Freezing problems

By John_T
Sep 14, 2008
  1. My (nearly) 6 year old PC is having some problems.

    ASUS A7N8X 2.0 Deluxe
    AMD Athlon XP 3200+
    1.5Gb DDR-333 RAM
    ATI Radeon 9800 pro
    Windows XP SP3
    Generic 'winpower' 600W PSU some bozo chose and installed when the old 360W one (that had worked for almost 5 years) stopped working.

    This computer freezes during boot up in various places 3 or 4 times before it manages to boot windows. In windows, the computer may freeze quite often, but less often than in boot up stage.

    Also, sometimes after pressing reset, the CPUs clock speed is halved from 2200mhz to 1100mhz and the RAMs speed reduced from 166mhz dual channel mode to 100mhz. Once even the setting that produces an image instead of the boot.. um stuff became enabled. By itself.

    Things I have tried:

    RAM - I have ran memtest86+ 2.01 which found no errors

    Graphics Card - Played Half Life 2 on meidum-high and UT3beta demo on Low for a few hours to see how the GPU copes, it coped fine running fairly recent Catalyst 7.8 drivers (I read these suited my older card better more than the more recent driver optimized for newer cards). This was the most fun part of trying to 'diagnose' my PC. :)

    Boot Sector - Thinking part of the problem might be a boot sector virus. I ran the 'fixmbr' command after booting from the Windows CD, however a message appeared advising CAUTION because I had a non-standard or invalid Master boot record and that partitions may get damaged if I proceeded, so I said no, and didn't make a new MBR.

    I don't know what to try next so I would like a wide ranging opinion of what might be wrong with my computer, please.

    Thanks in advance to useful replies,

    John :)
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Have you run a full harddrive diagnostic? If not, go to your harddrive manufacturer's website and download their free utility. Run both S.M.A.R.T. and Long tests, especially the Long.

    I am wondering if your PSU is unstable. For $20 you can get a nice Craftsman Digital multimeter to test your PSU to see if it is delivering correctly. I purchased on and it works well.

    If you don't want to go with a multimeter this is very nice and it measures so many types of connections:
  3. John_T

    John_T TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Maxtor has been bought some time ago by Seagate, so I will use 'Seatools' diagnostic util. I'll run the test tomorrow.

    Thanks for the help Route44!

    My friend says I should stop whining and buy a new PC, he's right but out of my 2 PCs this one is the better and would like it has a reserve so I give the other away when I finally get a new one.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Yes, Seatools is great. It will test many brands. I used on an old Toshiba laptop my ssister gave me and diagnosed the harddrive without an issue.

    And there is nothing wrong with old, reliable PCs that can serve as a trusty back-up. :)
  5. John_T

    John_T TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I didn't wait until tomorrow, I thought I've got just enough time to do the long test now before I go to bed (it's nearly midnight here).

    In Seatools for windows, it kept rebooting whenever I tried the SMART test and did the short tests fine.

    Then I tried Seatools for DOS - which integrates the SMART test into the long test. Instead of rebooting it came up with this message:

    A Pretest Failure Warning. "A SMART trip was detected prior to the test starting"

    Do you want to continue? I clicked yes.

    However there was some more text in the log.

    SMART is enabled and has NOT been tripped.

    What does this mean? What should I do?
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Honestly, I don't fully know. However, I believe you have got some harddrive issues. Try running the Long test.

    For precaution sake I would back up everything important because if your harddrive fails it is expensive to retrieve lost data. Burn to a CD/DVD and-or save to a flash drive. I wouldn't wait -- even if it is almost midnite. :)

    Run the Long teast and let us know if anything else comes up.
  7. John_T

    John_T TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Long test - passed.

    I agree about the hard drive and have backed up important data just in case, although like you thought initially, I think the power supply may be to blame for some of it.
  8. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    John_T here is a better tester than I linked to you earlier:

    The PSU must be plugged into your motherboard in order to run and thus be tested. But with this tester you can plug your PSU right into this because testing your main power connection with a multimeter can be a pain.
  9. John_T

    John_T TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Route44, I'll look for one same or similar here in the UK.

    I appreciate your help and even if I have to get a new PSU it should be worth it.
  10. Blootalapia

    Blootalapia TS Rookie

    Another freezing issue

    Everytime I start my computer, about 10 minutes after the desktop loads, it will freeze regardless of what I'm doing at the time. I've left it alone to load everything, I've purposely dont several things at once, and everything in between [as dumb as that sonds I thought it was actually a viable idea].

    I have:
    AMD Anthlon 64 2.5GHz
    1GB RAM, 250GB harddrive as well as 500gb External
    nVIDIA GeForce GT

    I have recently installed a third fan in an attempt to solve the problem to no avail. I have run a Glary Registry Repair in hopes to solve the problem, but I find that I do not have enough time from when I can run a virus scan to when my computer freezes to complete said scan rendering it useless. I can get onto the internet but I rarely have time to spend more than 5 minutes on it before the freeze. Resetting the computer makes no difference, nor did cleaning it. I left it off for an extended period of time which also made no difference whatsoever. Please help - - - I need that cimputer because it has all of my files on it!
  11. John_T

    John_T TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hello Blootalapia,

    If you think it could be a windows problem... Get hold of a Linux Live CD (I suggest Ubuntu 8.04) This will boot into the operating system,and run off the CD having nothing to do with your hard drive. It will detect your hard drive however and you should have time to transfer important files to your external HD.

    You can do this to determine at the very least whether this is a Windows problem or a hardware one.

    I'd ask a friend to download Ubuntu from here and burn it onto a CD. it will be an .iso file so right click and 'open with' Nero (or whatever you use to burn CDs with) and press burn.

    Hope this helps. If it is a hardware problem like mine then try testing your memory with memtest86+.
  12. Blootalapia

    Blootalapia TS Rookie

    Heh, I wish I had thought of that before I formatted my PC.
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