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intermittent freeze and black screen


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#1 alittlehelp

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 12:55 PM

Thank you in advance for any help that can demystify what is going on with this box.

The PC is a custom build, about 5 years old, running XP SP3; AMD Athalon 64 3000+ 1.80GHZ,2GB ram,NVIDIA Gforce6200 display with no apparent conflicts.
Not a screamer by today's standard but well built and reliable.....(until now)

Recently (1.31.11),while accessing a website's "map location" feature, my screen froze and went black for about 3 seconds before recovering. The symptom can be best described as a crash or "labored" Refresh.
Coincidence? perhaps......Unfortunately since that episode the problems began....

Although in Normal Mode - the pc still boots up fast; displaying the desktop as normal, however it continuously freezes the screen goes black and comes to a crawl while start up processes load. In all 40 processes listed in TM; the CPU usage is between 12%-40%. After start up, the symptoms continue every 15 seconds-(black screen and intermittent freezing). The mouse freezes and are also intermittent. Click events are non reactive or take an inordinate amout of time(minutes)to respond. Rightclick context menus are ghost(translucent in appearance). Programs are slow or won't load at all.
I made several attempts to stop running processes via the task manager and misconfig in effort to pinpoint/rule out the possibility of a software causing the problem. Processes are impossible to stop via task manager since the mouse locks up and screen continues it's 15 second freeze/blackout cycle.

The machine works flawlessly in Safe Mode where I attempted to tick off several start up processes in misconfig. Applying the settings and rebooting into normal mode, unfortunately had no effect on the problem.

I opened the box/case cleaned and blew out any dust and debris with 25 psi (including the power supply). Removed the ram (two 1 gig sticks)and tested then one at a time, in combination and alternating slots.

No change in the symptoms.

The only recent changes made before the problems occurred- were software:

installed iTunes about two weeks ago with no problems and with no problems to the machine.

AVG - up to date = scans reveal no threats in the past 30 days
Mbam - up to date = full scan mode reveal no threats
SAS - up to date = full scan mode reveal on threats

I just updated the NVIDA 6200 driver as I'm typing this- The new driver threw the pc in a continuous loop causing it reboot on it's own (6 times in a row).

I am not that skilled in trouble shooting- Anyone have any ideas or procedures to check against hardware vs software diagnosis?

Thanks again.

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#2 dc3

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 01:31 PM

You didn't post the make and model of the motherboard. Does it have integrated graphics? If it does, pull your graphics card and use the integrated to see if this makes a difference.

Edit:

Does the computer boot to a working state now?

Edited by dc3, 01 February 2011 - 01:33 PM.

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#3 alittlehelp

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 02:11 PM

Hi dc3,
thanks for the response.

EDIT: yes the pc windows/boots up. but is completely useless outside of Safe Mode. the mouse cursor constantly hangs and progs take a half hour to respond...if at all

I don't know much in the way of hardware either - but I did find the box...

the motherboard is a: MS-6702E ATX (MSI K8T800 Pro chipset based K8T Neo2)
I'm not sure if I understood the board specs as having integrated graphics. below is what is described on the box:
APG 8X:
_Double graphics bandwidth to 2.1 gb/s
_Maximize the data processing between mainboard and graphics card

my guess is No. it just supports graphics card/ram(?)
thanks for you patience.

Edited by alittlehelp, 01 February 2011 - 03:48 PM.


#4 noknojon

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:03 PM

Hi alittlehelp -
If you are nor sure of specifics this Speccy snapshot will list all installed items - This will better assist us in helping you more.

Please perform the following, so that we can get the exact specs of your computer.

Publish a Snapshot using Speccy

Thank You -

#5 alittlehelp

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 08:45 PM

Thanks for the help.

Unfortunately, the program - Speccy cannot function properly under Safe Mode.
It took 45 min, but managed to get it to function (somewhat) in normal mode. Copy to clipboard function has caused the pc to lock.

here are the pc profiles from the speccy output:

os: ms windows XP professional 32 bit sp3
cpu: amd athalon 64 3000+ venice 90nm technology 38ºC
ram: 2.0 gb single -channel ddr @ 163mhz (2.5-3-3-7)
motherboard: msi ms-6702e (socket-939) 40ºC
graphics: dell 1905fp (1280x1024@60hz) 128mb Nvidia GeForce 6200 (asustek computer inc)
hard drives: 195gb western digital wdc wd2000jb-22gvao (pata) 38ºC
optical drives: lite-on dvdrw sohw-1673s
audio: realtek ac'97 audio for via® audio controller

thanks

Edited by alittlehelp, 02 February 2011 - 08:05 AM.


#6 alittlehelp

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:36 PM

**Solved**
easy fix: bad graphics card
took a shot in the dark with an educated guess - replaced/upgraded the graphics card.
amazing what a difference these new cards make in speed, color and clarity/resolution.

money well spent for a great machine that has served me well over the years.

Edited by alittlehelp, 04 February 2011 - 03:48 PM.





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