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Computer randomly freezes

Posted on 1998-05-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I have a Pentium 60 that randomly freezes for no detectable reason. It has the following hardware:

48 MB RAM,
Diamond Stealth 3000 VRAM video card using S3 video drivers,
MediaVision Pro Audio 16 Sound Card,
SCSI II on the motherboard (PCI NCR C810 Host Controller, Trantor Media Vision SCSI Host Controller),
56K USR Modem on COM2
OKI410e printer on COM1
WingMan Extreme joystick
KFC (Smile Int'l) 17" monitor
Quantum LP540S HD
Connor CFP 1060S 1.05 GB HD (terminated)
Logitech Serial TrackMan Marble Mouse using version 8.01 Logitech driver

The System Control Panel applet displays an exclamation mark next to the "Media Vision Sound Blaster Compatibiity" device. The other parts of the MediaVision card are using VPASD.VXD from Microsoft. I am not using the MediaVision driver as it does not seem to be necessary.

I'm detailing all the hardware as I've just about eliminated software as a cause. When I boot the machine up and remove everything but sys_tray and Explorer from the Task Manager, the system still freezes. It might be a few minutes, it might be an hour or 24 hours--but it freezes without human activity. No GPF, no blue screen. Just freezes. The mouse might move, but ALT+CTRL+DEL has no effect. It's reset button time.

Anyone have any suggestions how I might fix this--aside from getting a new computer--and I know this one's long past its prime. But we gotta make it last until I land the next contract.

Thanks.
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Question by:btphelps
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by:ViperOne
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that exclamation mark doesn't sound too good to me!
Under properties for that device, go to the "Drivers" section and click "Update driver" Then point to those Mediavision drivers, and install them. Reboot when done and then check your device manager again.
If there's still an exclamation mark, check it's properties and list the conflicts listed there on this page.

Greetz,

Simon

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Expert Comment

by:jcolles
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How long have you had the machine?  did it always crash?  If not did you make any changes to the system prior to the crashes starting?
I once had a problem like this with a Pentium 100 and eventually it was solved by an updated version of the Stealth video driver (this was on a new machine.

John
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by:rmarotta
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John,
Please use the comment button to ask questions.  It cuts down on unecessary traffic.

btphelps,
If the proposed answer does not solve your problem simply re-open the question so that other experts can provide a solution for you.
I'll guess (from the exclamation mark) that you're using Win95.

1) Does that Mediavision card also have a SCSI port on it?
2) Do you have a CDROM on this machine?
3) Where is the mouse connected to the computer?
Regards,
Ralph

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by:btphelps
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I bought the system in June 94. It seems to have become increasingly unstable during the past year. When I was apparently hit by a Trojan 2 weeks ago, I was forced to format all of the drives and start over. The system has been extremely unstable since then. I hope to complete this message and download my email before it freezes again.

I was using the generic Microsoft S3 drivers. I tried installing the Diamond Stealth drivers, and this only made things worse. They seem to have incompatibilities with something else on the system--I suspect DirectX 5.0.

I have 2 SCSI CD ROMs, a Chiron 4x and a Quantum 3x, along with a tape backup on the floppy controller (currently on another machine). Sorry, I forgot to list them earlier.
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by:btphelps
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Oh, about the mouse and the sound card. It appears that the MediaVision card may have a SCSI port on it., though I have never used it. I wasn't even aware of what it might be until you asked the question. The mouse is a Logitech TrackMan Marble off COM1.
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by:rmarotta
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Ok, here goes,
1) Are you certain that the virus has been completely removed?  Many times a reformat won't do it.
Go to Device Manager and check resources where the conflict is.
2) Is it an IRQ or DMA conflict with what other device?
3) Have you tried physically removing the soundcard ?
Ralph

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by:btphelps
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As to the Trojan (not virus), how can I be sure?

There are no conflicts listed in the Device Manager. The driver is listed as not found for two of the four MediaVision devices:

C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\vmm32.vxd (CONFIGMG.vxd)

vpasd.vxd

The only problems shown are the exclamation mark(s) for the MediaVision sound card. I reinstalled the MediaVision software from the original disks. I turned off the machine, removed the card, rebooted the machine, deleted the device from Device Manager, and reinstalled the card. I figured Win95 would locate the correct drives from those installed with the software. I still have an exclamation mark next to the two of the MediaVision devices. I've temporarily deactivated these two devices from the hardware profile.

When I ran the machine overnight without the sound card, it did not freeze. Maybe this is a clue. So far this morning, no problem.

Thanks for your help thus far!
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by:rmarotta
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Okay!
The exclamation marks are windows way to tell you of resource conflicts that a device has with another.
All you have to do is get the soundcard configured properly and I think your problem is solved.
Identification info and drivers for your soundcard can be located here:
http://www.windrivers.com/company/mediavis/index.htm
I suggest you locate your card and download the appropriate driver.
Then, remove all instances of the device listed in Device Manager.  Go to Add new hardware in Control Panel.  Tell it no, to auto-detection.  Scroll down the list to Sound video and game controllers, then click have disk.  Point it to your downloaded driver and Windows should install & configure the device correctly.
Let me know how you progress.
Ralph
 
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by:Jegrede
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Do you ever get an odd message on boot-up or does the computer ever freeze when you use the ctrl-alt-del keys to do a warm boot?  It may be a problem with the fan or heat-sink on the chip.
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by:mugabenp
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from what you have explained it seems you have problems with your
sound card. Try to get updated drivers from http://www.windrivers.com/ .Look at your sound card jumpers too.
There is definately a problem with device conflict
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by:rmarotta
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mugabenp,
Please read the prior posts before posting an answer with info that has already been offered.

btphelps,
Any progress yet?  In your original question, you have a printer on COM1, and later said the mouse is on COM1.  Was it a typo about the printer? (LPT1)
Is the Trantor/Media Vision SCSI device listed in Device manager?
Ralph


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by:btphelps
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Yep, the printer is on LPT1.

The Trantor SCSI device was listed in the Device Manager until I disabled the device, pending resolution of this problem. I have not used the SCSI device off the MediaVision card. Is there any reason I should? I currently have 3 SCSI HD (well, one's currently awaiting data recovery) and 2 CD ROM devices, so I haven't yet hit the SCSI II ceiling of 7 devices, but I may...

Okay, so I completely removed the device. I went to Add Hardware, manually selected the device--ProAudio Studio 16 With SCSI (650-0060-03B)--used Have Disk to select the directory to which I expanded the PASTUDIO.EXE downloaded from Windrivers.com (http://www.windrivers.com/scripts/drivers.asp?company=Proaudstudio).

Got the message, "The specifed location does not contain information about your hardware." The Mvinst.inf file, dated 5/20/1993, does not contain any Registry info at all, but text for display during the DOS installation routine.

By the way, I certainly appreciate all the help you are giving me. I had pieces of what you're suggesting, but I've certainly been stuck and I thank you for the help!

Brian
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by:JBURGHARDT
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The only drivers for media vision sound card you can get are on windows 95 cd-rom or floppy. After you remove drivers use add new hardware and let windows search for it you will be asked for installation disks. You can also just get new sound card computer city sell sound cards for about $20 also on www.onsale.com/exchange.html you may be abble to find PCI sound card for 29 and up
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by:meijers
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I have had the same problem, and no it isn't a hardware problem, but a software problem. I almost bought myselve a new mainboard, but I'm glad I didn't.
The problem is in your graphic acceleration, here's your solution you won't believe me but it really is:
Right-click "My Computer" and click "properties", click the "performance"-tab and click on "graphics..." to try if my solution works for you put the "Hardware acceleration" arrow completely to the left (none) reboot your computer, and try if it works for a couple of hours, if it works try another adjustment for hardware acceleration. I have it set completely to none and I also have got a Diamond graphics card. Good luck! and please try this, how foolish it may seem.
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by:rmarotta
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If the above suggestion doesn't help, you must eliminate the setting conflicts with the soundcard.  Since the downloaded drivers were a dead-end, I would try again as before, but point Windows to your Win95 CD instead, when installing the drivers.
If you still have conflicts listed in Device Manager, click on properties> resources tab, what is in the conflicing devices list?
Ralph

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by:btphelps
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I reinstalled the sound card using the Win95 default drivers. It found four devices on the card:

Gameport Joystick
Media Vision PAS 16/Plus/Studio Audio
Media Vision PAS 16/Studio With SCSI
Media Vision Sound Blaster Compatibility

The second and fourth items have exclamation marks on them. (When I began describing this problem, only the fourth item had the exclamation mark--but now the machine is no longer freezing--at least for the past 48 hours, knock on wood. I guess this is progress...?.)

For both, Windows reports that the device is "not present, not working properly, or does not have all the drivers installed correctly. (Code 10)" Under the resources tab, no conflicts are reported for either device.

If I attempt to manually locate a driver ("Select from list"), the system does not report any compatible hardware. I"ll try selecting a completely different hardware device and see what that does after I reboot.

Thanks.

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by:btphelps
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I reinstalled the sound card using the Win95 default drivers. It found four devices on the card:

Gameport Joystick
Media Vision PAS 16/Plus/Studio Audio
Media Vision PAS 16/Studio With SCSI
Media Vision Sound Blaster Compatibility

The second and fourth items have exclamation marks on them. (When I began describing this problem, only the fourth item had the exclamation mark--but now the machine is no longer freezing--at least for the past 48 hours, knock on wood. I guess this is progress...?.)

For both, Windows reports that the device is "not present, not working properly, or does not have all the drivers installed correctly. (Code 10)" Under the resources tab, no conflicts are reported for either device.

If I attempt to manually locate a driver ("Select from list"), the system does not report any compatible hardware. I"ll try selecting a completely different hardware device and see what that does after I reboot.

Meijers, I am trying your suggestion regarding graphics acceleration. However, now that the machine appears to be relatively stable. this does not appear to be the source of the problem nor can I know if this will be a fix.. If the machine continues to be stable, I will re-accelerate the settings.

Thanks.

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by:btphelps
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BTW, can anyone answer what is the usefullness of the Trantor SCSI controller on the sound card? Is there any advantage to connecting one of my CD ROMs to this adapter? The main SCSI adapter is currently on the motherboard.
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by:rmarotta
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Brian,
Originally it was to operate a SCSI CDROM.  No advantage in using it.  I imagine it's an older adapter that would be much slower than the SCSI II you are using.
It looks like you have two drivers installed for the soundcard.  
Remove them all again, and this time, manually re-install.
Go to Add New Hardware and tell it no when asked to have Windows search.
Scroll down the list to select Sound, video and game controllers> Media Vision> and pick your model from the list.  Let Windows install only that one.
When this is finished, are there still any conflicts reported in Device Manager?
Ralph

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by:rmarotta
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Any progress on this, Brian?

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by:btphelps
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Things have gone from bad to worse. Anyone have a shotgun I can borrow? I'm about to make a boat anchor out of that computer.

The system now fails to recognize the C drive, but this only occurs in Normal Mode. In Safe Mode, everything is fine. What happens is that when the session is initializing (once I've entered the password), it takes a long time, and before the desktop complete appears,  it displays a blue screen, "Disk write error. Unable to write to disk in drive C." I may be able to press ESC, but the system then halts.

If I warm boot, occasionally the system, as it identifies each device on the SCSI host, stops at the physical drive which contains C and the system fails altogether, suggesting I press F1 for CMOS setup. There is nothing different that I can see in CMOS setup.

One thing different is that I was getting a message on boot up that the Trantor SCSI adapter was found, though with "no devices". This message was new. This followed my "successfull" installation of the MediaVision drivers. Everything was nearly working ok--well, the sound card wasn't yet operational, but relatively speaking...

I was able to get into a Normal Mode session long enough to disable the Trantor SCSI adaptor on the MediaVision card. Then I disabled the MediaVision devices and physically removed the card, thinking that one of these devices may be the problem. No luck.

I've checked and rechecked the drive's cabling. Nothing physical seems to be wrong. As I noted, it works fine in Safe Mode. I've reinstalled Windows twice, once keeping all newer files, once replacing all older files. No luck.

I appear to have a few choices:

Restore a C Drive backup when the system was operational from about 3 weeks ago and see if that works.

If that fails, Format the drive, and reinstall Windows from scratch.

Buy another hard drive and make it my boot master.

Buy a new computer. Give the old one a decent burial.

But until I know the source of the problem, I'm hesitant to take action. Recommendations?

I'm using my son's 486, itself pretty flakey, at the moment.

Sign me, Frustrated.
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Expert Comment

by:airbird
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Try removing every thing you can in safe mode. This seems to list multiple drivers not seen during ordinary system device process. This works for me when nothing else helps. You will be surprised at all the multiple entries! This is a generic list I am sending along, tailor it to your system. Be ready with any disks you might need after boot-up.

Removing excess drivers:

     1. Click on your START button, then point and click on SHUTDOWN.
     Click on the circle next to 'Restart the computer in MS-DOS
     mode?" so it is selected. Now click on the YES button.

     2. The unit will restart in DOS mode. You will see 'C:\WINDOWS'.
     Type the following command and press enter:

          WIN /D:M

          This will launch the unit into Safe Mode.

     3. Once the unit is in Safe Mode, click on the OK button in the
     opening dialogue box.

     4. Now click on the START button, point to SETTINGS, then point
     and click on CONTROL PANEL.

     5. In the Control Panel window, double-click on the SYSTEM icon.

     6. A window will come up labeled 'System Properties'. Click on
     the tab labeled 'Device Manager'.

     7. A list of devices should now be showing. To remove a device
     from the list, do the following: (you will see a list of devices
     to be removed in step 8)

       a. Click on the + sign next to the device category and a list
          of devices will appear under the category.
       b. Click on the device that needs to be removed so it is
          highlighted.
       c. Once it is highlighted, click on the REMOVE button below. A
          'Confirm device removal' box will pop up, click on the OK
          button to confirm removal of the device. If you open the
          category list again, the device selected will be gone.

     8. Here is a list of devices to be removed following step 7:

          CD-ROM: remove all device entries. Once you have done
          this, the CD-ROM category will no longer exist.

          Disk Drives: remove all device entries. Once you have
          done this, the category will no longer exist.

          Display Adapters: If you do not know your SPECIFIC
          graphics chipset, DO NOT change this.

               S3 Trio64V+ chipset: remove all entries.

               S3 Trio64V2 chipset: remove only the Trio64V+
               and/or Virge drivers. DO NOT remove the
               Trio64V2 drivers.

               S3 Virge chipset: remove ONLY the Trio64V+
               drivers.

               NOTE: if the Virge drivers are removed, they
               will not redetect and reinstall. DO NOT
               remove them if this is the chipset you have.
               If they are removed, the only reliable way to
               reinstall them is to Quick Restore.

          Floppy Disk Controllers: remove all device entries.
          Once you have done this, the category will no longer
          exist.

          Hard Disk Controllers: DO NOT change this.

          Keyboard: remove all device entries. Once you have done
          this, the category will no longer exist.

          Modem: remove

          Monitor: remove all device entries. Once you have done
          this, the category will no longer exist.

          Mouse: remove all device entries. Once you have done
          this, the category will no longer exist.

          Network Adapters: DO NOT change this.

          Ports: DO NOT change this.

          Sound, Video, and Game Controllers:

             Remove all device
               entries. Once you have done this, the
               category will no longer exist.

          System Devices: DO NOT change this.

          USB: DO NOT change this. (not on all units)
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by:btphelps
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I'd certainly like to hear a second opinion. This appears to be a pretty radical procedure and I don't have any confidence about restoring the devices. Nothing personal Airbird, but your profile does not show a lot of depth in answering questions like this one.
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Expert Comment

by:mcroman
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Brian~
I just need one small piece of info that I have not seen thus far.  I see from your system description that you have added numerous devices, so one would guess that this is a custom built system, is it?  Or did a computer manufacturer build it (Dell, PB, GW2000, etc.)?  You may be dealing with a proprietary issue.

Dr. M.G. Croman
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by:btphelps
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Yes, it is a custom-built system.

I solved the most recent problem--the inability to read from the phsical (C) drive. I restored the backup of the Windows installation from 3 weeks ago when it was working. I'll try, very tentatively, to reinstall the MediaVision sound card later. If I have any trouble, into the round circular file.

Thanks for everyone's help. Let's close this issue.
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rmarotta earned 200 total points
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Brian,
The price of a new soundcard really isn't much compared with a lot of aggravation.
When you have a legacy device to install, it's one thing.  When that device has no Win95 driver, it becomes more of a problem.  And when you add it to a mix of other hardware, it can turn into a real nightmare!
Are the conflicts now gone in Device Manager?
Has the original "freeze up" problem disappeared?
If so, then you should be able to do some work with your computer now, instead of working on it.
I suggest you find a PnP (possibly PCI) soundcard that you can install easily and your problems are over.
Best regards,
Ralph

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by:btphelps
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Thanks for all your help. What do you do in your "spare" time?

I'm leaving the sound card out of the box for now so I can get some work "done" and not "on" the computer, as you say. I'll get a new sound card later.

Now, what are you ever going to do with all those points? Can you trade them in for, say, a new computer or cash?

Brian
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by:airbird
Comment Utility
Here is one point to remember, even if you don't like my profile. When you go through the back door into safe mode- it will list all of the drivers ON TOP OF DRIVERS that you keep trying to install to get your system back up! They pile up and a record is kept only by going to safe mode. Even if you don't want to attempt any drastic action,keep in mind that this is the ONLY spot you can view what you have done so far. So a word to the wise- is- check out how many entries are made through SAFE MODE. This is for future reference at this point. I know it works.
What I have found is that folks keep trying to reinstall sound cards with a few tweaks and everyone of them is detrimental- if it is not the correct setup. When you find some free time, explore, and you will see what I mean.
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by:rmarotta
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No, Brian, there isn't anything you can do with those points that I know of....  I can't even trade 'em for a cup of coffee.
I do enjoy it here at E-E, but I spend so much time with the computer that my wife sez I need to get some fresh air & sunshine before I turn into a hermit!
Regards from sunny Florida,
Ralph

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by:btphelps
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Ralph,

I'd guess from the pile of points you've accumulated that you don't have much of a tan. Your wife's right, and so's mine--let's get some fresh air.

Brian
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