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Random Lock Ups


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#16
blingin67

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Touché, but as I said:

The whole modem thing though...You see, the modem has always physically been in my computer, even when it was working normally. I did not use the modem extensively until I came home and began using it to connect to the internet.


The modem was connecting to the internet and working normally, so I wasn't sure how a hardware problem with the modem could exist if it's working; and if it did exist, how it was locking up the computer. There was a software problem with the modem (which still exists) that was not affecting it's ability to work, but it may be locking up my computer. I wanted to fix that to see what it did.

In any case, I did uninstall the modem's drivers and removed it from the computer. The computer locked up again. Since removing the drivers and the modem removed the modem error on shutdown, the error evidently isn't causing the lockups either.

So, I uninstalled the sound card's drivers and removed it. The computer locked up again.

I can't remove the video card because I have no onboard video card, so if I removed the current video card, I'd have no where to hook up my monitor and see what I was doing. I did, however, uninstall the video card's drivers and restart. The computer locked up again.

I think I'm going to have an aneurism. :tazz:
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#17
blingin67

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Decided I would try to do a system restore...as it was gathering information to do the restore, my computer decided it would be absolutely hilarious to lock up. ;)

So, I restart it...and Windows won't load. Great, the #^%&^@! thing chooses the best time to lock up and screw everything up. SO I run my setup disks and choose to repair Windows...which basically leaves most stuff alone but reinstalls parts of Windows. THAT really messed things up, because programs that were altered by Service Packs 1 and 2 are now running on an OS with no Service Packs and acting strange. Evidently, repairing Windows involves removing the Service Packs but not telling your programs that it did it. I was trying to download the Service Pack updates when my computer locked up again, so I'm giving up for the night/morning.

Oh, and the computer also locked up during the Windows XP Repair several times; it had to restart the setup each time I rebooted. It locked up three times before it calmed down and I could finally completely repair Windows...but then, as mentioned above, the whole Service Pack conflict thing started.

I believe, in order to get around this Service Pack deal, I am going to format the drive and reinstall. Sure, I COULD restore the system back to a time when I didn't have those Service Packs, but look what happened the last time I tried to use System Restore. And reinstalling the Service Packs? Honestly, I don't think I can download the Service Packs on a dialup...Yes, I can stay online long enough, but this computer keeps randomly locking up, and I don't think it will ever download before the computer locks up. In any case, I feel that formatting and reinstalling will NOT solve the lockups. It locked up when setup was installing Windows...I wasn't even in Windows where it's settings or bad DLL's or out of date drivers or anything else could affect it. It was in setup for Christ's sake...

It either has something to do with my house, which I'm guessing it is since it started AS SOON as I moved home (but what the [bleep] could it be?), or some sort of hardware problem. Repairing Windows evidently has no effect on it, reinstalling drivers has no effect...it has to be either the hardware on the computer or something physical in the house, like outlets causing power surges..that's all I can think of. Any other ideas? :tazz:
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#18
admin

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Well it sounds as if it's defiantly a hardware problem. Not that I've never heard of wiring causing issues, but it's rare. If you wanted to connect it to a small UPS that would rule out power issues.

I would say it's time to get back to basics. Bench-test (uninstall from the case), just the motherboard, RAM, CPU, video card and hard drive. If it still locks up you probably have a bad motherboard or video card. Since Memtest passed without error, my money is on the video card. Really the only way to test is by swapping with a known good one. If it doesn't lockup, begin adding components one-by-one, until the offender is identified. If it works OK on the bench with everything installed, then you probably had a case short.

A repair install does remove Service Packs, but it shouldn't cause any stability or compatibility problems. I would say that's more than likely caused by the problems you had running the repair.
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#19
blingin67

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:tazz:

So, I formatted the computer, reinstalled Windows XP, had only the motherboard, memory, and video card in the computer...and it still locks up.

I can borrow someone else's video card for a bit...memory will probably be harder to find and borrow though. If it's not the memory or the video card, then how do I test the motherboard?

EDIT: I also moved the computer to a different electrical outlet in a different room to be sure it wasn't wiring somehow. Unless the wiring in the other room is also malfunctioning in the same way, it's not the wiring, because it has locked up in the other room as well.

Edited by blingin67, 07 June 2005 - 10:46 PM.

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#20
admin

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Did you remove everything from the case?

No real practical way to test a motherboard except to swap it with a known good one. Usually bad mobos will fail memtest86, or not boot at all (or even post).

Doubt it's the memory, I'd concentrate on the video card.

An alternative to swapping the video card may be to 'under-clock' the core and memory speeds, and see if it still locks up.

Edited by admin, 07 June 2005 - 11:00 PM.

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#21
blingin67

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Swapped the video card today...it still locked up. My current video card goes into the AGP slot, and the one I swapped it with goes into a PCI slot, so it's not the AGP slot either, and it's not a bad PCI slot because it locks up when the video card I have is in AGP and nothing is in PCI.

I didn't remove everything from the case; I can try it, but I've checked all of the connections, nothing seems to be loose or unplugged. Removing and plugging back up each component would only insure that nothing is loose or unplugged, or so it would seem that's all it would do, unless there is something that uninstalling and reinstalling hardware does that I do not know about.
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#22
SeventhDS

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I have had very sililar problems. Heres my system
Abit sd7-533 mobo
pentium 4 1.6
512 ddr (single stick)
in pci slots:
3-com nic
sound blaster audigy
pinnacle video capture card w/ break out box
ati radeon sdr
Nvidia geforce4 mx 4000
AGP
Nvidia Geforce4 tI 4200
wd 40 gig
wd 80 gig
tdk veloce-cd
Hp cdr-8100
various usb devices

For the past month, my system would just freeze. SDOmetimes it would take a while, sometimes during boot up. IT never seemed to have a specific trigger. I have redone OS numerous times, as well as repositioned every pci card, as well as run with every combination of cards, down to just one video card and nothing else. Talk about frustrating, it even locked up when installing windows, about 10 minutes into it. Ive searched and searched all over to find answers, and nothing has worked. Ive changed psu's. The only thing I havent done is change mobo/proc. That was my next step. Keep in mind, like the rest of the reports ive seen, computer has workled fine for over a year with exact same configuration and without a problem. This just started happening.

So I went into bios as a last resort. everything looked right. I reset values to optimized, reflased, still the same problem. But in a last ditch effort weent through and read the manual and foud another option I hadnt tried. The option on my bios is under the standard cmos screen, and the option was "HALT ON:"
mine was set to "ALL ERRORS"
Diffrent options are "ALL, BUT KEYBOARD, BUT DISK, BUT KEY/DISK,NO ERRORS"
I changed mine to no errors, and saved and rebooted.
I am now on the 27th hour since my computer has crashed, where it has been crashing without fail within 5 minutes of use. If you all have this option, try it out and let me know if it helps. Im not sure what errors are being overlooked right now, so unsure if something is going wrong,....all i know is i can finally get some stuff done !!!!

I also disabled the screensaver, and turned of the power management for my monitor, kept the hard drives at 10 minutes. not sure if it really matters, but I dont want to change it back to test it. Its nice being able to give the reset buttona break, insted of breaking it like I was getting ready to do.

BTW, my name is John, I just came across this board on my search for help, and I just registered to pass on what worked for me, so that is why my post count is only 1 lol

Edited by SeventhDS, 09 June 2005 - 01:33 PM.

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#23
blingin67

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Admin: Sorry about the misunderstanding. I was not familiar with the term bench test, and when reading over your post the first time I thought you meant to uninstall and reinstall the components into the case. I now see that you wanted me to run the computer without the case.

Just curious, how would the case have a short? The only cables I have in the case that connect to anything on the motherboard are two USB cables for the front USB ports, LED power cables, a speaker cable, and the power cables for the reset and power buttons. Would a short with those be sending voltage to the motherboard? If not, a short would merely mean that the USB, LED's, speaker, and/or buttons wouldn't work sometimes. Not sure how they would lock up a computer unless they are somehow sending back voltage to the motherboard.

John: I've never had my computer lock up when booting. I have only seen it lock up in Windows, or during Windows setup. However, my computer may be experiencing similar problems and has just not locked up during the boot up process yet.

In any case, I swapped memory today with some known working memory; it still locked up, so I know it's not the memory. What's left then? PSU, CPU, hard drive, and mobo. I took off the heatsink and unplugged the processor. Cleaned off some dust that was under there. Cleaned off the thermal grease, even though it was still soft and seemed good, and applied some more, then plugged the processor back in. Started my computer up, and it has not locked up for 5 hours. If it does lock up, I will try John's suggestion, as it is easier than taking out the motherboard and running the computer outside of the case for a bench test. If John's suggestion doesn't work either, then I'll do the bench test. And if THAT doesn't work, then I should be able to hook my hard drive up to a friend's computer and boot it from there. If it locks up there, then it's the hard drive. If not, then it could still be the PSU, CPU, or mobo. :tazz:
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#24
blingin67

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Yet another update...

I removed my hard drive and replaced it with a friend's. I ran their hard drive in my computer. It still locked up...

So, we know it's not the modem, sound card, video card, DVD drive, CD drive, floppy drive, hard drive, or IDE cable to the hard drive (I swapped cables too). PSU, CPU, and motherboard are left. I'm going to do some burn in tests with SiSoftware's Sandra. I'm afraid of doing them since there is a warning for their burn in tests that state that any hardware with weaknesses may be damaged during this test...but I don't have much else of a choice. I have no PSU, CPU, or motherboard to swap out. ;)

So, I'll do the tests. Not sure what will happen, whether it will show negative results or if it will lock up during the test on the piece of hardware that is failing. I'd rather it show negative results, because it could lock up at any time really. I could be testing the CPU, and if my motherboard is the culprit, it may still lock up during the CPU test and make me think it's the CPU. :tazz: Eh well, I guess I'll have to try it out and see...
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#25
blingin67

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Okay, so, evidently, the version of Sandra I downloaded doesn't have the Burn In Wizard module on it. The icon is there, but it tells me it's not in that version. I'll try to download a different version if I can tonight, but that will take hours on the laptop, so I won't be able to run those tests until tomorrow...that is, if I can find a different version of Sandra that has the Burn In tests.

I attempted John's advice and set the Halt On option in CMOS to No Errors. I am no CMOS expert, but I think that only halts your computer on boot up if it finds an error. In any case, I set it to No Errors, but it still locked up.

I'm going to attempt to flash my BIOS. I'm wary of doing it because my computer just may decide to lock up in the middle of flashing and screw everything up. But, again, I don't have much of a choice.

Oh, by the way John, I wouldn't set your hard drives to go off after 10 minutes. Most people set it to never. Again, I'm no expert, but I've heard many people say that turning your hard drives off and on can cause wear and tear. They are mechanical devices with moving parts, and having them set to go off after 10 minutes only to be turned back on in 15 or 20 turns them off and back on an unnecessary amount of times. It would be like turning your car off at every red light and restarting it when it turns green 20 seconds later, when you usually only turn it off when you park it for a longer amount of time.
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#26
blingin67

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Finally got a power supply to swap...that wasn't it, it still locked up with the known working power supply.

So, I was going to take everything out of the case and run it outside of the case, even though my case is non-conductive (as my voltage meter confirmed) and there are no connections to anything in the case except the front USB ports, power buttons, and LED's.

Upon taking it out, I noticed that there were 9 capacitors that were bulged, and some of them were busted, around the CPU...all 6.3 volt 1500 microfarad capacitors. So, I did a search on motherboard capacitors, and sure enough, there are plenty of people who complain of reboots, lockups, and other random problems that were caused by busted capacitors.

I ordered 10 capacitors and replaced the 9 that were busted. The capacitors cost me 50 cents a piece and the shipping was about 5 dollars. The computer works great now, just like it did before it started locking up.

Rumor is that there are batches of bad capacitors that were produced about a year or two ago. Some say it was an oversight by companies that didn't identify a faulty formula for the electrolytic capacitors, some say it was companies skimping on materials and making cheap capacitors. Either way, it seems to be a fairly prominent problem. If anyone is having problems with the performance of their PC, I'd suggest opening the case and looking at the capacitors around the CPU. It's worth a shot, and much cheaper than buying a new motherboard...

Edited by blingin67, 01 July 2005 - 07:48 PM.

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#27
Frosty47

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Hi,
I seem to experience a similar lock-up problem. Every other time I turn on my computer or restart it the mouse and keyboard simply lock’s up and I have to restart the pc. I thought this was caused by a virus so I reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled OS. After that everything went smooth but not until I installed MSI motherboard drivers that brought back the same problem. I tried uninstalling the drivers but even after I did the problem was still there. The mouse and keyboard just keeps on locking up every other time I start up my pc. I also got all the updates including SP2 (after installing the drivers) but the problem is still there, can some one please help me out with this issue.

Thanks,


System Info: Windows XP Pro SP2; Mobo: MSI K8N Neo Platinum; VPU: ATI Radeon 9250 128mb; HD: 80Gig WD 7200rpm ATA, 80Gig MAXTOR 7200rpm ATA; RAM: 512mb PC3200 (CAS2.5) Generic RAM.
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#28
blingin67

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Well, since it seems to happen when you install those drivers, I would suggest finding updated versions of those drivers online. Of course, I am assuming that you are installing these drivers from a disk...if you are already getting the drivers online, I would suggest installing an older driver. Usually sites keep older drivers on their driver page in case new drivers cause problems.

Since you've formatted and reinstalled Windows, it could certainly be a hardware issue. I'd suggest unhooking every unneeded drive, such as CD drives, floppy drives, etc.. Basically, you want to only have your motherboard, CPU, and hard drive connected. If you don't have an onboard video card, then you can use your current video card. If it doesn't lock up with just these basic pieces of hardware connected, then it must be one of those pieces of hardware that you aren't running, like a CD drive or something. You can add one piece back at a time and see what piece locks it up. However, I doubt it being a hardware thing since it only locks up when you reinstall those MSI drivers. It's worth a try anyways...

Now, if neither of those suggestions fix it...I would suggest looking on your motherboard for bad capacitors. Granted, just because it was my problem doesn't mean it is yours, but...if the lockups are random, that sounds like a symptom of bad capacitors...or, really, any failing part on the motherboard, but capacitors are easier to detect and replace, and there has been a lot of them going bad recently. My computer had me stumped for months. While I was testing out different pieces of hardware to figure out if any of them were causing the lockups, it might run for 76 hours straight with my CD drive connected, then when I connect my DVD drive, it would lock up within 5 minutes. So, thinking it was my DVD drive, I'd disconnect it, but then it would lock up within 5 minutes again. So, basically, it could be a coincidence that the computer locks up when you install those drivers and it is actually bad capacitors.

Anyways, I think it may be the drivers. If not, my next best bet would be capacitors. If not, then you'll have to do the hardware test piece by piece...
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#29
Frosty47

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Hi, Thanks for the reply. ;)

I very much doubt that this lock-up prbolem is caused by hardware, I am 80% sure it's the drivers that came with the CD. The only problem I seem to face is completly removing the old drivers from my system. I mean I can remove them using add/remove utility, but I am prety sure the drivers still remaine in the system's registry. If I am able to completly remove the drivers and than install a new coppy of the net, instead of the CD this might solve the problem if not, than i'll just buy a new motherboard :tazz:


Thanks
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#30
blingin67

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Before you buy a new motherboard, you could always format again and reinstall the OS, assuming you can't uninstall them completely. Then, instead of installing the drivers from your CD, allow Windows Update to find drivers online for you. If it can't find any, you can always go to the manufacturer's website and download their newest drivers.
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