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XP started freezing randomly

By Teh Snowman
Feb 20, 2011
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  1. Hi Everyone,

    I'm having some real trouble trying to fix my parent's 3-4 year old computer. Two days ago it just froze when browsing the internet. I restarted and tried to run a virus scan (norton), 2 times, but after ~5min of scanning it freezes again. Now it's also freezing on startups randomly, during POST, when OS is loading, and at login screen. I also tried booting in safe mode and froze when it was loading.

    When it freezes, absolutely nothing works; the keyboard, mouse, everything just stops, sometimes the screen goes black, and once it even restarted on it's own.

    Thing I've tried so far:

    -Ran Check disk.
    -Norton and SuperAntiSpyware scans (neither fully completed)
    -Checked system logs, found no recent errors.
    -Boot from last known good config.
    -System restore (froze, didn't complete).
    -Opened the case and it was extremely dusty so i took a can of air and cleaned the best I could, also checked cables to make sure nothing was loose.

    After I opened the case and cleaned it out, it seemed to work for a while longer than usual, but it froze again after an hour or so into a virus scan. I'm leaning toward it being a hardware problem (maybe overheating?), but still not completely sure.

    I'm stuck here and any help will be extremely appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Edit:

    After installing the new heatsink it worked great. It's been used all weekend without a single problem now.

    Appreciate the help.
     
  2. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

    Have you tried either:

    • Disconnecting the power at the wall-> removing the back-up battery-> touching the body/framework chassis with one hand whilst touching the place where the battery nestles with the other->this discharges the small amount of electricity at the voltage level of the battery & resets BIOS

    • Running a Memtest should tell you if you have a basic drive/function problem as you can disconnect HDD and all non essential hardware. Follow this Tutorial here and if you read through the different posts you'll see that it runs prior to Windows start-up (let it run overnight, and if it does the basic systems are intact, then you can diagnose forward from there).
     
  3. Luthfi

    Luthfi TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Based on this, I highly suspect overheating as the real problem. Have you checked that all fans run properly (good speed)?
     
  4. Teh Snowman

    Teh Snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thank you both for the replies!

    Sorry, but I'm not really sure which battery I should be touching =\

    I'll definitely try that, but I'm also worried it might not finish before the system freezes again.

    I know the fans were running, but I'm not sure how to tell if they're running at full speed. I checked the temp of the CPU in the BIOS, it was running at 65C. The CPU is a Pentium IV... I did some googling about the temp of a Pentium IV and most of the results said that is too hot but some results said that's around normal, so I am unsure. Either way, I was thinking of reseating the heatsink on the CPU and seeing if that would help, and also do a more thorough job of dusting.

    Thanks again for the help, I appreciate it very much.
     
  5. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

    If I knew more about your system(s) I could show you a picture - however generally the "back up battery" is just that. A small power supply enough just to remember where the start-up settings are kept (BIOS addressing if you like) and then a little left over to run the clock. You would be looking for (in my system configuration)
    a CR32 -Button- battery about the circumference of a Ten Cent piece AUD (dime USD)
    Important:- Disconnect the Power completely from the source / wall before attempting -Any Work- inside the computer case and Small amounts of Electricity / Energy not able to be witnessed / felt by humans Can Dammage electronics !!!
    This is good maintenance I would suggest also a good thermal paste/ grease such as Zalman
     
  6. Teh Snowman

    Teh Snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    It worked!

    The heatsink seemed loose before I took it off, the computer must've got bumped or something. It didn't even struggle coming off so it probably had little to no contact with the CPU. So I cleaned off the old paste, put new paste on, put it back on, and voila! Started right up! Kept it on for 4 hours straight without a problem. :)

    I do have one question - In the BIOS I checked the temperature of the CPU again, and this is what it idles at:

    Processor Zone Temperature: 89°C/192°F
    System Zone 1 Temperature: 33°C/91°F
    System Zone 2 Temperature: 33°C/91°F

    Is it suppose to be that hot? I know it's a bit off-topic, but that just seems way too hot.

    Thank you for helping!
     
  7. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

    After applying Thermal grease compound best results in temperature are achieved in seven days.
    Electrical heat such as in lightning can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 C (54,000 F) hot enough to fuse silica sand into glass !!
    If you believe that the temperature is excessive select the over-temp. warning alarm in BIOS and let the computer inform you of the potential failure / fault instead of guessing ;)
    Thanks for the update
    Cheers
     
  8. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

    Electrical heat such as in lightning can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 C (54,000 F) hot enough to fuse silica sand into glass !!
     
  9. Luthfi

    Luthfi TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Congrats!

    The first is WAY TOO HOT, but the other two are WAY TOO COLD :) Since you have ran the PC for 4 straight hours without problem (have you tried running some "heavy" applications? e.g. 3D games), I believe these are not actual processor temp (especially the first one). They're just zones for notifying you or to automaticallly shutdown your pc as the final protection from overheating.
     
  10. Teh Snowman

    Teh Snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Alright, so my fears have been confirmed. When my dad went and started up the computer today, the screen came up with a message from Intel saying the CPU was overheating, can't remember exactly what it said, I just shut it off as fast as I could. Anyway, after that it wouldn't start anymore. :(

    When I took the heatsink off the first time, I noticed one of the legs on it was broken. At first I didn't think much of it but now I'm thinking it might not be getting full contact with the CPU, and it still seems just barely loose. I was also wondering if the heatsink has gone bad? Not sure if heatisinks can go bad or not.

    After that incident, I took out the heatsink a second time and re-assembled it again, this time rotating the heatsink so the bad leg was at the bottom. After that, it started up again and I went back and checked the CPU temp and it was climbing over 100°C so I shut it back off. My dad tried starting it up again later and it wouldn't start again.

    Now I'm thinking of getting a new heatsink and seeing if that will fix this.

    If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know.

    Edit:
    Now my sister tried to turn the computer on and it made a beep code. I am not familiar with beep codes and google wasn't much help. I am not sure how to tell which BIOS I am running if I can't get into it. The beeping sounded like: "long-short-long-short" beeps. The long beeps are higher pitched and short beeps are lower pitched.

    Thanks again!
     
  11. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

    Sorry to hear about this

    Need a little more info here to determine what lies ahead
    • " heat sink legs being the part that you remove when the metal-fin heatsink part is departed from the computer it's self " -Fan Screws-or-Cpu fan retainer clips-
    • " the legs that attach to the motherboard into which the heatsink and CPU fan nestled / reside when they are in their normal position " -Retention Clips as in the link below please look .jpg Image-or-Cpu core stabilizer
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Teh Snowman

    Teh Snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thanks for the reply!

    It's one of those legs that are in the picture. The tip of the leg that goes into the mobo broke off, so it doesn't get a grip on the mobo.

    Yesterday I ordered this replacement heatsink, just in case the fan might be bad or anything else. It was only $15, so if it doesn't work it won't bug me too much... but I really hope it does work.

    I'll let you know if it works once I get it and install it.

    Thanks AGAIN! :)
     
  13. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

    Your cpu temps

    Here's a CPU temp. post that I found recently @ TS if you get a chance you could post your own temps here
     
  14. kristain

    kristain TS Rookie Posts: 47

    Hi,

    To find out which startup application is causing the issue. Please follow the steps below:

    Clean Boot will help you start your computer by using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs so that you can

    determine whether a background program or any of the third party service is interfering with your program.

    Steps to perform a Clean Boot:

    1. Click Start on your Desktop
    2. Type msconfig in the Start Search box and then press ENTER.
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
    3. On the General tab, click Selective Startup.
    4. Under Selective Startup, click to clear the Load Startup Items check box.
    5. Click the Services tab, click to select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box, and then click Disable All.
    6. Click OK.
    7. When you are prompted, click Restart.
     
  15. kristain

    kristain TS Rookie Posts: 47

    Windows XP Started Freezing Randomly

    Hi,

    To find out which startup application is causing the issue. Please follow the steps below:

    Clean Boot will help you start your computer by using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs so that you can

    determine whether a background program or any of the third party service is interfering with your program.

    Steps to perform a Clean Boot:

    1. Click Start on your Desktop
    2. Type msconfig in the Start Search box and then press ENTER.
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
    3. On the General tab, click Selective Startup.
    4. Under Selective Startup, click to clear the Load Startup Items check box.
    5. Click the Services tab, click to select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box, and then click Disable All.
    6. Click OK.
    7. When you are prompted, click Restart.
     

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