system?
Name brand system or custom built?
How old is the system?
If no warranty open up and check fans. even if they are turning clean them out. Compressed air and if really dirty then use a Q-tip.
If not in warranty may try testing MOBO by disconnecting everything but PSU, KB, Mouse and monitor. Bootup and see if it restarts then.
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#13
nasdaqer

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thanks - will try that right now
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#14
nasdaqer

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Now the computer doesn't even stay in the BIOS longer than a minute or so. Is my mobo toast or do I need a new processor?
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#15
rshaffer61

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It's hard to tell which it could be. If cpu is damaged it could be causing the issue. The problem also is the MOBO could be faulty also.
Did you disconnect everything from the MOBO but the items I suggested and the reboot happens even faster?
How about the other questions I asked?

New build or old system?
Name brand system or custom built?
How old is the system?


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