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System Crashes And Freezes...


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#1 Thequantumshaman

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 06:56 PM

This is my first ever post here so bear with me please.

I am running Win XP SP2 on an old and decrepid evesham laptop. Ever since I've had it (about 4 years) it keeps freezing and/or crashing at what seems to be random intervals. The problem is primarily a system freeze, ie. no mouse or keyboard response, HD shuts off, desktop freezes. There is no pattern to this, i may be browsing the net, downloading, playing music or watching a video, or heaven forbid when rendering audio or video (which is the most infuriating!). :thumbsup:
Now, i wouldn't say that i'm an expert with computers but i'm not green either, what i'd like is a second opinion before i go out and spend any money that i don't have! lol

I have, in the course of analysing this problem, made sure that the problem is NOT a virus/trojan/worm/adware/spyware/rootkit, so that's out of the window to start with. I know this for sure because the same problem happens after a fresh install BEFORE i've connected to the internet.

After much messing about I think I have traced the problem back to the hard drive, i say this because of the odd BSOD incident that occurs, this is rare but when it does happen it's down to an NTFS.sys error 0x24, which is fixable, and i have on several occasions sorted this out without incident using the recovery console.

The most recent attempt at a final solution has been to update all of the associated drivers as recommended by 'drivermagic', this unfortunately resulted in total disaster, in the form of BSOD 'unmountable boot partition', finding it impossible to even mount the drive in order to repair the file system I have been forced to sacrifice three months of unbacked-up work (yes I know :flowers: ) and format the drive, grrr!

The only thing I can think of is that the HDD is just old and knackered, bad sectors, geometry out of whack etc. After all, this laptop has been through some tough times! There is nothing to be found relevant to this in the event veiwer and as far as I can tell everything else is ship-shape and bristol fashion!

What I would like to know is, is there anything else that could cause this kind of debacle? or is my final solution of a new HDD the only way to go?

Thank you in advance, and I hope that maybe one day I might be able to help someone else out with thier problem! I've dragged the odd PC back from the abyss in my time which is why this has me so spooked, i'm out of answers! :trumpet:

Cheers,
Stew.

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#2 tg1911

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 08:49 PM

How much RAM do you have?
How much free space do you have on your harddrive?
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#3 Enthusiast

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 04:17 AM

If you can determine the manufacturer of the hard drive there may be downloadable hard drive diagnostics that can tell you if the hard drive is healthy or not.

The laptop manufacturer may have such a test or information about what hard drive was used.

Also try a benchmarking utility like Everest V 1.51 which is the last freeware version that includes the software module which lists all software installed on your computer and provides all the license key numbers a great tool which has been deleted from all successive freeware versions. (available as freeware at oldversion.com in the utilities section).
http://www.oldversion.com

#4 Thequantumshaman

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 06:10 PM

Hi all,

Thanks for the replies, in answer to your questions...

The HDD is a 2.5 inch 40GB, Fujitsu MHR2040AT And I always make sure that at least 5GB more usually 10GB is free space, including any pagefile areas etc. At the moment I have over 26GB free space and I have still had four freeze ups so far today! :thumbsup:

This HDD is a discontinued line, as I said, it's an old and decrepid laptop!!
I have found a manual for the MHR series from Fujitsu which I am currently examining to see if there is anything useful in there.

I will also take the suggestion of finding a diagnostic tool for it too, if I have any luck I will post the results.
Incidentally, now that I have loaded most of my software back onto the latop I decided to defragment but found that there is a file system error which prevents me from doing so! here we go again! lol :flowers:

What else? Oh yes, I have 352MB of ram which copes well with most things, although I do find that rendering audio etc. requires the shutdown of all my other software in order to make the process less of a long haul! But I can easily tinker around in photoshop, sound forge etc. without any problems.

Anyway, thanks for the advice, gives me a few more avenues to investigate before I run out for a new HDD, I'll post more as the situation developes.

Regards,
Stew.

#5 Thequantumshaman

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:01 PM

UPDATE...

After running a disk diagnostic I have found that the problem does indeed lie in a faulty disk. Bummer! :thumbsup:

Apparently some of my sys files are located around a bad cluster, xxio.sys The scandisk utility tells me that this is a sign of imminent hardware failure, ooerr missuss!
I will be trying to temporarily repair this fault by moving the files to another area of the disk, hopefully marking the bad cluster so that it doesn't cause further problems.

To this end, does anyone know of a disk utility that shifts the system files to the outer cylinders of the HD platter? This is ostensibly to enable faster read/write times, but it may be useful if it will move the system files away from the bad cluster, any ideas? I don't remember where I saw this utility but I am sure it does exist!

Regards,
Stew

#6 phantazy

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:22 PM

Not exactly free but you could try: http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm. Reviews here:http://www.google.co.uk/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial_s&hl=en&q=spinrite+reviews&meta=&btnG=Google+Search

#7 Enthusiast

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:49 PM

Spinrite is an excellent ap but even excellent aps can't prevent the imminent demise of a moribund hard drive.

The best thing to do is back-up your data before you reach a point that it becomes impossible to access it, and prepare to obtain and install the new drive as soon as possible.

#8 Thequantumshaman

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 07:07 PM

pmsl :thumbsup:

Yes indeed enthusiast, that is about the size of my thoughts on the matter too.
I already have everything backed up onto dvd-rw, all but my most recent work which is now sadly defunct.

I will soon be purchasing a new HDD and some RAM to give this old girl a new lease of life, along with a usb caddy for the old drive, I figure that so long as my OS isn't running on it i may as well use it as a second backup drive for all the less important stuff.

And on that note, shall we consider this thread closed?

Thanks you all for your valued second opinions, much appreciated. :flowers:

Regards,
Stew. :trumpet:




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