Questions

Computer Locks Up - bad

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Locked

Computer Locks Up - bad

D.H. Cesare
The computer:
WinXP Pro, 2.66mHz, 1024MB RAM, primary drive 160G WD, slave drive 60G WD. CD-ROM/Burner, DVD burner.

Started locking up once in awhile and it got progressively worse over a period of about 3 weeks, to where is would lock up anywhere from a few seconds after it started to an hour or so. It acted like a video card so a new Nvidia (PNY) 256MB GeForce 6600 was installed. It still locked up.
I ran all the diagnostics on the Ultimate Boot CD, along with a couple other diagnostic programs for the video card and the HDD?s.
The only problem found was the Motherboard temperature and the processor temp. were too high. I changed the motherboard and the processor. The heat problem was fixed, but the machine still locked up.
So I did a ?clean? reinstall of WinXP Pro ? it still locked up.
I hooked up a new mouse ? still locked up.
I took the machine to Computer Nerdz who charged me $60 and told me the power source was not adequate for the machine?s requirements, so I installed a new Allied 450W power source. The machine still locked up.
The locks up from a few minutes to a few hours run time.
I took the computer back to Computer Nerdz and sat with it for 21/4 hours in which time it didn?t lock up.

So we thought the auxiliary power supply might be the culprit, even though the ?B? computer which is hooked to the same APS was not experiencing any problems.
I decided to completely isolate the computer from all peripherals and the computer room in general, so I moved the computer into the garage where it could be on it?s own circuit, and hooked up the monitor, mouse, and keyboard only.


The machine ran for 9 hours and then locked up. I called Nerdz and the technician told me it was probably the monitor and to try a new monitor cable first. I purchased a new cable and installed it ? the computer ran 13 hours, then locked up.
So I replaced the new Acer monitor with my old SVGA monitor ? the computer ran 11 hours then locked up.

The computer has a 5 cooling fans total.

To summarize:
I have replaced - the Operating system, (clean reinstall)
The motherboard, processor, heat-sink & fan
The mouse, keyboard and monitor
The video card
I have isolated the machine from the ?computer room?.
I have run WD?s diagnostics on the WD HDD?s
I have removed the RAM chips one-by-one and run the machine on each chip separately. The chips pass the diagnostics 100%

The System Log shows no negative events; the machine has locked up 3 times when I open that log.

I have virtually rebuilt the machine. I have more money in trying to repair it than I paid for it originally!

The technicians and I are at a total lose.
Someone please help.
Thank you.
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Michael Jay

you say that you ran diags on the chips individually, did you run the os this way. I have seen memories that fail as you see (lock up) but will run the diags just fine.

If you have not tried that give it a go.

You report 1 gig memory and I suspect that you have four 256 chips, try them 2 at a time for about 2 days each.

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D.H. Cesare

The memory is two 512MB Kingston 4000 chips.

I've run the machine on each chip individually and the computer locks up exactly the same way.

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Michael Jay

I hate it when it does that, about all that is left are the internal cables.

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D.H. Cesare

All the cables are new except the 3 IDEE cables.
Could one of the CD drives be causing a power fluxuation?

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jedurham36

Leave one stcik of RAM, the video card and the hard drive the OS resides on. Remove everything else that can be removed (but leave just enought parts in it so it will run). Try it for a day or so, then put one device back in. Try again for a day. Repeat this until it starts locking up. The last part to go in before it locks up is the problem.
I call this the "everyone out of the pool" strategey. It is painful and slow, but I find that it works if you have the time.

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D.H. Cesare

I'll have to make the time. I assume you mean to disconnect the CD drives and then slave drive too, right?

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jedurham36

Yes, only leave enough connected to boot to the O/S. Anything that isn't needed in order to *just* boot it (one hard drive, one stick of RAM and a video card). Everything thing else gets disconnected. It is a process of elimination after that.

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D.H. Cesare

is it necessary to change anything in the bios? When I unplugged the primary slave drive the machine started VERY slow. Like it didn't want to start. The slave drive is just for storage, nothing is installed on it.

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jedurham36

Leave the BIOS alone, the last thing you want to do is introduce more problems by changing a setting in the BIOS to an incorrect value.
The slow boot is a concern. Is the boot drive set as Master, and on the Primary IDE channel? Try the drive in a diffent computer as the boot drive. If it still boots slow (> 5 minutes is my version of slow), then it is a drive problem, if it boots ok, then you know the drive is good if it has no issues in the other PC.

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the_webninja

I know this Sounds Crazy, but I went through this same kind of thing one time it drove me NUTS!

I figured it couldn't possibly be the Drive, because the Drive worked fine!
But you know what? I Replaced the Drive and Installed the operating System on a New Drive and everything else on the PC worked fine after that.

So don't rule out the Possiblity of a Bad Drive.

the_webninja@yahoo.com

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D.H. Cesare

I'm going to switch back to the original video card first, then if it still locks up I'm going to switch the drive, even though it checked out twice at 100%.
Thanx

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D.H. Cesare

Electrical storms have cut my diagnostic times way back because I have the system isolated from the computer room and no APS, so it's been unplugged. Looks like one more day of storms so I won't get back at it for a day or 2.
The machine ran 15 hours in a game mode and when I closed down the game and went into the Management Module>System Log it locked up. It has locked up on me 8 out of 10 times when I've tried checking the System Log. It's when I go to spread out the window manually instead of using the Max/Min button, it locks up.
Even though the Primary HDD checked out 100%, I'm leaning toward that HDD as being the problem. I'm going to install the old video card and run it for a day with that; but if it still locks up I'm going to change out the HDD.
I don't drink, but after this fiasco I might start drinking.

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D.H. Cesare

After nearly 3 weeks of aggravation, $280 spent, it turned out to be the Nvidia video drivers. Both the original drivers that came with the GeForce 6600 and the updated drivers were causing the machine to lock up.
After I reinstalled windows again!! and started installing each item one by one, I discovered the problem. Ran it 24 hours with the card in it, but without installing the drivers and it never missed a beat.
Went out and got a Radeon 9550 and have been able to do anything I want with it; no problems.
I want to thank everyone for their ideas.

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melon_bob

I know this was posted quite some time ago, but i just wanted to share my experience with this video card since i had exactly the same problem as you. I did alot of the same things as you did: changed the power supply, tried taking out ram cards, even removed my sound card to see if there was hardware conflicting issues. I might just decide to go your way and buy that same radeon card you did if i don't get any responses from emails i've sent to the manufacturer. Also sent emails to the bios ugrade people from which i recently bought a bios upgrade which didn't solve the lock up problem either. It seems as though some motherboards just don't work with this particular card. I know people that own this card, and it works just fine for them. Bad engineering? Who knows. Its all very strange.
Thanks for posting your experience on here. Maybe someone will be able to get to the bottom of this problem. I'll keep this thread bookmarked just in case i figure something out.

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melon_bob

Hi, its been a while since i've posted here, but i thought i would update my experience so that anyone out there thats having this lockup problem with any kind of agp card can possibly find an answer to solve their problem. Im not garaunteeing that this will work, but it did work for me. Now i can play half life 2 for a long time without one lock up. I only tested for around an hour, but i surfed the net afterward without a lock up and then i shut the pc down so's not to damage the chip from overheating, which is the cause of the lock up for my card. This is what i did:

Contacted my motherboard manufacturer, which said that i needed to get an agp card made around the same time as my motherboard. I did that, still locked up. (card is called radeon with 128mb of memory)

I read somewhere that overheating is the cause of lockup. So i bought a Ultimate VGA cooler "FATAL1TY FS-V7" which is compatible with my 6600 agp 256mb card. Put that on, still didn't fix the problem, but it did cool my GPU chip down very nicely.

So, then i discovered that there is yet another chip on the board that needs to be cooled. There are 2 ginormous chips on my video card and one was being cooled great. But what about the other one? Yes my friends, i needed to cool that down properly as well.

But, didn't want to spend anymore money, so i used the Arctic thermal paste i bought, as well as a hinge with a brass finish on top, and the original aluminum heatsink to pin it to the chip.
After that, i tried playing half life 2 , did not lock for very long periods of time.

Moral of the story: The reason that you can experience lock up problems on your pc, is because your video card is overheating. Find a good way to cool it down that is safe, and maybe try to avoid water cooling if you can, because if something starts to leak, you'll fry the components on your video card as well as many other components depending on where the water ends up. Use your head, if you've tried everything else, including trying patches and driver updates and nothing works, if you're not getting any hardware conflicts, then it probably is that your card is overheating and causing lock up. In my case, it had nothing to do with nvidia drivers, if anything nvidia drivers improve the performance of your card. Also, just for sake of connection, i've been on the internet for 55 minutes so far and not a lock up. Up to late, my card has froze my pc within the first 20 minutes if im lucky. Hope this helps someone. Later all.

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D.H. Cesare

I went through the entire sequence of events exactly like you did. I had the indicated high temps and everything. Changed out everything inside the case; rebuilt the machine.

On the third clean re-install I discovered that as soon as I loaded the new Nvidia drivers, the machine started locking up.

Switched to a Radeon X1650 video card with the newest drivers and the thing still locked up.

As a last resort I checked the masterboard BIOS version and discovered it was not up to date, so I updated the BIOS. The machine hasn't had so much as a hickcup since.

Even went back and installed the "faulty" masterboard in a new case, installed some RAM, a couple HDD's, updated the BIOS and the thing is running wireless, and never misses a beat.

It's all in the BIOS!
Good luck.

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JohnKeiff

I've built over 50 systems each with different sets of hardware from different manufacturers. In the process I've noticed a common theme among the lockup, blue screen, and spontaneous reboot issues: Desktop hardware.
The line isn't as clear as it once was, but there are still two distinct categories of hardware - desktop and server/workstation. All the machines I've build with workstation/server hardware have had a total of 0 lock-up/blue screen/spontaneous reboot problems. When building machines with desktop hardware, I've had too many different hardware issues and defects to list here.
This makes good sense; server hardware goes through very thorough testing in development, there are less options in server hardware, and the drivers are developed with stability in mind. There are plenty of other reasons why workstation/server hardware are the way to go for stable systems.
In case you're not familiar with the distinction, here are some examples of desktop parts and their workstation/server counterparts:

---DESKTOP--- ---SERVER/WS---
AMD Athlon AMD Opteron
Intel Core 2 Intel Xeon
Intel 9xx chipsets Intel 5000 chipsets
DDR2 RAM (non-ECC) DDR2 FB-DIMM
PATA/SATA hard drives SCSI/SAS hard drives
nVidia GeForce GPU nVidia Quadro GPU
ATI Radeon GPU ATI FireGL GPU
Some overclocking No overclocking*

I currently build with server/ws hardware exclusively. I was going bald before my time messing with desktop hardware. Sure, there are plenty of stable, reliable desktop builds out there. Some research will reveal the desktop hardware to look for. I just wanted to let you guys know that there is a way out of the desktop nightmares if what you're looking for is a machine that will "just work," all the time. The hardware is more expensive, but a reasonably-priced workstation can be built.

*Overclocking has been implemented on a few workstation motherboards, but is very rare in this class of hardware.