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Randon PC Freezes

Posted on 2006-07-22
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I have a Dell Deminsion 8400 that’s about 18 months old.  Recently, the PC started to freeze for no apparent reason.  This is a classic freeze…i.e., no BSD, just a pure freeze with no KB or Mouse input accepted…all running sw, even winamp, stops.  There’s no Dr. Watson log file saved.  I’ve scanned the PC for viruses etc. and haven’t added any software or hardware recently.  All the drivers are up to date.  I also cleaned the dust out of the MB, PS, Fans, etc...  What are the recommended diagnostic steps to track this problem down?    
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Question by:marrt
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phototropic earned 500 total points
ID: 17160451
It's got to be a problem with hardware, software, or operating system.

Hardware: run it till it freezes, reboot and check the CPU temperature. If it's hot, check the heatsink/fan for dust/poor contact etc. Another quick thing to check is the PSU: is there enough power? If you can, try swapping for a known good PSU;

Software: what happens if you boot into safe mode? If the problem goes away, it is likely that something is loading in normal mode which is causing a conflict. Most likely candidate is device drivers. Go into msconfig and disable all startups, then reboot. Re-enable them one by one until the problem recurs. Do the same for non-MS services. You say this happened recently...could a system restore take you back to a time in the recent past when you know that this wasn't happening?

Operating system: Run a system file check (type sfc /scannow in the run box) to make sure your system files are configured properly. In the final analysis, you might consider a repair install, but check out the above first.
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by:Sam Cohen
ID: 17161025
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by:Boling
ID: 17161163
Weak PS is common problem with Dell 8000 series.  I replaced two last week that were about the age of yours.  Had to get them from Dell of course, at 2X retail.
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Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 17161256
marrt,
The PSU in your Dimension 8400 should be a standard ATX unit - no problem to find a replacement:

http://www.techsupportforum.com/showthread.php?t=75165

But check the CPU temp. when the machine freezes. A case fan is cheaper than a psu...
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 17162883
check your temperatures (cpu, disk, mobo) use this :  speedfan :  www.almico.com/speedfan.php
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Expert Comment

by:Pubert25
ID: 17195445
I think it is a video card or CPU temperature issue. You need to find out which one of these are generating the most heat. You can check your CPU heat in the BIOS. Cooling is key. You might need to buy a case fan or a new CPU fan.
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Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 17198717
any error msgs in eventvwr.exe?
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by:FriarTuk
ID: 17255069
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Author Comment

by:marrt
ID: 17305644
I never found the source of the problem.  I eventually used compressed air to clean out the dust, I replaced the PS and Video card and reinstalled Windows.  Works OK now.  
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