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Computer crashing. Why???

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by hubby, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. hubby

    hubby Banned

    I have been asked to look at a computer that other qualified technicians have washed their hands with.

    It's a pentium 4 with 512 mb of ram running windows xp. It will run fine for 20mins, 30 mins, 2 hours, whatever. Then for no reason, crashes. The only way to turn it off is to cut the power.

    Previous technicians have replaced the harddrive, motherboard and the ram. It has never been connected to the internet and they are saying it is a software issue, which the warranty doesn't cover.

    so I have replaced the operating system and updated service packs, but still get the same problem.

    It has been suggested the AGP video card isn't configured properly in bios, but I can't find any reference to it in bios.

    does anybody have any ideas?
    WIP: A+
  2. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

    The PC stays on, but it completely freezes right?

    It's had a new hard disk and a reinstall od the OS, but still freezes.

    The next thing that I'd try would be changing the memory and seeing if it still happens. Try the 'suspect' memory in another PC and see if the problem follows.

    If problem persists try changing the graphics card.

    Have you also tried re-flashing the BIOS?

  3. d-Faktor
    Honorary Member

    d-Faktor R.I.P - gone but never forgotten.

    define crash. do you get a bluescreen, is it hanging, is it shutting down? any error messages? anything in the event log? more info would be great.
  4. hubby

    hubby Banned

    Everything stops working. No buttons work, mouse stops working, no ctrl-alt-del. Nothing. Don't know how to view event log.

    The harddrive, mobo and ram have all been changed. It's an agp graphics card but can't find it in bios to make sure it's enabled properly. What does flashing (I assume you mean replace?) the bios do? Would a video card fault cause this prob?

    Thanks for the assistance guys
    WIP: A+
  5. Jellyman_4eva

    Jellyman_4eva Byte Poster

    PC's like this are so annoying..!!

    But like d-faktor says... we need more detail as to what is doing pre-crash and at crash time...

    Is it just sitting there idle or is it when someone fires up an app... also what kind of crash...

    Really at the moment it could be anything...

    Particuarly nasty culprits including issues with the case touching certain parts of the board, heat build up... with a fan sticking... could be the CPU thats faulty, or a component that is jabbering...

    If it were me, I would either bench it hard with something... and see if I could actually control the locking... or simply remove every not necessary component and keep adding them one by one until it locks again....
    Certifications: MCDST, MCITP-EDST/EDA/EA/SA/ MCSA 2K3/2K8, MCSE+M 2K3/2K8, ISA/TMG, VCP3/4, CCNA, Exchange, SQL, Citrix, A+, N+, L+, Sec+, Ser+, JNCIA-SSL, JNCIS-SSL
    WIP: Lots
  6. d-Faktor
    Honorary Member

    d-Faktor R.I.P - gone but never forgotten.

    go to start, click run, enter eventvwr in the new window, and click ok. that should open the event viewer. go to the system log, and see if you can find anything noteworthy happening just before the crash (events are sorted by date/time). it may give you some clues, but then again, it may not.

    i think it's a hardware problem, but to be honest, it could be anything. a hang like that can be difficult to troubleshoot. i would not flash the bios. only use that as a very last option.
  7. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

    Download and a burn a Knoppix CD. Put the CD in the CD tray, reboot the computer into the cd and see if the computer still freezes running Knoppix. If it does you have eliminated the hard drive, hard drive controller, and the OS. If it doesn't you have narrowed down your search considerably....
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  8. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    Other than what everybody else has said, can you get independant verification of what has been done so far? I have come across many cases where such statements have been made that proved wide of the mark when investigated.

    Edit: Also I'd want to know a bit more about the machine - how old is it, who made it - why isn't the OS covered by the warranty?

    Harry (the sceptic)
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  9. twizzle

    twizzle Gigabyte Poster

    If everything else has been replace except the graphics card then judging by what you say it would seem to be this... However does it crash when the Pc is doin nothing apart from running the OS? is it crashing during only games? or does it crash no matter what the OS is doin?

    If its games i would suggest that the AGP card is over heating.. does it have a fan on it and if so is it running? leave the side of the case to see.. check if all fans in the PC are running too, one on the cpu, the back of the case and the psu normally have em.

    Even so it might not be this at all, i've seen PCs crash for alsorts of reasons even after bits have been replaced. I remember one that crashed despite a new drive, new mobo, new chip, new OS, new memory and new graphics card.... we never did solve it.

    Next time it crashes make a note of what was runnig on it at the time, and try to recreate the problem again by rebooting and doin the same thing....
    Certifications: Comptia A+, N+, MS 70-271, 70-272
    WIP: Being a BILB,
  10. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    It could be the PSU - try another one!
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  11. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

    I think *something* is over-heating.
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  12. Malnomates

    Malnomates Megabyte Poster

    I had an almost identical symptom in the shop recently.A pc works for a few minutes,sometimes a few hours,no real pattern,then does exactly as described in the 1st post,the GUI stays up and the computer locks up completely.

    After days of changing FRU's,reinstalling,reconfiguring and so on,my colleague went for the less obvious,he replaced the IDE cable and bingo....one working PC..
    Certifications: A+ Network+
  13. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

    Does the PC have onboard graphics? If so maybe remove the graphics card and try it with the onboard graphics.
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685

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