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Computer freezes for and won't reboot for several days

Posted on 2004-09-03
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Hello,

I have a Compaq Presario 5006CA, approximately 3 years old.

Processor:  1.10 GB AMD Athlon
128 kilobyte primary memory cache
256 kilobyte secondary memory cache
NVIDIA RIVA TNT2 Model 64 [Display adapter]
Samsung 570V TFT [Monitor]
128 Megabytes Installed Memory
Slot 'DIMM1' has 128 MB (PC100)
Slot 'DIMM2' is Empty (although 256 MB is installed and seated properly)(PC133)
Slot 'DIMM3' is Empty

The computer randomly freezes with no ability to ctrl-alt-del.  After manually turning it off, press the power button, all fans turn, hard drive spins, cd, dvd, and floppy all load, but no video.  I have taken it to a repairman who moved the ram around and did a complete "burn-in" and found no problems.  He left the PC running for 2 days.  Again, no problems.  Got it home, it worked for 2 days then froze again.  I moved the ram around a bit and it came back on for about 5 minutes.  I've heard it could be issues with RAM, so I replaced the existing ram with 256MB from a working computer... nothing.  Removed the Video card, tried another in the PCI slot, nothing.  Computer came back on 2 days later (today).  

I uninstalled the NVidia TNT2 driver and it's been running fine for the past 6 hours.  But it's done that in the past too.  So I won't keep my hopes up.  

We've checked every connection in the PC already, tried the monitor on another computer, tried another monitor on this computer, formatted and reinstalled XP Pro, etc., etc.

If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate it.  

Deb
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Question by:damalynyk
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Expert Comment

by:mattisflones
ID: 11979019
Just a hunch.. Whats the voltage in your home? If its just a tad to low/Unstable for your PSU it might cause something like this..
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Author Comment

by:damalynyk
ID: 11980588
I'm not sure what the voltage is ... but because there is only 1 outlet in the room, I had 2 power bars plugged together.  The PC was plugged into the 2nd one (which was NOT a surge protector).  I've since plugged it into a surge protector plugged directly into the wall.  Could this really have been the problem?  We're on day 2 of no problems.  Fingers crossed that it keeps working.  If anyone else had any other suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.

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by:buckeyes33
ID: 11980646
I would probably say that you have a bad power supply might be bad.  The power supply in those computers are extremely cheap ones.  This does not explain the fact that it is working now, strange.  I think that I would check the power supply just to make sure.
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Callandor earned 250 total points
ID: 11982605
If you only have one outlet in the room, I would get a UPS to make sure the voltage doesn't dip when an iron or other heating device is turned on.
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Expert Comment

by:mattisflones
ID: 11989505
>>Could this really have been the problem?
Sure it could!
Anyway.. lots of equipment connected to one outlet could get you into trouble as it changes the powerflow and electical systems is not built to handle that..
As Buckeye says, it might be worth a try to change the PSU, and the same goes for callandors comment... a UPS might be worth the money!
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Author Comment

by:damalynyk
ID: 12060347
ok <sigh>, got the new PSU installed, bought a UPS.  Booted the thing, got an error message that a windows file was missing (XP Pro).  Reinstalled Windows and Yea!!!  Everything worked fine...... for 2 days.  Turned off the computer after about 6 hours.  Came back later, nothing. Shut down, restarted, nothing, shut down, restarted, nothing.  Did this about 5 times.  Now everything seems fine.  I've used an older computer in the same room using the same peripherals with no problems.  So I don't think it's a power problem.  As I said in my first post, we've run every test that we know of.  And everything seems to check out ok.  

Any other suggestions?  

Frustrated
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by:buckeyes33
ID: 12061018
What happens when you unplug the computer from the wall?  Does it work now?
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Author Comment

by:damalynyk
ID: 12061490
It's plugged into the UPS now.  It works randomly.  It may work for days, hours or not at all.  Extremely frustrated!!
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by:Callandor
ID: 12071684
If the old PSU had problems, it may have damaged components attached to it.  A very messy and costly situation.
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Author Comment

by:damalynyk
ID: 12089621
I just had a thought.... even though we've used the Western Digital diagnostics (which found no errors) and formatted the drive, could it possibly be the hard drive?  When it freezes I can hear a slight "click" and no longer hear the drive spin.

I have smaller drive on another computer, but I'd hate to format it and still have the same problems.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Expert Comment

by:buckeyes33
ID: 12089898
Does the computer go through post?
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Author Comment

by:damalynyk
ID: 12091445
Yes.  Right now it's starting.  Sometimes it will be fine for hours, sometimes just for a few minutes.  It just freezes.  Then I have to turn it off for a few seconds and it goes through disk checking.  Sometimes it completes, sometimes it freezes.  
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Expert Comment

by:Dray_Templar
ID: 12214583
ok, tuff problem i think it could be any number of things, but the first thought i had was to take the smaller drive(assuming it has an operating system on it) out if the older computer and try running it on your newer system. and run it for a week or so and see if you still have the same problem this. Should help you rule out Hard Disk problem or let you know you need a new one.
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Author Comment

by:damalynyk
ID: 12216863
We did a low level format a couple of months ago and still had the same problems.  I've got the drive in another (older) computer as a secondary drive now.  I didn't want to reformat the drive in order for the OS would run on the mb of the other computer.  The original drive came with Windows ME and we upgraded to XP Pro.  When I tried to install the drive into the older computer as master it wouldn't work even with the XP Pro upgrade cd (the old computer is running XP Pro also), it wouldn't work.  

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