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Hardware Malfunction Blue Screen


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#1 Lloyd T

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 07:58 PM

Wow, it's been a while since I posted here.

Anyways, on to the problem. I use Windows XP Pro SP2 on the problematic computer. This started yesterday when I turned on my computer and logged in. The computer crashed just minutes after I logged in, and it displayed a blue screen message that's similar to the following:

Hardware Malfunction

Call your hardware vendor for support.

* The system has halted. *


I was forced to turn the computer off using the power button. I turned the computer on again after a few seconds, but the computer immediately crashed after I logged in and displayed the same blue screen error. After that, I turned on the computer but nothing was displaying on the screen. I also noticed that only the fans seemed to have turned on and the rest of the computer wasn't booting up. Frustrated, I turned the computer back off again and unplugged it's power. I turned the computer again an hour later and managed to get on to Safe Mode. I checked the Event Viewer but there were no errors or any entries listed during the time of the crash. The computer crashed again after a few minutes, showing the same blue screen error. Again, I was unable to use the computer again after that, since the screen was blank and it seemed that only the fans turned on. Today, I turned the computer on and managed to use it for thirty minutes before it crashed. Then I was unable to use the computer again (screen doesn't show anything, only the fans turn on).

I've tried Googling my problem but the error message seems to be generic for several hardware problems. I believe that it wasn't caused by malware, since all scans came up clean before this incident. I have a feeling that it might have something to do with the power supply or overheating, but I'm not sure.

Any help? Thanks. :thumbsup:

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 10:30 PM

There really is no way to determine when overheating applies...other than to check functional status of all fans, CPU temperature. general cleanliness of system (cleanliness promotes good air flow).

AFAIK, overheating never generates an error message of any sort.

If I saw that message, I would be thinking "CPU/heatsink" only because I've never seen that message and CPU/heatsink is the last item I would normally suspect.

Power supply issues...not sure any rules at all apply to these, due to the nature of electricity. The functioning of any component might be affected in ways that don't match up with anything previously recorded, IMO.

And...I would not eliminate the hard drive from consideration, although Windows will normally provide warnings in Event Viewer when there problems with the hard drive.

Louis

#3 Lloyd T

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 03:44 PM

The fans seem to be working properly, and the computer's temperature seems to be normal.

Based on your post, I would assume that it would most likely be a problem with the CPU/heatsink. It probably isn't overheating, since I turned on the computer again after an entire day of not using it, and the same thing happened again.


Edit: Edited to remove unnecessary quote. ~ tg

#4 hamluis

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 04:09 PM

Well, I'm no expert of any type and I've provided my basic approach to this.

If there is an error message onscreen, I interpret those as "pleas for help" from the system...so I would try to eliminate the suspects I have outlined.

It could be a motherboard issue, but I know of no way to troubleshoot that approach, other than removing everything and installing a different board. But others here can provide their ideas and insights into what steps you might take to nail this down.

Louis

#5 Lloyd T

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 06:27 PM

But if it's a motherboard issue, wouldn't it be better if I just replaced the entire computer with a new one?

#6 hamluis

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:45 PM

Well...before I began to replace anything...I would determine if that was the cause of my problems.

Of course, buying a new computer is just a way of running away from seeking an answer...but it eliminates dealing with the problem, until it happens again.

That approach could get expensive, since anything that is capable of going wrong on System A...can probably also go wrong on System B.

I can only tell you what I would do...I would not buy a new computer, since all of the components are considerably cheaper and I know how to follow directions and test until I find out what the hardware problem might be.

Lots of candidates, but...I have lots of time and spare parts.

Alternatively...you could always take it to a local shop and pay someone to do the troubleshooting/replacement of parts.

Louis

#7 Eric ~ Computer Guy

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 10:15 PM

Well...before I began to replace anything...I would determine if that was the cause of my problems.

Of course, buying a new computer is just a way of running away from seeking an answer...but it eliminates dealing with the problem, until it happens again.

That approach could get expensive, since anything that is capable of going wrong on System A...can probably also go wrong on System B.

I can only tell you what I would do...I would not buy a new computer, since all of the components are considerably cheaper and I know how to follow directions and test until I find out what the hardware problem might be.

Lots of candidates, but...I have lots of time and spare parts.

Alternatively...you could always take it to a local shop and pay someone to do the troubleshooting/replacement of parts.

Louis



The OP mentioned the PC has been problematic in the past. If this is the case, motherboards are the leading cause of issues with PC stability, long-term. If it isn't the mobo, then it could be the CPU. If it isn't the CPU, it could be the RAM. If it isn't the RAM, it could be the graphics card. Etc, etc, etc. When you speak of parts being cheaper, that is only really true if you nail the problem on the first try. That typically isn't the case.

If he isn't even able to stay in Safe Mode without it crashing, you can almost immediately rule out drivers, as Safe Mode starts with the bare minimum amount of drivers. Recommending sticking with this issue is a sticky situation, as it could be a combination of parts that are failing, possibly due to the other. You would end up spending a fortune on diagnostics and replacements, and would probably be able to get a new PC for about the same cost, or less depending on how far you go with it.

Personally, I would buy a new PC, and set the other one aside as a project. You can still take the time to diagnose the problem, but at least you would have a newer PC (with a warranty, if you buy from a manufacturer) and will be able to solve the other problem as you are able. Plus, having a known-good PC around would be useful in order to test hard drives (connected externally is recommended). That way, you could extract all needed data from the hard drive, reinstall the OS, and see if that could have been the culprit as well. If a fresh OS still blue-screens, then you know it is hardware.

If this PC was brought into any shop I have worked in, or the one I currently operate, then I would throw a hard drive test, cpu test, and memory test from a bootable CD at it. If the PC locks up when booted from a CD (TEST THAT SCENARIO!!!), then you know the motherboard and/or CPU is at fault. If it passed all of those tests, then it would be time to test the add-ins and the power supply.

If you are adventurous, or just must solve the problem, then by all means, break it down part by part. Start by removing all add-in cards and booting up. Then try taking out one of the sticks of RAM (if there are more than one) and boot it up. Swap them, and try again if needed. Try removing the data cables from all optical drives and boot it up. Try a power supply, or at least, buy a power supply tester. Try another hard drive with a fresh OS.

I just hope you have a lot of time, money, and patience. In the end, you may end up buying a new PC anyway...so keep that in mind.

Edited by Eric ~ Computer Guy, 28 November 2009 - 10:42 PM.





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