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Computer randomly freezing out of the blue


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#1 TwentyEleven

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 03:34 PM

Hi guys,

I built my own computer roughly a year ago, and have since upgraded various parts to keep up with current hardware needs for gaming. Roughly a month and a half ago, my computer started randomly freezing and I would have to hold down the power button to restart. Also, other times, the moniter would turn off, say no signal, and again I would have to hold down the power button.

I cant think of any significant change I made a month and a half ago which would cause this, but its highly frustrating as its now freezing almost every hour, or when Im in the middle of watching a movie or gaming with my clan. I thought it was related to my cpu overheating since I changed it about 5 months ago without applying fresh paste, so I cleaned off the old thermal paste and applied a new coat, yet hasnt made a difference. Right now my core reads 39 degrees.

I run with Comodo Firewall and Super Antispyware, but with UAC disabled as its just a nusiance.

Here are my specs:
Core 2 Duo, E7400 2.80ghz
64 Bit OS
4 GB Ram

[edit]
Should also mention the random frequency of the feezing. When it began, it didnt freeze very often, possibly once every 2 days. The it started happening once a day, then twice and especially if I was gaming, but would still occure randomly if I wasnt gaming, a few time sI was surfing facebook or writing ane mail in gmail and it would freeze. Now, if I have a game online, 90% chance it will trigger a freeze.

Edited by TwentyEleven, 30 June 2011 - 04:01 PM.


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#2 caperjac

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 07:29 PM

check to make sure your video cards fan is working/clear of dust buildup ,if it has one that is

My answers are my opinion only,usually


#3 Kevin384

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 02:45 AM

Agreed Caperjac!

When last did you update your graphics card drivers?
This quite often resolves this type of problem. A word of advise - go to the GPU Manufacturers website (ATI or AMD) to get the drivers, M$'s update drivers are, in my opinion, more of a problem than an asset!

#4 TwentyEleven

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 11:07 AM

@caperjac I had already cleaned out my pc of dust last month, bit I followed your advice, uninstalled my card, inspected it and attempted to clean out the tiny amount of dust that was on it. My card is a HIS Radeon 5670 IceQ 512 GDDR5, if you google it, you can see, its very difficult to get access to the fan and heat sink. And just to reiterate, theres was pretty much no dust on the fan, and only a small amount on its heatsink.

@kevin384 My drivers are constantly updated by Steam on almost a monthly basis, but Im following your instructions and downloading the latest driver the the card site, will let you know if that makes a difference.

Yesterday, I managed to play several online games. The first 2 I managed, by restarting ym pc each time, and just launching the game. I would restart my pc each time, then turn off all backround programs, an this seemed to get around the freezing. Then a friend of mine reccomnded I open the side of my case and put a fan there. I did so, this for the rest of the night, eliminated all freezing. I managed to play the game for a good 4 hours, then i tabbed out of the game, checked emails, launched my music player and my core never went over 48 degrees and I experienced no nfreezing.

Then this morning, right after startup, my computer freezed! I had just logged into my user account, the case was ope, fan running, and within moments of logging in, a freeze. Then after I restarted, I logged in, watched a video on moddb.com, and the screen turned off! again I had to restart my pc. As I write this, it is now the thierd time Ive logged into my pc this morning, been about 5 mins, no freezing so Im gonna finish the post before it freezes and I have to rewrite the thing :P

[edit]
I jus remembered, last time steam updated my drivers, I got a message saying windows installer has stopped working, and another error came up but I cant remember what it said and I then got a message saying drivers may not have installed correctly do you wish to reinstall. And just now, when installing the latest drivers from that site, I got that first same message again saying windows installer has stopped working, but none of the other messages.

Both times I managed to finish installing the new drivers even with all the error messages. Im gonna restart, an play some games without the fan and see if the crashing still occures.

[edit]
Ok well, moments ago I was watching a tv show while downloading a game off steam an my pc's screen turned off again. Ive had 3 crashes in 2 hours, so somehow its gotten worse. It dosnt make sense though, it was fine last night after I opened the case and put a fan next to it. Now Im not even doing anything to stress the system and its crashing much more then before for no obvious reason.

Edited by TwentyEleven, 01 July 2011 - 12:06 PM.


#5 Kevin384

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 02:10 PM

Sorry for the delay!!
When you cleaned (or checked, as the case may be!) the grahics card, did you remove it from the system?

If not, I suggest that you do so, and visually check the PCI connectors (Mobo and card) for any signs of marks that could infer a poor connection.
gently brush out the Mobo connector with a clean fairly stiff bristle brush, and rub the card connector with a PLASTIC eraser to buff up the gold-plated contacts, then wipe them gently with a lint free cloth to remove any residue that the eraser may have left. Re-install and let's see what happens. Also, while you have the card out, try to get your hands on a "can-o-air" and blow through the fan housing so that any dust can be removed - you sometimes need just that little bit of extra pressure to dislodge any stubborn dust stuck in the cooler fins!

This has worked for me on a number of occasions, as it has for my former employer's IT fellas.

Good Luck
Kevin.

Edited by Kevin384, 01 July 2011 - 02:11 PM.


#6 caperjac

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 02:17 PM

i would run diagnostic test on the harddrive, hdd manufacturers offer free scanning tools .

Edited by caperjac, 01 July 2011 - 02:17 PM.

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#7 Kevin384

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 02:24 PM

Good one Caperjac, never thought of that one - quite often the elementary solutions escape me!! :whistle:

#8 caperjac

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 06:57 PM

elementary, i made it to middle school ,lol

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#9 TwentyEleven

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 07:40 PM

Sorry for the delay!!
When you cleaned (or checked, as the case may be!) the grahics card, did you remove it from the system?

If not, I suggest that you do so, and visually check the PCI connectors (Mobo and card) for any signs of marks that could infer a poor connection.
gently brush out the Mobo connector with a clean fairly stiff bristle brush, and rub the card connector with a PLASTIC eraser to buff up the gold-plated contacts, then wipe them gently with a lint free cloth to remove any residue that the eraser may have left. Re-install and let's see what happens. Also, while you have the card out, try to get your hands on a "can-o-air" and blow through the fan housing so that any dust can be removed - you sometimes need just that little bit of extra pressure to dislodge any stubborn dust stuck in the cooler fins!

This has worked for me on a number of occasions, as it has for my former employer's IT fellas.

Good Luck
Kevin.


Ill venture into town tomorrow and attempt to aquire these things. I once tried to get some iso to clean the contact points, checked every store in walking distance (miles) and nothing, had to ebay it so Im probs not gonna find can-o-air. And yes I took my card out, visually, nothing seemed wrong with it, its contact points or the slot.

@caperjac - Looking for a diagnostic tool atm, will let you know how that turns out.

A small update, after my last edit here today on my previous post, Ive had my case open an fan blowing in, and not one crash/freeze/screen turning off requiring holding down of the power button - since then. Strange no?

#10 TwentyEleven

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 03:51 PM

Aight guys I followed both your suggestions and its still crashing. Diagnostic showed everything was fine on the hd, no problems or bad sectors. Got a lint free cloth an cleaned the bronze bits on my gpu after buffing it with a rubber. Also did a full scan with super antispyware and malware bytes, they found some problems, deleted em an still its crashing as randomly as it did before and always in the middle of playing dow2 online.. So frustrating..

Edited by TwentyEleven, 12 July 2011 - 03:52 PM.


#11 Kevin384

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 08:10 AM

Hi,
Sorry for not posting before today, but life got in the way.
I have given this problem some thought during the odd few free moments, and it occurred to me that this may not, after all, be a graphics problem at all!!
I had occasion to check out a friend's laptop some time ago, and in desperation re-installed the CHIPSET drivers of the motherboard which seemed to resolve more than one problem(erratic mouse cursor, BSOD's and FREEZING etc)!

Try and download the latest chipset drivers from your motherboard manufacturer's website and reload them - it certainly cannot hurt, and may just resolve the problem.

As an aside, I noted that you are using the Comodo firewall. I suggest that as a temporary expedient, you un-install this and try some other free Firewall. I have nothing against Comodo, it just seems to be a bit heavy for personal use - try Zonealarm's free firewall, it may also make a difference as it seems to be lighter on system resources. (Does Comodo disable the Windows Firewall when you load it? I suggest you check this in the security centre - if Win firewall is enabled with Comodo ALSO enabled, you may have a conflict between the two of them - DISABLE the win firewall if necessary).

Another thought, what is the maximum Ram capacity of your Mobo? It may be a help to increase the ram on your system to, say, 8GB if you have the means to do it, if you are running a 64-bit OS. I am running WIN7 Ultimate X64 on a rig with 16GB of ram, and when I run SIW, I have noted that my Ram load is sitting at 20% (with Firefox and Office 2007 Outlook apps running). You may also want to increase your virtual ram on your HDD to the maximum allowed, or "allow windows to manage your virtual memory (PAGEFILE)"

Good Luck,
Kevin

EDIT to add further comments about the Firewalls

Edited by Kevin384, 15 July 2011 - 08:22 AM.


#12 TwentyEleven

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 12:38 PM

Well, for the past 3 days, again no crashing at all which is really wierd. I had been away from the computer several days prior to that, and each time there after only used it occasionally as i had a very busy weekend. Then on sunday, I came home drunk, played online for ages then went to sleep with the computer on. When i woke up the next day, as soon as I checked my email, it locked up. Then it started locking up evert hour, then every half hour then a few minutes after booting and even before i could log in. Somehow Ive now managed to log in, post this, install the new chipset and disable comodo, lets see how things go..

Also, I acidentally bumped my computer a moment ago and that caused it to turn off aswell. This is the second time its crashed from being bumped, the other hundred times it was just random.

[edit]
I should also mention that roughly before the crashing/lockups started several months ago, I started getting wierd messages about paging files, saying I should increase the pagefile, but I only had 3 gigs free at the time (hd is only 260gigs) so i just ignored it and eventually it went away.

And after i posted this message, litterially right after my comp crashed again. So I need to hurry an post this before I crash. Cant believe how bad this has gotten..

Edited by TwentyEleven, 19 July 2011 - 12:53 PM.


#13 Kevin384

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 01:28 PM

UMMMM - OK, the machine ran well for a reasonable time after standing for a few days? Then started to deteriorate again? :huh:

How do you monitor your system temperatures? SIW or Speccy, or some other type of SW?

I am becoming concerned that your HDD Temps may be reaching the upper end of the scale, and this would not be good. Please could you check the temp of the drive(s) and post back. What I would like you to do for me is get the machine running and WITHOUT using it(Playing games or opening apps), monitor your CPU and HDD temps, just to see if they tend to rise incrementally.

You bumped the machine and it switched off!
This would normally point to a loose connection, but could also mean that the thermal cutout on the CPU may be kicking in (rest assured, this occurs VERY quickly!). Ensure that the cooler fastners have engaged properly into the mobo.

I had a new build that did just that, and I found that one of the fastners hadn't "clicked" into the proper lock position, which caused this very effect. You could try to remove the cooler and re-seat it, just ensure that the arrows on the tops of the fastners are rotated away from the aluminium extrusion then press the fastners into the mobo until you hear a distinct click- this will enable the proper engagement of the pins into the mobo.

Did you load a new firewall, or are you relying on the Windows firewall at the moment?

Hopefully, however, the new chipset software will improve matters.

Best of luck,
Kevin

#14 Kevin384

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 01:46 PM

OK, I have just read your edited post.

The pagefile is an important item for your machine to run stably. You have 3Gb of space left on your root drive? Not the best position to be in, as Windows requires at least 15% leeway on your drive to perform internal maintenance tasks (De-fragging for instance) and 3GB out of 260GB is way too small.

Are there any seldom used programs on your drive that you can afford to uninstall to free up space? What OS (XP, Vista or W7) are you using? Do you have any other partitions on your drive?


We may possibly be getting to the root of the problem now!!
Kevin

Edited by Kevin384, 19 July 2011 - 01:48 PM.


#15 TwentyEleven

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:16 PM

Basicially, I left it off for awhile and when I came back an booted back up everything seemed fine for a good couple of days. Its seems leaving it on over sunday night til monday morning triggered the crashing again.

Was using realtemp to moniter my cores when doing nothing, surfing and gaming. They never went over 48. Im using windows 7 btw. Now I have Speccy, heres some screens of my system info.

Overview
Posted Image

HD
Posted Image

Ram
Posted Image

Also, Ive had around 13-16 gigs free on my hd for a few months now, it was just when the paging file thing came up I had alot on my hd an stuff installed. Im a modder and graphic designer so I have many apps which are essential for me to do my work and they take up most of my space. Then I also have lost of mod assets and graphics project files,combined with a modest (7gig) movie collection and 2 games installed (around 20 gig in total for both games).

Ive now again gone through my system and deleted many redundant files/crap. Currently now have 32.2 gigs free of my 233 gb hd which is still only 13% free. I also will be using this space in the future so I really dont know what else I can delete and still have space for my own personal needs.

Tomorrow ill be going to buy some iso 98%, when ive got that, Ill install a second hand artic cooler pro I have lying around froma previous build, replacing the stock cpu fan currently installed. Once the iso is inhand, ill clean contact points off, install and see what happens. Also on both stock fan an artic cooler, one of the plastic progs from one of the clips has snapped off. You know how theres four clips in total, an each clip has 2 progs, the small plastic progs which poke into the mobo, well due to the fiddily nature of installing these f**king things after installing new cores, one prong on one clip has snapped off. When installed, they seem to be fine, no wiggle, just a tight fit, and I never see my cores going over 48 degrees whenplaying a game online, then tabbing out to read the realtemp temps.

I should also note the frequency of crashing over the past several hours has gone down considerably.

Edited by TwentyEleven, 19 July 2011 - 04:32 PM.





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