Why does Kerry's computer keep crashing?

In this week's Pop Quiz, a computer enthusiast can't figure out why his computer keeps crashing on boot up. If you have a solution to his problem, you could win a TechRepublic T-shirt.

In this week’s Pop Quiz, a home-built computer keeps crashing during boot up. Kerry, a computer enthusiast and certified hardware professional, built the computer from the ground up. He has been working with computer hardware and software for a little over 10 years and knows a lot about computers and how they operate.
You could win a TechRepublic T-shirt by submitting a correct solution to this week's Pop Quiz. Two random winners will be selected from all correct entries received. Just think, you could be the envy of your IT peers! The deadline for entries will be Monday, Jan. 15, 2001.
Kerry constantly adds new hardware and software to his home machine. His current specifications are as follows:

Because he was familiar with the NT kernel from his past use of Windows NT 4.0, Kerry was using Windows 2000 Professional as his OS. He enjoyed the stability of the operating system as well as the new features it offers.

Lately, however, when Kerry’s machine loads into the Windows 2000 operating system, it occasionally crashes. The crash actually wouldn’t occur until Kerry had logged onto Win2K Pro, when all the device drivers were being loaded into the operating system.

Thinking that it could be a faulty install of Windows 2000, Kerry decided to reinstall the OS onto the machine. This brought him no relief, however, as the problem still occurred from time to time, always crashing as Win2K Pro was loading.

Guessing that the problem might be a conflict with the OS and hardware, Kerry erased the OS off the hard drive and proceeded to install Windows Me in its place. This proved a fruitless gesture as well. The Windows Me installation had the same problems that the Win2K installation had. The machine continued to crash when it began to load Windows.

Kerry started to think that this nuisance might be because of a hardware conflict. He mulled over what he added recently that might cause a conflict when Windows was loading. He came up with the following culprits:
  • The Adaptec SCSI controller
  • The ASUS GeForce 256 video card

Kerry decided to make sure that each of these devices was properly seated in its respective slot. He removed both of the cards, then put them back again, making sure that he pushed firmly as he seated each card into its individual slot.

Kerry then powered on the machine. Despite his efforts, however, the computer once again crashed when Windows started to load, even in safe mode. He then decided to remove both of the culprit devices from the machine to see if it would crash without the devices present. After removing each one and replacing the video card with his older card, he restarted the machine several times. Each time that he did, Windows did not crash.

Which device made the computer crash?
Do you know which of these devices caused Kerry’s computer to crash? If so, you could win a free TechRepublic T-shirt. Send us an e-mail telling us which device you think is the culprit and explaining why you believe it is locking up the computer. To get full credit for your answer, you must explain why the device you chose is causing the problem. The deadline for solutions is Monday, Jan. 15, 2001. Two winners will be randomly selected from all correct entries received.

Editor’s Note: Please don’t post a solution to the Pop Quiz. Only e-mail entries will be considered for the TechRepublic T-shirt giveaway. Good luck!

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