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Grinding, Freezing and Slow Performance


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#1
lurker97kr

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Hey guys!

So these past few days I've been playing Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on my PC for many hours a day until one day it suddenly froze (after about 20 hours of playing it). I restarted my PC and played the game again before it froze shortly after. So I just restarted my PC and used it normally without playing Oblivion and it seemed fine really.

Now today when I was using my PC and streaming a movie on the net, the movie suddenly stops and there's a loud grinding noise. I don't know if this came from the speaker or from the PC itself but it freaked me out and I restarted my PC as fast as possible.

Ever since that grinding incident happened, I've noticed my PC is behaving a bit different. Whenever I run a lot of tasks (listening to music, while using Word and browsing the internet) one or more of these tasks suddenly stop responding and I can't do much other than move the cursor around and attempt to close the windows, but it's sorta frozen and takes more than 15 seconds to register that I want this window closed. I end up restarting my PC to fix that problem. I've also noticed that whenever I'm watching something on the internet it stops and Firefox turns to not responding.

Now I'm worried, I've looked up answers and many say that my hard drive is failing (since grinding only occurs in the hard drive). But I was wondering, since I have an integrated graphics card and was playing Oblivion (on very low settings) on it, has this affected my integrated graphics card and CPU in any way because of the increased usage? Can integrated graphics cards like external ones, burn out as well?

I'm using it right now to type this post, the grinding hasn't happened again but I just had to close a TV stream because of it suddenly "not responding". Maybe if the grinding happens again, I'll switch off my speaker and see which part of my PC it originates from. I'd hate to have the problem be with the processor since the motherboard and processor are not very old (maybe 2 years now), but the HDD is quite old (perhaps 5+ years) and my computer did get struck by an electric surge once caused by lightning that led to sparks flying out of the PSU, but the technician replaced or fixed it and this lightning incident happened more than half an year ago.

Here are my details

Intel DG41RQ Motherboard
Pentium Duo Core E5400
Windows 7 (Installed not more than a month ago, was using Windows XP all this while)
2 GB RAM
Integrated Graphics and Audio

Is there some sort of test I can perhaps run to see if my processor or motherboard isn't affected and it's only my HDD?

Thanks you guys.

Edit: Just moments after I made this post, I was browsing Facebook and Firefox stopped responding again and took quite some time to display the Close Program option.

I also did notice one more thing, whenever I open my computer, it takes maybe 10 seconds to display the items. I clicked on program files and it took around 15 seconds to display all the folders (I don't even have many, I've used only 30 GB of my hard drive.

Furthermore, when I was transferring files from my HDD to my external HDD it took way longer than usual. Its usually quite fast, but it took more than 20 seconds just for the progress bar to start moving!

Hope this helps too.

Edited by lurker97kr, 27 June 2013 - 01:11 PM.

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#2
lurker97kr

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I'm sorry, but your advertising leads me to question the reliability of your response.
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#3
phillpower2

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Hello lurker97kr

The grinding that you can hear could be a bearing on a cooling fan and possibly that of the PSU, I suggest that we look into this possibility first but can I ask that you check out the common sounds that the various brands of HDD may make if they are having issues and let us know if there is any similarities http://datacent.com/...rive_sounds.php

When you provide an update can you tell us the brand and model name or number of your PSU - which definitely should have been replaced by a responsible tech if it had sparked in any way;

Download Speedfan and install it. Once it's installed, run the program and post here the information it shows. The information I want you to post is the stuff that is circled in the example picture I have attached.
If you are running on a vista machine, please go to where you installed the program and run the program as administrator.

Posted Image
(this is a screenshot from a vista machine)

To capture and post a screenshot;

Click on the ALT key + PRT SCR key..its on the top row..right hand side..now click on start...all programs...accessories...paint....left click in the white area ...press CTRL + V...click on file...click on save...save it to your desktop...name it something related to the screen your capturing... BE SURE TO SAVE IT AS A .JPG ...otherwise it may be to big to upload... then after typing in any response you have... click on browse...desktop...find the screenshot..select it and click on the upload button...then on the lower left...after it says upload successful...click on add reply like you normally would.

Depending on the results we may need to run further software for comparison http://www.cpuid.com.../hwmonitor.html

Screenshot instructions are provided to assist those that may read this topic but are not yet aware of the “how to”.
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#4
lurker97kr

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Hello, phillpower2. Thank you for your reply.

I did go through many of the sounds on the website you linked. Sadly none of them sound like the grinding noise I heard from my PC. I haven't been using my PC much either so I haven't heard the sound again. To be honest apart from gaming, I do a lot more convenient browsing on my tablet, but that's only because I'm enjoying my summer holidays and soon it'll be the season of university assignments, many excel worksheets and word documents that need to be opened in unison which crucially requires a healthy computer. So first of all thank you for trying to help me. :)

I don't know the model of my PSU, but I did take a snap shot of it and I've uploaded it to imgur. Here's the link -> http://i.imgur.com/lHtZhIO.jpg It seems to be an ATX-C350A.
I must also inform you that my PC isn't branded, my dad and I built it from scratch buying all the parts and having it assembled at the local computer technician's service front.

As you requested, I've taken a screenshot of speedfan and uploaded it on imgur. Here's the link -> http://i.imgur.com/DF2ttSC.jpg This was after perhaps 15 to 20 minutes of usage and it was a cold night. Maybe 28 to 30 degrees Celsius? (In my country, that's cold. Haha)

I've also attached the two pictures, in case Imgur goes down.

PS: I'll attempt attaching a speedfan screenshot when my computer starts acting up and many programs begin not responding.

Attached Thumbnails

  • xl4WZGez.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Gi86ul4ncy.jpg
  • Speedfan Report.jpg

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#5
lurker97kr

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Just used my PC to play a bit of Oblivion. It ran well for one hour and then promptly froze again. I restarted my PC and took a screenshot of speedfan again. I guess this should help. I feel like the PC's acting up a bit right now, even typing this message is sluggish in some regard. A few of the words didn't appear as immediately as I typed it out. Of course this could be due to many factors. Although even when the computer froze not more than 10 minutes ago, the grinding didn't happen again. Perhaps I should use my PC without the cover on to find out if there's anything blocking a fan when (if ever) the grinding occurs?

EDIT: The computer just snapped to it's frozen state again. All programs remained not responding and I could only use the mouse with the mouse pointer displaying the round blue circling loading icon of windows 7. After around 20 seconds of being frozen it just snapped back to life again. Speedfan doesn't seemed to have changed rapidly from what's attached in my post right now. A few temps have even lowered.

I wish PCs would just display "[Respective Part] has a problem, please replace it." Life would be so much easier with that.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Speedfan 2.jpg

Edited by lurker97kr, 28 June 2013 - 04:11 PM.

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#6
phillpower2

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Hello lurker97kr

Your temps look fine in the Speedfan screenshot which goes some way to ruling out overheating but not completely as it could be the PSU itself heating up, the voltage readings however are inconclusive as the +12V rail is showing as being low and some other readings are missing, please run HWMonitor and again provide a screenshot for us http://www.cpuid.com.../hwmonitor.html

If you have important data on the HDD that has not yet been backed up I suggest that you do so now as we need to test your HDD, the testing is designed to stress the HDD which can result in a flaky drive failing, not ideal I know but the difference is that you are prepared for it as opposed to the HDD failing unexpectedly and you lose irreplaceable data.

Go to Start then to Run/Search
Type in compmgmt.msc and click Enter
On the left side click on Disk Management
On the right side you will see your hard drive.
Now I need you to take a screenshot and attach it to your next reply.

Next run the HDDs diagnostics tool;
Make sure you select the tool that is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive http://www.tacktech....ay.cfm?ttid=287
Depending on the program it'll create a bootable floppy or a bootable DVD/CD.
If the downloaded file is the .iso type use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn the .iso file to a DVD/CD disk depending on your OS (select "Write image file to disc" option) and make the disk bootable.

NB: I note that there is only one fan rpm reading showing and that your CPU temp is fine which suggests that it is not the CPU cooling fan that has issue/s.
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#7
lurker97kr

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Hello

I'm posting this in advance in case my HDD fails during the stress test and I'm unable to use my PC. Here is what you requested.

Attached Thumbnails

  • HW Monitor.jpg
  • Disk Management.jpg

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#8
phillpower2

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Thanks for the update lurker97kr :thumbsup:

Your HDD appears ok but the +12V rail on the PSU is showing the same low reading, can you check the voltages in the BIOS for us, please see below;

NB: BIOS voltage readings.

The readings are not conclusive in the BIOS as the computer is under the least amount of load, if they are higher or lower than what they should be though it does suggest a PSU problem.


If you are unsure how to find the information in the BIOS let us know please.
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#9
lurker97kr

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Hey there phillpower2

Didn't run the HD stress test yet since I saw your reply before I did. Here's what you asked for. I hope it's the right thing.

I also opened up my PC case and checked my hard drive brand. It's a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 80 GB ULTRA ATA +5V 0.72 A +12 V 0.52 A. When I used my PC without the case on I did notice the hard drive producing a "scratching" noise. I had to put my ear near the hard drive to hear it. And interestingly enough when the computer temporarily froze and all the programs stopped responding this scratching noise stopped, only to start again when the computer unfroze and all the programs snapped back to responding.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Bios HW Monitoring.jpg

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#10
lurker97kr

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So I downloaded SeaTools for Windows and ran every test in the Basic Tests section. The log file is attached.

I'm surprised all the tests passed. Did I run any stress tests? Perhaps I should use the bootable CD/DVD versions?

EDIT: I've used the bootable DOS version as well and I ran a long test. The resulting log file is attached. The test was passed.

Attached Thumbnails

  • SeaTools Log.jpg
  • SeaTools DOS Log.jpg

Edited by lurker97kr, 29 June 2013 - 08:05 AM.

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#11
phillpower2

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Thanks for the comprehensive update lurker97kr :thumbsup:

It is odd but not unheard of for a HDD that has issues to pass the extended test, the scratching noise that you describe can be caused by the actuator arm Read/Write head coming into contact with the platter but it can also be caused by an electrical problem which in turn produces heat http://www.computerh.../a/actuator.htm

Can I ask how many cooling fans you have in the case as I noted in the BIOS that no chassis fan was detected.

The voltages and temps are ok in the BIOS but as explained earlier those readings are not conclusive as the computer is not under load, if the issue occurs again quickly check the readings in the BIOS as soon as the computer becomes usable.
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#12
lurker97kr

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Hey phillpower2

I used my computer for half the day yesterday and ever since I ran all those tests including the Fix All test I haven't incurred any of the problems I wrote about earlier. Apart from maybe a lag here or there, everything's been fine. Even when I played Oblivion it didn't freeze like it usually does after one hour or half a hour. I'm sure this must be just an exception and if any of the freezing or the grinding occurs again, I'll be sure to switch the computer on and take a look at the BIOS readings.

Although from your post the scratching noise does sound like it could evolve into something serious, so it's better if I replace my HDD right? I've been looking to buy a new bigger one anyway.

I believe I have two cooling fans. One for the PSU and one for the motherboard. I've taken a picture of the system if you'd like to see yourself.

EDIT: I was playing Oblivion just now and the game froze (couldn't move, all action on screen stopped and the ingame music went dead) again (so much for the Fix All fixing everything) but instead of immediately restarting my PC, I let it remain frozen for some time wondering if it was similar to that of Firefox not responding and then snapping back to life. And I was right! After 20 seconds or so the game snapped back to life and I was able to move around and do whatever and the ingame music returned too. I did notice one thing, every time the game freezes, simply seconds before, the ingame music will stop (still allowing me to move) as if warning me that the game is going to freeze and then the entire thing freezes.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Inside System.jpg

Edited by lurker97kr, 30 June 2013 - 05:02 AM.

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#13
phillpower2

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Hi lurker97kr

Did you manage to check the BIOS readings after the last lock up.

I would look to improve the cooling set up inside the case before or as well as upgrading the HDD, for effective cooling you should have an induction fan at the front of the case to draw in cool and clean air and an exhaust fan at the rear of the case to expel the hot air, at present all that you have is the CPU cooling fan** which is only moving around warm air inside the case and this is not efficient, the PSU does not help with the internal cooling as it only has it`s own rear exhaust fan.

Check out your case for adding additional cooling fans including the PCI card type for the rear of the case which does not appear to have the option to add a rear chassis fan, at the front of the case you may be able to add one in front of the HDD.

**How dusty are the fins on the heatsink below the CPU cooling fan as they look a bit dusty in your screenshot.
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#14
lurker97kr

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Hi lurker97kr

Did you manage to check the BIOS readings after the last lock up.

I would look to improve the cooling set up inside the case before or as well as upgrading the HDD, for effective cooling you should have an induction fan at the front of the case to draw in cool and clean air and an exhaust fan at the rear of the case to expel the hot air, at present all that you have is the CPU cooling fan** which is only moving around warm air inside the case and this is not efficient, the PSU does not help with the internal cooling as it only has it`s own rear exhaust fan.

Check out your case for adding additional cooling fans including the PCI card type for the rear of the case which does not appear to have the option to add a rear chassis fan, at the front of the case you may be able to add one in front of the HDD.

**How dusty are the fins on the heatsink below the CPU cooling fan as they look a bit dusty in your screenshot.


Hey phillpower, I'm afraid I forgot to check the BIOS readings after that lock up. I tried to wait for another lock up but strangely it never locked up. I even played Oblivion for around 7 hours today finishing the main quest (I'm on Summer Vacation :P) and it never locked up during any of those 7 hours. It worked fine and perfectly.

Also, I realize my PC doesn't have sufficient cooling. Until recently I've started taking the side cover off for when I'm using my PC and putting it back on when I'm not. I hope this is a substitute for having to dish out on a new casing or cooler fan.

Oh and the heatsink isn't dusty at all. I'm afraid that's just the odd brownish colour that appears in pictures taken from my phone camera.
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#15
phillpower2

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Hello lurker97kr - thanks for the update :thumbsup:

Computers can be so fickle sometimes :yes:

A simple but effective cooling option http://www.newegg.co...N82E16835888309
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