TechSpot

Computer freezes randomly or doesn't boot

By Krypton
Apr 28, 2006
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hi!

    I'm wondering if anyone could help a complete newbie.
    Here is my problem - my 3 year old computer commonly freezes during startup or shortly after (during the first several minutes). After those first critical minutes have passed, the machine can go on running smoothly for hours.
    After the problem first appeared (a few months ago), a simple solution seemed to be to plug in USB devices only after Windows (2000 SP4) was running and not before turning the computer on.
    It seems that now the problem is getting worse and worse, USB devices connected or not, the computer tends to hang.
    Once reset, it usually fails to boot at all. The fans are running, the drives respond, but the green LED on the case (power?) is off and the screen stays black (no beeps). It takes quite a lot of attemps to even get to the memory test.

    I wonder where to start? I just downloaded and ran SpeedFan and here are the results:

    Temp1: 41C
    Temp2: 52C
    Temp3: 35C
    HD0: 47C
    Temp1: 40C

    Vcore1: 1,74V
    Vcore2: 2,56V
    +3.3V 3,30V
    +5V: 4,92V
    +12V: 13,44V
    -12V: -12,03V
    -5V: -5,26V
    +5V: 2,88V (!!!!)
    Vbat: 3,25V

    I don't have a clue with what components those voltages correspond to, but those +12V and +5V look suspicious for me.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    Cheers
    Piotr
  2. 0009

    0009 Newcomer, in training Posts: 80

    i think it could be the motherboard. did you install any new hardware/any usb ports damaged? are usb devices recognized on your computer? temps seem to be fine.
  3. N3051M

    N3051M Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,800

    pc specs please.

    first i suggest you to do a scan of your pc of nasties (mal/spy/adware, viruses etc..) and also do a chkdisk and defrag (if possible)

    then open up your case and clean out all the dust with some compressed air, or carefully with a vaccum cleaner.

    Next, while you have your case still open, tell us the make and the voltage rating of your psu. it may be your psu is on its way out... then also take a look at each component and see if there's any sign/smell of damage (popped capacitors, burns/scorches etc..)

    if you dont know what your specs are just take a look around the insides and see whats in the pc (video card, sound card, PCI cards, motherboard, cpu etc..)

    i assume those are usb devices that draws from the pc power?

    if you have any minidumps please post 5-6 of the most recent ones in a zip and attach here..

    see how they go first and post back.
  4. Krypton

    Krypton Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thank you for your replies.

    Here are the specs:
    CPU: AMD Athlon XP 1666 MHz 2000+; Motherboard: ECS K7VTA3 v3; Memory: 256 MB (PC2100 DDR SDRAM); Video: NVIDIA GeForce2 MX/MX 400 (64 MB); Drives: MAXTOR 6L040J2 (40 GB, 7200 RPM, Ultra-ATA/133), HL-DT-ST CD-RW GCE-8400B (40x/12x/40x CD-RW), TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-H542A.
    The USB devices are: HP psc 1210 printer, Kodak EasyShare camera dock (both disconnected except when needed) and an ADSL WAN adapter for internet connections. I connect those devices through an PCI USB 2.0 card, I recall having had some problems with one of the USB ports in the main unit - I simply installed the card and stopped using the built in one - this happened already after the comuter started locking up.
    I have no PCI cards installed apart from the mentioned USB and graphics cards.
    The inside of the PC was... dusty - to say at the least. I have air-cleaned it like you suggested sugessted and will see what happens. At least this time the PC was quite kind - only 1 restart needed :).

    The PSU is a 300W Codegen 300X. I'm not sure what voltages you are asking for so this is the full info:
    AC input 230VAC 4A 50Hz
    AC output 230VAC 0.5A 50HZ
    DC output +3.3 +5 +12 -5 -12 +5VSB
    20A 30A 13A 0.5A 0.8A 2A
    165Wmax --- 9.6Wmax ---

    Nothing seems to be burned, there was only a thick layer of fine dust.
    I did several checks using various antivirus/spyware software, the system seems clean.

    I have attached the available minidumps. Now I'll follow your suggestions and start chkdisk and defragmentation.
  5. es84

    es84 Newcomer, in training Posts: 65

    the power button led i not coming on , this can be an a mobo ro power supply or the IO panel failure, checking the connetions to the MOBO from the
    PSu , just reseat them , testing the mother board orr swapping hte PSU will help in isolating the issue, CHKdsk will definatley help.
    But it would be better to run that incase the power led is coming on all the time,
  6. 0009

    0009 Newcomer, in training Posts: 80

    you have very low memory, it could just be lagging with all the programs connected to the usb, something must have been shorting out the mobo, psu wattage seems fine, try putting other parts in and see what happens, different memory, any friends or old computer parts..
  7. kirock

    kirock Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,598

    All your symptoms point to a weak PSU. When the PC ,is booting it's reading the HDD and spinning it at max, loading stuff into RAM, the CPU is running pretty hard too, add some USB peripherals and you're overloading the PSU.
  8. Krypton

    Krypton Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for your help everyone!

    After thoroughly dusting off the inside of the pc and running chkdsk (there were indeed some errors on the hd) the machine runs much smoothlier and boots properly at last. Windows still sparingly hangs up after startup, but there is a HUGE improvement. I'll still do some tests with some other ram and probably buy a new psu.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.