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Computer freezes; rebooting gets it further along the POST; then when system finally comes up, freezes again.

coderlen
coderlen asked
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
This is a weird one. Here is the software/hardware config:
- Win 98 SE (build 4.10.2222)
- 1.10 GHz AMD Athlon CPU
- MicroStar MS-6330 2.1 Main Circuit Board
- Gateway 4000711 System Model
- AMI BIOS 09/12/2000
- 128 MB RAM
- Master HDD Drive 0): Western Digital WD84AA 120 GB (only first 8.4 used)
  C: Drive 5.98 GB (4.60 GB free)
  E: Drive 2.41 GN (2.41 GB free)
- Slave HDD (Drive 1): ST320413A 20 GB
  D: Drive 20.01 GB (18.60 GB free)

The reason for the 2 hard drives is that I thought it might be the HDD, but it happens no matter which HDD I use.

The system will go along sometimes for a few minutes, or maybe even hours, and then it freezes. I might be doing something, or even if I don't, it will freeze all by itself. No keyboard or mouse response, video is still showing. Alt-Ctrl-Del does not cause a reboot, only a hard boot will free up the system.

Just after the system freezes, I hear a high-pitched whining from inside the computer. I've got the case off, and I use a plastic
tube to try to determine where the noise is coming from. I thought it was the PSU, but after I changed it, it still whines. The whine goes away, but the system is still frozen and needs to be rebooted to do anything.

I don't think the problem is overheating of the CPU. I can put my hand on the cooling blades, and they feel very warm, but not hot. The CPU fan is always on, and there is a healthy amount of air coming out of the bottom of the cooling blades.

Let me know what I should check. I don't have a spare MOBO or CPU, or I would have swapped them already. Is there some way I can test the MOBO or CPU with software? Thanks for any suggestions. I really need help here...
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