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Screen locks up completely, Task Manager unavailable

jbtn
jbtn asked
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I have Windows XP Pro running on a Pentium 4.  Computer locks up after a "random" time -- anywhere from 2 minutes to 2 hours after turning on (averages about 10-15 minutes).  No error message, screen freezes, cannot move mouse arrow, keyboard input is not accepted by computer.  Ctrl-Alt-Del does not bring up TasK Manager, the only thing I can do is shut down by pressing and holding power button.

Happens with Internet Explorer, Firefox, offline with Excel, with MS Money, all programs.

I got new hard drive to back up all data and re-install Windows, but cannot backup data because computer locks up before backup is complete.  I have installed Windows XP Pro on NEW hard drive, plugged in old hard drive and tried to backup data.  Same thing happens, screen freezes, will not accept mouse or keyboard input.  I have Norton AV with current definitions and scanned--no viruses, no spyware (according to Norton).

What do I try next?
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Chris BRetired

Commented:
Clearly you have a hardware error if a clean install on a new drive causes the same issue. Test memory first - download memtest86.

Chris B
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Top Expert 2007

Commented:
I was going to suggest Ewido but just go straight and download Hijackthis:
If "regedit" and "command prompt" are also not working then you could be havingthe Alcan/Alcra worm.

Please download HijackThis 1.99.1
http://www.cyberanswers.org/forum/uploads/HijackThis1991.exe
Open Hijackthis, click "scan and save a logfile" don't fix anything yet, just upload the logfile created, go here and paste your Hijackthis log, http://www.rafb.net/paste/
then at the bottom left corner click "paste"
Copy the address/url and post it here:

Or copy and paste the log at;
http://www.hijackthis.de/ 
and click "Analyse", "Save".  Post a link to the saved list here.
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Commented:
A couple of  other bits of info needed too ,
firstly do you have any external video cards such as ATI or nvidia, unplug them. And use a generic type ..
Do you have a sata drive as you may have to install the drivers at the set up.
Remove/uninstall  Nortons or disable it in the msconfig start up.
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Commented:
What is your page file set to it has to be 1/5 of your ram, so if you have 1 gig set the page files to about 1530.
Nortons I would guess is the culpret though.
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
update your video driver from manufacturer's site...if it's nvidia, use lastest nvidia drivers.
buggy video drivers can lock up a system as you've described.
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This one is on us!
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CodedKSenior Software Engineer
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Commented:
Hi.

I hear this story a LOT lately. I suffer from this too.

Jbtn you are NOT going to find out the reason.... For that i'm sure.
I am also sure that :

Its NOT software related.
Its NOT your ram,cpu,hd etc.

Listen closely when this thing happens. Do you hear a funny click like the hard disk is trying to read ?

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You could find the info from my previous questions useful :
---> "This strange kind of crash"      
https://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Q_21589421.html

---> "Computer hangs when left alone..."
https://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21551389.html
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I formated the drive.
I replaced the ram stick when i found something was wrong...
I checked HD for errors using various tools, I even replaced HD,
updated the mobo firmware, exchanged cpu with a friend.
I built a new machine but the problem is still here...
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As you can see in the question "This strange kind of crash" this are my words:

The screen stays exactly the same, no error message. Totally frozen.
I cant move the mouse, keyboard doesnt work ...etc
Exactly the same.

I personally thing that something is wrong with the power...Its a power issue.

I hope you manage to get over this...  :)

Codedk

CodedKSenior Software Engineer
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Commented:
One other thing...

Most of the times when this thing happens you look the screen trying to find out whats wrong...
moving the mouse...no response...Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del about 500 times.. Nothing..

Check this thing out. If you Reboot INSTANTLY you'll see that your computer will crash again
even before the POST !!! sometimes seconds after...

The best opinion about this problem came from Rindi :
Another reason could be the HD ....check the power connector to the disk. If you have another connector, attach that. Also press the metal contacts in the adapter closer together, so it will make better contact.
Electric power could overheat the metal contacts of the connector..then they become loose.
Its like you unplugged the hard disk ....

Author

Commented:
I ran memtest86 for an hour, no errors, just repeats the tests and tells me I passed (the documentation on it is a little weak).  I will update/re-install video driver next.  We are moving and I have little time to play with this.
Top Expert 2006
Commented:
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)
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Author

Commented:
I updated the video driver (NVIDIA).  Problem persists.  Now I will switch out the NVIDIA video card for a generic/basic video card.  If that doesn't work, I'll need more suggestions!

Author

Commented:
I switched video cards from NVIDIA GeForce 4 that I was using to NVIDIA Riva TNT Model 64.  It still locks up, screen freezes, will not accept mouse or keyboard input.  What now?
Chris BRetired
Commented:
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)
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Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)
UNLOCK SOLUTION
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Commented:
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)
UNLOCK SOLUTION

Author

Commented:
Best answer was conclusion that it was hardware and to swap out motherboard, CPU, power supply.  Since I don't have compatible extras of all that, I took a friend's advice and took it to Best Buy geeks for $65.  They looked at motherboard and saw that a couple capacitors had failed to excessive temperature and that a cable (auxiliary power? regulator?) was not connected.  I bought a new mobo and installed and have had no problems for a couple of weeks now.  I appreciate all the suggestions.
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Commented:
Hello jbtn, thanks for the points:
  awe gee swollen capacitors and I missed that one, lol thank you for the feedback jbtn, helps one to remember these points.
Goot to hear you have your computer back.
Regards Merete

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