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Computer help needed - continual crashing

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by gegvasco, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Hopefully some PC gurus will be able to provide some advice on what the hell is going wrong with my PC(using the laptop at the moment)
    System specs:
    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (2200Mhz)
    ASUS A8V Deluxe MB
    1024MB PC3200 DDR RAM
    NVidea GeForce 6800 video card(128MB RAM)
    Onboard audio
    Primary HDD - WD SATA 120GB(system/programs)
    Secondary HDD - WD IDE 320GB(storage)
    Marvel Yukon PCI Gigabit ethernet adapter
    Windows XP Pro - SP1
    TrendMicro PC Cillin antivirus
    The system will totally freeze with no alerts/warnings at random intervals when doing anything significant. Browsing the web, running a game, running Microsoft Word. Can't tie it down to anything specific that is causing the crash. When it happens, the video output fails completely ie. I get the "NO SIGNAL" alert come up on the monitor. The computer becomes totally unresponsive ie. even the power/reset buttons do nothing - I have to physically cut the power to get it going again. It has been getting worse over the last few months to the point that I only get between 5-10 minutes out of it at a time. The only thing that doesn't crash it is doing nothing. If I start it up and leave it it is fine. If I only bring up Itunes and press play and let it run, it seems happy with that. But start something else up and she goes off.
    Actions so far:
    Have done a full format of both drives with a full re-install of Windows as well as updating all Windows updates for SP1. Have up to date antivirus and scanned with no problems. Have downloaded all BIOS/patches/updates for hardware. Have scanned the web for similar problems and found one site that mentioned a similar problem that needed some BIOS changes. Did all those BIOS changes plus about 90 others with no effect.

    I am totally stumped and don't know whether it is hardware deterioration due to the fact it is getting worse with time despite a full format and re-install.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated as it is unuseable and the next step is new hardware/system and lots of expense.
  2. Random freezes requiring re-boot indicate hardware problems. My GUESS would be flaky RAM chip(s), or the video card itself.

    {You should also as a matter of priority upgrade to Service Pack 2)
  3. You must have my PC, yours sounds are fubar as mine.

    Shame no one wants to swap a PC for some banners :(
  4. Sounds fairly right. Run memtest to see if testing the memory causes reboots to include/remove ram from the "what could it be?" list. http://www.memtest86.com/

    If that goes fine and dandy, try some video benchmark software to test out your video card.

    I've seen this problem before which has many causes. I had to replace a fairly new video card (less than a year) which was rebooting the PC randomly, not just during games but at any time. Replaced video card, viola! Problem went. Let's home it is a RAM problem as fairly easy to diagnose and cheap to replace if not under warranty.
  5. I'm a little out of practice these days with desktop support but it does sound like memory or video.

    You could try dropping your hardware acceleration setting back a little to see it it helps.

    From the desktop:
    right click then select properties- troubleshoot and move the h/w acceleration back a little. That can help if the video is a little flaky.
  6. Should have asked, I could ask my boss, or I could fix yours for you anyway :p

    It has all the charateristics of RAM issues, but would not have thought it doesn't just reset and come back to POST. But I'd suggest using memtest86+ (its better IMO) from http://www.memtest.org/

    I wouldn't say graphics, because it would happen not just in windows (if its not already happening on idle) but in a 3d app of some sort. Try lowering resolution, to see if that helps.

    Then I'd say motherboard, or PSU...
  7. I have a certificate in pc hardware/software 1 2 and 3

    Problem would be pos/be the ram , if you have some sticks laying around try to change them and see if that helps , dont update you bios! you can screw your pc by doing that. check the temps could be overheating , see if all the fans are working , power supply might be on the way out , check all of your plugs inside the pc , they could be loose
  8. Primary HDD - WD SATA 120GB(system/programs)

    had hdd crash last aug,

    it was caused by dodgy sata cable

    those things are so flimsy
  9. Thanks for the advice guys. Based on the advice, have run memtest with no failures! Bugger. Was hoping it was going to be that simple.

    Will look into benchmarking.

    Have already checked physical security of all the connections with everything solidly in place.
  10. Changing your SATA and PATA cables (just don't change them to stuffed ones....) and Power Supply are probably the next ports of call.
  11. Been running the graphics card up and it did something it hasn't done before. Was running Video Card Stability Test which didn't cause a crash with the following:
    - doing nothing except video card test(172 minutes)
    - running microsoft word(30 minutes)
    - running Adobe Photoshop with no pictures open(20 minutes)
    - running Adobe Photoshop with 50 high-res pictures pictures open(20 minutes)
    Then, when using Mozilla for internet while the video card test was running, the screen froze(30 minutes) but didn't turn off as before. Was a total lockup but the video output didn't stop. And the reset switch worked. But then the BIOS settings had reverted back to default when it rebooted. WTF? Why would the BIOS lose all it's settings? Then I remebered that it had reset the BIOS settings once or twice while I was reflashing the drives in my initial troubleshooting.

    Is this a symptom of a screwed motherboard?
  12. But see, I already did ask ;)
  13. bios would lose settings if.

    you pressed alt + ctrl + del + insert (or is it alt + ctrl + insert)

    need new MB battery.
  14. Not so.

    I had my home PC crash similarly and both times, it was the mobo. I never lost BIOS settings.
  15. I have Batchelor of Computer Sinces: IT & IS, CCNA, and done industry PC hardware & software for 6 years (edited, i'm older than i thought :cry: ).... Whats your point? :?

    Oh, but thats in the topics that dont show on the top 15 list, so i missed it ;) :p

    Well, apart from what dante is saying, with the keypress thing (which i've never seen, and just tried it on a m/b here at work), it could be a motherboard (the settings would loose if the bios batt was dead AND unplugged from the powercord). I'd still suggest m/b as the next course...
  16. May also be the CPU, but unless you have a spare, there's no real way of knowing.

    (if anyone's interested, I have a Dip of Sys Admin, and have been working helldesk for over 12 months)
  17. True, but i thought the m/b would have been able to handle the crashes a little more elegantly, and spit out some errors on POST...
  18. Ha!

    Mine never did. Either of them. Random rebooting, then the PC would "start up", ie fans would run etc, but nothing else. No POST, no Windows... :?
  19. :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

    We call that the "No diplay error" at work (very basic name for i know), and we slap in a new m/b and works 99% of the time.
    We are currently going though a HEAP of GA-8VD667K at the moment with this problem. Right before out of warantee's too :roll:

    But just thinking, maybe the fans dont spin, they start and then stop as far as i can remember, but all lights stay on.