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Leifgreen requests help for system instability


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#1
Leifgreen

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Hello there, Geeks to Go! I'm here to request help once again for a recent problem that has occurred on my family's home computer.

At random times the computer will suddenly reset itself!
It will reset itself when inactive. (However, the computer has once reset itself while a program was running.) But after this event, the computer will no longer detect the Hard Disk nor boot until after a few minutes of leaving the computer shut-down. After this short timeout, re-powering will result in a clean boot; but the resetting continues.

Is this a hardware problem? I'm not sure.

The following information is Extra, and I hope it will help:
1. We have recently installed our first wireless router (Belkin G wireless router), which is transmitting WI-FI to the family's wireless devices, but mainly for the other PC running XP.
Both computers have Spyware protection installed, but the networks are only protected by Window's Firewall; we have not setup any third-party network defenses.

2. Even before the problems above, this next event has occurred for quite some time now. After rebooting the computer and after the Welcome screen, the OS will not allow any Start-menu interaction until after Windows plays the "Windows XP Startup" tune, which doesn't play until after a few minutes of waiting. I say that it hangs temporarily, than resumes normal behavior. Such behavior has been present since a malware attack some time ago. The malware problem has been countered and conquered due to the unforgettable help of you friendly Geeks to Go helpers! Thank you guys so much!

I hope this information will be helpful. ^_^

System Specifications:
Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition

Thanks again! If there is any further information needed,just let me know! All right, be Blessed! ^_^

- Little Preacher Man.

Edited by Leifgreen, 28 December 2009 - 07:15 PM.

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#2
phillipcorcoran

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Random re-boots can have several causes, but it's usually a hardware problem.

The hard disk may be starting to fail, so straight away you should save all user files (documents, pictures etc.) to another drive or DVD if you have a DVD-writer.

Then find out what brand the hard disk is on your family PC (Device Manager should help here) and download the disk diagnostic tool from their website. The downloaded file will create a bootable floppy or CD to boot the PC from, and the testing tool will start. For the most common brands of hard drive, these are the links:

Seagate/Maxtor
http://www.seagate.c...000dd04090aRCRD

Samsung
http://www.samsung.c...port_HUTIL.html

Western Digital
http://support.wdc.c...s...=30&lang=en

Edited by phillipcorcoran, 29 December 2009 - 03:36 PM.

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#3
Leifgreen

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Random re-boots can have several causes, but it's usually a hardware problem.

The hard disk may be starting to fail, so straight away you should save all user files (documents, pictures etc.) to another drive or DVD if you have a DVD-writer.

Then find out what brand the hard disk is on your family PC (Device Manager should help here) and download the disk diagnostic tool from their website. The downloaded file will create a bootable floppy or CD to boot the PC from, and the testing tool will start. For the most common brands of hard drive, these are the links:

Seagate/Maxtor
http://www.seagate.c...000dd04090aRCRD

Samsung
http://www.samsung.c...port_HUTIL.html


Thank you much, phillipcorcoran, for that wonderful, reinforcing reply and those links! These random restarts may have indeed been a hardware related problem. So...

This problem may be resolved.

Believing that the IDE Ribbon cable of the primary hard disk was going bad (this computer has been happily used for many years now), I thought about switching it with another one.
Through yet another God-inspired idea, I changed the (what kimsland of neowin.net shared by use of an image [Thanks a bunch!]) Standard 4-pin power connector (but I've learned through some google-ing that these connectors are called many things: a "Molex 4-pin connector," and others-- although, please note I could be wrong; I'm still learning) with another one that was not being used by any other device.
Since the switch, there has been no problems, resetting, or failures!
I believe it may have been an electrical problem with one of the wires of the 4-pin power connector.

Thank you all so much for your patience and all your wonderful help! Be Blessed, and thanks again! This website has never let me down! ^_^

Again, thank you very much, phillipcorcoran, for your reply has reinforced my guessing. I'm still learning so much about computers, and at times I am unsure if my theories and methods are correct. You have been a great help! THank you so much! Be Blessed! ^_^

- Little preacher man.

Edited by Leifgreen, 29 December 2009 - 11:24 PM.

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#4
123Runner

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Thanks for letting us know.
Although I have never run across the molex being a problem because they are really tight, but anything is a possibility these days.
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#5
Leifgreen

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The problem may not have been the Molex after all! But the problem may be resolved.
After replacing the Molex connector with another that was available within the computer, all seemed repaired and well. A few days later, the problems began to occur again--but worse. BSOD Stop Errors (Blue screen of Death, or "Windows Stop Errors") also began to frequent the system and leave it unusable! We left the computer shutdown.
Now believing that the Hard disk was failing, we considered purchasing a brand new one. That is, until...

Through yet another God-inspired idea, changing the hard-disk from Master to Slave has repaired the problem and made for some interesting results!

Solution:
To ready our computer for the new hard-drive that was supposed to replace the current one, I switched the position of the disk from the "Primary, or Master" connector on the IDE/ATA ribbon cable to the "Secondary, or Slave" connector. (Note: I do believe that the cable being referred to may be an Ultra DMA IDE/ATA ribbon cable. At the time of this message, I'm not sure.) This was yet another God-inspired idea!
Amazing results have are now seen since this change, and it has left me amazed!
There have been no errors, including Stop Errors, and, most strange of all, the computer's speed and boot-up time have improved drastically!
This all happened about five days ago, perhaps, and no problems have presented themselves since.

Note to reader: Though, in what is said above, the primary Hard disk drive is set to Slave, the computer detects it as Master because it is the only disk installed. I believe the fact that the primary disk is located on the Slave connector is not what increased the system performance: the performance boost may have been a result of that the Slave connector for this computer's IDE/ATA ribbon cable is functioning well while the Master connector may be growing bad.
Because I'm not sure about this, I could be very wrong, and I would love to hear about your experiences in this subject! ^_^


This experience has introduced a few new questions: Was it the IDE/ATA cable itself, it's connector, or something else? Can one connector on the IDE cable be bad, yet the others functional?
Ah, I love learning new things!

I hope this thread helps many, if not all, who read it. Please feel free to correct me in any area which I am mistaken; I'd love to learn more!

Thanks again, everybody! And be Blessed! ^_^

- Little preacher man.

Edited by Leifgreen, 09 January 2010 - 08:01 PM.

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#6
123Runner

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If there is only 1 hard drive on a ide cable it should be in the master position on the cable. Usually cable select on the jumper will work, but that usually depends on whether the cable is 40 conductor or 80 conductor cable.

With the 80 conductor cable, the drive would normally be in the master position on the cable and the jumper would be cable select.

The 40 conductor would sometimes with the jumper in cable select and the drive in master position, but not always. In that case the jumper would be master.
A second drive would be in the slave position on the cable and the jumper set for slave position.
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