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random restarts: error caused by graphics driver


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#1
NE MOM

NE MOM

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Dear Geeks, :tazz:
I have a Sony PCV-RS430G with Pentium 4 2.8GHz, 512 MB Ram, Windows XP Home sp2, a Radeon 9200 video card, Intel 82865G chipset.

After Christmas, the computer started having random restarts occasionally, not associated with any particular application. The Windows support error message indicated a device driver issue. The random restarts continued to become more common and the windows error message indicated a graphics device driver problem. Now the computer is constantly restarting.

To attempt to fix the problem, I have updated the system Bios, the Radeon driver, and I think I updated the chipset also (but it was at midnight and I didn't document that). This has not worked. Setting the hardware acceleration to "none" didn't do anything but cause loss of driver functionality. Turning off the combined writing on the same troubleshooting tab as the hardware acceleration has helped with the rebooting. Now I have a little more stability, but with frequent "Windows has recovered from a serious error" messages, which again return with the graphics device driver message from Microsoft. I suspect the new driver software may be helping to reset the driver without restarting the system, but I don't know, I'm an amateur.

The instructions from Microsoft say to replace the video card, but I don't want to do this if the problem was caused by software. I am very suspicious of my son's gaming programs. The troubles started after he installed SIMS 2 (which I uninstalled). When I tested the system last night, it was fairly stable until I ran his World of Warcraft CD, and then the computer was fairly unusable due to the Recovery messages.

How can I sort out the source of the problem so it can be fixed?
Thank you very much for your time.
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#2
scottb

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Hi there,

Not saying this is your problem but i was having a problem when scrolling down a document the screen would go blank and then come back on again this would happen a couple of times then the sytem would reboot, the driver error message i received was a display driver problem (graphics) i did a bit of research to descover in a pc magazine on line that sp2 can cause driver conflicts with display drivers. is there a link with installing sp2 and when the problem started ? if so try uninstalling sp2 and see how this works. :tazz:

hope you find this helpfull, if not

p.s. not slagging of sp2 just it isn't compatable with all device drivers
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#3
NE MOM

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Thanks for the suggestion, Scottb.

I checked the history of windows updates (which are installed automatically--probably not a good thing) and didn't see a good temporal relationship. SP2 was installed in October and I didn't notice the restart problem until the end of December/beginning of January. No other updates were installed at the time I first noticed the problem, either.
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#4
Doby

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Hi,

You most likely have done this with automatic updates turned on but check for other ms updates and see if any apply.

With all the drivers you updated it seems like a hardware problem but it may not be the video card so we need to check, cause random restarts can be caused by a couple of things.

could you list your temps and voltages?

I the mean time you could run memtest86 to check the ram, its free and can't hurt.

Rick
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#5
NE MOM

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How do I measure the temps and voltages? I've noticed that the possibility of power supply problems or overheating should be ruled out when random restarts occur, but I've never done this.
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#6
oddwhispers

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hi sometimes i have that problem with my ati 9600xt... do you have teh ati control panel installed? if so try uninstalling that i have found that, that has sometimes an effect on random system restarts but also it may be sp2... thats all i can think of.. hope it helps.
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#7
Doby

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If this is a custom build normally the cd that came with the mob will have software on it to monitor temps and voltages if not you could use Everest

Its free, after you down load and install run the program and just click on "computer", then "sensor" and it will give you the temps and voltages, this is of course if your mobo supports these readings witch I am pretty sure it does.

Post the readings and we will have a look.

I still highly recommend you test the ram with memtest86.

memtest

Rick
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#8
NE MOM

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Thank you for your help!

I used Everest--handy program. Below are the temps and voltages and fan speeds that were generated in the report.

Overclock/Sensor Properties:
Tsystem 36 C (97 F)
Tcpu 37 C (99 F)
Taux 36 C (97 F)
Fcpu 1418 RPM
Fcase 1372 RPM
Fpowersupply 1815 RPM
Vcore 1.49 V
Vaux 3.12 V
Vio 3.39 V

Sensor Properties:
Sensor Type Winbond W83637HF (ISA 290h)

Temperatures:
Motherboard 36 C (97 F)
CPU 37 C (99 F)
Aux 36 C (97 F)
WDC WD1200BB-98DWA0 34 C (93 F)

Cooling Fans:
CPU 1418 RPM
Chassis 1350 RPM
Power Supply 1815 RPM

Voltage Values:
CPU Core 1.49 V
CPU Aux 3.14 V
+3.3 V 3.39 V
+5 V 5.08 V
-12 V -12.61 V
-5 V 4.15 V
VBAT Battery 2.54 V
Debug Info V A1 C4 D4 BD FF 1C EC 24 (01)
Debug Info T 36 37 36
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#9
Doby

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your temps look very good, the voltages also look good except the vcore is a tad low double check this in bios if it reads 1.49v try bumping it up to 1.55 and see if that helps.

The next thing would be to test the ram you need to try and rule it out, bad ram can lead to these problems.

Another program I use for trouble shooting is prime95 it will run the system at full load a little like when playing games. prime95 tests for heat,cpu,mobo,ram,psu it don't test video cards. It also will not tell you witch component is bad. My idea is that if the computer can run prime95 for 5 or 6 hours and not error or stop running all the mentioned hardware would be good and only leave the video card.

If you run prime monitor the temps and voltages for a hour or so with everest, you can do this unlike when playing games. If the cpu temp or mobo temp get above 70c or so prime will error and quit running telling us that it is a temp problem, I highly doubt this because of the good idle temps you listed.

The voltages are more tricky try and report back what they are while running prime. Prime will fail quickly if the voltages fall below spec.

I know this is a rather lengthy process but with out swaping a bunch of parts it is the only way to try and narrow things down.

Rick
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#10
NE MOM

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Results so far of my tests and manipulations:

Ran Memtest86 (just the default tests): Passed 4 consecutive rounds. No error messages.

Ran Prime95 (the default torture test, which is a mix of the other tests and really measures ram) with Everest. The computer was really draggin', I kinda felt sorry for it. That core CPU voltage ranged from 1.47 to 1.55 v, but most of the time was around 1.50v. The temps never got above 50c. After 3 or more hours of Prime95, I noticed the fans were kicked up to above 3000 rpm and the temps inside were all at 31c. The computer did restart sometime during the test (5+ hrs), but it must have been a sudden death, because no error messages were reported by Prime95. I didn't see it, but I checked the temps and voltages immediately after I noticed, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. There couldn't have been more than 30 minutes since I had last checked on it.

Before doing these tests, I was busy backing up data and transferring data to my D drive, in case I needed to do a system recovery of my c drive. I found it interesting that the computer NEVER restarted while I was transferring files here and there, but ALWAYS restarted when it was left idle. I disabled all the extra power management tools, such as hibernation, monitor-shut off, etc., in case the restart were also initiated by the power management software. Otherwise, the computer also tended to restart while I was on-line.

Another finding: The computer was still giving me "recovery from serious error" messages without restarts. This always happened when logging onto windows but also at other times which were not predictable. The message I got back from Windows when the error report was sent in changed yesterday to something about a problem with an Alfa Corporation driver (Alfa File Protector driver). The Alfa website indicated that to solve the problem, the driver had to be removed via Microsoft Recovery Console, and then you had to wait to see which program needed the driver, then contact that software manufacturer for the correct, updated driver. Using the recovery console seemed scary to me, so I just disabled the driver. Now, here's the kicker, I haven't had an error message or restart since! (Okay, it's only been 50 minutes, but that's excellent.) :tazz:

I will let you know if the system has truly stabilized after disabling that driver. Thank you very much for helping me out with this problem.
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#11
Doby

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I think you got it with that alfa driver I would leave it disabled sooner or later a program won't work correctly then you know witch one needs it and you can work on that.

If you ran prime for 5 hours and memtest your hardeware is very sound especially with the temps and voltages you listed while running prime I would not worry about the vcore as I preveiosly suggested cause it did go up to 1.55v when it needed to.

This is why I suggested running these programs it is a pain and alot of work but worth it cause you did not have to buy parts only to find out it was a software problem.

Good luck I hope your problem is fixed.

Rick
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