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Computer freezes or display turns mostly black w/some horizontal colored lines


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#1 JadedGem

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 12:33 PM

We have a Gateway desktop running Vista Home Premium 64-bit, purchased new about May 2009.
Pentium Dual Core CPU E5200.
2.5 Ghz
6 GB ram
640 Gb hard drive.
NVidia GEForce 9200 integrated.


Our computer has recently started freezing up. Can't use ctrl + alt +del, have to hard boot.
Sometimes the screen goes mostly black with about an inch at the top showing colorful horizontal lines.
Trying to "launch start up repair" on reboot often gives a blue screen with error code - if we hard boot again and "start Windows normally" everything is fine.
Sometimes on re-booting, we see lines on the screen when the Gateway logo is up or when Windows is loading - I think it froze each time that happened & we had to re-boot again.

The freezing usually happens when someone is playing games, particularly higher graphic games eg FIFA, Toontown, or watching a video online.

Can this be a graphics card problem?
I checked the video cable (the LCD monitor & cables were new at that time too), cleaned the connections.

Could the issue be overheating/weak power supply? It has the orig 300w power supply which we had planned to upgrade bc several of the product reviewers complained about it.

Could the problems have been caused by a virus?
I ran full virus scans using MBAM, SuperAntiSpyware, and Avira (Avira also has real time guard), including in safe mode. All viruses found were finally repaired/quarantined etc. - It took some time & effort to get rid of the Java/Rowindal virus.


Note also that during the past few days we had some kind of Google re-direct hijack virus. That issue has been resolved as well.

I've run a full defrag with Auslogics.

In case it is relevant: The first problems with this computer started within a couple months of purchase. The computer would just shut down for no obvious reason. After this happened repeatedly and became more frequent, we sent it to Gateway - about 6 months after purchase. They returned it saying they could not find any problem. It took a while before it happened again. I noticed if I cleaned the dust off the fan it didn't seem to happen anymore (just a minimal build up seemed to cause the shut offs. Overheating??)


Any help would be appreciated, as now the computer usually freezes within a few minutes of gaming, even if the computer hasn't been on very long. Thanks!

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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 02:40 PM

Welcome to Bleepingcomputer.

It sounds to me like your computers CPU heat sink is probably caked with dust.

I would purchase a can of compressed air and blow the heat sink out.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 29 September 2010 - 02:40 PM.

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#3 DickNervous

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 03:50 PM

Welcome to Bleepingcomputer.

It sounds to me like your computers CPU heat sink is probably caked with dust.

I would purchase a can of compressed air and blow the heat sink out.

Bruce.


I agree with MrBruce 110%, this has the markings of a heat related issue. Break out the compressed air and make sure that you clean off the CPU fan and heatsink, PSU fan, and any other fans and vents that are in the system. Also make sure that the heat sink is properly attached. You can use an application like HWMonitor to keep track of the temps while you are using the machine as well.

If it continues you may want to remove the heat sink, clean it, apply new thermal paste and re-install it or even buy a better one.

#4 JadedGem

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:13 PM

Thanks to both of you for your quick reply!


Ok, after a bit of research (wanted to make sure exactly what a "heat sink" looks like!), I was able to remove and clean the heat sink & fan. That is the same fan I usually clean out every month or two with cotton swabs. There was not a whole lot of dust on the blades or cpu or the fan, just a very light layer; I'm not sure if the lack of heavy dust build up changes anything?
I used cotton swabs & a small air compressor, cleaning out all the vents and the whole interior. I used rubbing alcohol to clean the thermal paste off.
Also, I did not have thermal paste so I replaced without it, having read that some use it, some don't.

After restarting the computer, the first thing that happened was Windows began loading and I had stripes of colorful horizontal lines across the screen. I took a picture with my cell phone. Before, the screen would be all black with about an inch or two on top being streaks of colorful lines just like in this image.

Attached File  Desktop_Display_probs__jpg.jpg   52.9KB   14 downloads


So I did a hard boot, and this time Windows loaded fine. But once the desktop appeared, it froze.

I re-booted again, and this time everything seemed fine and it's still on half hour later.


I installed SpeedFan last week and noticed the temp of the GPU yesterday was around 58-60, if I remember correctly. (I didn't think to check all that today before cleaning the heat sink/fan). Now the temps are a bit cooler, GPU about 50 and each of the two Cores mid 40s (they were around 34 on startup).

Attached File  Speedfan_image.jpg   64.52KB   11 downloads


Also, since our computer takes several minutes to load completely, I did some research & was able to use MSCONFIG to remove quite a few programs from Startup.


We still have to test further to see if the issue is resolved, but my concern is that first screen on turning the computer on after cleaning.

Thanks, again!

Editing to add a screenshot of HWMonitor (thx for the tip on that program!)
Attached File  HWMonitor_screen_shot.jpg   90.56KB   9 downloads

Edited by JadedGem, 29 September 2010 - 08:31 PM.


#5 dc3

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:31 PM

The top of the CPU and the surface of the heat sink that mate to it have very small gaps which reduces the efficiency in the cooling of the CPU. Thermal compound is used to insure a good thermal coupling which enhances the thermal transfer from the CPU to the heat sink and fan assembly. I would add the thermal compound.

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#6 JadedGem

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:39 PM

dc3: Thanks for the tip! I will add the thermal paste as soon as I get it, hopefully by the weekend. :thumbsup:




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