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Troubleshooting computer freezes, mouse and keyboard become unresponsive

Posted on 2005-03-14
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My friend built a computer about 3 months ago and now it's freezing up fairly often.  Even hitting ctrl-alt-del does nothing, you have to hit the reset button to restart.  He tried reformatting and reinstalling win xp.  We tried another power supply.  No improvements.  It is an AMD 3200 system with a gigabyte board.  It has a single IDE hard drive.  I suppose it could be the motherboard or the memory?  I'm not sure how to narrow it down further.
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Question by:mark876543
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Callandor earned 2000 total points
ID: 13535047
Random reboots or lockups
- Bad RAM is a possibility.  There is a diagnostic program at http://www.memtest.org/#downiso that will tell you that your RAM is bad by failing a test, but it will not tell you with 100% accuracy if the RAM is good - you would need to swap good RAM in to know that.  
- A bad PCI card can cause lockups when it is accessed, like a NIC.  Remove all unnecessary NICs and see if the problem continues.
- You might also have a heat problem, which you can check by looking in the BIOS or running a heat monitor program like Everest (http://www.lavalys.com/products/download.php?pid=1&lang=en&pageid=3).  You can also open up the case and touch the video card heatsink and the cpu heatsink, to see if they are actually hot.
- You might have a bad power supply, which would be determined by swapping a good one in that is at least as powerful.
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by:mark876543
ID: 13537466
I tried subbing a p/s, since I had an extra, but no change.  I think the NIC is integrated on mobo.  It does seem to lock every time if I go to Windows update, during downloading stuff.  So even if the NIC is on-board, it might need a new mobo maybe?

Nothing felt hot.  The room was on the cold side and the computer hadn't been on long.  But if he didn't get a good job on mounting the CPU heatsink I suppose that might still explain it.  The computer used to work ok though, so it seems unlikely that this problem would crop up after a few weeks of use.  I'll try checking the temp.

Bad RAM is certainly a possiblity, it's a cheap brand too, doesn't even have any heatsinks on the ram, I've never seen that before.  Didn't feel hot though.
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by:Rahul Misra
ID: 13537518
u might also wanna run a chkdsk/r on the hdd to make sure that u dont have any bad sectors
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by:compfixer101
ID: 13537811
hmmmmm  any cd rom drives hooked up     if so disconnect them  they could cause this

also when frozen is the caps lock key light on or off can you turn on any of the other lights on the keyboard if not try hitting ctrl + alt + shift + esc   at the same time this makes the hdd  start up


CF101
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Author Comment

by:mark876543
ID: 13618485
Had a bad RAM stick.  Cheap RAM.  Works now, thanks.
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