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Diagnosing a hardware problem

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Dubber Dan

Dubber Dan


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I'm running XP Pro SP1 fully fully patched except for SP2 with 896MB memory, Athlon XP cpu and 2 hdd's. One is a 40GB IDE drive partitioned as a 10GB c: boot drive and 30GB data drive, the other is a 160GB SATA drive connected using a PCI SATA card. Geforce 2 GTS video card and the usual array of cd/dvd/floppy.

I use Firefox as my browser so should be pretty safe from spyware etc, am up-to-date with AVG and scanns are clear. Spybot and Ad Aware are clear and Spyware Blaster protects me the odd occassion I use IE.

I'm getting some real probs with system freezes, auto reboots, etc. Also having real problems with windows seeing the SATA drive. The SATA card seems to be detected fine but no sign of the drive.

There doesn't seem to be any proper pattern to the crashes, can be soon after boot up or after a while of use. No pattern as to the programs being used, can be anything, Firefox/Thunderbird/IE/Open Office/Dreamweaver/etc or while no use.

I'm starting to wonder if it's a hardware problem but am not sure. No new hardware has been installed for several months and all had been running smoothly. Any suggestions on where to start looking or what to try?
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I had a similar problem with an older machine, I was running ME at the time. I resolved the situation by formatting the c: drive and starting again. It seemed to work itself out.

However I was at the end of my patience with the machine, it is a little drastic, but if you can back up in between 'freezes'.

It may not be the case with yours, however ME was the main problem with my old comp. It appears your OS isn't doing it's job correctly. Although I can see you are backed up with all the latest anti virus etc, it doesn't stop the OS from failing itself.

Previously I went through an elimination process, as I believed my problem to be hardware. I removed as much as I could, bit by bit, reinstall after reinstall. Nothing seemed to work

However after C: format everything became clear.

Don't do this unless you are sure, I am just talking from experience and it may not be the problem with your machine!
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Spike has a valid point a clean install of windows can do wonders for a system but this is only if you back up.

seeing as you are having problems with the pci sata card I would remove it for a while to see if this pinpoints the problem if it does try updating drivers for the card.

I think you also have to install drivers for the sata drive but I ain't sure when using a pci card as the controller, I can look into this but answer me a question first, Did the sata drive and pci card ever work or is this a new upgrade? But even if it worked before and now you can't even see the drive makes me think the card or the drive is bad

There are other things to consider/test but lets start with this first.

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