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  1. #1
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    need help diagnosing what's wrong with my pc

    Here's the symptoms as best as I can remember them. My operating system was windows Vista

    - about a month ago I started getting errors every once in a while where the screen would freeze, go blank, and reboot itself(not the computer, just the monitor display) and I'd get some kind of error about the graphics display or windows explorer getting corrupted and having to reload to fix the problem (obviously I don't remember exactly what the error said... it was a while ago and I probably should have written it down).

    - my computer started freezing up about a week ago, but would seem fine after manually powering down and rebooting

    - a few days after the random freezing started, it started happening more frequently and sometimes when I push the power button to turn it back on, the only think of to describe what happened was that it just stalled out on me, like a car or something. I could hear the fans inside the computer kick on and all the usual things that make a quick burst of noise as it power up, but then nothing happens. it just stays like that until I hold the power button down to turn it off and try again.

    - I started having to reboot the computer 2-4 times a day, sometimes having it 'stall out' a bunch of times in a row before actually turning on. the next day it started doing it in an exact pattern. alternating between stalling out and turning on without a problem one right after the other each time I had to turn it on

    - right after the pattern started, it became unusable in anything but safe mode. any time I started it up normally (when it did start) it would freeze up at the welcome screen or occasionally just after loading the desktop.

    - I reformatted it after that back to my old copy of windows xp, and it worked except for the same 'stalling out' pattern. then I installed windows vista over it again (I have the upgrade version) and it started freezing at the startup screen again

    - I unplugged everything, opened the case, and bought a can of compressed air to clean the dust out, thinking maybe that was doing something, but it didn't help. I replaced everything how it was, hooked it up, reinstalled xp when I saw it didn't help, and a few hours later everything on my screen was tinged blue on top of everything else

    - now, it won't work at all in windows vista, works really slow in windows xp, and the screen flickers when I load a web page or any new information is loaded on the screen. the screen goes nuts if I try to play a video file or anything more graphically intensive than a web page. and it's still doing that weird 'stall out' pattern thing




    my first guess is that there's something wrong with my video card, which seems like it would explain everything except why it would stall out on me in a precise pattern like it is when I boot it up. but I don't want to buy a new video card just to learn I need to replace the whole computer anyway... does anyone know what could cause all that stuff to happen simultaneously, or if installing a new video card would it run like it used to?

    if anyone's able to help I'd really appreciate it. if more info is needed tell me what's missing and I'll post it if I can

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member outlaw2001it's Avatar
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    Welcome to TechIMO. Could be one of your fans is starting to go (CPU, video card). Also check the fan on the power supply, or it could be that your power supply is the culprit. Start your system with the case open, and wait for the computer to freeze up. At that point check the fans (including the PSU), and see if any of them are not working. Replace as needed. If nothing freezes over time, you're probable not getting enough air throughout the system...invest in a system fan for better cooling. Let us know the results.

  3. #3
    THE Gimp Clown Fish! nemowolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outlaw2001it View Post
    Welcome to TechIMO. Could be one of your fans is starting to go (CPU, video card). Also check the fan on the power supply, or it could be that your power supply is the culprit. Start your system with the case open, and wait for the computer to freeze up. At that point check the fans (including the PSU), and see if any of them are not working. Replace as needed. If nothing freezes over time, you're probable not getting enough air throughout the system...invest in a system fan for better cooling. Let us know the results.
    Another thing, boot into your Bios and look for a system health option so you can get CPU temp readings. This will eliminate any temp issues with your CPU. If your brave, wait until it freezes then check the temp of the heat sinks using your fingernail first and then your finger. If they are hot enough to burn through your fingernail, you have temp issues for sure.

    TechIMO Folding@home Team #111 - Crunching for the cure!

  4. #4
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    Well first, thanks for the welcome and thanks to both of you for actually taking the time to read that and give me some suggestions. Much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by nemowolf View Post
    Another thing, boot into your Bios and look for a system health option so you can get CPU temp readings.
    I'm not sure how I'd boot into my Bios (actually I'm not even sure what Bios means...). Do I boot up with one of the function keys held down?

    I'll check the fans like you said outlaw2001it and post what I find soon, and I'll check the Bios temp readings once I figure out how too

    *EDIT* Opened it up again and all the fans in there look like they're working just fine, and I didn't notice any difference between running it with the side open and running it with everything closed up. Nothing's even a little hot as far as I can tell
    Last edited by shadowslayer6578; July 26th, 2008 at 06:50 AM.

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member outlaw2001it's Avatar
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    To get into your BIOS...once the Boot screen comes on you're going to have to press either F2, Delete, F10, or another key. It should tell you on that screen - press ?? to enter setup, or BIOS. Don't change any settings within your BIOS because it could make your computer unbootable. There should be a tab for CPU Health Monitoring (or something like that) to show your temps. Let us know what you find out, or if you need more help.

  6. #6
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    okay, here's what I found in the bios. wasn't sure what was important and what not, so I just wrote it all down. I'm not sure how to get the little circle symbol for degrees from a keyboard, so I'm replacing all those with * instead


    Smart CPU fan target temperature : [55*C/131*F]
    Smart CPU fan tolerance: [5*C]
    Smart system fan target temperature: [45*C/113*F]
    Smart system fan tolerance: [5*C]

    System temperature: [35*C/95*F]
    CPU temperature: [39*C/102*F]

    (everything below here fluctuated somewhat, so I pick a middle number it seemed to stay close to)
    CPU fan speed: 1800 rpm
    system fan speed: 1100 rpm

    CPU Vcore = 1.4 V
    +12.0 V = 12.04 V
    +5.0 V = 5.02 V
    +3.3 V = 3.31 V
    battery = 3.0 V


    I think I got the right information you were talking about. let me know if I got it mixed up or anything

  7. #7
    Ultimate Member outlaw2001it's Avatar
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    Everything looks fine there. Now do what I said earlier about opening the case, and see if any of the fans fail. You can also run another test within Windows to get a reading of temps/voltage while under load. Download Speed fan, and post your results.

    Download SpeedFan - Access temperature sensor in your computer
    Last edited by outlaw2001it; July 28th, 2008 at 03:54 AM.

  8. #8
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    Yeah I opened the case and all the fans were working fine, and it didn't run any better or worse with it open. I'm not sure which readings you need from the speedfan program, so here's just what's on the "Readings" tab it starts up in



    Win9x:NO 64Bit:NO GiveIO:YES SpeedFan:YES
    I/O properly initialized
    Linked ISA BUS at $0290
    Linked nVidia nForce410 SMBUS at $5000
    Linked nVidia nForce410 SMBUS at $6000
    Scanning ISA BUS at $0290...
    SuperIO Chip=Winbond W83627EHF
    Linked ISA BUS at $0A10
    Scanning nForce2 SMBus at $5000...
    Address $31 appears to be WRITE ONLY...
    Address $32 appears to be WRITE ONLY...
    Scanning nForce2 SMBus at $6000...
    Scanning ISA BUS at $0A10...
    Winbond W83627EHG (ID=$A1) found on ISA at $A10
    SMART Enabled for drive 0
    Found ST3200826A (200.0GB)
    End of detection


    sys fan : 1090 rpm
    CPU0 fan: 1815 rpm
    AUX0 fan: 0 rpm
    CPU1 fan: 0 rpm
    AUX1 fan: 0 rpm


    system: 39C
    CPU: 40C
    AUX: 42C
    HD0: 39C
    core: 40C


    speed01: 40%
    speed02: 40%
    speed03: 100%
    speed04: 100%

    Vcore: 1.41V
    +12V: 12.04V
    AVcc: 3.31V

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member outlaw2001it's Avatar
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    Speed01, and 02 are running at 40%. Go into Speed Fan, and make sure that they are set at 100%, if not change them.
    Did the computer freeze when the case was left open?

  10. #10
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    Shadowslayer/pc problem

    These syptoms are commom of a bad memory board. If you have two or more sticks of memory, remove all but one and see if the stalling stops. Go through each stick one at a time to rule out your memory. Remove memory with pc off and touch the case (grounf yourself) before touching the boards. Ground yourself before you touch any board.

  11. #11
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    The computer only freezes on startup when it's running vista, which it still does even if the case is open. in XP it still stalls out every other time I boot it up, but it doesn't freeze up once it gets running.

    couple new things though:
    1. it randomly just started working fine the day before yesterday for a whole night, except for being a little slower than usual. but I could run all the normal programs that I couldn't until then, and the screen lost it's bluish tint. while it was working though I checked the speedfan readings while I had a game running on it and the temperatures shot up by about 5-10 degrees each, with the core reading showing a fire symbol at 50 degrees.

    2. the inside of the power supply looks like it has yellow, soft plasticy stuff melted onto a lot of it. At first I just thought it was like that on purpose to hold stuff in place, but looking closer there's one spot where the yellow stuff touches a black transistor looking thing and looks like it was actually burned where it touches it... like it's all brown and looks charred in that one spot. that, and the temp readings I got from speedfan make me think that might have something to do with the problem... could that be causing any of the problems? or is it supposed to be like that?


    I'll check the RAM as soon as I can and post if I find anything

  12. #12
    Ultimate Member outlaw2001it's Avatar
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    If something looks burned...that's not normal. Check the ram, but also check your PSU, and make sure it's running properly...if not replace it.

  13. #13
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    checked the RAM individually like you suggested and all of them seem fine. none of them made it run noticeably different one way or the other.

    is there any kind of test I can do to tell me whether or not it's the PSU for sure, short of just replacing it and booting it up?
    Last edited by shadowslayer6578; August 1st, 2008 at 08:12 PM.

  14. #14
    Member Nickster's Avatar
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    Have you updated any drivers recently? A few days or so before the problems began?

    System stalling during loading and freezing at startup may be symptomatic of an incompatable driver or a conflict between two different drivers.

    Nick

    P.S. You can test power supply voltages but according to an earlier post your BIOS shows all the voltages to be only slightly higher than the spec (which is normal, more power load will pull them down a bit).

    Is the fan inside the power supply running really well? Pushing plenty of air out that feels normal to perhaps only slightly warm?

    All the temps you posted from the BIOS look fairly normal..10 degree increase when your gaming isn't good if the 10 degree increase was on your CPU.

    System fan looks a little slow but not sure what they mean by system fan, one mounted inside the front or back of the case? They generally aren't very fast.

    Edit: Whoa!! Just noticed your CPU fan speed, for some reason I thought it was higher than 1800. It should be close to twice that, 3k rpm at the very least. 50+ degrees is getting too hot for a CPU, might want to change that fan for GP if no other reason. Check your video card fan (if it has one) also, screen going black is one sign of a video card heat issue, textures turning white while playing a 3d game is another (generally by then it's too late, card burnt but not always). Bluish tint could be video card issue, but there are several resons why the screen might get a bluish tint.

    Narrowing down intermitent or odd erros can be difficult.
    Last edited by Nickster; August 1st, 2008 at 09:54 PM.

  15. #15
    Ultimate Member outlaw2001it's Avatar
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    The sys Fan, and CPU fan are running at 40% according to Speed Fan. Have you adjusted the fan speed in Speed fan to 100%?

  16. #16
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    I tried changing the fan speed to 100% on speedfan, but every time I closed the program and brought it back up again it would just be back at 40% again. not sure how to change that.

    there weren't any driver updates or any major changes that I can think of to trigger the problems. it was just a gradual decline in the computer's performance/gradual increase in random errors, until it got to the state it's in now which is barely usable.

    the fan inside the psu seems like it's running fine. the one on the motherboard seems kind of slow. the one on the back of the computer (the system fan I think) doesn't seem to be working very well at all. barely feel any air moving from that one.

    the 10 degree increase was pretty much across the board on the speedfan readings. I don't think any except the "core" reading went above 50 degrees, but it was close

    I think my video card is integrated into the motherboard or something, because I don't see one in there as a separate piece of hardware. just the hard drive, motherboard, PSU, and the disk drive


    I'm thinking whatever the issue(s) with the computer are might just be beyond me to figure out, even with you guys trying to help (thanks again, by the way). I might just take it into a professional soon to see if it's even salvageable or not

  17. #17
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    Yeah, the issues you describe have too many possible causes. I still think the Stalling is probably due to a driver issue, may the same with Vista but can't say I like Vista's stability to begin with.

    Since your video is acting wacky, try downloading and installing new Video drivers. Bad video card could also cause stalling during startup.

    I think your Fan Speeds are due to the Smart Temp setting in the BIOS, 55*C is probably a optimal operating temperature for your processor. Temps change with just about every generation of processor and I haven't kept track. Anyhow, the Smart Temp is probably controlling your fan speed trying to maintain 55C +/- 5 degrees (per the settings). Lowering that setting can make the fan run faster and processor run cooler but cooler is not always better.

    Try setting it down to 50C if you can find your way into the BIOS. Probably won't make any improvement but it shouldn't hurt at all.

    If the air coming out of the power supply is cool then nothing to worry about there.

    How long have you had this computer?

  18. #18
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    Did you get the problem fixed shadowslayer6578? I know this is such an old post but I have EXACTLY the same symptoms as your computer and would love to know what happened in the end.

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