Computer meltdown

Posted on 1998-09-23
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have a two-year-old Packard Bell Platinum computer. Norton Utilities says everything is fine. But eveyr day I'm able to do less and less. I can't access the internet anymore. Most of my programs freeze, usually because of "illegal" operations. I can't even shut down; my computer just reboots. I've reinstalled Windows95 several times, but it doesn't help.
Question by:Andrew666
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Author Comment

ID: 1010774
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Expert Comment

ID: 1010775
When you say you "can't access the internet anymore" what is symptom? Your browser won't load? Your modem won't dial?

Sounds like your memory is starting to go. Could be something simple like one of your SIMMS working loose. Try the simplest solution first. Unplug the box & yank the covers. Blow out the dust and push down on all the IC's in sockets. Make sure your SIMMS are fully latched in. Push down on the cards and make sure they're fully seated. Check all your cables and make sure they're on tight. Button up the case and see if that helps.



Author Comment

ID: 1010776
Thanks! But you're talking to a computer dummy. What are ICs, SIMMs? When I try to access the internet, my modem dials, then I'm disconnected. This is with Earthlink. With AOL 4.0, the AOL logo comes up, then the program freezes.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1010777
When you say Norton says all is OK, does that include running Norton Disk Doctor? Symptoms sound like a failing or corrupted drive, or bad memory as mark2150 says. Your memory chips are in a bank at one corner of the motherboard, probably four or six 72pin SIMM slots or maybe one or two DIMM slots, which are longer. Make sure these are fully inserted. You can carefully remove and reinstall these and see if that improves things. Also run the computer with the cover off, and check to see that your processor fan is running. If the fan quits, the cpu can overheat and cause all sorts of problems.
    Another thing to check is under start/settings/control panel/system/device manager. See if there are yellow asterisks or red X's listed - these would indicate failed or improperly installed hardware. Let us know what you find.


Author Comment

ID: 1010778
Thanks again! I ran Norton Disk Doctor in Windows. Then ran it from my rescue disk through 13 continuous cycles. Everything checked out okay.
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Accepted Solution

mark2150 earned 200 total points
ID: 1010779
IC's are chips. They are the little black things with lots of metal "legs" down each side. Some are soldered in and can't move, some are in sockets and can slowly work their way out. Place one hand on the metal chassis of your computer and push down (firmly but not too) down on anything in a socket. If you hear a "crunch" that means that the chip you were pushing down on was loose and you just pressed it in.

SIMMS are your memory. They are little boards with chips on them that insert into sockets on your Mother Board as a module. There are clips at either end that hold them latched into place. Sometimes they're not fully latched in and can cause problems. Kind of wiggle them (gently) with your thumb and make sure that they're fully seated and locked in place. Look at them and make sure that they all look evenly spaced. If one is crooked or out of alignment then it's not latched properly.


Author Comment

ID: 1010780
mark<2150's answer sounds good. I'll try it out tonight and let you know how it turned out. Also swwelsh's advice. Thanks, everyone!

Author Comment

ID: 1010781
I opened the computer and pressed into place everything that looked like it needed it. One memory module had a slightly spongy feel when I pushed it into place; it kept bouncing back a little. The fan was running. When I went to the device manager, I found four defective dial-up drivers and one defective communications port. I replace these. During this process I kept being asked for the Novell Netware disc that was supposedly supplied by my computer maker; I never got such a disk. The drivers and adapters seemed to install without it. I rebooted. I still have all the same problems, including illegal operations and "system is busy" notices when I press ctrl/alt/del. My printer works when connected directly to my computer, but when plugged into the back of my tape drive, which is plugged into the computer, it doesn't work; nor does the tape back-up drive.

Author Comment

ID: 1010782
I solved all my problems by uninstalling Windows95, then reinstalling it. Now everything works just fine. And the process also freed my hard drive of 400M of programs I didn't know I could live without.

Thanks again for all your help!

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