Windows XP Conundrum...

By thenightangel
Aug 8, 2005
  1. I've got a problem with my windows XP machine.. And it's one i've not been able to find a solution for so far..

    It hangs. Randomly.
    Sometimes during bootup (XP Load screen), sometimes at the logon screen, other times during regular use.
    I tried a repair install. That hung too, but i managed to fix that.
    Windows still hung.
    Ran Chkdsk /r several times from the recovery console, did another repair install.
    Still hung.
    Ran safe mode, and backed up my files.
    Safe mode ran perfectly, without a hitch.
    Did a clean boot (disabled everything i could).
    Still hung.

    Right now, i've put in a spare hard drive, and am trying to install windows on that, rather than fiddle with the drive with my important stuff on it.
    Currently hanging somewhere after the "installing devices" part of the install.

    The system is a Pentium 2.7GHz, 512Mb Ram, ATI Radeon 9550. Onboard sound and USB. The Radeon is the only card in the PC at the moment.

    I'm pretty sure that it's not a heat issue, but i'm not ruling anything out. Any suggestions?
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Ever done a defrag?
    Get rid of junk? Use CrapCleaner from
    Antivirus up to date, scanned?
    Run Adaware and Spybot S&D?
    Uninstalled unused programs?
  3. thenightangel

    thenightangel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Good questions, but trust me.
    I'd have tried all those before I reinstalled.
    It's not the hard drive, XP install hangs on both i'm using.
    And It hangs with both XP Pro and Home.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,160   +599

    is the machine 'origininal', unmodified or has it been over clocked, BIOS tweeked?
    remember that the BIOS multiplier must be a whole number multipler of the bus speed.
  5. dgower2

    dgower2 TS Maniac Posts: 238

    Bad Memory or Bad BIOS Settings

    If you have multiple memory modules, take one out and see if it still crashes; swap them and test again. Are you familiar with adjusting your BIOS settings?

    Did this machine always hang or did it used to run fine? If it ran fine previously, what has changed?
  6. thenightangel

    thenightangel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No modifications whatsoever. Haven't had the time.

    Nope. Only one. Replaced that, tested it, same result.

    Used to run fine. Somewhere along the line, it started hanging randomly. Wasn't too frequent, so I put up with it. Only recently has it become a real pain, and too frequent.
    New discovery - After disabling the L1 and L2 cache in the bios settings, windows installed perfectly, and runs without hanging. Of course, it does all this like a 286 trying to play Doom 3, but it does it nonetheless.
  7. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    This is what L1 and L2 are for:

    Keep L1 off and re-enable L2 cache.
    If it does NOT work, you will need a new motherboard.

    Next, re-enable L1.
    If problems start again, you will need a new CPU.
  8. thenightangel

    thenightangel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    mmm. Slight problem. There's no seperate options for them. Its disable or enable both.

    Either way, i swapped the CPUs of two of my computers. The bad PC still hung, and the other one didnt. I'd say that pretty much narrows it down to a dodgy motherboard, yes?

    A question: Do DOS and Windows Safe Mode not use the caches? Because they both worked fine...
  9. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    When the BIOS has L1 & L2 switched OFF, nothing uses cache.
    When ON, the CPU uses L1 regardless. L2 is probably called upon by some OS, so may not be needed in Safe Mode.
    I don't know the answer to that though.

    And yes, looks like a dodgy motherboard. If it's an older one with separate TAG-RAM or COAST (Cache On A STick), reseat the chips/stick before you start buying new gear.
    Reseat all cards and memory, make sure all drives are connected properly.
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