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Crash Too Often?

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#1 product53


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Posted 21 March 2006 - 06:34 PM

Have a: Dell 4600/XP/SP-2

I was in the middle of using Autoruns & Msconfig, and checking info on startup programs on the web with Firefox1.5.0.1. (I was trying to stop non-essential startup programs)

First, Firefox stopped responding, and would not close out. I then closed all other programs and started the Task Manager to try to close out, but then the task manager stopped responding. The CPU was not at full capacity and the system was responding to mouse actions but no programs were functional – not even Start>Turn Off Computer. (I had to shut down by pressing the power button.)

Crashes (or hangs) are a regular occurrence with this system. (This is the first time a crash has happened with Firefox.) Usually crashes occur when simultaneously running programs (that don’t seem to like each-other), specifically IE6 and Windows Media Player. The instability of IE was why I switched browsers in the firstplace. I’m a bit concerned that the regular occurrence of crashes could be damaging my computer. What can I do about these crashes (hangs)? Could it result in permanent damage?

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#2 Enthusiast


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Posted 21 March 2006 - 07:00 PM

Unless you know exactly what you are stopping from running it is a dangerous thing to do. You may have shut off essential startups.

IE is not usually a problem while running WIndows Media Player, in fact, they are designed to work together.

Crashing at all is also not something that is supposed to occur, especially using XP which is the most stable op system MS has made so far.

Describe your system for us and we will see what it takes to get your system back to running properly. Did it come with XP installed or did you upgrade from W98 or WME? Which version of XP? Home or Pro?

Is your XP updated completely (beyond SP2, subsequent updates), and have you determined if it is free of viruses and malware?

Have you gotten any error messages and exactly what have they said?
Please try to be as specific as possible because that can help us determine what is wrong.

You have something wrong going on in your system because crashes and hangs are not normal with XP.

Edited by Enthusiast, 21 March 2006 - 07:01 PM.

#3 Herk


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Posted 21 March 2006 - 07:14 PM

Any fan noises? Are the fans working OK? Does it seem to be running hot? That 2.8 P4 should run pretty well. There are a lot of possibilities, including memory problems. Make sure you've got air moving out of it.

You may need to open the case and use canned air to blow out the dust. Dells often have some sort of plastic shroud over the processor heatsink. Study it before you attempt to remove it. Usually, they have a hinge and you can squeeze the shroud a little and it will swing out. Blow all the dust out of the fans and heatsink fins.

Make sure you unplug the computer before working inside it. Also make sure that you touch the metal frame before reaching inside - electrostatic shock from your body can cause damage.

It's a good idea to run Memtest86 to make sure your memory is not bad. But you need to burn the image to a disk after you download it. This requires a CD-burner and a program that will burn ISO's. Sudden freezing like that is often a memory problem because the memory works until it reaches a certain level and will suddenly toss out an error.

#4 product53

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 10:16 PM


My System info:
Dimension 4600i
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (came installed by Dell)
Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 2 Build 2600 (have regularly updated to most resent)
System Type X86-based PC
Processor x86 Family 15 Model 3 Stepping 4 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz
Processor x86 Family 15 Model 3 Stepping 4 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz
BIOS Version/Date Dell Computer Corporation A10, 5/17/2004
SMBIOS Version 2.3
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)"
Total Physical Memory 1,024.00 MB
Available Physical Memory 629.58 MB
Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB
Page File Space 2.40 GB

Currently I use CA eTrust security suite. I run malware scans regularly and as far as I can tell, my system is free of viruses… Presently im running the Trend Micro online virus scan just to be sure.

Sometimes, when running programs like IE6, WMP, Psycle v1.8.2 (open-source music creation software) among others, I get a message: “[program X .exe] has encountered a problem and needs to close.” Other times the program just closes on it's own.
In the past, system crashes have maxed CPU usage to 100%. I have not experienced this type of crash recently though. Lately, crashes have been limited to programs (like what I described above with Firefox). *See also Links below.


As far as I know, the fan is working fine. I try to be careful to not overheat the CPU.
Regarding dust; this is definitely a problem. Recently I had to replace a CD drive, and when I opened the CPU tower, I found a ton of dust everywhere. I tried to vacuum it out but it’s probably a losing battle… I have to invest in an air spray-can. I wish Dell would design a home computer that keeps dust out. (Duh?!?! It’s analogus to a auto-manufacturer who dosen’t rust-proof cars sold in the north.)



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