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System Completely Freezes Quickly

I purchased this service because I found a discussion here about someone with a problem identical to mine.  Once I found it here again there was NO SOLUTION DEFINED.

My computer had a new motherboard (V.P4XFCP/P4XFCZ A02 04-03-2003, Intel Celeron(R) 2.00GHz(100x20.0) - the Celeron was on the old MB) installed and I believe that the present bios (Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG, 1984-2003) came with it, late last year.  I've had various problems all along.

A raid card was installed too, supporting hard drives #3 and #4, and I pulled it out until I solve the current lockup problem.

I purchased 2 1G sticks of RAM, correct for the machine except that the seller said they're double-density and the MB must take single only, because it only sees half the memory when I put them in, so I'm back to the 1 stick of 256M RAM that came with the MB installation.

I have 2 hard drives properly installed and jumpered.  One has XP SP2 and the other has XP PRO SP2 that I was running previously.  I intend to keep a complete operating system loaded on each of 2 drives so that I can just switch the drive to load in the BIOS when a hard drive goes on me.  The drives in there now are 200G (formatted to 133 and 67) and 120(I think).  The extras to be installed are around 80 - 100 each.  All are NTSF.

My system is completely freezing, mouse and keyboard, at some point from beginning to load windows until whenever (usually before the desktop gets loaded with PRO, the XP SP2 usually makes it a coupla minutes - it's a new install).  It happens in all diagnostics modes, but I can generally work for a couple of hours in SAFE mode or SAFE w/NETWORK (which gets me on the net).  There is no way to install anything at present, since the windows installer is disabled in the modes that stay alive long enough to try.  UPDATE:  SAFE modes now freeeze almost as quickly as the others.

The really weird thing is that it happens in BOTH DRIVES, in BOTH OSs, with the EXACT SAME kind of freezeup.
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tomsparks1951
Asked:
tomsparks1951
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1 Solution
 
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Before we start...there will be other experts here that will assist in helping you...it may be a go back and forth process. Also, this is a hardware topic and not in the right area for the hardware experts to see.  I'll go post a request in support to move this question to the HARDWARE topic area.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
The common denominator here is the motherboard.. Since the RAM is NOT recognized in full, that's not a good sign..

Question for you...
What is the rating on your power supply?
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
also, I meant to ask.. .what is the manufacturer of your motherboard?
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
I posted here because I'm open to finding the problem in the BIOS.

The power supply says "500" and "12v ATX".

The MB is a Jetway.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Can you please confirm the model of the motherboard? I'm at the website and it doesn't exist.
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
Yes.  My specs above are correct.
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
I have a copy of the manual downloaded.  It's a pdf.  I'll be happy to upload it if you'll tell me how.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Please look on you motherboard if it is
V.P4XFCP

OR

P4XFCZ

The manual covers both boards... it is important to know this, as I'll locate a BIOS flash for you and don't want to give you the wrong one... otherwise the board could incur corruption.
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
When I boot up, the BIOS identifies itself in the 1st 2 lines, then 1 line is skipped, then a line reads:
V.P4XFCP/P4XFCZ A02 O4-03-2003

I couldn't find anything on the MB itself.
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
FWIW:  The manual defiines a difference in models concerning the existence of 2 firewire connections at the bottom (as the board sits in the case) of the board, near the 2 additional USB connections.  My MB does NOT have the firewire connections; it has the sites identified, and I could probably solder them onto the existing solder points.  It does have the extra 2 USB connections next door.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
http://216.185.128.200/temp/jetway0c/downloads/bios/p4xfcp/p4xfcpA4.BIN

The Jetway website is horrible....

Do you have an installation disk that will let you upgrade the BIOS with the above .BIN file?

I'm suspecting a corrupt BIOS..but we can't rule out that the board is bad.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
It's 4:39pm in Hawaii, and I'm leaving for the day. If you could post your info, that would be good.. else will probably have to write Jetway direct for the flash utility.
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
I have no earthly idea how to upgrade with a .bin file, but I'll go to the site and nose around.  Thanks for all of your help.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
usually there will be a flash utility...but the site doesn't have that in the plain view
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
I downloaded and performed as directed.  It actually let me play a game of freecell and start to check some files before freezing (lasted about 4-5 minutes).  A reboot lasted about 3 minutes.

Is it likely than an entire upgrade of the BIOS could help?
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Wasn't that what you just did?  the BIOS upgrade was from version A02 - >>A04

If it appears that the system is working longer without bombing. .that is a good sign that the motherboard is out of trouble. (not to rule out that it still could be a problem)

Confirm what I just said..or clarify  about an "entire upgrade to the BIOS" please
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
I tried to find an upgrade directly from Phoenix, and wound up dealing with someone with "esupport".  Since they appeared to be representing Phoenix, I believed them when they said I'd have to pay $70 for a BIOS upgrade.  Were these people lying to me, and what I already did tonight WAS the upgrade, for free?

There is no real improvement to the system.  It started out giving me a couple of minutes more, but it used to not freeze until an hour or so had passed.  With my 3rd boot tonight I left Windows running and unfrozenwhile I went for a snack in the kitchen.  When I returned it was frozen (normal, for what I've been getting for a month or so now).
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Ok.. let's remove 1 of your 1 gig memory.. (put in static bag)...

alternate the usage of this modules...use one at a time.. .work with the system until it bombs out, then swap out the RAM.

If both exhibit the "freeze" problem...then we look elsewhere..

but if 1 module works....until you shut that machine down.. then the suspect RAM is the OTHER stick.
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
It was doing this with the 2 sticks installed, so I removed them and put back in the 256k stick that I had in the first place, and the freezing continued, unchanged.  I haven't put the larger sticks back in because it was reading them at half-size.  I figure I'll have to get some more RAM to upgrade to the 2G that I want.
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jimilicaCommented:
Have you done a memory test yet?

You could try memtest86
http://www.memtest86.com/

Maybe be the memory slots in the motherboard
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
ok..so we are narrowing it down...

let's start removing items..

keep that 256mb in there

remove the 2nd hardrive...keep the only the drive with the OS.  Remove and CD/DVD ROM drives

Any auxilliary PCI cards (modem, nic, scsi controller./ RAiD/SATA)...remove them.

You base machine will have the following

-power supply
-mobo
- CPU
-256mb ram
1 hardrive with OS

Run the system like that and post back your results.

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dbruntonCommented:
I'll second the memory test as well.

Also in your BIOS there may be an option to set BIOS settings to default.  If so, choose that.

See if you can borrow another stick of memory to use in that machine and try that out as well.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
guyz..if both the 1gig and 256mb sticks are in the situation where it freezes..it's a good chance we can rule that out.
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mysticaldanCommented:
What happens when you check the drives in Control Panel>Admin Tools>Computer Management> Disk Management?

You shud be able to access the drives there. Also make sure that the partitions are not more than 4(primary partitions). Its possible that you may have more than that and its causing problems.

In the BIOS are the hard disks properly setup? Master, Slave? Is the cables setup properly and the jumpers ont the hard disk set to Master/Slave/Cable Select? This cud well be a hard disk related problem and not a RAM related one as i think. What happens when you completely disable one hard disk? Remove the power cable and the IDE cable also. Does the system run fine in normal mode. I think it just might.

Dan
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@tomsparks1951...before you apply the other experts comments...follow mine first. as it is systematic in method of troubleshooting. Not to take away the viable comments from dbrunton & mysticaldan, the plan is not to go off tangent.

Part of the logic is to reduce the number of options that problems could occur and isolate what component is suspect.
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jimilicaCommented:
If you can work in safe mode for cuple of ours then I think it's a driver issue as in the safe mode the sistem loads only as much as it needs to work for maintainance or "troubleshooting.
Try a clean install and let the windows taking it's drivers and then try working with the sistem without installing any of the drivers that you have. See if it does the same thing and if it does then it's a hardware thing and you should proceed as irwinpks saiz.
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mysticaldanCommented:
However if its a driver issue then the system shud work in safe mode for any period of time not just for a couple of hours. In case irwinpks solution does not work then do try out what i said.

I do feel that the way the two hard disks are setup is maybe wrong. If that is true a simple removal of one hard disk should resolve your problem. However u might need to do a fresh install of windows on the other hard disk. Take backups, remove the second hard disk, delete all partitions, create one FAT32 primary partition of 32 GB, install windows xp on it, load drivers and see if its working fine or not. Also when u disable the second hard disk, make sure that u remove the data cable and the power cable both from it. Sometimes leaving just the data cable plugged in can cause such a problem.

Dan
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tomsparks1951Author Commented:
The problem persists with everything else disconnected from the system, running only the HD with the new install and the video card (this MB has NO monitor port).

I found another thread here w/this same problem, and saw that his resolution was to replace the MB because of leaky capacitors (2 in his case).  Inspection of my board revealed 6 capacitors with the brown leakage on top.  I believe that I have found the problem.  I will try to contact Jetway directly about this.

Question:  Should the CPU fan be blowing down, against the heatsink, or up, away from the heatsink/CPU/MB?  Mine's blowing down, and I think that it would dissipate heat more efficiently to blow AWAY from the heatsink, pulling the heat off.  The back system fan is blowing INTO the case, too, and that looks VERY wrong.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@tomsparks1951...we were heading in that direction as we start to remove components....

"Question:  Should the CPU fan be blowing down, against the heatsink, or up, away from the heatsink/CPU/MB?  Mine's blowing down, and I think that it would dissipate heat more efficiently to blow AWAY from the heatsink, pulling the heat off.  The back system fan is blowing INTO the case, too, and that looks VERY wrong."

blowing down is the correct direction..

blowing into the case is correct.. it invokes circulation.

If in case Jetway doesn't replace/repair that board.... DON'T GET another Jetway..

Leaking capacitors are evidence of the following

- heat
- bad power
- age
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mysticaldanCommented:
Pulling the heat away is better if the PSU is blowing air out of the system. There are air inlet holes in the cabinet and so the air circulates better . When you throw air into the heat sink the surface fins do not get the proper flow of air and will cool down only directly where the air blows which wud be the center part of the heat sink. This is not optimal in my belief.

Dan
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
cool. thank yoU!
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