My older PC started to freeze occasionaly – no response even from mouse, must reset

By yonierez
May 1, 2006
  1. Duration from computer startup to the freeze

    The duration is strongly dependent upon the application being run. Examples:

    - Never happens when no program is running
    - Almost never happens after many hours running 'Minesweeper'
    - Happens regularly, after few minutes in 'Spider Solitaire'
    - Some relatively heavy RAM and CPU consuming games almost never freeze the system (i.e. GTA2, Carmageddon 2)

    These are the extremities. Other applications freeze within minutes to hours.

    Mobo, CPU, HD -- GigaByte GA-5AX F4, Athlon K6-2/400MHz, 30G HD
    RAM -- Two DIMMs, 128M + 64M
    OS -- Win XP SP2
    ChipSet -- ALi Aladdin V AGPset
    Award Bios

    Actions taken to troubleshoot

    Tried recommendations from and and also from most Read threads in this forum.

    • Updated the BIOS
    • Updated the chipset and AGP drivers (couldn't find real new ones, since the Mobo is old)
    • memtestx86 was run several times
    • Cleaned the RAM, PCI cards and AGP connectors using an eraser
    • Worked in safe mode with no networking, still freezes
    • Pulled all cards except video card, still freezes

    Recommended actions I could not carry out

    • Could not replace the RAM (don't have 100MHz/133MHz DIMM RAM)
    • Could not replace the power supply (don't have one)

    More results

    When I tried to pull either of the RAM sticks, a new problem occurred: WinXP STOP message 050: PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA, right after Windows startup. I didn't try to solve this new problem because it doesn't happen when both RAM sticks are in place.

    Points to consider

    • What's the possible reason for the time to fail being dependent on the application?
    (I thought maybe a section of the ram is bad or inaccessible and some applications access this bad section more then others. But memtest looks OK, and also some heavy RAM and CPU usage games don't freeze the system)
    • Maybe the stop message when only one RAM stick is working is a possible clue to the actual problem which is the freeze?
    • About 3 years ago, the same freeze problem happened on this same PC. The problem then was classified as a RAM bad contact hardware problem: Touching the RAM stick immediately caused a freeze (I recommend some 'shaking' of the RAM in order to diagnose 'bad RAM connectors' problem). The problem was repaired by cleaning the DIMM gold connector by using a pencil eraser. Trying to solve the current problem, I tried the same procedure of mild shaking of each DIMM, there is no freeze.
    • Can you recommend a clear cut action that will classify the problem as either hardware or software? (The maximum I could do is pulling out all unnecessary hardware pieces.)

  2. Eric Legge

    Eric Legge TS Rookie Posts: 132

    You are running the system on 192MB of RAM when XP requires a minimum of 256MB and prefers 512MB.

    You don't say what the graphics card is, but if it is integrated on the motherboard and uses system RAM then there is even less for XP SP2.

    This is really a system for Windows 98, not XP, so if you used Win98, you might not have a problem.

    By today's standards an AMD K6-2 400MHz processor is inadequate to run the latest version of Windows.
  3. yonierez

    yonierez TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi, thanks for answering.

    Now. The freezes occured in Win98 too.

    And also, Windows XP can be run with 192MB of RAM. Everything's working pretty well until it freezes (not too smoothly, but working).

    (According to Microsoft,,
    128 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended (64 MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features) to run XP.
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you probably have RAM that is failing.
    run memtest 86+ from your real floppy drive. Not a usb drive.
  5. yonierez

    yonierez TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I ran memtest from my floppy, after seven hours I was convinced the RAM's ok.

    Anyway, I figured it must be the Mobo or CPU, and them being four years old they're now in the garbage.
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