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Acer Aspire 380 keeps freezing and rebooting

Posted on 2009-04-12
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Well I'm at my wits end with this computer. I've tried everything and I do mean everything to try and get this to work. This is an Acer Aspire that an older gentleman brought in to me as it kept on freezing and blue screening. I thought it was bad ram at first as the beep code that came up was just that "BAD RAM" so I sold him some new ram and everything seemed fine.......well he called me not a half an hour after that and said it was doing the same thing.

He brought it back and I have done everything, if you can think of it I did it. I changed the PS, I changed the hard drive and tried to install a fresh new Vista home premium 32bit OS. Same thing...it wouldn't even let me finish the installation before it would restart. I changed the thermal compund, thinking it may be overheating. Every blue screen I get comes up with a different type of error. I changed BIOS settings. I even changed motherboards but I needed something off the hard drive so I reinstalled the old motherboard and disconnected all USB hubs and fans. Still did it not even 5 minutes in.

I know it's something with the BIOS as it does not restart/blue screen in safe mode. What should I be looking for in the BIOS to stop this from happening. The gentlman said it all started when he got a new stick of 2GB Kingston RAM, that now doesn't work and has to be brought back to Best Buy where he bought the memory.

It loads into windows fine but within 1 minute it freezes or restarts. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I've been working on this problem for 2 days now and I'm not charging him for all the time spent. I just want to fix it for him. He's already spent enough on this computer which was bought 2 years ago.

Any more information you may need from me let me know. Thank you
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Question by:GregDSelwah
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by:DMTechGrooup
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If it doesnt do it in safe mode then it has nothing to do with the bios.. it is most likely a driver issue.

Do you have any of the minidumps?

Have you tried booting to VGA mode to rule out the video driver?
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by:DMTechGrooup
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Also why did you reinstall the old motherboard?  Just slave the harddrive or if it is sata just plug it in and copy the information from the old drive to the new one.

Have you run test like MEMTEST ?
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by:nobus
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it can be you have more than 1 problem, which makes it hard to determine what is ok or bad.
i would start logically with the basics :
-test the ram  with memtest, find it at  :   www.memtest.org       --test each stick separately, and each slot
-when that is ok, can you boot from a cd -  and does it stay up?
-then test the disk :  http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287

**be aware, that you can have a bad ram, and a bad ram slot, or controller, or a bad ram and a corrupt OS on the disk...

post back results
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by:GregDSelwah
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I've ruled out memory issues. I put a brand new hard drive in and tried to put a new copy of Vista on it and it froze every time and would not let me go any further. If its a driver issue I cannot tell which driver is causing the problems.

 I mean I'm putting a brand new hard drive and reinstalling a clean copy of Vista. Why would it be a driver issue if this gentleman never had any problems with it until the new ram was installed?

Also when you plug it in it starts the computer automatically. I don't even have to hit the power button it just turns on when plugged in. This is what makes me think there is something wrong with the motherboard.....BUT it doesn't do it when in safe mode. It has to be something in the OS conflicting.

I've done hard drive tests and chkdsk, mem test you name it Ive done it, with nothing but the same thing happening again and again with a different blue screen message each time.

I've already spent way too much time on this one computer. I'm just going to replace the motherboard and reformat the computer. This is just ridiculous.

I had a similiar problem awhile ago with a DELL laptop that would blue screen and it had vista. I went into the BIOS and changed the SATA setting to IDE (the hard drive was an SATA drive) setting and they havent had a problem yet. Tried to do it with this computer with no results.
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by:GregDSelwah
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I'll get the minidumps and post them and see what you guys can make out of it.
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by:nobus
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yet , somewhere you clearly made a mistake, otherwise you would have pin-pointed the trouble.
if you don't want to follow my advise - (because you think"oh - ive done all that") - fine with me, but what is the point then of asking questions here ?
i only ask you to start with the basics, and do a step at the time.
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by:GregDSelwah
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You know something??Ever since I subscribed to this service I've gotten nothing but condescending attitudes.
I've done all that you have suggested Nobus but yet you clearly think that I haven't. When I say I've done everything, I do really mean I've done everything. I haven't "pinpointed" the problem yet, as I've stated that I have spent too much time on this computer. I will continue to try and figure out what went wrong with this but yet you want me to award points for intolerance and condescending attitudes?

 Did you even read my last 2 posts? I'm trying to narrow it down and I've done everything that you stated at least twice. I'm looking for advice here and I've done all that I can think of but yet you seem to think I have not. Oh well, I think I should have kept my money when subscribing to this service as it hasn't helped me with any of my problems, the only thing I see it giving me is a waste of time.
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DMTechGrooup earned 500 total points
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Greg,

I don't think he is trying or meant to be consinding.. a lot of times when we give advice people read between the lines.

He is wanting to make sure that yes you scanned the memory but did you do it like he asked.. 1 stick at a time.. and swap the slots.

It is very likely it is the motherboard.. you stated you reloaded on a new board then put in the old one back to get the files.. I asked why you didn't just plug in both drives and copy what you needed?

This is the information on the RAID/AHCI compability you were asking about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Host_Controller_Interface

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by:nobus
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i understand "i've done everything" but what does it mean exactly ?  YOU know that, but i don't.
that's why i keep asking silly questions, and yes i read, and reread your posts; even them, i'm not sure i've not missed a point.

>>   I will continue to try and figure out what went wrong with this but yet you want me to award points for intolerance and condescending attitudes?    <<  i'm sorry - but where did you find that in my text?   you are imagining things; i only pointed out you missed things.

i must add i don't like what you posted, but since getting here on EE for several years, trying to help people, i've developed a VERY thick skin, from people reading things that were never posted, so i don't hold any grudge.

if you don't like any further help from me , i will sign off, just tell me so.

Please understand - i have nothiing against you -  all i try to do is help, and keep my posts as short and clear as possible

for your information : i spend at least 4 hours per day - 365 days a year here , just trying to help - for free.

Thank you


   
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by:GregDSelwah
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OK, I apologize, I'm just having a bad day. I'm sorry to go off on you like that. I'm frustrated at this computer and am looking for suggestions. Bear with me I'm not a beginner here I've been working with computers for 10 years and I have my IT Technician certification.

This is what I've done so far. This is an ACER Desktop Aspire E380.
- When I plugged this unit in it started on it's own. I did not push any buttons to start this computer.
- replaced a 2gb stick of Kingston Ram as it would not boot and the beep codes pointed to the RAM being bad and as soon as I took it out it booted fine, leading me to believe it was the RAM.
- put 2-1 GB sticks in, but within a half hour the elderly gentleman called back and said it was doing the exact same thing.
- Took hard drive out and scanned for Viruses and did CHKDSK twice. not in sequence. with Norton 2009 and spyware doctor. Found absolutly nothing. Clean as a whistle.
- put NEW Seagate 500GB hard drive in and tried to load a new copy of Vista on the computer but froze at every attempt made, leading me to believe it was the motherboard. Tried this 4 times with no avail.
- Went into BIOS and disabled ALL non essentials, eg. floppy, bios shadow copy etc.
- Booted up and still froze and restarted
- Went back into BIOS and disabled pretty much everything else and rebooted
- loaded into windows fine and I thought everything was great BUT within 20 minutes it froze again.
- I took every wire that was attached to the MB and detached to rule out faulty wires etc. NOT the CPU fan wires.
- booted up and still froze.
- Right now I'm totally at a loss as to what the heck that's causing this problem.
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by:GregDSelwah
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Minidmp files say it was probably caused by Ntkrnlpa.exe.
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by:DMTechGrooup
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But if you load into safe mode then it doesnt freeze?

Is it a built in graphics?

What happens if your boot into VGA mode.. does it freeze?
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by:DMTechGrooup
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Also are you sure this is a Aspire 380?  I can't seem to locate it in google.
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by:GregDSelwah
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If I boot into safe mode it does not freeze.

This has built in graphics.

This is the Aspire E380....I forgot the E.
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by:GregDSelwah
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Why would this computer boot up without even touching the power button....just plug it in and it starts??? CAn anyone explain this phenomenon?
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by:DMTechGrooup
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Sounds like maybe the graphics card is what is bad which again would be a bad motherboard.  I saw a thread in google that wouldnt open but a guy complaing about the same dump and his graphics card..

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by:GregDSelwah
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It has a PCIe slot. Would it work to disable the onboard video and maybe install a video card? Maybe I'll try that.
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by:DMTechGrooup
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worth a shot..

Also on the start up with power button.. some bios have a crash recovery that whatever the state the computer was in when the power failed it will do when power is restablished.. so if it was on then unplugged it will start up when power is applied.
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by:GregDSelwah
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yeah but if I shut the computer down within windows when in safe mode it still does the same thing.
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by:DMTechGrooup
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Any bulging caps on the motherboard?
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by:nobus
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well- you changed ram and disk, so it's not that, but it still can be the controller on your motherboard, that is why testing them can reveal more info.
you can also try running from a live knoppix cd - if that runs ok, your hardware seems fine - though everything now looks like a bad mobo or cpu :
ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.0.1CD-2009-02-08-EN.iso

my opinion : run some tests; maybe easiest from the ubcd : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

ps - you can also try (for testing) to install XP, and see what that teells you
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by:GregDSelwah
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OK I'll try those, but I've already installed the new motherboard. I still have the motherboard and I'll keep trying to figure out what is the root cause of this malfunction and keep you updated.

 I put the old CPU (a AMD X2 4200) into the new motherboard (Asus M3A78-EM AMD 780G mATX). Everything is working great so far.

What about BARTPE disc. I think I will try that as well. Thanks for all the help! I appreciate it.
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by:nobus
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>>    but I've already installed the new motherboard   <<  be aware that new is not equal to OK, it may also have problems. I say this because you have not an easy problem on hand, so be very cautious.
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by:GregDSelwah
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The elderly gentleman wanted his computer back so I was under a time crunch to get his computer back. That's why I installed the new motherboard. When coming to pick the computer up he wanted to take the old motherboard as well, so I cannot do more testing on it. Everything is up and running and he seems happy, thats the best I can hope for. Thanks to everyone that replied and again I apologize for the misunderstanding. I will award points shortly.
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by:nobus
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no problem from my side; i hope the gentlemen is happy - then so you are too - right ?
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by:nobus
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well - i got not much for my time here...
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