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Screen Crashing in Normal & Safe mode & in Bios


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#1 Bcommercial

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:50 AM

Hi Guys,

Running Acer Aspire Laptop, Mobile AMD Sempron 3000+ 1.8 ghz 512 mb ram (64 video ram shared) XP Home 2002 SP2

My daughter's laptop suddenly started crashing a few days ago .. ok it was whilst playing her favourite "buggy" game which had often ended in crashes before but now laptop is crashing all the time without game being loaded, though I don't want to add 2 + 2 and get 5 here by assuming it's entirely the game's fault.
I tried to effect a system restore but XP wouldn't accept any of the restore points. I finally went for the System Recovery with the supplied System disk and 3 Recovery disks, but after what I thought was a successful recovery it is still crashing (actually think it also might have crashed during recovery and I had to restart though I'm no longer sure). Crashes can occur now at any time either during boot up or anything up to 60 mins or so afterwards.

Have tried booting into safe mode but it still crashes after a while and even whilst in the Bios the screen can also crash.
Checked Ram with Memtest 68+ and was without errors after one and a half full runs through (or approx 15 mins continuous) before screen crashed again.
Have been trying to run a complete SFC /SCANNOW command but screen always crashed before half way through in normal mode, and this won't run in safe mode anyway.

Also loaded the Ubuntu 11.04 live disk (without installing) and was accessing the windows hard disk fine and doing some hardware checks etc until screen again crashed after 10 mins or so.

Windows automatic updates are on, Avast is updated daily, Zone Alarm is constantly running and I do a registry & temp internet file etc cleanup with CCleaner every now & again. I haven't been running regular anti virus or malware scans though so if something did slip through it could easily have gone unnoticed. However I managed to do a "quick" scan in safe mode with the latest updated Malwarebytes which found nothing, and a ccleaner registry scan also shows up no obvious problems.

In device manager all looks fine too when expanded. Didn't try re-installing drivers here as somehow I don't see this as a graphics driver problem if it's crashing in safe mode and also within the Bios setup screen.

Oh and of course since it's always crashing, windows is running the Chkdsk utility at each bootup which is continually bringing up different results each time too numerous to mention but I have most of them noted if of use.

Can also post info from all of following if needed,
SiSandra ... shows up nothing unusual (to me anyway)
Have Specci installed ... things looked ok there too.
Have Hijack this logfile
Have Malwarebytes scan logfile


So in a nutshell I'm quite worn out and stumped for now and any suggestions from the forum would be most welcome! :)

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:18 AM

Please define "crash" as you interpret it...exactly what happens?

Let's try this.

Download/install BlueScreenView, http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html .

Double-click BlueScreenView.exe file.

When autoscan is done (screen comes up), click Edit/Select All...then File/Save Selected Items.

Save the report as BSOD.txt.

Open BSOD.txt, copy all content and paste it into your next reply.

Louis

If chkdsk is running at boot...that may indicate a hard drive problem or a file system problem.

Edited by hamluis, 22 December 2011 - 09:20 AM.


#3 Bcommercial

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:13 PM

Hey Louis! Thanks you for your response! .. much appreciated!

By "crashing" I mean that at any time from minutes to hours the screen can go either into some picturesque pattern of vertical wallpaper or less pretty line paterns, or goes white, or black, or blue. The laptop is still running (by this I mean power is still on to the screen at least) but I have no KB or mouse control (don't know what's happening cause can see nothing on screen), and am forced to manually switch off myself. This then results in Windows running the usual disk checking facility after each new reboot since windows was not shut down correctly. This initial disk check for errors sometimes results with no errors being found at all, or minor one liner errors such as "Size of the windows imsins log entry is not valid" or " Documents & Settings\AD\ ntuser.dat.log entry not valid", to slightly longer error msgs containing text such as "..convert lost chains to files? ... Yes", and much longer error messages containing pages of text including "\System volume info\restore (possible long registry key entry) is crosslinked to (something something), first allocation unit is not valid, entry will be truncated". After latest crash for example, the disk check this time found no disk errors at all after rebooting **(see below).

Anyway, I've run Bluescreen as you said but it showed up empty after the last crash. I checked in the Startup & Recovery that windows is configured to write debugging info to the dump file and have checked inside the c:\Windows\Minidump folder and it's also empty. So maybe it's not "crashing" in the true sense of the word, but it certainly ain't working afterwards whatever we call it! :)

Since I last posted I've managed to run a full updated Spybot scan and a full updated Avast antivirus scan with clear results each time. I've also since run a full Malwarebytes scan in safe mode..all turned up clear. I've also been able to run that SFC /SCANNOW command to completion and nothing showed up either (at least no error messages appeared or requests to insert windows disk to replace corrupted files or such).

Both Speccy & Sisandra appear to clear the HD (or other hardware) of any faults either, SMART tests are ok and temperature good (30c). I've also been monitoring MB & CPU temperatures during longer scans and CPU varies from idling @ 50c to max 70c while running @ prolonged 100% output, fan clicking in accordingly.

All this was possible because laptop had been running continuously for over 3 hours without crashing, first time it's done that in days which I don't understand and am trying to remember if I've changed any settings in the meantime but nothing comes immediately to mind. ** (perhaps of significance here is that disk-check also found no errors while rebooting after latest crash, which might point to the possibility of a dodgy HD?, or maybe data was corrupted which is now fixed by repeated chkdsk runs?). I have since from within windows twice scheduled the more thorough disk check utility @ re-start and it also comes up as File System ok for both Files & Folders and Free Space. The laptop has been running perfect with many reboots for last 6 hours or so now, so I suppose I'll just to go back to normal usage (internet & downloading etc) for the moment and wait to see if another crash
comes to try and localize the problem...wierd when you wish for it to crash while also hoping it doesn't! .. that's Life! :).

BTW I see that a windows update for SP3 is waiting for installation ... don't know if I need that grief just now in case it might just complicate matters and maybe I should perhaps leave that for the moment until the other problem is localized?

Any further suggestions welcome, great forum BTW, thanks Guys!

#4 Jazzgirl

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:20 PM

I had a similar problem with one of my laptops last year. I connected it to an external monitor. The external monitor works fine. My laptop was "crashing" a lot too. It is still running perfectly using the external monitor.

There will be other more intelligent responses but it wouldn't hurt to try an external monitor. Mine is a faulty display. The adapter and drivers are fine.

Edited by Jazzgirl, 22 December 2011 - 06:21 PM.


#5 hamluis

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:24 PM

Well...

Two of the more common susspects for any freezing, IMO...would be hard drive problems or system overheating.

System overheating can be checked by using a program like Speedfan or Core Temp...while the appropriate hard drive diagnostic can be downloaded from the respective hard drive manufacturer's website.

Cleaning the Interior of your PC - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial118.html

How to Avoid Overheating Hardware Secrets - http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/142

Hard Drive Installation and Diagnostic Tools - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic28744.html

Download SpeedFan - http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php

Core Temp - http://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/

Louis

#6 Bcommercial

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:45 PM

Thanks Louis & Jazzgirl

Louis, Will check out system with Speedfan / Coretemp later, also those other links you advised..never occurred to me to clean for dust, both Desktop & Laptop 5 years in dusty conditions already and can only benefit from a physical cleaning plus tuneup!)

The plot thickens regarding my problem, or perhaps the haze is slowly clearing depending how you look at it. Just after Jazzgirl above posted, my system "crashed" or should I say "froze" again, however this time with a difference. I had set the laptop to busy by downloading several torrents which also kept my Zone alarm quite busy, and also running system monitoring software Speccy simultaneously to keep an eye on CPU & system temp etc. This time the screen didn't revert to previous stripes/lines patterns or go totally blank etc, but just froze with the graphics still intact (in this case a picture of acer default screensaver). Mouse & keyboard were again useless and there appeared to be nothing I could do, however I noticed that a LED was still flashing which I believed denoted HD was still active & still downloading. So I persisted with every keyboard combination and finally got the taskbar to appear at base of screen by pressing the windows key on kb. I then found that the mouse cursor was visible & functioned in the taskbar area though invisible elsewhere. With a combination of windows key and some other ad hoc keys I gradually got some windows to appear again and after a few mins it slowly "unfroze" itself and came back to normal. Though I did find that downloading just 1 torrent was now almost monopolizing the cpu @ 100% which can't be normal, will have to wait for reboot to see if this will improve.
Point is, that it might well be as Jazzgirl suggested that a faulty display could be the problem, possibly exacerbated by overheating of course. I say this, because while really overburdening the system & running cpu @ 100% for long periods, highest cpu temp went from 50c idling to just 70c max, while specs for this cpu recommend 95c as max operating temp...so cpu at least appears ok.

Will report back after with feedback later
Thanks

#7 hamluis

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:26 PM

You mention two items...that can contribute to system woes..."torrent" and "tuneup".

Not sure what a "tuneup" for a computer is in your world...but I hope it is not a reference to using some 3d-party software to fiddle with Windows files and registry.

I'm not going to belabor the possible risk of downloading illegal torrents...I will only say that I believe it's a risky proposition to download/install software which may have been altered by unknown persons.

Louis

#8 Bcommercial

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 08:07 PM

Thanks for warnings Louis, I do try and be sensible...well most of the time :)

Anyway, I downloaded a Drive Fitness Test directly from HD manufacturer as recommended & burned a bootable ISO, but couldn't get it run beyond the initial half page of text, though it works fine and does all the checks on my desktop HD. I tried burning on different cd drives and using different burner s/w but it still won't run on my Laptop HD beyond some "DST" stage. http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/downloads/dft32_v416_b00.iso

I did try the "in depth online analysis of HD" option in Speedfan, and the disk checked out pretty much ok but scores 0 on Fitness so maybe worth replacing for that reason alone (see attachment).

Still at a loss as to what's happening, laptop ran for at least 6 to 8 hours yesterday with some reboots and no crashes at all, then crashed immediately after bootup today twice in quick succession, then ran 6 hours continuous without problem, then crashed (froze) while installing latest IE version. Both Bluesreenview and C:\Windows\Minidump are still showing empty.

Internal cleaning for dust is next on my list and then keep observing to try root out the cause..the info on drive is backed up so not worried about any loss..more concerned with getting to the cause and replacing what needs replacing so my daughter can have her life back! ..oh to be 13 again! :)

Have learned a lot in last few days, thanks again guys!

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