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185 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 91285 10-Oct-2011 20:08 Send private message

I have a compaq computer about 4 years old and earlier this year it kept on 'crashing' - anywhere from 1-2 times a week to 1-2 times a day. Everytime it did this I had to hold the power button on for 5 seconds and the computer would turn off, then I had to turn it on and start again..... however one time I did this it wouldn't turn back on - came up with an error like 'couldn't find windows'.... or something like that.
I took it to a company in Chch and explained the problem to them and they said that me turning it off all the time was not a good thing to do, as it would have contributed to the problem...
I told them I couldn't use the PC unless I turned it off then on again.

Anyway they fixed it and said they had to completely re-install windows and re-configure? the computer with our files / folders on.
One thing they did is install NOD32 anti virus (we had Norton 360) - which now seems to have expired now for some reason.

Now we have moved up to Auckland - and the problem is happening again.... it crashed twice already today!!

I will probably have to take it to get fixed again, but does anyone know what the problem could be - so I can inform the IT company what they could look for?? (potentially save a few $$)

I am running Windows Vista Home Premium if that helps.

also
1- can I just re-install Norton 360? (will I be able to do this???
2- can anyone recommend a good PC repair place on Aucklands North Shore?

Thanks in advance!

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  Reply # 531649 10-Oct-2011 20:21 Send private message

Could be a faulty hard drive, have you done a checkdisk scan? Have you also checked for any smart errors?

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  Reply # 531650 10-Oct-2011 20:21 Send private message

Any correlation to ambient room temperature? Overheating is where I am going. Any correlation with a lot of hard disk writing or gaming?

Is the inside of the case clean, or is there dust buildup on CPU fan, PSU fan(s) GPU fan, RAM?

Was it 100% fixed after repair, and before you went to AKL?



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  Reply # 531668 10-Oct-2011 21:02 Send private message

rscole86: Could be a faulty hard drive, have you done a checkdisk scan? Have you also checked for any smart errors?


I haven't done a check disk scan recently, so I might try that tonight, but what are 'smart errors? (and how do I check for them)

gzt

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  Reply # 531670 10-Oct-2011 21:06 Send private message

what exactly do you mean by 'crashing' ?



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  Reply # 531675 10-Oct-2011 21:08 Send private message

tdgeek: Any correlation to ambient room temperature? Overheating is where I am going. Any correlation with a lot of hard disk writing or gaming?

Is the inside of the case clean, or is there dust buildup on CPU fan, PSU fan(s) GPU fan, RAM?

Was it 100% fixed after repair, and before you went to AKL?


Temperature shouldn't be a problem, don't do gaming or hard disk writing either.
I assume the case is clean

I'n not convinced it was 100% fixed in Chch - as I had to phone them to ask for the 'windows activation key' (which I found on the side of the PC) and the fact that their NOD32 they put on has now conveniently expired

They did recommend I 'upgraded' to a more powerful / faster PC - and they said they could build one for me for under $1000, but I just thought that was 'sales talk' - and we don't have a spare $1k anyway!



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 531682 10-Oct-2011 21:13 Send private message

gzt: what exactly do you mean by 'crashing' ?


the Computer just freezes up - I can move the mouse but I can't click on any of the programs that are open, can't open / close anything or shut the computer down... after about 1 or 2 minutes of moving the mouse around in frustration the mouse cursor freezes and the computer beeps when I press any of the keys - hense the need to shut it down manually

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  Reply # 531686 10-Oct-2011 21:22 Send private message

gzt: what exactly do you mean by 'crashing' ?


Good question, I wondered later actually. I assumed locking up, forcing a hard restart.

OnceBitten, you didn't answer, when I said was it 100% fixed in ChCh, I mean, did the crashes stop then? How long after (when you went to AKL) did they start? As they didnt replace any hardware, and if the Windows reinstall worked well, the re-occurence later seems to me to be hardware related. I would remove the case cover to check insides for dust. And, as gzt said, explain the crash. Lockup, BSOD, etc, that all helps to build a picture.

The suggestion to upgrade, is a worry. A slow PC is a good PC! If its slow and does what you need, thats a nice cheap option.

If you know someone hardware familar, I'd remove the case cover, remove the cards if any, remove RAM, spray with contact cleaner and let dry. Remove all dust from all fans, from everywhere. While this may or may not help, you can at least remove one factor, of dust or heat. Dust insulates, restricts airflow = heat buildup. If exposed to damp, that can cause shorts.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 531691 10-Oct-2011 21:32 Send private message

tdgeek:
gzt: what exactly do you mean by 'crashing' ?


Good question, I wondered later actually. I assumed locking up, forcing a hard restart.

OnceBitten, you didn't answer, when I said was it 100% fixed in ChCh.


I'm not 100% convinced it was totally fixed in Chch - after getting the PC back it had NOD32 on it (which I believe is better than Nortons) and we had no problems with it for about 2-3 months? - then about 3-4 weeks ago it started locking up, forcing a hard restart to get it going again.

I'm starting to think it may need a new hard drive.... god know how much that will cost!

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  Reply # 531692 10-Oct-2011 21:33 Send private message

It could be a lot of things: faulty PSU, faulty memory, overheating, outdated drivers...





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  Reply # 531698 10-Oct-2011 22:00 Send private message

Given the symptoms with the mouse I would suspect memory, but as Freitasm said it can be lots of things.

Hard drive would probably cause an error message, and then the hard drive will automatically move what data it can to a different location and stop using the faulty area (it is a hard drive function, not a Windows function). You can download HD Sentinel to see what condition the hard drive is in, but I would suggest un-installing it when you have ruled out the hard drive since it slows down performance.

Power supply problems will probably cause an automatic reboot, because the power supply monitors it's own voltages.

You can get a half decent ex-lease computer box from PB Technologies for $200, or if you do not need speed they also do a $99 ex-lease box. Just look for either Windows XP or Windows 7, because Windows Vista is an odd-ball operating system which Microsoft released just to make some quick money and try a few things (remember Windows ME?). Dell PCs are fine if you are not into overclocking and tweaking, because they use propitiatory motherboards. With any ex-lease computer make sure it has at least 1GB memory and look inside the power supply to see if it is clean (not just the fan, but inside as far as you can see). PB Tech will clean out PCs with a brish, but they do not clean the power supplies due to (apparent) high voltage risk. A clean power supply means a little used PC. You get a 3 month warranty with any ex-lease PC.




You can never have enough Volvos!


xpd

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  Reply # 531790 11-Oct-2011 09:19 Send private message

Where abouts in Auckland are you located ? Maybe a local friendly Geekzoner could take a quick look for you.

New HDD's are under $100, a new decent PC is only about $600.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 531804 11-Oct-2011 09:41 Send private message

xpd: Where abouts in Auckland are you located ? Maybe a local friendly Geekzoner could take a quick look for you.

New HDD's are under $100, a new decent PC is only about $600.


I'm in Milford on the North Shore

I did a disk scan check last night and that took over 45 minutes and today I will run Defraggler and CC Cleaner and see if that makes a difference

Cheers

Nick

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 531813 11-Oct-2011 09:51 Send private message

Hi Nick,

I would download and run HDD Scan, which is a free tool which can check for SMART errors as well as run surface scans of the disk block by block to see if there are errors, it does take a while but you can normally tell pretty quickly if there is an issue or not.


Alt. if you don't feel comfortable with that send me a PM i live in takapuna and may be able to give you a hand.

Matt

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