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Fat bottom Trump
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# 214723 25-May-2017 14:09
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I have started having a strange issue with my browsing desktop and I wonder if any experts here might have any idea what could be going on. First the issue: After years of perfect service, the computer has started abruptly dying at very infrequent intervals. So far it doesn’t happen often, maybe just a half-dozen times in total. It seems completely arbitrary and happens when working with different software.

 

At first everything abruptly freezes without warning and the keyboard and mouse stop responding. After a very short time, no more than a second or two, the screen suddenly goes blank. There is no warning or error message of any kind. The computer completely stops responding. Nothing I do on the keyboard or mouse causes any kind of response. The PSU appears to continue operating normally.

 

If I press the hardware reset button, the computer reboots and works normally again. When the computer reboots, Windows says it has recovered from a BSOD error (duh) but provides no other information. The event log shows nothing except my reboot. The Windows debug files (xxxsysdata.xml and the dump file also show nothing that makes any sense to me).

 

The computer is an old DIY job, CPU AMD Phenom II X4 925, chipset Nvidia GeForce 8200, BIOS American Megatrends 2009. OS is Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 32-bit, with 3 GB of RAM. I am using it right now. So far it has never died more than twice in one day, and often it goes more than one day without dying. This is still very infrequent, but I expect it will get worse. It doesn’t feel like a software issue to me, though I am no expert, and I would be glad to hear what others think. Could this be a memory fault or motherboard issue? Can it be diagnosed?





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  # 1788134 25-May-2017 14:20
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Have you done a memory test?  Or checked the CPU temperature?


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  # 1788138 25-May-2017 14:27
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These symptoms are often caused by overheating, especially if you have never given it a good blowout.

 

I have fixed many machines with a blower. You can even buy canned air for this purpose. (Make sure you put your finger on the fans so that they do not spin fast and cut your finger.)





Rob

 
 
 
 


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  # 1788139 25-May-2017 14:27
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Just because of the age of the computer and the likelihood that it hasn't been cleaned for years, I'd start with a general check and clean up of the hardware before looking at software issues. You can spend a lot more time on diagnosing software faults whereas a cleaning issue can be resolved very quickly.

 

There's a lot of helpful pages on this if you search:

 

  • Backup what you need from your system before starting.
  • Clean it to remove dust, lint, etc. Be aware of protecting yourself and the computer from electrical shock and static discharge.
  • Check the system board and attached devices. Look for any sign of damaged cables, loose connectors, etc. Smell everything because overheating or damage can be picked up before you can see anything.
  • Reseat the RAM.

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  # 1788143 25-May-2017 14:28
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Run memtest x86 and HCI memtest, at different times. They work differently and find different errors (ask me how I know...). Run each overnight, HCI found my RAM problem after 12 hours or so.

 

You may need to run multiple instances of HCI as each instance only tests 2GB. So with 3GB RAM, 0.75GB taken by the OS, you'd need 2 instances each testing 1.1GB or so.

 

 

 

Also monitor CPU temperature, something like this.

 

It could be a new driver causing problems. Could be an old OS that needs to be reinstalled. Could be anything.


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  # 1788147 25-May-2017 14:32
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I had something similar happen a few years ago, while machine was on Win7.

 

The PC would be working, then suddenly BSOD. Again, it was infrequent, but then started happening quite regularly.

 

PC was also a DIY build.

 

Mine turned out to be a faulty RAM stick (it had 4 slots used). Only way to find this out, was to remove all sticks, then put them in 1 at a time and starting the PC, when the faulty one went in, the PC wouldn't start at all, threw all sorts of errors. I then put the 3 back in, and have had no problems since.

 

Make sure you take\have a backup of all critical info you need before proceeding.


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  # 1788149 25-May-2017 14:37
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I have actually had a similar issue. A good clean out of the case and fans and re-seat of things like the video card are a good start, but I am pretty sure mine ended up being fixed by a wipe and re-install of the OS (Windows 10 in my case). 








Fat bottom Trump
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  # 1788158 25-May-2017 15:00
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nairda:

 

Have you done a memory test?  Or checked the CPU temperature?

 

 

Core temperature tests stable at 50 degrees. Windows memory diagnostic finds no issues.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


 
 
 
 




Fat bottom Trump
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  # 1788161 25-May-2017 15:04
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robfish:

 

These symptoms are often caused by overheating, especially if you have never given it a good blowout.

 

I have fixed many machines with a blower. You can even buy canned air for this purpose. (Make sure you put your finger on the fans so that they do not spin fast and cut your finger.)

 

 

As it happens, I did clean the machine out not too long ago. I had forgotten but there was another issue with it. I can't remember now exactly what it was, but I think it had to do with my display. I duct-taped a straw to a vacuum attachment and gave it a thorough clean, which solved the problem. This is something different, though.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  # 1788162 25-May-2017 15:08
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Rikkitic:

 

 

 

Windows memory diagnostic finds no issues. 

 

 

That's based on memtest x86, which didn't find my bad RAM, and is far too fast to be thorough. Read what I said about HCI Memtest above.


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  # 1788163 25-May-2017 15:09
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any error entries in the event view coinciding with the issues?

 

You could open the unit up and check all the connections for ports etc to the Mainboard, check Ram and Card seating. While there give it a good clean including the GPU and CPU fans and heat sinks. You could have a close look at the mainboard for issues such a bulging capacitors and evidence of dry solder.





Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

Using empathy takes no energy and can gain so much. Try it.

 

 




Fat bottom Trump
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  # 1788164 25-May-2017 15:10
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Thanks for the replies. It does seem a little like a RAM issue, and I may look into that further. Don't know how good Windows memory diagnostic is. Doesn't seem to have to do with overheating. If it dies again I will check core temp after reboot. 

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  # 1788166 25-May-2017 15:12
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Rikkitic:

 

Thanks for the replies. It does seem a little like a RAM issue, and I may look into that further. Don't know how good Windows memory diagnostic is. Doesn't seem to have to do with overheating. If it dies again I will check core temp after reboot. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The eventvwr will tell you if it is a thermal event





Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

Using empathy takes no energy and can gain so much. Try it.

 

 


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  # 1788168 25-May-2017 15:21
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Probably not relevant with your symptoms but don't forget to check your main power cable to PC. Long time ago had a problem with PC just dying completely, was busy pricing up new a new PSU and turned out to be a bad connection inside the power cable.





rb99


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  # 1788188 25-May-2017 15:58
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Things than can cause these symptoms
RAM, RAM slots, Motherboard fault, power supply fault, vid card fault, HD fault
overheating : can be as simple as heatsink not firmly attached , or CPU/psu fan intermittent .

 

if it freezes, the log files are usually of Zero help (it cant write to logs if frozen)

 

RAM tests & HD tests will only show hardware faults that are really bad. Those tests wont help with intermittent faults (usually)
Unfortunately, if its not overheating, you need to start swapping hardware till you find the cause.
You could try removing single sticks of RAM (if you have 2 sticks) , or move ram to another slot. Sometimes
just removing & re-seating RAM can help (for a while)

 

 


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  # 1788565 26-May-2017 09:48
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It might be a rogue hardware interrupt. Pull out all the peripherals you can, like network adaptors, video cards, keyboard, mouse, plug in another keyboard and mouse, and see how it goes.  If's OK then reinstate the bits one by one.  Sometimes you can see interrupts going mad in process explorer.





McLean


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