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New computer locking up, no error codes. Help!!!

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February 20, 2006 5:30:45 PM

OK, so I just built a cheaper computer for my parents office, so no overclocking, or high end stuff on it, just basic office apps , e-mail, ect. I didn't have any problems the first time I set it up, but after about a week or so the computer started to just randomly lock up. First I thought it was a bad install of the O/S so I re-installed XP-Pro. Still locked up, RMA'd the RAM, and just got that back this weekend. Still locks up, but only after installing XP. So I don't know what exactly could be the problem, if its the PSU, MB, or possibly the hard drive??? Anyways, here are the specs, any information would be greatly appreciated!!!

Computer:

XFX GeForce 6800xt
Sky Hawk PowerOne Series 570 W PSU
Athlon 64 3800+
Asus A8N5X mb
Corsair ValueSelect 1 GB
WD Caviar 200 gb SATA
Generic DVD-IDE
TDK IDE CD-RW

Thanks in advance for any help!
February 20, 2006 5:41:19 PM

Are you doing anything in particular with the machine when this happens?
February 20, 2006 5:45:36 PM

It locks up whenever it feels like it it seems like. It has locked up when resizing the start bar, in screen saver mode (just the plain Windows XP one), and sometimes when installing programs. By the way all that is on there right now is XP fully updated, newest nVidia drivers, and Google pack.

Hope this helps everyone figure out what my problem is!!!
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February 20, 2006 5:52:57 PM

Sounds to me like you maybe having a temp problem somewhere. The graphics card is the first place I would check. See if that MB has board/CPU/Case temp monitoring software that came with it and see what the temps are.

Another thing you can try to do is reset the BIOS. Often times on a new build, I reset it.

Also, check to make sure all fans are connected good and running.
February 20, 2006 6:05:22 PM

I would replace the PSU to a known good brand... antec, enermax etc.

While the one you have in there should be plenty capable the cheaper PSU's are junk and will just leave you chasing your tail when you have intermittent problems like you're having.

Typically intermittent problems are usually one or more of the following...

system Ram faulty.
vid card drivers improperly installed or wrong driver for the card.
Bios settings are improperly set.
PSU is a POS.
heat issues.
February 20, 2006 6:17:02 PM

Borrow or buy a PSU tester. They're quite handy.
I rule out heat since you're not doing any to push the system - gaming. I assume you've seated the CPU correctly w/ the right thermal paste.
Corsair is a pretty good brand.
Video drivers usually mean funny screen issues for me, not intermittent lockups.
BIOS settings would be good to check, make sure you have the Processor recognized correctly and the RAM speed as well.
Probably not the HDD, as you'd have more issues that just lockups - like funny noises, slow transfer rates, etc.

PSU is a brand i've never heard of, boasting a 570W rating... Questionable! I've been there and seen what you've described. It was a PSU in my case.
Check the voltages on all the points with a voltmeter - sometimes the BIOS/utilities don't monitor it enough in real time to catch fluctuations.
Another easy thing to do that probably won't cost that much $ is swapping the PSU with one in one of your other computers.
February 20, 2006 6:24:37 PM

Hey thanks all so far for the information. From what you are all saying it sounds like a PSU problem. But before I go to NewEgg to RMA it, here's what ASUS PC Probe shows for power and temps.

V-core: 1.39v
+3.3: 3.26v
+5.0: 4.95v
+12.0: 11.90v
CPU: 33 C
MB: 31 C
CPU: 3125 rpm
Chipset: 54434 rpm

Thanks agian for the help!
February 20, 2006 6:43:08 PM

Just a thought have you looked in the XP error logs to see if they can shed any more light on the cause of the crashes? Also if you boot up in safe mode do you still get the random lock-ups?
February 20, 2006 6:46:33 PM

No I didn't get the lokc up in safe mode before because I thought it was possibly a spyware/virus problem so I loaded up in safe mode to run norton, ad aware, spy bot, ect and it never locked up. And for the error log, where do I go to find that?
February 20, 2006 6:53:07 PM

I would suggest not to RMA unless they are giving you your money back.

If they just give you another one, you'll more than likely have the same thing happen again. So just putting in another POS in place of the current POS is not fixing anything.

Remember ancient american proverb, you get what you pay for!
February 20, 2006 7:07:11 PM

Some random thoughts that spring to mind.....

Did you reset the bios on first build?

Make sure you got the lastest bios, and that your voltages are set correctly on your CPU and memory. Disable the power saving "reduce my multiplier" setting (there's also something called q fan I normally disable)

Check your ram using memcheck x86. Google it!

MEMTESTX86 runs outside of the windows environment, so should eliminate any potential driver or Kernal problems.

The temps and voltages look fine, so I would not jump to any conclusions about the quality of your PSU. if you can, get a monitor program that logs to a file, and that should confirm or deny this. ASUS PRobe which comes with most boards does this.

I assume that you have loaded up the OS, then installed all the chipset drivers. What are your bios settings? Timings? I had a similar experience when my asus and Msi boards dynamically overclocked..... they just crashed. Set the FSB manually, and lock the PCI clock to 33 mhz.

Make sure you plugged in the extra 4 pin power connector to the motherboard. You must have plugged in the gfx card or i wouldn't start up. Have you got a seperate molex connector or is it a PCI-e connector off the PSU? If it's a molex one, then make sure it's on its own line. They can draw a fair amount of current, so you don't want it starving other items by running it in series with your hd, floppy, cd, etc etc

Try that lot, then if all else fails, open the box up, and unplug all the components and start again. Plug in one item at a time, and then test it.

Just my first thoughts....

:) 
February 21, 2006 3:27:24 PM

If you're not getting a lock up in safe mode it's likely caused by a driver or other software error rather than something wrong with your hardware. The error logs can be found by going to control panel, administrative tools then event viewer then clicking the system folder, if you have lots of things with red crosses next to them have a read through the messages if any are confusing post them back here and I'll do my best to work out what's wrong for you.
February 21, 2006 5:55:08 PM

Quote:
Hey thanks all so far for the information. From what you are all saying it sounds like a PSU problem. But before I go to NewEgg to RMA it, here's what ASUS PC Probe shows for power and temps.

V-core: 1.39v
+3.3: 3.26v
+5.0: 4.95v
+12.0: 11.90v
CPU: 33 C
MB: 31 C
CPU: 3125 rpm
Chipset: 54434 rpm

Thanks agian for the help!

I typically don't trust onboard sensors because they lack the real-time of a good voltmeter. Its possible that its fluctuating and you'll never see it.
I would rule out drivers and such because in the OP, he stated that it only started to happen after about a week. If it was a driver issue, I'd think you would have seen these issues earlier... Unless you installed something on that one week mark.

Try swapping the PSU out w/ another one - rip one outta one of your other computers. If its truly random (absolutely no pattern), its quite possible that it didn't lock up in safe mode because its... random!
Another thing you can do is run a CD-based OS like knoppix or something, and let the computer just run. If you come back the next day and its in Windows, you know it rebooted - and that points to a hardware issue since it has nothing to do w/ drivers or software.

Also turn off the auto-system restart in System Properties->Advanced->Startup and Recovery. If it crashes and blue screens, that might mean a software issue. If it still reboots... I vote for power issue.
February 21, 2006 6:01:02 PM

Hey all, thanks for the responses! I think I'm leaning more towards PSU because it seems that whenever I tried to run a utility, Norton, System Mechanic, and Ad-Aware are all I have on there at the moment, it locked up. Never during the install phase or update phase, but only when I tried to run something. So I'm gonna try to get in touch with NewEgg to see if they'll credit me so I can switch out the current PSU for an Antec 430 W TruePower or something to that effect, one that's similar in cost (a little more, but also a lot more reputable). Thanks for all the help and I'll see if there's anything else that can be done before I go and rip it out.
February 22, 2006 2:08:41 PM

OK, so I went to CompUSA last night and picked up the Antec 500 W SmartPower PSU and put it in the box. Low and behold, it locked up yet again. I left it on overnight to see what it would do and it was juststuck in the screen saver. So now I have no clue what to think, if it's the motherboard that has some sort of short it in or the processor maybe??? I'm at a complete loss now and really don't want to just keep RMA'ing every piece of equiptment in this box. You guys have been great with the help so far so maybe one of your expertice can help out yet again in this dilemma.

Thanks!
February 22, 2006 2:47:10 PM

Well, you have eliminated the PSU and RAM but I'm guessing that you don't have any other spare components around to check the video card and CPU? Sometimes the only way to narrow down an issue like this is to swap out components. :roll:
February 22, 2006 3:41:28 PM

after you replaced the ps did it lock up while you were on the computer or did it lock up after leaving on overnight? if it didn't lock up while you were actually using it disable hibernate in control panel and set your screensaver to none and try again.
February 22, 2006 4:03:25 PM

not that it is a issue but sounds odd, chip set fan+54,434rpm? wow that is super sonic, if it is running at that speed. at that speed it would cavatate and no air would be moving at all. i would think that no bearing on earth could maintain that long. i would look in to this on the MB. check this fan to see if it is working at all, might be a Error in bios. but somthing dont look right here.
February 22, 2006 4:10:56 PM

One more thing to check would be the processor heatsink. Make sure it is clipped firmly in place and not crooked. Also, when this was first built, did you use a thin layer of thermal paste between the processory heatshield and the metal surface of the heatsink? If the system is getting too hot and cannot cool of the processor, it might lock up or randomly reboot.

And as one poster already mentioned, try clearing the CMOS (BIOS) chip by switching the tiny jumper from spots 1-2 to spots 2-3, leave it there for a minute, then switch it back to the original position. You will have to manually reset a few settings in the BIOS screen, but that's all part of the fun learning curve.

None of this is certain to work, but it does help to try everything possible before having to RMA or repurchase a lot of components. A lot of us have been in the same boat, so don't give up.
February 22, 2006 5:07:17 PM

First thing is, reset the BIOS. Check to make sure the BIOS settings for the graphics card are correct. Then reseat the graphics card and make sure the fan is running.

I don't believe it has anything to do with the processor or the HSF because if that was the case, the machine would more than likely not boot or, it would lock up, hibernate and you would hear an alarm.

Try these things first and see what happens.
February 22, 2006 5:11:55 PM

Quote:
not that it is a issue but sounds odd, chip set fan+54,434rpm? wow that is super sonic, if it is running at that speed. at that speed it would cavatate and no air would be moving at all. i would think that no bearing on earth could maintain that long. i would look in to this on the MB. check this fan to see if it is working at all, might be a Error in bios. but somthing dont look right here.

That's a good point! I thought it was just a typo, but that was an assumption. Does it really say 54k rpm? If that's true, and your computer hasn't flown away yet, definitely recheck the BIOS.
Also make sure the BIOS recognizes your processor and RAM correctly. My last ASUS build didn't recognize my processor correctly and I had to manually set it.

Heh, I've also had a case where I had to replace a new PSU and I got a bad PSU to replace it with from the store... doh! But Antec's should be ok.
February 22, 2006 5:19:12 PM

The fan speen was a misstype, only one 4 rather than 2, it's at 5400 rpm. I did use a thin layer of thermal paste, and I know heat is not an issue since it runs at 33 C. I will try to re-seed the heatsink to make sure it's on right but I doubt heat is an issue. I havn't reset the BIOS yet but I'll try that when I get home tonight.
February 23, 2006 2:13:49 AM

OK, so I had to move over to my computer because the one in question locked up while trying to write this post. I reset the BIOS but did not touch any of the settings since I don't understand how to mess with those. So they are the system defaults. The BIOS and XP both recognize the Athlon 3800 and 1 GB of RAM. I checked all power cords and they are in, including a single molex to the video card and the additional 4 pin for the MB. I don't think it was a heat problem since it was on for a good 5 min and never went up a degree ( it was at 31 C for both CPU and MB) The CPU fan was at 3400 rpm and the CHIPSET fan was at 5400 rpm. The Vcore was 1.39; 3.3 at 3.23; 5.0 at 4.89; and 12.0 at 12.10. There were no alarms when it locked up and I had to hold down the power button for a couple of seconds to turn it off. Hibernate is disabled as well as the settings for Monitor and Hard Drive at "never" for turning off. Auto system restart is turned off as well. Q fan is disabled also.

Sorry for all the choppy sentances. I was just trying to answer everyones questions so mabye you call can figure out my problems. I'll try to get to the event log if the computer will stay on for long enough for me to get there. I'm at about wits end with this thing and its fusterating because it seems that whenever I build my computer (3 so far) they work like a charm. But whenever I build them for some one else (2 of them) they never work!!!!

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
February 23, 2006 8:28:46 AM

Run Memtest 86 for 12 hours (over night), this will make a complete test of the ram, should give zero errors. If you get errors, try using slacker timings on the memory see if that helps.

If that works, look for other 'diagnostic' programs that will test the computer without needing XP loaded. (Most come boot up from CD's, plenty you can download free from the net)
February 23, 2006 10:18:54 AM

xm i would check the hdd...in a pc with 1 gig ram it uses 1.5gb of virtual memory you never know when it reads it..(even when you resize task bar)

i seen a slightly damaged hdd causing the same exact problems...
also some times it just locked up the pc for 15 sec and then continued like nothing happened even in games)

after all you checked almost all the other parts...
February 23, 2006 11:54:52 AM

Quote:
OK, so I had to move over to my computer because the one in question locked up while trying to write this post. I reset the BIOS but did not touch any of the settings since I don't understand how to mess with those. So they are the system defaults. The BIOS and XP both recognize the Athlon 3800 and 1 GB of RAM. I checked all power cords and they are in, including a single molex to the video card and the additional 4 pin for the MB. I don't think it was a heat problem since it was on for a good 5 min and never went up a degree ( it was at 31 C for both CPU and MB) The CPU fan was at 3400 rpm and the CHIPSET fan was at 5400 rpm. The Vcore was 1.39; 3.3 at 3.23; 5.0 at 4.89; and 12.0 at 12.10. There were no alarms when it locked up and I had to hold down the power button for a couple of seconds to turn it off. Hibernate is disabled as well as the settings for Monitor and Hard Drive at "never" for turning off. Auto system restart is turned off as well. Q fan is disabled also.

Sorry for all the choppy sentances. I was just trying to answer everyones questions so mabye you call can figure out my problems. I'll try to get to the event log if the computer will stay on for long enough for me to get there. I'm at about wits end with this thing and its fusterating because it seems that whenever I build my computer (3 so far) they work like a charm. But whenever I build them for some one else (2 of them) they never work!!!!

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!


you have to test your cpu on full load. watching it on idle is not good enough. mine ranges from 30*C - 41*C depending on the load
February 23, 2006 1:21:55 PM

i seems to me it`s a faulty component...maybe the RAM...try memtest as folks mentioned above.....
it could also be a bad assemble.....metalic parts of the case in contact with the pcb of the motherboard and causing malfunction of same ide channel or something else.......i once had a similar problem.....the sistem jammed without reason in everything...games or just surfing on the net ...and so i discovered that the ide cable was broken...after that everything went smooth
check the cables.......even the sata cable can play games on you.....check all the cables
February 23, 2006 1:56:32 PM

Corasik or anyone else...how do I run Memtest, is it a program I have to download or is it something to run in Windows or in Safe Mode? Or even in just command prompt mode. I'll try a different SATA cable and a differnt port on the MB as well. Thanks again for all the advice!
February 23, 2006 2:03:16 PM

google for memtest86+...it`s a little program..i think you`ll find it on guru3d.......you`ll find it very easy to use...burn a cd or a diskette...and boot the sistem with that....
good luck
February 23, 2006 2:05:42 PM

memtest86+ is an independent program ..has nothing to do with windows.....for advanced users it`s in knoppix or other linux...just google for it .. it has few kbytes
good luck
March 19, 2006 11:56:02 PM

OK so I haven't had time recently to work on this computer, however I did run the SiSoft Sandra program benchmarks on it and everything ran smoothly (CPU, Memory, Hard Drive, ect.) except for the Multimedia test. It immediatly locked up after runing a graphic only through half the screen. I ran the test multiple times in different orders and it always locked up on the Multimedia test. So before I start taking things apart, how do I know if it is either the video card or the motherboard???

As always, thanks for you help everyone
March 20, 2006 1:09:23 AM

the short answer is you don't all you can do is go by process of elimination til you find the problem.

It's most likely a video card problem or if you haven't change the PSU as suggested earlier it could be that still. You have to realize a machine is only as good as it's weakest point. When that point is stressed it will crash.

What you should do is update the vid card drivers and the chipset drivers. Then try again. Next is a toss between changing the PSU / flashing the bios. Don't forget the PSU... it is the #1 most overlooked part. A system will not run without stable power.
March 20, 2006 1:47:52 AM

Hi new here hello every one. Try clearing cmos and do a fresh install wit xp parttion table to and install windoz wo/api press f7 at start of setup instead of f6 for raid driver and see if that will help ya after all you have all ready done :D 
March 20, 2006 2:56:43 AM

Can u disconnect the Generic DVD-IDE and the TDK IDE CD-RW? then boot into winxp and try again. Only connect the H.D leave out any IDE drives. If you still got the same problem, then maybe u can try updating the Bios??
a b B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2006 3:38:58 AM

The only app you have running thats any good is ad-aware. Norton, if it's internet security f$%&s more stuff up than carter has liver pills. The system mechanic will help you delete things you shouldn't, so scrap that.

If you can reformat, please do.

For an anti virus program get grisoft AVG. It's free, and it works great, and doesn't cause problems. As a matter of fact, download it and try it now before you mess with the machine. Just uninstall norton first. Maybe you'll catch a bug on the machine ?

Doesn't sound like a power supply problem !

I read "google pack"....... that along with "yahoo" anything loads your machine with crap. Scrap it...... you don't NEED it, nobody does.

You have to be careful what you download and use. Just because it has a good name, doesn't mean it isn't harmful. You're obviously one of these people who likes to use things without thinking of the consequenses.

Lots of conflicts occur when using different programs. They seem to "fight" with each other.

Wish I had that box in front of me so I could "operate".......lol
March 21, 2006 7:16:39 PM

So this time I swaped out my 7800 GT from my working box to put the 6800 in it. Then I ran BF 2 and it didn't lock up. Then I took my 7800 and put it in to the problem box and ran a DVD (there's nothing installed on this machine except for XP64 drivers, no software, no nothing) and it worked fine. So then I put the 6800 into the problem box, opened up Solitare, and it lock up. The only thing I can think of is because the 6800 uses a Molex connector, which I have nothing on the cord besides the card, and the 7800 uses the 6 pin PCI-E plug is why it didn't work. So if this is the problem, what can I do...if it isn't, what the h3ll did I do to screw it up???
March 22, 2006 2:55:32 AM

Any guesses???
March 22, 2006 4:54:54 AM

I'm currently having the same problem with my own computer.

It's wierd though. When I initially built the machine, I din't have problems. Did some hardware changes, and then began to have lockups. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out what was causing the lockups.

There are some things that I know are not the cause:

Bad sticks of memory. These things have passed memtest with more than 20 error free passes under their belts. The sticks themselves, are not bad.

Bad powersupply. Ok, this one is iffy. At least, it's not a completely bad PSU. If it were tripping, you would need to reach around the back of the computer to restart, the normal power button wouldn't work.



Now, I'm prone to think that this is somewhat of a video card problem. The setup I have is an A8N5X and an x1300pro. One thing that I would recommend, is downloading the program ATITool. Whether or not you want to overclock, it will allow you to easily keep a log of your GPU temperatures. This way, you can see if the computer is always locking up at a certain temperature. (the program also allows you to adjust the fan on your GPU, faster, slower, you name it).


Another cause I am still investigating is the PSU. I know, I know, I said it's not the PSU. I'm not too well versed on power supplies, so I don't know if what I'm thinking is possible. I began to have problems on two separate occasions. Each was after some hardware changes. Is it possible that I have too much on one +12V rail, and when a HDD spins up, the slight lack of power to the GPU causes it to freeze? I'm not sure, I'm still looking into this one.


One possible solution (that I will soon try), is to place the video card in the x4 PCI-e slot. One fella, on some forum, claimed that it solved all of his problems with only a minimum of a performance drop. I don't know. But maybe ASUS put that slot there for just this reason, eh?


The funny thing about your problem, though, is that you're using a NVIDIA video card. You're the first person I've seen in this situation. Every person before had been using an ATI card, and was blaming the problem on an incompatibility issue between nForce4 and ATI's x1xxx series of cards.



Who knows. Oh. One other option, check your drivers. Maybe go to an older set.
March 22, 2006 5:21:28 AM

"including a single molex to the video card and the additional 4 pin for the MB"

Don't you only plug in the additional 4 pin if you are using SLI? I might not know what i'm talking about.... lol

But my motherboard has a 4 pin connector that is only used if you are running SLI configuration
March 22, 2006 7:07:35 AM

so like I need to know have u flashed the bios to the lastest version if not I say u try that as there may be a known issuse with radom freezing and reboots who knows and don't flash in windows.
flashing is simple bootable floppy in dos mode :twisted:
!