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  1. #16
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    Have to agree with the boot chkdsk comment.
    As my hard drive had apparently disappeared from the system and it was default booting to a 2nd drive it threw out literally hundreds of 1000's of stuff that I had no agreement to and no way of deciding whether they were useless links or data relating to programmes on the "disappeared" drive such as saved items in a backup folder on the 2nd drive.
    The chkdsc ran a whole night and then even more on the next startup and all I could see were thousands of white text lines going past quicker than a rocket heading for a black hole.

    I did a sfc/ scannow with no resultant improvement prior to coming to this forum for ideas.
    As I said, all seems OK now though.

  2. #17
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    dust

    Years ago I learned to elevate any computer at least 6" off the floor to reduce dust infiltration. It helped reduce dust infiltration a lot in my old job.

    it would help a lot if case manufacturers would build cases so there were only one of two spots where air was drawn into the case so you could place a dust blocking filter but I'm afraid that is a forlorn hope.

    Bob

  3. #18
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    Cool PC maintenance

    A couple of other thoughts even though you seem to be up and running.

    As long as you had the machine apart, i would have CAREFULLY inspected
    all the Can type electrolytic capacitors on the motherboard. Looking
    carefully for any bulged tops or leaky crud at the bottom. One these puppy's
    start to go south, the machine can do strange, intermittent things.

    I have also has some strange ram issues from time to time. I removed sticks
    down to the minimum and rebooted to see if the machine acted any better.
    if so, then swapped sticked back in one at a time to see if there was
    any changes.

    When the fans get that cruddy, i take the PS apart and anally clean both sides.
    Its amazing how dirty a fan can get. Once, i was doing a service call
    in a Irish Pub on a music system. The QSC amplifier was dead.
    I ordered a new one and took the old amp back for closer inspection.
    The unit was not too far from the kitchen. The constant daily grease from
    the bar kitchen building up on the fan blades with layers of dust had cemented
    the fan totally stopped. At the point, the amplifier cooked it self
    (guess that was OK since it was next to the kitchen...).

    Most of us do not clean out our PC's enough of dust and wait until
    there is a problem. I try to do it every six months or so.


    Word of caution to the non techs, there is high voltage inside of the power
    supplies. Let them sit for awhile to bleed off storage capacitor voltage
    before cleaning the fans inside them

    .

  4. #19
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    A slow running PC, is usually the result of DIRT in the CPU fan and heat-sink.
    There are several other possibilities, but it's usually just dirt.

    Years ago, if a CPU got too hot it would just shut down. Period!

    Then AMD built in a Fold-Back temperature control, that would throttle down the speed of the CPU when it got too hot.
    I believe that since then, other CPU manufacturers have followed suite. I would hope so anyway. Eh?

    Years ago now, I took a call on a PC that was running VERY slow. The CPU fan was actually burned up and frozen solid.
    But, the AMD processor was still chugging along, all be it, slowly. The heat-sink was way too hot to touch.
    With a new CPU Fan and Heat-sink, and fresh Heat Sink thermal compound, the CPU chip came back up to full speed again.

    My own Rule #1 when setting up a new PC...... The Tower does NOT sit on the floor. It's the most High-Tech piece of equipment in the home or office and should be given the respect it's due. They call it a desktop computer, because that's where it's supposed to be. The floor is for feet and household pets, not computers.

    I can't even count the number of computers that I've fixed, by doing nothing more than cleaning out the dirt. (and then getting them up off the floor)
    Once a year, by own Desktop PC gets a complete tear-down and cleaning. The CPU fan gets a very careful cleaning, while the heat-sink gets a good scrubbing in the kitchen sink with hot water and SOAP. Of course, I apply a fresh coat of Thermal Compound during the reassembly procedure.
    If the ram is dirty, it gets washed too. Dirty ram can act exactly like BAD ram. I've experienced that on my own computer. *

    * I wish I had all the ram that's being thrown away as bad, when it's actually only dirty. I've saved thousands of dollars worth of ram, just by washing it.
    Likewise the ram on video cards. I still use a video card that I washed, about six years ago. It's still running in my backup system.

    There are eleven cooling fans in my Tower and every one of them gets my personal attention at least once a year and more often if I hear one growling at me.

    * Nothing inside your PC should ever be too hot to touch with your finger, without you saying "Ouch!!!!!" (or something much worse)

    I know this ran a little bit long, but I hope someone, someday, can get something good out of this post.

    Cheers Mates!
    The Doctor

    PS: Oh, by the way, my mobo is over five years old and this past winter I had to re-cap the motherboard
    (remove and replace all the capacitors on the 5v rail, a total of 10) It's a hard enough job for a Board-Level
    service tech, but way beyond the abilities of most users. It's good that we have a company that will do this for us for a very reasonable price. (BadCaps dot com)
    Last edited by DrWho; 2012-06-07 at 11:15.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  5. #20
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    Smile SATA Interface FYI

    Many are familiar with the older SCSI technology or the old etherlink technology that required a terminating resister to make thinks work properly. What most do not know, is that if there was a problem with a terminating resister such as a poor crimp or solder, the termination was not reliable. When the connection is poor and the termination fails, weather for a few milliseconds or hours, the system usually did not throw any errors, it just waited... I once had a file server that was just slow and sporatically gave us trouble that we could never really figure out why. Years later, I finally came to question the termination and found a poor crimp on the resister in the terminator. Upon replacement, it was like a new computer. Long story short, vibrational environments wreak havoc on poor connections! It turns out that SATA connected devices do share this problem. There is not a terminating resistor required external to the device, but poor connections do result in a system just waiting without throwing any errors. I recently diagnosed a system where it was just slower than tar, and yet it's twin was super fast. Identical systems! While terminally suffering through a slow chkdsk, I observed the progress to be very sporatic and even stopping for long times. On the hunch, I reached over and lightly tapped the CPU with my foot during one of these stopped periods. The progress instantly started again. Coincidence, I wondered? When it stopped again, I waited a little longer then tapped it again. Instantly it started to progress again! I did this a third time and waited even longer. That sinched it! Figuring that if it only stops when the connection fails, then it should be able to handle a cable replacement while live. (I don't recommend this. Electronic systems don't fair well when disconnecting while live!) However, I wanted to test my theory without losing the time already invested in the chkdsk to that point. Upon replacing the cable with a new one, the chkdsk took off at lightning speed and finished only a few minutes later. The PC was instantly acting like it's twin and worked at full speed from then on. While this was the most definitive instance, I have had 5 or more cases in recent years where the SATA connection was the cause of locking up, or slow systems! Dust and vibration are the cause of many such failures over time. In all cases the cable was in and tight, but the connection still failed!
    I have diagnosed many major PC problems related to overheating with exactly the same conditions that you described, several of which resulted in the total failure of the CPU chip or mother board, or power supply. Readers can save themselves alot of trouble by periodically opening the CPU box and blowing all the dust out and keeping it clean! The frequency of this depends on each environment. In high dust environments, perhaps monthly. In lower dust environments, perhaps once or twice a year. Take the CPU outside and blow with canned air or reverse your vacuum cleaner and blow. Ensure that you can see all of the fins of the heatsink on your CPU chip and that the fans are spinning freely! If a fan has failed, replace it, or have serviced.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundu View Post
    Word of caution to the non techs, there is high voltage inside of the power
    supplies. Let them sit for awhile to bleed off storage capacitor voltage
    before cleaning the fans inside them

    .
    Or give it to the wife to work on............

  7. #22
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    sparking house power caused drive to fail, despite batery backup system

    About a year ago I experienced apparently extremly slow hard disk operation. I did not know it at the time but I had a failing main circuit breaker that apparently sparked intermittently before it died completely. (The house has 3 different panels from when it was set up as 3 apartments. Another main breaker had failed about a year earlier.) Apparently the sparking got through my power strips and battery backup (with an almost dead battery) and disturbed the drive, because when I finally looked at the error log I could see lots of disk errors. Once I got the power cleaned up I still experienced extremely slow disk access. Finally went out and got a 2TB disk drive that just happened to be on sale for less than .5 GB and even smaller drives. After copying the partitions to the new drive, worked like a champ.

  8. #23
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    Time to upgrade

    Personally I'd replace everything inside the case if it has 5 year old components inside. The current generation of CPU's, motherboards, GPU's, RAM and SSD hard drives are vast improvements over what was available even 3 years ago. I also never use anything smaller than a 750 watt power supply in any of my builds and I only use top-tier brands because of the better quality and longer warranties. My current favorite power supply is the Corsair TX-750 for average customer usage. I've gotten them as cheaply as $74 online after rebates and for that price one can't go wrong. There are now active power supplies that can detect problems with incoming current and either adjust or shutdown before damage occurs to your computer. A few extra dollars is cheap insurance compared to replacing vital components. Sites such as Tom's Hardware do comparison testing and reviews that are invaluable to the informed buyer. Not long ago they did an extremely in-depth analysis of high, medium and low-end power supplies that was very disturbing when it came to a few brands and models. They had one they nicknamed "The Igniter" that failed every test.
    The newer cases have the power supplies on the bottom and much better air flow. Many also have dust filters built in and that helps keep things clean inside. Things have changed a lot since the days of the oven-like beige boxes of the past. In my shop I have a real air compressor with an inline filter I use for cleaning out things. One can buy a small compressor used for as little as $10 off sites like Craigslist and I've seen new ones under $30 at WalMart. I've seen things in "canned air" that actually leave a residue when used and attract dust that embeds in the residue. There are also many things a small air compressor is great for around the house and car that make having one a far better and cheaper alternative to "canned air".

  9. #24
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    There are several cases available now with exactly what you mention and built-in filters as well. Silverstone, Corsair, Thermaltake, Rosewill, NZXT, Lian-Li and Antec come to mind at the moment. I bought a used Silverstone Cosmos 1000 off Craigslist for $40 that has the power supply and air intakes on the bottom of the case and slide-out filters under the front and back.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rholmes View Post
    It turns out that SATA connected devices do share this problem. There is not a terminating resistor required external to the device, but poor connections do result in a system just waiting without throwing any errors. I recently diagnosed a system where it was just slower than tar, and yet it's twin was super fast.
    SATA cables can and do go bad! This is what happened to me during the Vista era: http://davidcmoisan.wordpress.com/20...ks-to-a-cable/

  11. #26
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    Replace drives

    Based on my experience with machines that have been running too hot, either from high ambient temps or lack of cleaning, I would expect a hard drive failure sooner rather than later. I would strongly suggest that you do a prophylactic replacement of the drives, one at a time, before they fail (as they surely will). You can use a drive imaging tool to clone the old drive to the new one, making it easy to swap in each new drive.

    You also would benefit from a utility that monitors various internal temps and shows an alarm if they get too high.

  12. #27
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    I have a very simular problem in that I have 4 HD and USB stuff etc attached to a 600w PSU. More often than not the rig can't find the BOOT files unless I turn the machine off and then on again. The PSU is about 3 years old and I wonder if the rig is under powered. The software I downloaded gives me conflicting messages; one says I need a 1kW PSU ans another says I'm fine.

  13. #28
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    I agree with you. Cables and connections are not eternal. I have two SCSI drives and found that the cable quality is key. Also, WHERE the terminators are shoved into the case also matter. I also have 2 STA drives and found that the cables with metal snaps at the connector are better than the ones that simply push in. I bought some twists and those big thick ties to tame my jungle of cables to not only help with air flow but to ket the cables away from the fans.

    Also, keeping your rig clean is a must as the newer big heat sinks attract a LOT of dirt and over time the unit will fail. It does not hurt to open the bix every 6 monyths of so and get the dust out.

  14. #29
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    Canned air can be a problem not only with residue but it can come out of the can very cold; should be room temperature.

  15. #30
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    Red face Hot processor

    I'm a latecomer to this thread but after reviewing it today I believe a very important factor was missed!
    Todays processors, even back to the Pentiums have a built in self-preservation mechanism. When the temperature goes up the processor slows down; the hotter gets the slower it goes. After seeing the statement that the processor heatsink was dirt packed, it is my belief that this was the core of this problem. True enough, the dirt packed power supply also was also problematic and may have been part of the hard drive situation, but I believe the original slowness was just the processor hanging on to dear life. I'm a system builder (and servicer) and have run into similar situations when the processor heat sink was dirt packed, and also when an inexperienced technician doesn't properly install the processor heatsink.

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