Random Restarts and Randon BSOD's

Nov 23, 2009
  1. Hi all, Have been reading a number of threads regarding crashes/blue screen for a few weeks now before i posted my own problems. I have a Pent 4, Asrock P4S61 mb, 160gb hd(IDE), socket 478, sis 661fx chipset, 2x512 mem sticks running XP Pro.

    I have no extra cards inserted. The computer is about four years old and has been running with no problems until a few months ago. I started getting random restarts then blue screens, I tried a number of options to no avail. I ended up buying another identical hd. Swopped them over installed XP etc etc and it seem to be okay for a few days them the random restarts started again and over time the blue screen started again. I got a memory checker and it showed no problem with either stick (tried them one at a time and both together). The most unusual thing was that when i ran a system diognostic programme (Everest) it never restarted/blue screen even when i went online!!! I would run this test for a few days with no problems?

    This programme would also show 'no battery' on it's display when there is a small battery in there, assuming it's the one they are refering to(does this need changing?). The system is not overheating either. I've also cleaned out the cobwebs and checked there is nothing loose.

    Bottom line is now, I've wiped the HD and installed XP again. I've got the original memory stick in and the original drivers loaded no other programmes and not online, so basically excactly as i purchased it thinking it should run okay now? Not a chance, I switch it on and run the XP tour to test sound and picture. Runs for about 20mins then bluescreen! Sometimes 'driver_irql_not_less_or_equal' is shown on screen. I'm trying to work out how to post the mini dump.

    There is one thing that is different to the original spec and that was i had a 'phut' sound from the system and my monitor went down, change fuses and no go, so i have a different monitor. I'm considering getting a replacement mother board and
    swopping all the bits over. By the way i'm not very computer savvy, can just about do the basics.

    Sorry i've gone on a bit but i thought i'd give as much info as possible! Cheers BBJ.
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    One odd fix on that ASRock motherboard, is to install a new CMOS battery... about $3.50 to $4.00 at most stores. We have had luck with that...
    Then next, we have found memory problems, so I would run MemTest86, one module at a time, for four hours or 7 passes, whichever is longer. Any error at all dictates a replacement of the module.
    Disconnect the modem, even if not used.
    Check for any swollen capacitors on the board... puffed on the top or out the side, as they have had troubles with those little boogers. (They are the barrel-like devices which stick up from the system board anywhere from 3/4 inch to 1 3/8 inch) Use a strong light, and have plenty of time for a careful exam.
    They can be replaced by a good technician, but the usual choice is to replace the board.
    Your CPU fan is old. That can be a cause. The Thermal paste may have dried out, and you can remove it with denatured alcohol and replace with very thin new good stuff for $5.00
    But the usual cause for most boards is a video graphics card beginning to fail.
    BSOD's take a long time because there are so many possibilities of what will cause the problem.

    BLUEBIRDJOHN TS Rookie Topic Starter

    raybay, Many thanks for your informative reply, I'll try the battery and memory tests first. I only did two passes when i did a test. Trying to find how to disconnect the modem!
    I could also get another ASRock new (socket 478) mb for about £35($60), is it quicker and better to have a brand new mb. I could get a new CPU fan as well for good luck.
    I don't have a separate graphics card so a mb swop would be the only thing to do?
    Thanks again will let you know how i get on. BBJ.

    BLUEBIRDJOHN TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Here's a check list of what i've done. Have changed the CMOS battery, memory stick has had 23 passes(10 hours), modem is switched off, capacitors look okay. No improvement.

    CPU fan/sounds looks okay(did have a bit of dust in it and a bit noisy), will change it and the thermal paste though over the weekend. I don't have a separate video graphics card so i assume if there is any problem with this it would be a mb replacement?

    The one thing i can't understand. If i switch the computer on and just leave it it will stay on for hours, if i run the XP Windows Tour video it will run for approx 15 mins before BSOD comes up(this time is constant). However if i run this 'system stability test' programme (Everest) in the background while the XP Windows Tour is playing it will carry on regardless for hours (32 so far)! Any ideas why this is? Cheers BBJ.

    BLUEBIRDJOHN TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Last update. Changed fan and paste. Still the same! Picked up a new mb today £25($40?). Have just fitted it. Woopee everything seems to be running fine. Thanks for your advice raybay at least I got there in the end. BBJ.
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