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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Hi there
    I run XP service pack 3. I now have my 3rd computer in as many months. Only software I have on it is Office, Eudora and mail washer. I can't be bothered loading the rest.
    When I got the first computer it would freeze every 2 hours. They thought it was the hard drive, so new hard drive. It then crashed about 1x per day, Then they give me a new computer. Same problems, now I have the 3rd computer and it still freezes. Whether I play Spider Solitaire or surf the net. Now the supplier is looking at external hardware such as monitors etc.
    Didn't work either.
    I am really besides myself. I use this computer for work and need to rely on it. The computer before this one ran from 2003 till 2010 without a hickup and suddenly all these problems.

    Any suggestions as what it can be ???

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    For hardware problems look at memory and power supply as a potential source of the instability.
    The one thing that you can do to contribute, is to run a memory scanner like Memtest86 from a bootable
    usb, floppy, or cd drive. You can tip off the manufacture, if you detect any errors, but it will be up to them to replace it.
    The onus should be on the manufacturer or your computer supplier to fix the problem.
    There are a great many things, both hardware and software (drivers) that can potentially cause instability and it is up to
    the manufacturer through their warranty to ensure that they ship a product that is in stable working order.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    You do not say who the PC manufacturer is. If built locally, the builder has to have a way to get you a PC that works. Perhaps it's time to look at a larger PC supplier to fulfill your needs. Is there a reason that with a new PC you are still using XP? I, as many others do, believe MS hit a home run with Win 7. You might consider this option as well.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  4. #4
    2 Star Lounger
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    The manufacturer is ASUS. The local shop is very helpful but can't find the problem. It is so very stressful. I'm reluctant changing over to windows 7 as it doesn't seem to be a software problem. I have the same set-up on my laptop and that one is running fine.
    Thanks

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karat View Post
    The manufacturer is ASUS. The local shop is very helpful but can't find the problem. It is so very stressful. I'm reluctant changing over to windows 7 as it doesn't seem to be a software problem. I have the same set-up on my laptop and that one is running fine.
    Thanks
    I was not actually suggesting that the problem might be software. I was suggesting that with a new PC I was somewhat surprised that you went with XP, not Win 7. I think it highly likely you have a hardware failure. A competent tech should be able to T/S harware failures. If they cannot find the culprit, perhaps someone else can. I have seen power supply, RAM, CPU and Bios problems cause strange unexplained symptoms. The thing that got me thinking S/W possibilities was the fact that this is the 3rd PC exhibiting this problem. That is unusual. It is possible the image the manufacturer used to ghost your HD is corrupt.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Hi, Check that the AC supply is stable. Your laptop battery will act as a resovoir and 'smooth' out any variations in the AC voltage and not show up the problem. If you have a UPS try using it to see if the problems go away. As this is happening on THREE machines at your location then there is a problem that is COMMON to them all. If the above does not seem to be the answer then try taking the computer to a different address, some distance away and see if that works as it could be due to a strong RF transmission nearby. If not there really is a 'GHOST' in the machine!...John

  7. #7
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    I'm assuming that your problem is with a desktop computer. Eh?

    When you've gotten service on your PC, did you take it to the shop, or did a tech come to your place?
    If In-Shop, did you take all your peripherals with you? (keyboard and mouse)

    I had a customer several years back who kept taking their tower to different shops trying to find out why it would just freeze up.
    No one could find the problem. Finally the people called me. I only do in-home service at least on First_Call.
    To make the story short, I finally found a bad mouse was causing all their freezing problems.
    A bad mouse, Keyboard or any such external device can send bad info to the CPU and cause it to go off into space. (Freeze Up)

    When all else has failed, change out the keyboard and mouse and see if that makes any difference.

    Just a thought!

    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Karat, sorry your having these problems there is nothing more frustrating.

    I had a similar problem not to long ago. One of our computers seemed to randomly crash for no apparent reason. We tried several things similar to what you have done. In the end I removed everything i could possibly remove from windows start up and the problem went away. I know this sounds simplistic but it did the trick. We never did find out what caused the problem. The computer has been running for 6 months now without fault. Several of the more agressive programs have reappeared on startup but there has been no problem. This was a new system as well when the problem started. I don't know if it is possible to have a corrupt startup (driver, item, file, etc) but it appears it is possible. Good luck.

    You may also want to monitor your cpu temp. If the system runs hot periodically it can cause crashes. Try this free program. Core Temp
    You can also try BlueScreenView from Nirsoft, it may help tell you what is causing the crash.

  9. #9
    Lounger
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    Karat:

    First of all, please don't be distracted or swayed to upgrade your operating system: Windows XP is one of the most stable Microsoft ever produced, and I'd put money on device driver stability being a major contributing factor. In 16 years of PC consulting, I have never seen upgrading to a different OS solving a problem like yours.
    Next, I agree with many of the other responders: The responsibility to find your problem is with the company that supplied and built your PC. Right now, you are justifiably frustrated with their attempts -- please keep this frustration in mind when you shop for your next PC! Nevertheless, be relentless in returning to this shop to get a resolution for your problem.
    Hardware is the most likely problem you are facing -- intermittent issues are rarely caused by anything but a failing component. Finding that component can be challenging, so give your PC vendor some grace here. If they truly are trying to fix your problem, stick with them.
    If I were working on your PC, I'd suspect (in order of likelihood): memory, heat-related issues, power supply, motherboard, plug-in cards, then CD/DVD and floppy drives. Be sure that no disks are in any of your removable media drives, and unplug any USB-connected devices while you are working through troubleshooting. If your problem stops appearing, look to one of these as the reason.
    Be sure to check back in with us "lizards" with the solution when it is found!

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    Have you checked the Event Viewer to see any errors it might have?

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    You have to break it down into either software or hardware.
    Install another hard disk - install a clean copy of windows then if your systems still crashes you can be sure it is a hardware problem.
    Essential to break down whether it is actually hardware or software fault first or you could be wasting your time testing hardware first!

    If you dont fancy doing that or dont have a secondary hard disk.
    What you need to do is set the system not to reboot when it crashes.
    Then analyze the bluescreen - it will most of the time point to a driver or memory location where the fault occurred if it is software.
    If the system never produces a bluescreen or log you can be sure its a hardware issue 99% of the time.

    You can also analyze the crash log using windbg.

    Here is my script i use to debug..



    Rem ************************************************** ********************************
    Rem * Omen Batch File To Examine Crashdump files in C:\Windows\Minidump\minidump.dmp *
    Rem ************************************************** ********************************

    cd "c:\program files\debugging tools for windows"

    Rem kd -y srv*c:\symbols*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols -i c:\windows\i386 -z %1

    windbg -y srv*c:\symbols*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols -i f:\XP_CD\I386 -z c:\windows\minidump\minidump.dmp

    Rem
    Rem Now run the command !analyze -show command displays the Stop error code and its parameters.
    Rem The Stop error code is also known as the bug check code.
    RemThe !analyze -v command displays verbose output.
    Rem The lm N T command lists the specified loaded modules. The output includes the status & path of module.
    Rem

    Rem windbg -y srv*C;\symbols*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols -i f:\XP_CD\I386 -z c:\m2.dmp


    Even if you dont know what it means posting your result will allow someone to check it for you.

    On older pcs and even newer ones a very common fault is leaking capacitors which always cause spontaneous reboots if all else fails a good check of the motherboard is essential.

    I would have thought the company you bought it from would have stepwise removed items from the pc until they found the problem.
    IE
    You start with a barebones system - change the memory or at least use a good memory checker and run it for 24 hours - running a memory checker for an hour or less will not
    pickup spurious memory errors it has to be run continously for a day or more.

    Analysing random crashes is a really long drawn out and frustrating process so I am in sympathy with you.

    As someone also mentioned power supplies that have a rail failing or not supplying enough power can be the issue so if you have a replacement try it.

    As with most hardware debugs its a case of having a workshop with replacement parts - swap and test until the culprit is found.

    You can also invest in a Motherboard post tester which will cut your testing time down to minutes - as will a power supply tester.
    You can buy these for 10 - 20 - I currently sell a variety of laptop and desktop motherboard testers and psu testers (a multimeter is better) and any engineer will tell you they save a fortune
    in time and effort but do take some experience to use as they rely on bios codes , clock , frame and voltage levels.

    In my experience there are very few good repair shops these days, use very little technology and just swap items in and out or format and restore - few shops have the time to do in depth repairs as at 30 an hour it would cost a fortune to do a proper fix but you will find guys that advertise as one man bands will have the time and effort - i know a guy in portsmouth that even repairs old motherboards and electrical items to component level at a fixed cost which is rare these days but if you find one they are like gold dust amongst the pc worlds and big retailers.

  12. #12
    New Lounger
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    Almost forgot the most basic check - have you checked for spyware virus etc?

  13. #13
    New Lounger
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    Since multibple computers are failing, do the same systems cause problems when you take it to the place where you bought it? If it does not it could be the location where you have your system located. Is there enough air circulating around the case? Newer computers produce more heat due to larger cpus, and peripherals inside the case, it is therefore crucial to not place the computer in an enclosed space where it may cause the system to over heat. Any vents on the computer case should not be covered and air should be allowed to flow freely to cool it off. As previously mentioned it could be hardware issue with something that is plugged into the computer such as the mouse or keyboard, or even your printer. .... could even be a bad cable. If you still have your old machine try plugging these items in your old machine to see if it will cause the same problem as you get on your new system.

  14. #14
    New Lounger
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    I wonder if your "dealer" installed a legitimate copy of XP-SP3 on ANY of your 3 systems.

    I'm not sure there IS a legitimate XP-SP3 new install.

    If this is the case:
    (1) your seller has attempted to install XP on a Win7-designed machine (well, 3 of them, one at a time) because you stated that OS preference;
    (2) your seller has successfully discarded 3 inferior Win7 systems (one at a time) and used a bootlegged XP to attempt it (if so, see above); or
    (3) along with either of the above, you are using hardware peripherals (mouse, keyboard, monitor - in that order, IME) that are NOT compatable with XP no matter the SP.

    I use XP-SP3 on 3 systems, all pre-'03 aged. The "latest" designed for XP-Pro, the middle for XP-Home, and the eldest for ME. ALL run LEGIT SP3 flawlessly.

    Please get a second opinion from another Geek in your area; take ALL peripherals in; take your power cords as well.

  15. #15
    2 Star Lounger
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    Hi there
    Thanks for all the help.

    I have actually taken a bold move and disconnected my desktop. Last Saturday it did it again and I just couldn't take it anymore. I was extremely close dropped it from the first floor.
    I now have my laptop installed and so far its going like clockwork. It will be a tad ackward when I have to see people and have to disconnect my laptop, but so be it.
    I will test it for a week and then take the desktop back to the shop and ask for my money back.

    When they gave me "new" machines, they said they changed the inside, but the box always remained.

    And yes the technicians came to my house because I refused to take the machine back in the end.

    The event viewer often showed errors.

    Again thanks for all suggestions and help

    Cheers

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