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Author Topic: PC Issue  (Read 1224 times)
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Nonnahob
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« on: January 20, 2010, 01:10:10 AM »

My wifes desktop that I built a few years back is having issues.

She's okay for a while, but it seems anywhere from 5 min - 30 min into using it the computer freezes and we hear one long tone. Nothing else.

My first instinct was overheating. The fans seem to be operating. Minimal dust in the machine.

My power supply outside fan isn't spinning, but I did a little research and found that it doesn't unless temperature necessitates it... but the internal fan should always be. I don't know how to check that... it's an Antec 450.

Anyone with other ideas or suggestions?
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A few nights ago I played a while with Hardon and we had a good time. - PhillyPeteRock
TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2010, 07:20:26 AM »

http://www.cpuid.com/hwmonitor.php

Very nice monitor program there. That's a start for the temperature side of things, just in case.

http://www.freedrweb.com/cureit/   Free virus scan. Also hunts for rootkits. Very handy. That's step #2

http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php  Step #3... checks for malware, scareware, etc etc etc. Free version.

http://www.safer-networking.org/index2.html  Malware/spyare checked #2. Also contains a monitor for your system to guard against attacks, rather than just cleaning up after them. Also free. Works well with previous malwarebytes software... they don't fight each other. Nice combo.

http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html  Free software to prevent your web browser from accessing known hostile sites. Works well in conjunction with Spybot S&D. Modifies the hosts file to prevent the sites from loading. Very handy. Free version must be manually updated (extremely easy) Pay version can be automated.

http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage  Free antiviral, includes a resident monitor for guarding against attacks, again, instead of just cleaning up after them. Not the best AV in the world, but it's free. If you have one you prefer, use it instead. Note that this does not preclude use of step #2 above, since that step also spots rootkits, etc. AVG doesn't. Warning: Annoying feature they added forces free users to install the AVG toolbar for Mozilla/etc. And that sets your default search to yahoo, which is doubly annoying. But at least it's free.

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner  Very handy little utility for keeping your hard drive all spiffy and clean. Purges old temp files, etc etc etc. Also free. Noting a pattern here?

http://www.piriform.com/defraggler  A handy defrag utility if you don't like the windows version. Yep, free too.

http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/  A second free defrag utility. This one being the fastest defragger I've ever seen. I no longer use defraggler, unless I happen to be in the mood.

Oh yeah, last but not least.  http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html  Yep, free. A very good uninstaller program. Contains the ability to search through your drive/registry for bits that would otherwise be left behind by the regular uninstall routines. Very good for rooting out unwelcome software.  Also contains a hunt feature for rooting out software that doesn't have an uninstaller/entry in the programs control panel.

I use every single one of these, and to great success, in keeping my machine squeaky clean. Some of them (spybot, avg) contain active monitors that run in the background. The others are ones you run when you get in the mood, and then put away.

Start with the temp monitor and the dr web cureit.. that will reveal hardware issues and extremely hostile software (rootkits, etc). Then just go down the list. If you need to uninstall stuff, get the revo uninstaller I listed last, and use that to remove stuff... be sure to let it do its scan... it will come back and ask you what you want to do with anything it finds.

I've yet to meet a system that couldn't be brought to heel with the above tools. Even my ex-managers personal system that was loaded with rootkits, virus, and malware galore. It wasn't pretty when I was done, but it was functional. And frankly, if it had been mine, I've have wiped it and reinstalled... it was that bad.

That said, your problem isn't one I'm confident can be solved with software... time will tell, I suppose.

Atomic

PS: Ccleaner also has a registry cleaning function for clearing out orphaned/unused registry entries. Handy to run a pass with this, after uninstalling anything, just in case something got missed. Be sure to run the tool twice... the first pass will remove entries, which often creates a second set of entries that are now orphaned. Etc etc.

If you don't recognize something in your add/remove software listing, google is your buddy. You can track down all kinds of crap. Try by title, and if that doesn't work, try by filename ie 'unfriendlylookingprogram.exe'

Oh yeah, for your fan, just check and see if it's passing a good amount of air. If it is, you're probably covered. If the fan isn't running inside, generally speaking the restriction of the psu casing/innards, will cause air from your system to mostly exhaust through the back panel/video card vents/open hole and back out through the front, rather than through the psu. So if it isn't running, you'll get just a little bit of air through the psu, and frankly, it'll be extremely hot. If it's blowing, and it's warm, you're fine.






« Last Edit: January 20, 2010, 07:23:09 AM by TheAtomicKid » Logged
Goldchamp
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2010, 01:46:34 PM »

Excellent post Atomic! This thread now needs sticky status damnit!
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 02:03:00 PM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on January 20, 2010, 07:20:26 AM

Purges old temp files

Leave my files alone, and get off mah damn lawn, ya blasted kids!

I would also check for caps that are popped, and were I a betting man, I'd say this is a hardware issue with the CPU northbridge. The fan speeds can be monitored, but I'd suspect it's overheating on the mainboard and not the CPU or PSU.
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Nonnahob
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2010, 05:42:18 PM »

Now getting a boot drive failure. Possible the hard drive is dead, have an application I'm going to try tonight to test to see if that's the case.

Thanks for the help though! I'll let you know how it goes.

**EDIT** After re-reading, I know temps are fine... I went into setup after the boot and have the ability to see temps from there. Everything checked out. My gut feeling is the hard drive is toasted.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2010, 05:45:08 PM by Nonnahob » Logged

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A few nights ago I played a while with Hardon and we had a good time. - PhillyPeteRock
TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2010, 06:22:27 PM »

Quite possible on the hard drive. That said, the temp monitor you can access from the bios is iffy at best. Not that it records bad temps... quite the contrary, usually the bios temps are accurate. The problem is, the system is never loaded while you're accessing the bios to read the temps... in other words, the system is always at minimal idle when you're viewing those screens. Contrary to popular belief, boot time does absolutely nothing to load up the cpu... the motherboards often default the fan to 100% though, until the bios settings/control can take over, read the cpu for temp, and then the fan speed reduces... which makes people think the cpu loads up at boot.

Let us know on the hard drive. Given the age of the system, it's certainly a potential culprit. The good news is, replacements can be had really cheap. Hopefully it's a sata unit? I'd hate to spend money on a pata drive at this point... but you could get a sata drive, and an adapter bridge if you wanted. At least that way you could carry the drive forward when you finally decide to turn off that system permanently.

I dunno what her needs are drivewise, but the little intel 40 gig ssd's are just about perfect for a light system... plenty of room for the os, a few programs, and a desktop, assuming she doesn't clutter her desktop like I do smile

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167025  Sadly, just missed a 24 hour sale which had them for 15$ off. I almost bought one, but to be honest, I want at least an 80 gig. I have needs biggrin

Atomic
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Nonnahob
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2010, 09:13:22 PM »

She's running REVIT and all kinds of fancy architecture programs, the files for these things are sometimes massive. I'll need more than a SSD drive can offer (at least for what I'm willing to pay...). It's a SATA drive, no issue there thankfully. When I had the system built my buddy, I spec'd it out to be a monster (I was heavily into PC gaming back then) so I'm not concerned about any performance issues she might encounter. It's got 4 gigs of ram and is running a dual core AMD processor that I think is 2.84ghz.
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A few nights ago I played a while with Hardon and we had a good time. - PhillyPeteRock
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