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Windows 7 Freezes, help please!

Last response: in Windows 7
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September 21, 2010 2:44:22 PM

I need some serious help.

Earlier this year, I bought a Corsair P256 SSD drive, and insalled it as my system partition. (With a WD 1TB and Seagate 500G as backup for storage). I had to return it. Since I had installed it, I had constant windows freezes, maybe 2-3 a day. First the sound would loop like a machine gun, the screen would freeze, then the sound would go off and the image would be still until I reset the machine. This would happen during movies, games, and even light web surfing. Eventually, windows wouldn't start up anymore and the SSD drive seemed inaccessible. I thought this was caused by my SSD, and when the problem came back, natrually, I blamed the replacement SSD Corsair had sent me. I spent most of my summer without this issue, and suddenly it came back, I really thought it was my SSD dying again.

Yesterday I installed a new WD Caviar Black to replace the SSD while I return it. I thought an HDD would be the solution until my new replacement SSD arrives. However, while playing a game, the whole machine turned itself without warning. Not a windows shut down, but something like someone pulled the plug on it. This morning, the same freeze I had with the SSD occured. Now I am starting to believe this is not related to my SSD at all. But I have NO IDEA what it could be, or why it didn't act up for two months straight, and then the problem came back suddenly.

I hope someone out there has some ideas, the only one that comes to my mind is perhaps the power supply is acting up. Here are my specs:

OS: Windows 7 Home Edition

Ultra X3 1000watts PSU

AMD Phenom II x4 955 Black Edition

Ultra Chilltech CPU Cooler

Corsair XMS2 8gigs (total) 4 sticks of 800mhz RAM

Asus M2N82 Deluxe Motherboard with Mempipe coolers (980a Nvidia chipset)

XFX GTX280 GPU (x2 SLI)

Auzentech Prelude 7.1 X-Fi soundcard

Storage: WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200rpm, 500G Seagate 7200rpm

System Drive: WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200rpm (currently), Corsair P256 SSD (previous)

Tower: Thermaltake Spedo Advanced

Additional Notes: GPU plugged to a Sharp Aquos 1080p 52" TV via Monster Cables HDMI, Soundcard plugged via Monster Cables THX certified Toslink cable to a Yamaha sound receiver, ALL Nvidia drivers were updated and fresh (980a and 200 series GPU) though the chipset drivers weren't installed in my first Corsair P256 install.

More about : windows freezes

September 21, 2010 8:43:38 PM

Just curious.... Have you run a memtest on your RAM? It's quite possible that's the problem with your PC.

http://www.memtest86.com/download.html
download and burn to cd, then boot up from said CD and run the test to see what it comes up with.
September 21, 2010 11:14:33 PM

I've had the RAM for a couple of years now without issues. Could they suddenly go bad?
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September 22, 2010 12:05:53 AM

Ok, I downloaded memtest but I have no idea what to do with those files, or how to properly make a bootable disc from them, and none of the files will work in Windows 7 64bits.

Is there a tutorial online somewhere on how to use this?

Also, someone on the Microsoft tech forums is telling me it's probably the powersupply. I have no idea how to find out if that's true.
September 22, 2010 2:18:32 AM

It very well could be your power supply and there is an easy way and a hard way to find out. I am not even going to explain the hard way because it would take to long and you need a special tool for testing voltages. The easy way is simple, get a hold of a known working PSU (Power supply) and swap out your old one and see how it runs. You can obtain the PSU by either by taking it out another computer you own or purchase one at a store. If you buy one at a store and your problem turns out NOT to be the PSU you can return it and more than likely get your money back if it is within 30 days.

...and yes your RAM could just start randomly failing and may very well be the cause to your problems but it also may not be at all and that's why we all love troubleshooting right? lol :) 

Ok, now regarding memtest 86. Memtest works with 64-bit CPUs and the operating system is insignificant because memtest boots before your operating system via CD drive.

To burn Memtest to CD follow these steps:

1. download memtest (click the ISO image for creating bootable CD (Windows - zip) link, its the first one)

2. Extract the zip and you should end up with a file with .iso which is a disk image file.

3. Burn the iso to a blank CD-R using any CD burning software that will burn iso images ( I use ImgBurn because its free and a pretty good program)

After its burned to disk you are good to go. Reboot your pc with the disk in the drive. You many have you change your boot order in your bios. You would change the order so that the CD drive was at the top before the hard drive so that the computer looks to boot off the CD drive first if possible and if not it goes down the list until it finds something to boot if that makes sense. Then run the test by booting it off the CD.

I hope this helps! GL! and let me know what happens :) 
September 22, 2010 9:48:07 PM

The ISO link was for the 3.5 version which they specified would crash during a 4GB+ mem test. Will the 3.4 version be included in that ISO so I can perform a full non-crashy test?

I downloaded the 3.4 version but it seems to be files for a floppy.... who the hell still uses floppy... really...
September 22, 2010 10:49:31 PM

Also what you can do is take out each RAM module and see how it runs individually. If your computer doesn't crash or freeze you know you have a a bad memory module.

Ok I found a updated version of memtest download here

if that link doesn't work try this one and click the second link ( Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip))

let me know what the test says :) 
September 24, 2010 3:00:28 AM

Yes, I plan to make that test next Monday (my next day off). It would be difficult to make the individual RAM tests since the computer only freezes once or twice a day.

I'm just curious though, if it IS indeed a power supply issue, isn't it a little weird that the power doesn't go out, it just freezes windows? You'd think a PSU issue would just shut off the PC.

Also, I saw a user review online, on a computer shop website I love, that indicated the Ultra X3 1000watts couldn't operate or handle the heavier video cards. Although it has handled them wonderfully for a long year or two, could it be possible my PSU can't handle a dual GTX280 SLI setup, and it finally started to fatigue?
September 24, 2010 6:28:34 AM

That is totally possible...If your graphic card wasn't getting enough power to run properly It could freeze your system. Now that I think about it....It probably is the PSU

If you don't have an extra PSU lying around you could buy one at a store with a good return policy and swap out the old one. From there you would just monitor how it is running. No crashes? keep the PSU problem solved :)  Still Crashing? Return the PSU for a refund and back to square one. At least you would know that the PSU wasn't the problem.

...I can't I didn't say this first...If you have a warranty still on the PSU and or Computer call the manufacturer to possibly send it in for repair or maybe they will send a new one free of charge :) 

Hope that helps! report back:) 
September 26, 2010 10:12:10 PM

According to 3 different online power supply calculators, I need just about or a little over 1000watts to operate. Which means my 1kwatt was probably too tight to handle the load, which also explains why all the trouble started after I installed my SSD drive. It was the SSD's fault, but in a different way I ever imagined.

Curiously, SSDs are usually rated as less power hungry than HDD. Perhaps the PSU dying and freezing was simply a coincidence caused by the fact that it is now over 2-3 years old.
September 27, 2010 6:30:04 AM

That sounds about right...well I'm glad you got it figured it out :sol: 
!