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PC Has Started Locking Up, Requiring Manual Shutdowns


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#1 ToborTheGreat

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 08:35 PM

I seem to have contracted a problem in the past month or so: My pc locks up in the middle of what I'm doing, the mouse pointer freezes, and alt/cntrl/delete does not work. Nothing on the keyboard works, and the only thing I have found that does in this case are the DVD and CD-ROM trays---I can open and shut them. Otherwise, she's dead in the water, requiring me to activate the on/off button. No error messages, of course. I have run AVG, ZoneAlarm, and Spybot S&D, for years, and no virus or malware/adware has been detected in a long time. I ran a SystemSuite6 (how long I've had it installed) diagnostic recently, but it doesn't seem up to the task, since it didn't appear to find anything wrong.

I first encountered the problem while playing a video game (Dark Reign 2), which I have played for years on this pc, noticing unusual tiling on the intro graphics before the freezeup(several occurances). Next, it was while watching videos on YouTube (several occurances). I began to suspect my video card or processor. Later, while converting WAV files to mp3, it froze. I don't recall any new software downloads. I have noticed my restore points disappearing when I go to use System Restore, so that's out.

My pc is about 5 years old. It is an hp media center pc 854n, XP, Pentium 4 2.53 GHz processor, etc. About 1 1/2 years ago I boosted the 512 MB memory to 1 GB, with no problem (except that although the pc recognized the addition, I didn't notice any boost in performance). Still using the original video card GeForce 4 MX440. I don't notice any excessive heat coming from the pc. If it is a hardware issue, I need to know how to diagnose effectively. I would like to do that. Any help on clarifying this problem would be appreciated.

One interesting (& irritating), perhaps coincidental, aberration began to appear around the same time: My mouse pointer arrow sometimes appears in fragments. Very strange...

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#2 Charybdis

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:48 PM

Hi Tobor, hopefullly we can help

The issue sounds like it could be video, memory, heat or power supply related which is harder to check unless you have some parts that can be swapped out, however a memory check would be my first point of call

http://www.memtest86.com/download.html
and download the windows zip, extract it and burn it as an image (not as file on the disk)

then boot of the cd and see what it says.
you can also check the bios and see if it has voltage readings, if it does did you want to record them and post them here

#3 dc3

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 12:17 AM

The first thing that comes to mind with a desktop that is five years old is dust. Have you looked inside the case to see if there is an accumulation of dust, especially around the heat sink and fan on the CPU?

Another thing to check would be the Event Viewer. Look in the Event Viewer and see what errors are showing up at the times that this is happening.

Start> right click on My Computer> Manage> Event Viewer.

On the right side of the page you will see the options Applications, Security, and Systems, double click on Systems. There are eight columns on this page, the three that you will want are Type, Date, Time, and Event.

The errors will appear in the Type column, they are red dots with a white X inside of them.

Warnings will appear as a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark inside.

When you see an error, double click on it and see what the description is.

Please post the error code/s found in the Event column and the descriptions back in this topic.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#4 ToborTheGreat

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 02:11 AM

In response to reply #1 from Charybdis, I'm afraid I couldn't follow the instructions. I downloaded and extracted the memtest zip for Windows from the link, but found another zip after the extraction, extracted again, another zip. It reminded me of those Russian dolls. Not knowing what to do with the thing, or how to apply or read it, I gave up after considerable effort. Also, I probably need a refresher on reading voltage in bios, and what I would be looking for.

Addressing response #2 from dc3, I checked on the dust accumulation in the case. It did appear to be notable, though nowhere near a blanket in thickness. I carefully vacuumed the surfaces of the vents, fans, video card, etc, wherever I could reach them, used compressed air, cloth, etc. Fans were functioning when I booted my pc back up, but I had a surprise in store---blank screen. Eventually had to run a rescue disc, and so forth. Finally got it back up, don't know what went wrong. I had been careful about static.

About all I found in Manage/Event Viewer, etc., was seemingly hundreds of IoloFilter errors, none of which would divulge a description, instead stating it couldn't be found. I copied the nondescription, and can post it if relevant.

I just watched about an hour or so of cable television on Media Center, then checked out a few minutes of the Dark Reign 2 vid game, both with no problems. It seems that dust may indeed have been the problem. If so, thanks for the tip.

#5 dc3

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 02:42 AM

You should be very careful how you use a vacuum cleaner around electronics, they are great static electricity generators.

I'm glad to hear that cleaning the case has helped.

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#6 ToborTheGreat

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 07:13 PM

I was wondering about that very thing, but was anxious to clear up the matter, so I was very careful. What is the preferred method for ridding a computer's innards of dust (I'm thinking compressed air---but it blows the stuff all over the place)? This is important to know, since dust was the problem. I just gave the pc a good workout with the computer game for a few hours---no worries. I'll certainly factor in the insulating aspect of dust in the future. Thanks again.

Edited by ToborTheGreat, 01 March 2009 - 07:18 PM.


#7 dc3

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 08:43 PM

Canned air is the best way to clean it, some cases are now including a filter in the front panel to help keep the dust down.

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#8 Guest_GARDENER1_*

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 12:14 PM

Canned air is the best way to clean it, some cases are now including a filter in the front panel to help keep the dust down.


Hi
Not sure if I am doing this right but here goes. I read your post about the event manager and went ito mine -Applications - absolutely loads of yellow tiangles and red circles with white dots! Most yellow warnings seem to mention userenv and for the red circles seem to mention 'hanging' , usernv and Microsoft Office 11 - amongst others. I do not know if they were there before I used Winaso registry optimser, this was the last thing I tried to speed up my computer (especially starting up, and stop it freezing. Is ther anything global I can do or do I need to tacke each one seperately

#9 ToborTheGreat

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 11:59 PM

OK, yeah, I used canned air, as well as the other methods (vacuum & cloth) mentioned. I hope I'm good for another few years, may skip the vacuum next time...




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