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Screen freezes WinXP SP3

Posted on 2013-05-23
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Last Modified: 2013-05-29
I am running WinXP SP3.  Was very stable for months.  Yesterday, I started getting a frozen screen a few minutes after reboot.  Also, sometimes, the comp shuts down on its own.  How do I diagnose the problem?
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Question by:tjvetter
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by:John Hurst
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The symptoms above (if software) are those of a root kit virus. Scan thoroughly for malware and viruses with your own Anti Virus and then with online Malwarebytes.

It could also be hardware. Download MEMTEST (Google) and run it. This will test your memory for errors. Find the vendor application to test your hard drive for errors and test it. Those are the two running components that could cause the above symptoms.

A failing motherboard could cause this (happened to me) but that is very difficult to test for.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:tjvetter
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Can I scan using a boot CD?  The system now freezes up in about 1 or 2 minutes after restart.
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You should be able to shut down, and boot with a boot CD.

First, see if the computer is now stable. If not (still freezes) then you likely have a hardware problem.

Second, if stable, then try to scan the hard drive with Malwarebytes. If this is a software problem, it certainly appears to be a root kit virus. This is how they behave.

If an embedded virus is the issue, the only sure way to fix it is to back up your data (boot CD or move the hard drive to a carrier), delete all partitions (because root kits can survive simple formatting) and re-install Windows.

Are you wedded to XP? It is dead and support dies out in less than a year. It may be time to think of a newer operating system.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:tjvetter
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I like Windows 7.  Thanks, I will address this tonight when I get home from work.
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by:tjvetter
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I ran Memtest.  Screen froze at about 3 minutes.  Tried SeaTools for DOS, got same result.  Neither reported any errors before freezing.

Hardware issue, right?

What is protocol?  Swap memory first?  The Seagate drive is only a few months old.
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by:nobus
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i suggest you test with a minimum setup - to get many devices out of the equation - as suggested in my article :
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Motherboards/A_1945.html                  (Short-overview-of-how-to-troubleshoot-bad-hardware-when-a-pc-does-not-post)

in case the disk has problems too; use this one :
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/A_3000-The-bad-hard-disk-problem.html
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by:John Hurst
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You certainly appear to have a hardware issue. Yes, I would try different memory based on the test.  You could have a motherboard problem also that would cause this.

Assuming hardware and given it is XP and so likely not a new computer, you may wish to consider a newer computer.  

... Thinkpads_User
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by:tjvetter
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Thanks both, guys.  The MB is only a few months old along with the 1T HD on which the OS is installed.  And the comp does post, and Windows does start, but then freezes shortly thereafter.  

I have two sticks of 1G DIMMs, so I took one out and ran MemTest from a boot CD.  Froze at 14 minutes.

Swapped to the other stick, ran MemTest again and the comp powered down after about 10 minutes.  No errors reported.

Will read nobus's articles.
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by:tjvetter
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BTW, I bot this (ASRock) MB b/c my old MB failed, got lots of BSOD's.  Had bad caps.  For kicks, I just inspected the caps on this new MB and I don't see anything unusual, no bulges or irregularities in the caps.
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by:tjvetter
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Also, I ran SeaTools from a boot CD and the drive passed the short test.
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by:John Hurst
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Just to be clear, is this system stable if booted and run only from CD? I don't think so based on your description but please let us know.
... Thinkpads_User
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by:nobus
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>>  http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=158910  << that's a good start -  but you better run a long test to know it's status (surface condition)
it can be the cpu is overheating  - does it feel hot?
check in the bios if it displays the cpu temp - after problematic shutdown
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by:tjvetter
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Okay, will do.  I attempted the long test in SeaTools.  It ran for over two hours and got 90% done when the comp froze up.
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by:tjvetter
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I started UBCD this morning before I left for work.  When I came home, ten hours later, it was still operational.

I felt the heat sink at bottom near CPU and it was not hot.

I tried starting in Safe Mode, but it just got stuck after loading all the files.

I tried regular start and it would just cycle from Windows startup logo to a restart.

Now running MemTest from UBCD on the 1G stick now in the comp.

I will try a SeaTools long test if the MemTest completes okay.
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by:tjvetter
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Comp just shut down during MemTest.  I restarted and checked the BIOS.  The CPU temp was 60 degrees C.
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by:John Hurst
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The maximum operating temperature range for some Intel CPU's is 60 - 65 degrees, so while 60 degrees is certainly hot, it should not shut down for that reason alone.

So it appears the operating system is damaged (I started UBCD ... and ... ten hours later, it was still operational).

But the hardware seems marginal as well if it shuts down at 60 degrees (or something else is wrong with the hardware.

You could try reinstalling Windows, but this machine seems like it might be at end-of-life.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:nobus
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look in event viewer logs for problems
and also check in Windows\minidumps for recent dumps - and post the latest

it does not look like overheating is the problem; but in case you want to monitor the temps, install Speedfan:    http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
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Thanks.  

Thinkpads, I ordered Windows 7 and thinking of buying new MB, memory, and CPU.  But this Mb is only a few months old, the PSU has only a few months of service, and overnight, MemTest run from UBCD did two passes with no errors on the one DIMM stick in the unit.  Running SeaTools long test again ATM.

nobus, I can't run WinXP at all right now, not regular, not safe mode, nada.  Where can I access the logs and dumps?  Also, can speedfan run outside normal WinXP environment?
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by:nobus
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by :
1-hooking the drive to a working pc
2-boot from a live cd - here a couple :
http://www.ubcd4win.com/                              ubcd  Win
ftp://mirrors.kernel.org/knoppix-dvd/KNOPPIX_V7.0.5DVD-2012-12-21-EN.iso      Knoppix

speedfan needs an OS to run from - but you can check the cpu temps in the bios - if it shows them
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by:tjvetter
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When I attempt to access the C: drive with UBCD, it says that the drive is corrupted and inaccessible.  So, I am thinking reinstall at this point.  Any other option?
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by:John Hurst
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You seem to get marginal hardware and temperature problems at almost any point. Do you really think your computer is worth keeping?  You might be better off with a new one for your Windows 7 purchase.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:nobus
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>>  When I attempt to access the C: drive with UBCD, it says that the drive is corrupted and inaccessible.   <<  first make sure the drive is ok, otherwise you're just loosing your time with a reinstall - so run a diag on it with UBCD - not UBCD4Win

 i suggest to run some diags first - to be sure about the basics
Download the UBCD, make the cd, and boot from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download
since the downloaded file is an ISO file, you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/
 
if you want also the ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section - long diag !
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                              ultimate boot cd
http://ubcd.mirror.fusa.be/ubcd521.iso                        direct link UBCD

if you cannot test your disk then - either the disk needs to be replaced, or the motherboard
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by:tjvetter
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Okay.  The Seagate drive passed the SeaTools long test.  MemTest ran two passes with no errors on the 1G stick.  I have attached the log files and most recent Minidump (which is not recent).
default.LOG
SAM.LOG
SECURITY.LOG
software.LOG
system.LOG
TempKey.LOG
userdiff.LOG
Mini050613-01.dmp
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by:tjvetter
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i used Parted Magic to get the files.  Nice app.
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Here's another update.  The C: drive referred to above is not my boot drive.  The UBCD "My Computer" app says that it is 1 MB with 1 MB free, and you can't open it.  My regular C: drive shows up as drive E:.  Disk0 Volume1.

I found Speedfan on an older UBCD (c. 2009).  When running SuperAntiSpyware from that older UBCD,  it said the "Core" hit 123 C and the CPU hit 76 C while running at 100%.  I don't know if those temps were valid readings, but when temps indicated that high, comp froze up.   I felt the base of the cooling fins over the CPU and they didn't feel hot.

The MB is an ASRock 939SLI32-eSATA2.  The ULI M1695 Northbridge cooling fins with no fan do get pretty hot, though.
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Are you sure this computer is worth saving?  You seem have different answers for the same issue and the reason is that parts of the computer are overheating or misbehaving. I do not think your machine will run Windows 7 properly and staying with XP is a lost cause.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:tjvetter
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I want to check for malware, but I haven't been able to figure out how.  I need a bootable CD with good malware cleaning, or to be able to download a small one into UBCD, I think.  Until I do that, I don't think I need to replace.  Remember, the MB and boot drive are only a few months old.

Do you have a malware solution that does not need Windows to run?

I will upgrade at some point to take advantage of new tech, tho.
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by:nobus
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>>  The UBCD "My Computer" app says that it is 1 MB   <<  that means the disk is wrongly identified
first - check in the bios how it is seen there
second -  you can try the capacity restore tool

also - best use the latest speedfan; the older ones cannot detect the new cpu's properly
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
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by:tjvetter
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BIOS does not ID any other drive.  I have four drives installed and those are the only ones ID'd in the BIOS.  Where is capacity restore tool if I should still use it?  For Speedfan, then I would need to do a custom UBCD build?
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by:nobus
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here it is :  http://hddguru.com/software/2007.07.20-HDD-Capacity-Restore-Tool/
loop up if your drive is in the list; and of course, if it's bad - it won't help either
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by:tjvetter
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Thanks guys, but I give up!  Ordered new MB+CPU+Memory from TigerDirect (see attached).  Received Windows 7, so will install on new hardware.
ASUS-M5A97-R2.0-AM3--Motherboard.pdf
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by:John Hurst
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@tjvetter - Thanks for the update. I really think you will be happier going forward. I wish you good luck with your new machine and with Windows 7. Even though I am now on Windows 8 with a new ThinkPad, Windows 7 is an excellent operating system.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:nobus
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i agree a new system is probably your best option, but i like to tinker on the old stuff, and get it going again...
tx for the feedback
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