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Random restarts - Please help

By Stormfish
Sep 6, 2007
  1. Started getting more frequent BSoDs a month or two ago, they are steadily increasing. Usually have occurred during gaming(specifically World of Warcraft) but now they seem to be related to downloading/installing. I've also started to notice a squealing type sound, though I can't really track it's source. It seems to follow hard drive activity.. I've run memtest, nothing showing up out of the ordinary.. Though I didn't test sticks separately. I recently reformatted, thinking it would be a decent way to see if it was a corrupt install or some such.. Things were stable for a while, but after installing various applications it's the worst it's been.

    I'm using an older Catalyst driver, since the newest apparently have issues with the AGP Radeons. Besides that, all the latest drivers installed(that I'm aware of), and the newest bios for my motherboard. Probably a good time to tell you I'm pretty much a complete newb when it comes to computer stuff, I know the basics I guess.. I'm including 4(I'm desperate) minidumps. If anyone could look them over for me, and give me a little advice it would be greatly appreciated.

    My system specs:

    Windows XP Professional(SP2)
    Pentium 4 3.0GHz(Prescott)
    Asus P4P800 SE
    Generic 350 Watt PSU(I know..)
    1GB PC3200(2x 512mb)
    Radeon 9800 Pro 256mb
     

    Attached Files:

  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Squealing can be from a bad hard drive, bad optical drive, a failing power supply, a failing video graphics card, or the bearings in the cpu fan or other fans.
    But it is hard drive or memory that are most likely to cause BSOD's... though it could also be a bad driver for your video card.
    I would start by downloading the latest BIOS and chipset from the computer manufacturer's website, or from the motherboard manufacturer's web site... then the video graphics card driver.
    You have already performed all the driver updates, If your hard drive is three years old, or more, just replace it now while you can still recover the data from it.
    You can also download the drive fitness test from the website of the drive manufacturer. All drive manufacturers except Toshiba and Tri-Gem have something that is good, and fast.
    I would also use the free MemTest86, just to rule out memory as part of the cause.
    Then you can focus on the video graphics card.
     
  3. peterdiva

    peterdiva TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,088

    All the dumps have crashed with Bugcheck 7F, and this is usually a hardware error. Try running with just one stick of RAM at time as memory testers aren't perfect.
     
  4. Stormfish

    Stormfish TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies everyone. It IS an older system, put together about 4 years ago. Haven't changed out any of the hardware since then, besides a PSU that died.

    I think it's worth noting, I was getting a few other bugcheck codes before the reformat, but I couldn't tell you what they were :/ Had another crash tonight, tried alt-tabbing out of a game(Tabula Rasa). Very disheartening, it's annoying how many things it could be.. But moving on..

    I have memtest all set up, I'll do one of the sticks of ram tonight and the other tomorrow. I'll post again in the morning.

    Thanks again, I really do appreciate the help.
     
  5. Stormfish

    Stormfish TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hello again.. Well, I scanned the memory over 2 nights, 1 stick at a time. 8+ hours on each, no errors found.

    So I guess that's one thing ruled out, eh? But what's the next step?
     
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    On older systems, you have to get lucky... because nearly anything can cause this problem:
    Hard drive, optical drive, cable, cpu fan, any board in a pci slot, power supply, memory, video graphics card, anything else electronic or that has a chip on it, CMOS battery, software corruption, drivers affected by Microsoft updates, viruses, trojans, spyware, low voltage lightning strikes coming down a cable or phone line.
    Some problems occur much earlier in a humid environment. Some parts shrink or curl more quickly in a dry or high altitude location.
    It all depends on use and environment. The average life of a optical drive is one year. Total life expectancy of a hard drive is about three years. CPU Fans about two years, memory is pretty much lifetime, video cards two years, modems and ethernet cards approximately three years, motherboards seven years, power supplies four years... When some components go bad, such as PCI cards, they can screw up other parts.
    We think it is reasonable, cost effective, and necessary to replace the cpu fan, CMOS battery, hard drive, optical drives, and sometimes video graphics cards during anytime we have to open a case... and always like to replace the power supply... essentially a full rebuild.
    But at home, you have the luxury of reopening the case and making changes until you get it right. On a four year old unit, it seems reasonable to replace the hard drive, cpu fan, and CMOS battery to start.
     
  7. Stormfish

    Stormfish TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Interesting, I'll start there, then. Thanks for the information raybay.
     
  8. Stormfish

    Stormfish TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I haven't purchased any new hardware yet, but I realized I had an old Radeon 8500 sitting around. Thought it would be a decent way to test the video card. I had it running for quite some time before I started getting BSoDs, under much more stress.

    I thought it was worth mentioning..
     
  9. Storm_Fish

    Storm_Fish TS Rookie

    Well, time to update. Got my parts finally, installed a new PSU, HD, CPU fan/heatsink and CMOS battery. Stress testing a few moments ago, still crashing, same errors... Though it did seem to take a bit more doing. Time also seems to possibly be a factor.

    Sigh.. I'm PRETTY sure it isn't my video card, considering my previous post(tested with another video card).. So what motherboard and CPU are my only other options, right?

    It's strange, though. I can actually play games just fine, or at least World of Warcraft, so long as I do nothing else at the same time. I've had it running for hours without crashing. Surfing the internet, downloading/streaming seem to be the biggest source.
     
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