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Random Freezing

Posted on 2003-02-20
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a Dell Dimension 4100 and it started locking up at random times about 3 months ago, and I had XP Pro installed.  Since then Dell has had me reinstall ME, tried 2 new motherboards, a new processor, a new power supply and new memory.  Nothing has fixed the locking up problem.  They keep insisting it must be a software problem, but this thing freezes at the bios screen or even if i unplug the hard drive and boot off of a floppy it just freezes at the dos prompt.  I think I have gone thru every software and every hardware option but can't stop this computer from locking up.  I have even taken the computer to different locations and tried it there.  Is there anything else you could suggest I try?  

Hardware:
P3 866MHZ
512 MB memory
2 hard drives: both WD, a 20 GB and a 60 GB
Geforce2
SB Live Value! sound card
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Question by:TroisBandes
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13 Comments
 
LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 7991141
the first thing I would suggest is test the memory (just because it's new doesn't mean it's not faulty)
http://www.simmtester.com/PAGE/products/doc/docinfo.asp
you're not overclocking are you?
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Expert Comment

by:ellesd
ID: 7991345
What about the hard drives?  I don't believe Dell shipped it with two.  If you added one, make sure it is properly setup.  Try removing one.  Also remove any adapter cards and boot.  I would disconnect everything not needed (sound card, cd-rom drive, etc.) and try booting.  If it stops freezing, start adding things back in one at a time until you find the problem child.
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Expert Comment

by:Kingsize
ID: 7994218
Sounds horribly hardware, TroisBandes.
Even crashes with just an a:\ drive...yuk.

If the CPU has a hardware monitor, check that it isn't overheating.

It's the kind of problem you might get with incorrect bios settings isn't it?

Verify that your cas latency for your RAM and fsb speeds are fine for this motherboard.

I guess you're using a coppermine 133FSB processor?

Have a look around the case just to make sure that nothing is shorting out.  Re-check all the connectors.

Try disabling the level2 cache in the bios.

Just my thoughts....

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Author Comment

by:TroisBandes
ID: 7994972
I have tested the memory and even used different memory sticks.  And I have tested it with everything removed except the video card and I have tried different video cards.  The bios version is the most current one and I am pretty sure everything is setup correctly in it.
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Expert Comment

by:Kingsize
ID: 7995345
Have you tried disbaling the level2 cache?
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Accepted Solution

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stevenlewis earned 300 total points
ID: 7996287
It seems like you have rebuilt this machine twice, with all new components. It's like you have had three machines and they all do this. See if you can get ahold of a UPS with power conditioning. If that doesn't help, the thing is haunted, get a priest to do an exorcism
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Author Comment

by:TroisBandes
ID: 8000714
How exactly do I go about disbling the L2 Cache?  I don't see any option for it in the BIOS.
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Expert Comment

by:Kingsize
ID: 8001252
Yuk.  You're right, there isn't one.

I guess you're not getting any POST errors?
http://support.jp.dell.com/docs/systems/dim4200/codes.htm

Reset the bios.
Press the bios fairly firmly into its socket - sometimes they creep.

Ok, if you just use a graphics card, 1 stick of ram, and floppy drive, boot to the dos prompt from your a:\ drive and see how stable it is.

Try using memtest from www.memtest86.com and run it for as long as you can.  It tests both your memory without processor cache, and with cache.

If it fails on the chached tests your processor may be faulty.

If it fails on the uncached tests then the memory is not compatable with you board, or may be faulty.

Check for any possible shorting on the case.
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Expert Comment

by:Kingsize
ID: 8001264
Oh, if its a slot one processor, take it out and push it back in again - you should hear a "snick" when it's in place.

If it's fcpga you shouldn't have that problem.
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Expert Comment

by:Kingsize
ID: 8001277
Also...

Re-seat your graphics card.

Have you got another one you can try/borrow?
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Author Comment

by:TroisBandes
ID: 8021954
After trying everything possible, I have to agree with you that the thing is haunted.
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Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8022021
LOL
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Expert Comment

by:Computer101
ID: 8022288
If the question was not answered, I will delete it if you wish

Computer101
E-E Admin
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