Continous Crashing / Hanging

By Dezachu
Sep 8, 2007
  1. Hey,

    Right... First things first. I got this PC for Christmas 3 years ago. It was supposedly a 5-star computer... Doesn't seem so true now that the company who made the PC's has gone bust :| If anyones wondering who, it's 'Aries'.

    Ok, so for the first year of having this PC, it ran perfect. No problems, no loud noises, no system hangs, what you expect of your shiny new PC. However, once the year was out, I attempted to play LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth. I loaded the campaign, and after 2 minutes of playing, the whole PC just went down on me. Like it would when I hit 'Shut Down'. I was so confused, and I just thought I'd knocked something. I opened the case and checked everything. T'was all fine. I tried again, and it hung on me again.

    We called an engineer from Aries around, and he replaced all the parts with exactly the same parts. For 2-3 weeks, perfect, again. Then it hung, and since my warranty had gone, I couldn't get it looked at again for free... And being a 14 year old, it was quite hard at the time to go and buy brand new parts.

    I decided to get learning some PC basics myself. I've learnt about most of the BIOS, as well as several graphical settings and common problems. However, I'm thinking that the graphics card may be the problem. It's only a Radeon 9550 128MB... Quite cr*p to be honest. At first when I actually managed to get it working (turning off FastWrite made it work) for a few months! Then again, the problem returned. Fast write didn't help. I spent months and months trying to change settings to make it work, but with no success. I've now reached the point of wanting to throw the PC our the window. So I've decided to come and ask some Pro's for some help... Here's a few things you need to know:

    As you can see, Temp 2 is alarmingly high, and Temp 3 isn't far behind.. I can't figure out what's what though >.<

    By the way, that's just idle... With firefox open, a file downloading and that's it.

    Microsoft Windows XP
    Home Edition
    Version 2002 <--- Is it me or did Aries give me a bit of an erm... 'Old' system?
    Service Pack 2


    Intel Pentium 4
    CPU 3.00GHz <--- That isn't too bad.. Is it?
    512MB Ram


    Model: ATI Radeon 9550 / X1050 Series
    Driver: ati2mtag.sys
    04 September 2007

    And if your used to half a the jargon that I don't understand, here it is:

    OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 2 Build 2600
    OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
    System Name DEZPC
    System Manufacturer MICRO-STAR INC.
    System Model MS-6788
    System Type X86-based PC
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 3 Stepping 4 GenuineIntel ~3042 Mhz
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 3 Stepping 4 GenuineIntel ~3042 Mhz
    BIOS Version/Date American Megatrends Inc. V5.4 on 07.00T, 02/07/2004
    SMBIOS Version 2.3
    Windows Directory C:\WINDOWS
    System Directory C:\WINDOWS\system32
    Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume2
    Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)"
    User Name DEZPC\Dez
    Time Zone GMT Standard Time
    Total Physical Memory 512.00 MB
    Available Physical Memory 212.33 MB
    Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
    Available Virtual Memory 1.93 GB
    Page File Space 1.45 GB
    Page File C:\pagefile.sys

    And so.. Help would be appreciated..

    If possible, without having to spend any cash... If I asked about spending money on a PC, I'm pretty sure my dad would hit the roof (He's a bit of an Apple Mac guy ;))

    Thanks in advance
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    I'd replace the motherboard... But that takes cash
  3. Aolish

    Aolish TS Enthusiast Posts: 171

    well first see if you can get those temps down!!!! Those are extremely high and might be the source of your problems. To make sure the program isn't giving false temp readings try and use other temp programs like hmonitor. Even better reboot the pc and go into your bios and check from there. If temps are still abnormally high I'd recommend doing a full cleaning of the pc of any dust bunnies that may be caught up in the processors heatsink. Even better reinstall the heatsink and apply a fresh coat of artic silver 5. This will more then likely bring down those temps if those temps are true. If your pc still crashes after all that do a full scan of your ram with memtest, swap power supplies and see if the psu isn't going bad. If the pc still hangs on you even after all that THEN rule out the mobo might be going bad.
  4. Condor

    Condor TS Maniac Posts: 388

    Good writing dez :D i admired you to write that good for that young age.

    Oki doki I think your problem might be the following:

    1. lack of cooling [stock fans sux, get the alternative brand-name type like Zalman from Newegg, they're cheap and reliable]

    2. air circulation in your rig is poor [not enough air coming in, and little air going out from your case]

    3. The inside of your system might be filling/clogging with dusts, especially the CPU fan, that might be the caused for your system to shut down to prevent further damage to the chip imo.

    Heat is every PC owner worst nightmare. I recommend you get this program and record your system temperature for us xD

    download Everest and keep track of your temperature, or better yet post your temp here and see if your case was a heating issue, beside bad power supply.

    Get your free trial of Everest here:

    Go to sensor and it should look like this: [my idle temp with some decent cooling fans, beside the stock that came with your system]
  5. Dezachu

    Dezachu TS Rookie Topic Starter

    First, thanks for the complement on the writing, meant alot for someone to realise that :)

    Right... Yesterday, my wireless adapter bust up on me. So now I've got no internet for my PC, only for the iMac downstairs (the only PC this family has ever had that has never had anything wrong with it :D ), but that still doesn't help things.

    What you've said is probably true: I never actually cleaned the PC out... Occasionally I'd take out the mobo fan and give it a quick wipe over and a few puffs of breath, and it'd never speed up nor cool it down. So personally I think it's either the mobo or the graphics card, mainly the graphics card because everywhere I look, people recieve problems with Radeon 9550... Looks like ATI really let themselves down with their 'Ultimate Gaming Card'. Think they missed out the word Suckish after Ultimate >.<

    Anyway yeah, my air cooling.. It isn't a problem. Due to a kinda medical condition I have, I normally have 2 of my 3 windows open to prevent myself from throwing up (don't ask, long story!). The PC tower itself is under a desk, and I always have the cover off to help cool it down, because as you say, stock fans suck. But, with average British weather, there's always a nice gentle breeze blowing through the windows :)

    Dust is probably an issue I reckon... I'll have a look later :) Thanks for the suggestions!

    N!Sung, they are abnormally high. When I read that below 60C is safe, I thought straight away 'Then what sh*t am I in!'. >.<

    First suspicions said graphics card, then motherboard, then fans and now I'm onto PSU. I'm thinking it's the entire PC y'know ;) Still... The irony of a 5 star PC company going bust seems really peculiar doesn't it?

    Anyway yeah, will go check out the temps on BIOS later, and if it's no joy there, I'll try Everest as suggested :)

    Thanks for the help guys!
  6. Dezachu

    Dezachu TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Alright, that looks like it's worked. Temp. 2 dropped to 30C all day yesterday, and went to 59 max. while working under load. :)

    However, not sure about 3D acceleration still... This time it'll be the graphics card >.<

    Anyway, school in about half an hour, will try later :)
  7. Dezachu

    Dezachu TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Brilliant :D

    The PC did crash once or twice after it remained at 30C... But that was on the ATI drivers (e.g. the worst in the world!)

    So after that little episode of confusion, I grabbed the omega drivers (best drivers for ATI!) and well, it ran perfectly for 3 hours, only ever reaching 63C as the highest temperature :)

    Thanks very much for your help guys, it's REALLY appreciated! :)
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