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Mystery Freezing Computer

By needhelpinnz
Sep 21, 2008
  1. Win XP
    450W PS
    AMD 2.6 ghz
    512mb ram

    Problem:
    My desktop freezes after the computer is on for about 5 minutes. Sometimes it just freezes, and other times after a min after freezing, the blue error screen pops up with the kernal error message. If I restart, my computer will either freeze, or get to a certain point and reboot over and over. Usually it is slower than normal (as when trying to load the sys files when booting in safe mode). Before this, there were no signs of an issue. If I let it sit overnight and turn it on in the morning, it's as though the 5 minutes of working time I get is reset, and after that I have to let it wait again.

    Possible Cause:
    My guess is possibly excessive heat caused by a fan not working as good as it could, or something other heat-related issue. I had a problem with my power supply making a clicking noise when I would unplug and replug it back into the wall, but it would go away after I restarted a few times. that didn't happen for the last 6 months, but I'm thinking the 5minutes of time I get before it locks makes me think overheating, and the less and less directly after I restart makes me think heat even more. Only thing is, I figured it would shutdown the computer instead of restarting. I installed my CPU fan wrong once so it would startup for a few seconds before shutting down.

    Any thoughts or suggestions or things I can try to do before it locks to check out what might be the problem? Thanks a ton!!
     
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Is this what your Blue Screen said: 0x0000008E: KERNEL_MODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED?
     
  3. needhelpinnz

    needhelpinnz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    that sounds familiar so I'm thinking so. ill try it again tomorrow morning to double check. but assuming that's what it said, and it's still locking up, any suggestions?
     
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    These errors are almost always caused by hardware issues (though on occasion they can be due to faulty drivers). My hunch at this point is you have corrupted memory; I speak from psersonal experience. So do the following:

    1. Go to www.memtest.org and download their ISO latest version (it's free) and burn to a CD.

    2. Go to your BIOS and place your CD/DVD drive as First Bootable.

    3. Reboot your system with the CD containing memtest already in the drive. The test will take over.

    4. Run the test for a minimum of 7 Passes. This takes considerable time and many people start it before going to bed and check it the nest morning; this is cimpletely safe. There are 8 individual tests per Pass.

    5. Any errors and you have to replace your memory; it cannot be fixed. If you have more than one stick of memory run this test on each one individually to determine which one(s) need to be replaced.

    * Let us know if you get errors or not.
     
  5. needhelpinnz

    needhelpinnz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    New Problem: I can't even get past the black Windows loading screen.

    What I've done thus far:
    1-Tried to restart both in safe mode and normally, and each time it restarts before I get to the 'select user' screen
    2-went out and bought new 500W PS, installed it
    3-tired restarting, then tried unplugging everything except for what was necessary and restarted, then tried using just one memory stick at a time (tried just one, restarted, then switched to the second and restarted), and every time i can't get to the 'select user' screen without the computer restarting

    now that I have a new PS, i'm wondering if it could be an issue with my hard drive. And since I can't even get to Windows, I can't run any tests to check anything. Thoughts?
     
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    I would still do memtest first. Find a friend and burn memtest to a CD off of their rig (again this totally safe and free). Memtest does not need you to boot into Safe mode or any other screen. It will almost immediately take over at bot-up -- long before spalsh screen loads. Do the steps I provided.

    Just make sure your CD/DVD drive is First Bootable. You can access BIOS before splash screen as well. Do you know how to get into BIOS?

    By the way, your step 3 is a solid troubleshooting practice.
     
  7. needhelpinnz

    needhelpinnz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    so my step 3 was good then, right?

    okay, since you thought it was still worth trying to do the memtest, I went ahead and put both mem chips in, made the CD, booted up just fine, and (surprisingly enough to me) the comp hasn't frozen since it started doing the test, so far so good.

    i know you said run a min of 7 passes, so will it just continue to cycle after it finishes the first, or will I have to just manually find a point at which to stop it? I figured since my machine is useless until I get this issue resolved I just started the test now as opposed to before i go to bed. ill post updates for if it freezes or says anything strange during the next 4 hours before i head to work. thanks again for all the help so far.
     
  8. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Yes, the test will continue to cycle through. Again, there are 8 individual tests per PASS, but the tests will through different figures every time, so it isn't a constant repeat but throwing different mathmatical figures.

    I have run this when it passed the first four times and on the fifth Pass I got errors. Even if it isn't your memory this is still a good, solid step to take.
     
  9. needhelpinnz

    needhelpinnz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    awesome. well hopefully it keeps going through ok while im at work, if i'm reading it right it's about 60% through the first pass right now.

    HERE is also a link to the PSU that I bought, if that makes any difference at all either. I am poor and couldn't afford to spent $80, but it's the same model my campus tech store uses in their new machines and the guy just replaced his old PSU w/ this one and said it works great. Not sure if that's a load or not but hopefully it has been ruled out now that's it's been replaced.
     
  10. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    My advice would have been to hold off buying anything until we could have narrowed it down. It might be your RAM or even your harddrive which will cost $ to replace.

    If you don't mind me asking, how much did you spend on that PSU? NewEgg.com has it for $45 plus $11.00 shipping.
     
  11. needhelpinnz

    needhelpinnz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    I thought about holding off, but since i knew that I had to replace the PSU eventually (since I hear bad ones sometimes catch on fire...) I figured it was worthwhile even if it didn't fix the problem.

    Don't mind you asking at all. I have been told that through some special discounts for being a university, students get cheaper hardware when they buy from the campus tech store. I've compared what they offer to prices online and sometimes this is true, and sometimes not so much. The one I bought cost me $30 plus a few cents gas to drive to the campus store. Not bad compared with online I would say.
     
  12. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    I would say so!
     
  13. needhelpinnz

    needhelpinnz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    Okay, 16 passes and not one error found. So memory looks good. So what does that leave? Motherboard, hard drive? Any possible checks I can run?
     
  14. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Okay, we can do one of two things:

    If you get get into your desktop screen long enough go to My Computer > C Drive > Windows Folder > Minidump Folder > Minidump Files. it is these files we need and attach to your next post. I (or someone else) can read them to make sure we are dealing with 0x8E errors.

    Another thing you can do is to take out your harddrive and slave it in another system. You should be able to run a harddrive diagnostics from this system. Run both S.M.A.R.T. and Long tests, especially the Long. The utility can be gotten from your motherboard manufacturer's website.
     
  15. needhelpinnz

    needhelpinnz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    so i didn't have anything to slave it to, so figured going after the first option you provided would be my best bet.

    i tired to turn the system on, starting windows either normally, in safe mode, or using last known good configuration. every time, regardless of what i select, the system moves slowly to the black windows loading screen then a blue screen pops up for about a quarter second and then the system restarts. i took a video of the process to see if i could makeout what the blue screen said, and this is what I got:

    "A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.

    UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME

    If this is the first time you've seen this stop error screen, restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:" blah blah blah

    Um, so I'm guessing that this can't mean anything good....

    that, btw, was def not the blue screen that i had issues with originally. after checking Microsoft's support section, and knowing that i can't be using the wrong connector cable or BIOS settings since nothing has been changed in the last six months, their suggestion is:

    5.At the command prompt, type chkdsk /r , and then press ENTER.

    i guess ill be trying this and if anyone has any additional suggestions please let me know

    i ran chkdsk and my computer is now able to boot up. the minidump folder is empty, not sure if that is related to the recovery. i plan on backing up my files within the hour just in case something happens again.

    any thoughts on whether this spells the doom for my poor hard drive for certain or not? i still have no clue how this happened...
     
  16. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    It is an 0xED error. here is one solution I found on the 'net. perhaps it will help.

    Boot from d OS(win XP) cd..on d we'll come to setup window, press 'R', it'll take u to d recovery console window...at the C:>prompt, type "chkdsk /p" (without d inverted commas)/ u may get a message: found one or more errors in d volume after it's done...type: chkdsk /p again and press enter..continue doing it till the message: found one or more errors do not appear...then type: fixboot and press enter...type "y" and enter to confirm...u should be all set.
     
  17. needhelpinnz

    needhelpinnz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    I had tried this once, and it seemed s though all was well. but when i got into my computer, it didn't recognize my CDRW, so i tried to reinstall the drivers for it and restarted, but now after the black windows load screen it just goes black. nothing more. siiiiigh.

    so im going to try your method once more and see if i get anything new....

    so it did come up with at least one error after the first pass and was clean after the second. i followed your directions to the dot. comp started up fine this time around, so we'll see if it continues to keep rebooting without any issues. if there are still issues, would you say it's time to get a new HD? i will post in a few days with info on if it's still booting up without issue. thanks again for all your help.

    @Route44:

    Thank you so much for all your help. Since doing what you said, my computer has been issue-free for more than a week now. No weird noises, no boot problems, nothing. Thank you for sticking through this til the end as well, because I was on the verge of going out and buying a new HD thinking mine was on its way out.

    Thank you again, and good luck helping those like myself. I'm sure they'll all appreciate it as much as I do.
     
  18. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    You're welcome; glad I was able to help and I am very glad your system is stable.
     
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