Constant sudden freezings

By Gatzu ยท 45 replies
Nov 4, 2010
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  1. Greetings and salutations all!

    I hope that I'm in the right place with the problems that I am having. I searched through several posts, but only found one that is similar to mine. Perhaps you all will be able to help me out or provide some information.

    It seems that most of the other posts have multiple BSoD problems, but I'm suffering from something different.

    I'm experiencing numerous lock ups or freezes with my computer. This all begin last night after never really having any major problems. (I did of course have the random freeze up every other week or so in the past.)

    At first, I thought the problem to be video card related. These freeze ups mostly happened while playing some sort of game. (League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, Fallout, etc.)

    I cleaned my PC, reseated the video card and ran some temperature checks. My PC sits at 29C/78F in BIOS. The CPU fan is currently at 2600 RPM which I believe to be healthy. I did notice that there was a fan labeled "nForce Fan 0 RPM". I was not familiar with it and checked to ensure that my video card fan was spinning and it was indeed spinning.

    After entering Windows, I would experience more freeze ups while not doing anything video intensive. For example, simply starting some programs - firefox, or low resource programs I would freeze up. At times I could move my mouse around and other times I couldn't forcing me to restart my PC.

    This always seems to be the most frustrating problem because locating the problem is difficult. After asking some fellow gaming buddies, I've been told it could be the CPU Fan, my PSU, and the motherboard. My PSU seems healthy, as I can leave the PC on with no problems. The CPU fan seems healthy as well unless there is something I'm totally missing. I'm not completely ruling these out however.

    Mostly the freeze ups occur within 10-15 minute intervals. Being paranoid, I ran CC Cleaner and Malware Bytes to make sure malware didn't sneak onto my PC. The test managed to finish and came back with 0 results.

    My own thoughts would be possibly a burnt up ram stick, which another user, bluewave, had found to be the problem. With all of my friends however, I now have a list of things to check for.

    I thought I would check with you all first to see if anyone had any similar problems with solutions. I'm currently using another PC, but here is the run down of what I'm currently using from memory.

    Windows XP
    EVGA nForce 650i Ultra Socket 775 Motherboard (perhaps this was the nForce fan?)
    Intel Quad Core 2.4Ghz Q6600 CPU
    4 gigs of Ram - OCZ Plat DDR2 800MHz
    Seagate 250GB Sata drive/640 WDGB Sata drive
    nVidia 8800 GTS Video Card
    39 Processes after start up
    (Thats all I can think of at this time.)

    Once again, these are freezes ups with no full system crashes or BSoDs. At first I thought it was overheating, but with one side off and a fan, it seems this isn't the problem.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to help me. Have a good day.
  2. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Just an update on my trouble shooting.

    I believe Ive narrowed it down to either my PSU or video card. After running a few memtests, the ram seemed to be fine as does the HDDs.

    During my lock ups, I still have the ability to move my mouse around and use the num, caps, and screen lock functions as the keyboard will light up. Does this mean anything to anyone?

    Again, thanks for the help.
  3. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    What are your system temperatures like for cpu, video card, and overall system?

    Are all fans working?
  4. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Thanks for the reply! My temperatures and fan speeds all around seem fine. Here is what they are recorded at:

    CPU Temp: 29C/78F
    GPU Temp: 49-50C
    I've got 2 mounted 120mm fans which are spinning at 2300-2500RPM and my CPU Fan, also 120mm spins at 2000RPM

    I can't remember my video cards fan speed, but hopefully this helps.

    Also Ive noticed that when I lock up, I still have full mouse control unless I'm in a video game. While I'm still able to use the mouse, I can't click or close anything at all. I'm forced to reboot.

    I also have the ability to push caps, screen, and num lock keys which light on my keyboard but don't do anything after I've locked up.

    Thanks again.
  5. shano64

    shano64 TS Rookie

    I also have the exact same issue. I have everything updated and still get the same weird "phenomena". Whatever help you get hopefully I can use that info to fix mine.

  6. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I have an update to my problem, but still no fix.

    Currently I'm swapping out ram. Two sticks to go, yay me!

    Anyways, upon locking up, if I leave the lock up alone, the sound will continue to play for the next 30 seconds to a minute - an example being youtube.

    After another minute or so, the sound will begin skipping and repeating before constantly repeating itself over and over.

    I can still move my mouse, and during the first minute of locking up I can press caps, scroll, and num lock. Letting the lock up progress further, the keyboard will then become unreponsive and no longer light up after pressing these keys.

    After about two minutes in, this long, never ending post beep will echo through my room, It's almost as if someone were to be dropping a bomb.

    Researching into one neverending beep seems to point towards the RAM, my first suspect when this began. So here I am, swapping them all out to see what the problem is.

    I will report back with any findings.
  7. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Yes, please keep us updated. Are you getting any Blue Screens at all?
  8. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Thats a negative. No blue screens and no reboots. I get nothing but lock ups - as in, the screen freezes and nothing happens.

    If I'm playing a game, the screen freezes and the sound instantly begins to loop endlessly - usually the first 2 of sound after the freeze.

    If it happens during something small, such as watching a youtube clip, my computer will stutter and then lock up. For example, if I'm watching a 10 minute youtube clip, my computer will most likely freeze 4 minutes in. The video will begin stuttering at 4 minutes and completely freeze at about 4 minutes and 10 seconds. The sound however, will continue to play for the next minute. After another minute, it will loop the final second of whatever was played.

    During these lock ups, I can freely move my mouse around. I can use caps lock, scroll lock, and num lock to test my keyboard. The lights will come on, but I'm only allowed to do this for a period of time. My keyboard will then be the next thing to lock up.

    Finally the mouse will lock up after numerous clicks. A long beep will them come out of my computer. So basically, the computer will lock up, give me 2 minutes to move my mouse around, and then emit a beep, completely locking everything. At no time does the computer ever BSoD or reboot. I have to restart the computer on my own.

    Last night I stayed up to about 1 in the morning trying to figure this out. I swapped each ram stick out one by one, using different slots. Nothing seemed to work. I called it a night and left Memtest86 running while I slept.

    I came back in the morning and it had made 27 completely successful tests on my four sticks of ram. I then used another RAM test while I watched a couple of movies. This test also came back successful with 9 full tests, as well as 3 extended tests. At no point did it ever find any errors with the RAM. I'm beginning to think now, that the problem lies either within the PSU or Video Card.

    Checking my video card, the GPU temperatures are reading normal. Never does it overheat and there are no stressed, leaking, or blown capacitors. I don't know what else to look for in that department.

    I will be receiving a new PSU on Monday to give that a try. After that I'm totally out of ideas.

    If I allow my computer to boot up, I can open folders and view my hard drive, but I can do nothing else outside of that. It's almost as if I have complete access to my things, yet whenever I try to open any program outside of Windows, I automatically lock up.

    Spyware and Malware Programs have come back with 0 results, as did AVG 2010.

    Any ideas or suggestions is much appreciated because I am completely stuck.

  9. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    You've done some tremendously good diagnostic work.

    Since Memtest shows no errors then find the voltage specs and timings of your RAM and compare it to the voltage and timing settings in your BIOS. Do they match?
  10. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Hello again, and thank you!

    I just finished defragging my hard drive and will be running a few tests to see if I still lock up. I did look into what you suggested, and everything seems normal, but here is what it is set at.

    DDR2 RAM - 1.8 V from CPUID-Z and 1.81V in BIOS. So everything seems to look okay there,

    I'll report back after running a few programs to see if anything has changed.

    More suggestions are always welcomed.

  11. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    How is your GPU fan working? This freezing sure reminds one of heat issues but your other temps seem fine.

    What does the BIOS itself say concerning these settings?
  12. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Well from the tests, the GPU *seems* to be pretty cool, sitting at 50C. The fan is indeed spinning after a good cleaning. (It was also spinning before that.)

    I'll have to double check in BIOS, but I wasn't aware that it showed that inforamation in there. I will have to do some looking to find it I guess.

    I just tested my computer on the lock up times, and this time I made it through two, nine minute videos on youtube. Normally I only make it 4-7 minutes in.

    Hopefully I will have some parts in on Monday to see whether or not the video card or PSU may be the issue. For now I'm just totally stumped on this.
  13. jamesodriscoll

    jamesodriscoll TS Rookie Posts: 91

    Hi Gatzu,

    It seems here that if your system is locking up theat the RAM is at fault but memtest86 gave no errors.

    It could also be a heat problem but as you said the temps seem to be ok so im a bit stumped with this one.

    have you checked the thermal paste on the CPU and the heatsink? it may be causing your CPU to overheat.

    I would also suggest that maybe it could be a RAM socket error on the Mobo but if there was a fault with the RAM sockets on the board would the RAM pass the memtests?

  14. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Hi James, thanks for the reply.

    I too, thought (and still sort of think) that the RAM was at fault. However, even after the tests, I tried each stick individually, I can't find evidence of it being truly the problem. I even skipped the first socket and went solely with the 2nd. This too did not work.

    I guess I could always try skipping the first and second slots, ya never know.

    I will give the CPU and heat sink a thoroughy look through tomorrow morning. For the heat-sink, is there anything specific I should be looking at? The only thing I've done with the two is cleaning them out with a q-tip.

    Thanks again to all for your help.
  15. jamesodriscoll

    jamesodriscoll TS Rookie Posts: 91


    ok if your going to take ur CPU would reccomment using an antistic strap as CPU's can be sensitive to static.

    When you remove the CPU and heatsink u wan to see how much thermal past is on the CPU/heatsink. if there isnt enough then then CPU canoverheat too quickly and this may cause the computer to shut down. TOO much can also cause CPU problems and cause your PC to lock.

    you need to look for about a fingertips amount of paste there.

    Hope this helps

  16. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Hi again James,

    Before I pop off the fan and heatsink, should I have more paste on hand? I remember when I built the computer, the fan already had paste on the heat sink (I would assume the recommended amount). Is it possible that after a couple of years the paste could have faded?
  17. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I just finished putting my PC back together. It looks like everything is in working shape and completely dust free. The processor fan seems to very stable and well pasted. The fan definitely spins on it as well.

    I gave my video card another scrub down to make sure it was in tip top shape. Just to be on the safe side, I swapped out PCI-E cords since my PSU has about 4 of them.

    While playing with the RAM, I noticed the labels read: 4-4-4 @ 2.1V. These are OCZ PC2 6400 Platinum sticks. (4 of them).

    I remember I checked the voltage on them the other day, and it read 1.8V. Should I be concened that they are under what the lable reads? I never had a problem with this in the two and a half years I've been using the computer, so I doubt this could be the cause.

  18. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Memory voltage is very critical for a system's stability (see my advice in Post #9). Believe it or not even incremental changes can either bring stability or instability. Your RAM at this point needs to be set at factory voltage specs. Do this manually in the BIOS.

    What OS are you running?
  19. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    For as far as I know, the BIOS has always set it at 1.8V. I've never really looked at it before now. I'm running Windows XP.

    How would I go about changing it if that needs to be done?
  20. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    You can change it in the BIOS. Look for DIMM voltage. The motherboard will have it set at AUTO. Click that on and a list of other voltage settings should be given.

    You need to first know OCZ's voltage specs of your memory and set it to that voltage. Once set in the BIOS exit but make sure you save it first.

    Again, what OS are you running? Keep in mind, some motherboards do not like 4x1 gig configurations. I'm not saying this is your issue but it is something to keep in mind.
  21. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Windows XP 32-bit

    I did some research on the voltage subject, and it seems that most every stick of RAM is usually set at 1.8V. They have the ability to be increased, but shouldn't just because they can. There was also mention of the possiblity of damaging files when messing with the voltage amount. That kind of stuff worries me. =(

    I also, in the meantime, removed the first two sticks of ram from my computer and left the slots empty - running only on slots 3 and 4. So far I've been up for about 15-20 minutes, which is a new record for right now. I've still got to see if over heating is a problem by opening up a few videos and possibly launching a game. I'll be back with my findings.

    *Edit* Scratch that last part. It locked up just as I hit submit on this computer. I think it was watching me get my hopes up. =)
  22. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    LOL, Gatzu!

    Keep in mind that 32-bit OS's will only recognize/utilize 3.5 gigs of RAM. Your memory voltage must be set at the manufacture's specs. can you link us to your motherboard?

    Find your motherboard manual and place just two gigs as per the manual's memory configuration instructions.

    Here is a simple yet effective diagnostic measure you can use to see if it is indeed a heat issue:

    a. Open the side of your case.

    b. Find a small fan.

    c. Set it on its lowest setting and have it blow directly into your system.

    d. Now do the things you normally do that causes system freezing.

    Any continued issues?
  23. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Well yes, this is true with WinXP32. You can place 4 sticks of ram in there, but it will only read up to 2.75. Ive been wanting to bump myself up to Windows 7, but just haven't gotten the chance to. =(

    I've been messing around with the RAM, only placing 2 and even 1 stick in and I still have this issue.

    Overheating was the very first thing that popped into my mind so I grabbed the closest fan and set it beside the computer. (Case off of course.)

    When the problem still occured, I figured something else must be over heating in a different area. Thats when I went over all my fans with a q-tip and downloaded SpeedFan to monitor the different temptures as well as in BIOS. Again, everything there seemed normal.

    I've tried every stick of ram, every ram slot, and mixed and matched them all with still no solutions. I've cleaned up a good 32gigs of hard drive space on my 250g HD, so that I have about 30% of free space to manuever around with. I've defragged all my drives, ran CCleaner, AVG and malware to make sure nothing was hiding in there as well.

    I'll pull out the fan again just to make sure it works or that I didnt have it on backwards the first time though. =)
  24. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Is it possible for you to link us to both your motherboard and memory?
  25. Gatzu

    Gatzu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Certainly. I will list them both at the end of this post. Before that however, hold on to your hat because things just got a lot stranger. On my other computer, I am currently locked up. I was testing the overheating with my fan by loading up a youtube video. I also loaded up a game.

    Normally when I do this, the game is full screen and locks up after a couple of minutes. HOWEVER, this time, I am using a windowed game. In the background I have a youtube clip playing as well as SpeedFan.

    Currently, everything behind the windowed game is locked up. I can no longer access the desktop, use the task manager, or alt/tab out of the windowed game. I can, however, play freely in the windowed mode. I can move around, spin the camera and give commands. If I try to alt/tab out of the game, I can't do anything and have to keep playing the game.

    So now what could be causing that? The windowed game works, but everything else is locked up and inaccessable.

    As for my MB and Ram, here they are:

    OCZ Platinum Rev 2 2048MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz (2x10)

    EVGA nForce 650i Ultra Socket 775 Motherboard

    These were purchased over 2 years 6 months ago.

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