TechSpot

wierd freezing problem...

By Davano
Jun 8, 2007
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  1. Hi,

    first of all im running a windows XP SP2 pentium 4 2ghz 512mb ram 256mb ati radeon 9700. I play an online game in which i can leave my characters in to gain experience, so most of the time i just leave my computer on all the time and the monitor turns off after a while. lately my computer has been freezing while i am away from it, i just come back and find i cannot get the monitor to come back on and according to friends my characters in the game are no longer online. does anyone have any ideas why this would start freezing in the middle of the night like this? i have never had it freeze while i was sitting at it using it, only when i was afk.

    thanks,
    Daven
  2. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 743

    sounds like your hdd are spinning down to save power, or the pc is going into hibernation and maybe its just having problems coming out again.
    Try leaving the pc on but without the game running. If the same thing happens then i'd bet its something like what i've said, and you'll have established that its not the game).
    Check your power settings: right click on desktop > properties > Screensaver > Power
    See what its set to.
    Good luck
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,342   +49

    Hybernation is almost certainly the problem. As usual, a really good idea MS had that they never got to work (to be fair, it might also be PC manufacturers not fully following the MS specs, but then again, do MS ever publish full specs, or ever implement them properly?)

    Your solution (coming down from my great frowning height again) is just disable hibernation.
  4. Davano

    Davano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    nope

    i have checked and hybernation and hdd shutdown are all set to never. the only thing set to turn off is the monitor after 15min.... the processor is running a consistent 90-100pct, maybe this is too much of a load while the monitor is off and such, but i do have the games minimized so it is not such a load on the video processor.


    thanks,
    Daven
  5. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,342   +49

    OK processor load of 90-100% over several hours is going to be a VERY hot processor, so it is probably powering itself off for thermal protection. I doubt if there is anything you can do about it without major PC surgery, except possibly find a software device allowing you to throttle back your PC cycle rate.
  6. madcatmk2123

    madcatmk2123 TS Rookie Posts: 71

    Have you left the computer on with the game running before and this is the first time a problem has showed up or is this a recent idea that has not worked since you've tried?
  7. Davano

    Davano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    just a note, i will find out tomorrow morning for sure, but i have found effect remover software and got my CPU usage down to 60pct, i also moved the computer to another room where i can leave the case open. with this air flow the heat-sync (sp?) is staying much cooler than before and it has not frozen yet today. (instead of burning my finger tips it is very hot shower temp.) problem may be solved.
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,342   +49

    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/104 has some interesting stuff on pentium automatic temperature-based throttling-back. Since this seems very likely to be your problem, you are in danger of ruining or at least shortening the life of your processor.

    http://www.localcooling.com/ is an application to enable you to throttle back manually when you want to (for that overnight training). It is free.

    Another thing you could look at is far more effective cooling fans - this used to be a favourite occupation of gamers - how to keep my PC cool? - and spawned an entire industry of high-efficiency fans. The latest motherboards with built-in cooling trunking have rather slapped that one down, but with an older processor like yours, I'm sure it would be a great benefit.
  9. Davano

    Davano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well i knew i was in trouble when i walked up and the activity light on the wireless networking card was locked on.... frozen again. it seems odd to me that it was able to run all day yesterday(for 8.5hours) and this did not freeze, yet i go to sleep for 8 hours and BAM frozen. i can tell by how much experience my characters gained that it is freezing up only a couple hours into the night....

    also, i was wondering what kind of fans you suggest. that is one thing i noticed, the CPU fan fealt like it wasnt hardly pushing any air out, but when i started looking into options it seem only an OEM one will fit into my dell 4550

    but when the thermal throttling kicks in enough and shuts the computer down, it shuts it completely down. when i return to my computer in the morning the fans are running normal and the acitvity light on the wireless card is on bright as can be.

    Thanks,
    Daven
  10. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,342   +49

    Well this site has an entire section devoted to cooling! Don't be shy, pop the question about a fan describing your exact case, motherboard and processor and you will certainly get good advice.

    By the way, could your local power company be dropping the volts a bit too much during the night? Only way to test would be to run something less demanding than your game and see if it still locks up.
  11. Davano

    Davano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i give up

    well, i only ran 4 clients last night, averaging 30pct processor usage and it lasted all night and part way through today without freezing up. i give up and threw in the windows disk for a format session, hopefully if the problem is program based this will cure it. the thing that really anoyed me about this problem is a windows error message never came up whenever i turn my computer back on after one of these freeze ups. in the past if a program freezes a windows "send/dont send error report" dialog will pop up and tell me what application caused the problem, but this has never happened thus far. hopefully when i get windows reinstalled and without all the crap on there i can actually keep a few characters online all night.


    thanks for all your help,
    Daven (i'll be back if formatting didnt help :p )
     
  12. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,342   +49

    So far as windows is concerned, there has been NO error, so you get no report. This seems purely a hardware overheat problem to me.
  13. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,712

    daft suggestion, but by any chance are you running a screen-saver?
  14. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 743

    has it ever frozen in front of you as it were?
    If so, can you boot into the bios and view the temps to see if its overheating?
  15. toy777room

    toy777room TS Rookie

    run CPU burn in test. i might be getting to hot and need dust blown out and new past on heatsink and CPU. probly wont hurt to do a ram test as well. some time it wont reach a bad part of the ram utile it ben runing a long time. most ram you can RMA to the main factory. it takes about 2 weeks but it better than buy new
  16. Davano

    Davano TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well good news finally. after reformatting and reinstalling windows/drivers, the computer did not freeze up for the first time in almost 3 weeks. it made it overnight. although the clients did lose connection to the server some time in the night, the fact that it did not freeze leads me to believe it was program based and not heat related. i will be back if it freezes again, thanks for all your help.
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