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What Hardware Could Be Causing This?


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#1 Trebby

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 07:09 AM

Hi everybody,
I have a computer which is about 3 years old. I built it myself and it has worked fine for a couple of years. Then things went a bit weird. XP started freezing a lot and I had to reset. Then occasionally after this it refused to load windows so I had to run CHKDSK which worked, until the problem occurred again. Getting fed up of this I bought a new hard drive a couple of weeks ago and reinstalled windows. This worked ok, but now the computer has started doing the same thing again. First of all it stops for a couple of seconds and then resumes, then it gets incredibly slow and freezes so I have to reset.

I'm guessing it's probably not the hard disk then (although I should note that I'm still using the same SATA cable if that matters), but wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction as to where things might be going wrong? I think I have all the latest drivers installed for things after I reinstalled windows.

Any help would be much appreciated and the spec of my computer is below.

Mainboard : MSI K8 Neo4 (MS-7125)
Chipset : nVidia nForce4
Processor : AMD Athlon 64 3000+ @ 1800 MHz
Physical Memory : 1536 MB
Video Card : Sapphire RADEON X800 GT
Hard Disk : MAXTOR (250 GB)
DVD-Rom Drive : HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GSA-H54L
CD-Rom Drive : LITE-ON LTR-52246S
Network Card : Marvell Semiconductor (Was: Galileo Technology Ltd) Yukon 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (Copper)
Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.01.2600 Service Pack 3
DirectX : Version 9.0c

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#2 Trebby

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 09:33 AM

Ok, I have run the SeaTools tests now and it passes SMART, but fails everything else - Long and Short DST and the generic tests. Does this mean it's failing?
Thanks.

#3 dc3

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 10:20 AM

Because you have installed a new hdd with a fresh installation of Window and still have the same problem it would appear that you have a hardware problem. My first thoughts are of the PSU, do you have another that you can swap with to see if this helps?

If you have a voltmeter try the following.


The purpose of this procedure is to bypass the motherboard to test the PSU.

Caution:
This procedure will involve working with live 12VDC electrical potentials which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock. Proper precautions should also be taken to prevent electrostatic discharges (ESDs) within the case of the computer. For safety purposes please follow the instructions step by step.

First, shutdown your computer. Then unplug the power cable going into your computer.

Once you have opened the case, touch the metal of the case to discharge any static electricity.

The connector of the PSU which connects to the motherboard is readily recognizable by the number of wires in the bundle. To disconnect it you will need to press on the plastic clip to disengage it and then pull the connector up and away from the motherboard. Please take notice of the location of the locking tab and the notch on the socket of the motherboard, this will only connect one way as it is keyed. This wire bundle will have a memory of the way it has been installed and will want to bend back that direction, you may have to play around with it to find a position that the connector will stay in the same position while you run the test.

Posted Image

From the top left to right the pins are 13-24, the bottom from left to right are 1-12.


Please notice that there are PSUs with 24 pin and 20 pin connectors, the location of the green wire in the 24 pin connector is #16, and the green wire in the 20 pin connector is #14. If you look at the connector with socket side facing you and the clip on the top the number one pin will be on the bottom left corner. This makes the pin out for the 24 pin connector from left to right 13-24 on top, and 1-12 on the bottom. The pin out for the 20 pin connector from left to right is 11-20 on top , and 1-10 on the bottom. If you look at the connectors you notice that these are sockets that fit over the pins on the motherboard where the PSU cable attaches, this is where you will place the jumper. For a jumper you will need a piece of solid wire about the size of a paper clip (20-22 awg), preferably a wire with insulation. It will need to be large enough to fit firmly into the socket so that it will not need to be held in place while testing. You are at risk of electrical shock if you are holding the jumper when you power up the PSU. Insert one end of the jumper into the socket of the Green wire, and insert the other end into the socket of any Black wire.

Once the jumper is in place plug the cord back in. If the PSU is working properly the case fans, optical drives, hdds, and LEDs should power up and remain on. I would suggest that you not leave this connected any longer than is necessary for safety purposes.

At this point you can use a DC Voltage meter to read the different rail Voltages. You will want to insert the black probe into any of the Black (-) sockets, and insert the Red (+) probe in the five different colored sockets, one at a time. Below are the five different colors and their corresponding rail voltages. The Voltages should be within about ten percent plus or minus of the given values.

Yellow +12VDC

Blue -12VDC

Red +5VDC

White -5VDC

Orange +3.3VDC

To reconnect the 20/4 pin connector unplug the power cord, remove the jumper, and reconnect the connector. Take a moment at this time to make sure that nothing has been dislodged inside the case.

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#4 Trebby

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 10:33 AM

Hi,
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.

Unfortunately I don't have a voltmeter and no easy way of procuring one. I have PCwizard installed - I could be completely on the wrong track but it has voltage settings listed - are these the same thing?

Hardware Monitoring : Winbond W83627THF
Voltage CPU : 1.38 V
+3.3V Voltage : 3.18 V
+5V Voltage : 5.00 V
+12V Voltage : 12.59 V

Thanks for your help.

#5 dc3

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 11:05 AM

If those reading are correct then the PSU looks good. Usually if the hdd passes the SMART it is not dying...usually.

What other areas did fail with the seagate disk wizard?

When you ran the chkdsk, did you run the chkdsk C: /f and C: /r?

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#6 Trebby

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 03:02 PM

Using the SeaTools programme it fails the long and short DST and the the long generic, but passes SMART and short generic. This is as much information as SeaTools seems to give.

As I say it is a brand new hard drive. Is it possible that the cable could be damaged? Or the power cable to the SATA?

edit: Oh and I ran chkdsk/ f - it did find errors and fixed them.

Thanks.

Edited by Trebby, 07 September 2008 - 03:02 PM.


#7 hamluis

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 03:21 PM

What are the exact error messages received?

How To Use Event Viewer - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/40108/how-to-use-event-viewer/

Have you check Device Manager for any indications of problems?

Anything is possible...there should be clues as to what might be problematical.

Louis

#8 Trebby

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 05:24 AM

Hi.
I've checked Device Manager - there are no errors there at all.
The Event viewer shows the following:
Attached File  error.jpg   330.89KB   27 downloads

The yellow warnings are:
Attached File  warning.jpg   82.78KB   21 downloads

and the red errors are:
Attached File  error1.jpg   80.41KB   24 downloads

I'm guessing this makes it look like hard disk problems...?
Help very much appreciated!

#9 hamluis

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 10:09 AM

Appears to me that you have 2 types of errors:

a. The ATAPI errors indicate problems with one of your optical drives.

b. The Disk (51) errors indicate that there are read problems from the hard drive.

What I would do: Address the ATAPI errors first. When other drives have problems, that impacts the boot drive. I would see if both of those optical drives work properly...if one doesn't, disconnect it temporarily.

Not sure how you are running the SeaTools diagnostic, hopefully not from within Windows.

I would go with one (good) optical drive and the hard drive...and use the XP CD to run chkdsk /r on the SATA hard drive...to completion.

Louis

#10 Trebby

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:19 PM

Thanks for your reply. Both CD drives seem to be working ok - I haven't noticed any problem directly. If it says IDEport 2, is there any way to work out which this is either in BIOS configuration or by mid/end of IDE cable?
Thank you again.
Rob

#11 hamluis

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:44 PM

To be honest...I've never seen a motherboard connection referred to in that manner :thumbsup:.

I just call the motherboard connectors IDE 1 and IDE 2...like my motherboard manuals. I'm a dunce at times :flowers:.

Anyway...it's your secondary IDE connector on the motherboard, with the primary being used to connect your boot drive.

In my experience...optical drives yield messages like the ones you received...when they are attempting to copy/read data and are unable to properly do so. That's why I asked if they were working properly.

If you can look in Event Viewer and you don't see any ATAPI errors immediately following your efforts to use said drives...then the drives are working. And that means the problem may have been their inability to read the hard drive.

Which is why I suggested the steps I posted previously.

Unless I'm mistaken, all of those errors were yesterday. If they had problems yesterday...they probably have problems today. Which is why you try to read data CDs, play music CDs, and burn CDs. If any of those yield problems, we need to know.

Louis

#12 Trebby

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 08:20 AM

Thanks to everyone for their help on this. In the end I got a bsod and it wouldn't even boot saying that there was no boot device connected.

I fiddled with the sata cable and that has fixed everything so I guess it was loose or something. Just acquired some latching sata cables so hopefully I won't have this problem again! Thanks to everyone again.

#13 hamluis

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 08:40 AM

LOL...it pays to check connections first when trying to get a handle on noted disk situations...happy computing :thumbsup:.

Louis




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