Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Unexplained Freezing! HELP!

Last response: in Systems
Share
September 2, 2006 5:11:25 AM

Hi, everyone, new here, and I've already got a problem! :oops: 

I'll start with my specs, so I don't forget to add them later:

Quote:

OS: Windows XP SP2
MB: Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI (nForce 4)
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 FX-57 not o/c
GPU: GALAXY 7900GT (RMAd, now old, crappy 6600GT) not o/c
PSU: Antec 480W
RAM: 1GB generic
HDD: 100GB forget brand
1 x CD-RW/DVD drive (had a DVD-RW drive as well, but disabled it to test PSU)
1 x PCI Gigabyte Wireless LAN card


Okay, so here's the problem. Whenever I'm playing a game, or benchmarking my graphics card - or anything other than staring at the desktop, browsing the internet, or using Word, actually - after a while, everything freezes, seemingly at random. I usually get about 20 minutes, give or take, and then I'm forced to reboot. What happens? Well, the video just stops at a certain frame - no artifacts or anything - and the sound starts looping. That's it. Can't kill the process; the entire OS is frozen, not just the game.

Things I've noticed: I think the sound crackles a little bit (just a few almost inaudible crackles) just before the crash. I've checked the 7900GT, and it doesn't overheat while in a game (no artifacts and the temp's fine). That said, it may get really hot at the last second and freeze everything, but I doubt it.

What I've done to try to fix the problem:

First, I did the obvious - check for viruses, system restore back a week, then two weeks. Restoring didn't work, and there were no detected viruses.

Next, I did a full HD scan, fixing bad sectors and so on, but it didn't solve the problem. After that, I tested the RAM overnight, and there were no issues with that.

Went a little deeper, and read online about nVIDIA's ForceWare Network Access Manager causing similar problems for some reason, and seeing as I never really needed it anyway and it did sometimes corrupt my downloads, I deleted it. Man, that took a while; it just kept coming back.

In the process of deleting the NAM, I updated my chipset drivers cleanly. CAB and drivers were cleaned beforehand, obviously. Then I cleaned the registry for the heck of it, thinking it couldn't hurt.

After all that, I decided to test the PSU by turning off the DVD drive to see if that would help. Nope.

I figured it must be the card. I've had graphics issues before with different cards, so I assumed it was just my bad luck, and I RMAd the 7900GT. I should be getting it back/getting a new one next week, but now I have a sneaking suspicion that they're going to tell me there was nothing wrong with it.

Why? Well, I tested a different card (the crappy 6600GT), and got the same problem after a while. Obviously, drivers were reinstalled for both cards.

So there you have it. If anyone has any ideas, I'd be very grateful to hear them. I really don't want to have to reinstall Windows, but if it is a software issue, that may be the only way. What bugs me is that this only started happening recently, and I've had this setup for a while. The freezing happened infrequently at first, and I thought nothing of it - you know how Windows can be :wink: - but now it happens all the time, and I'm losing my mind!

One more thing I should point out - when I say the 6600GT I'm using is crap, I really mean it. This will make me sound very silly, but here we go: it's practically unusable; it overheats quickly, and everything freezes. So, yeah, it's obviously not the best card to use to test this issue, but it's the only other one I have.

Now you're probably thinking it must be the graphics card that's the problem, and it may well be, but the thing is, the freezing issue I've described and the overheating problems with the 6600GT I'm using are different. For one, there's no artifacting with the other card, but it still happens. I know when the 6600GT is about to fry, as everything gets distorted, so I alt-tab out of the game. But while using this card, the freezing issue I've been describing can happen even when it's not artifacting, so I think the issues are separate. I might be wrong, though.

More about : unexplained freezing

September 2, 2006 7:10:34 AM

If this is in the wrong section, I apologise - seeing as I don't know whether it's hardware or software that's the problem, and as I did build the system myself, I thought this would be the best place.
September 2, 2006 9:06:38 AM

You know, that sounds like a bug I had with my Assrock..
That was actually caused by Starforce, and since you say that your stuff freeze even with a weaker card..

http://onlinesecurity-on.com/downloads/sfdrvrem.zip

Try running that, if that's not it I suppose it can be RAM, they break a lot more often than you'd think.
Related resources
September 2, 2006 10:53:35 AM

Thanks for replying, guys. I've just removed Starforce, so we'll see if that does the trick.

Beerandcandy - I've been looking at device manager, and I've got a bit of IRQ sharing. I'm using onboard sound, by the way. The graphics card is sharing IRQ 18 with Texas Instruments OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller, and the onboard sound is sharing IRQ 21 with Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller ... Anything to worry about?
September 3, 2006 4:38:56 AM

Okay, turns out I made a mistake. Sound actually shares IRQ 22 with NVIDIA nForce 4 Serial ATA Controller. Still an issue?

Anyway, I disabled 1394 host controller, and it still happens. I powered up Fallout 2 - to see whether it freezes on 2D games - and it still froze. :(  Here's what I noticed, though - it happens even when I minimize the game, so I guess that rules out the graphics card. Also, whenever I run a game, CPU usage shoots right up to 100%, which doesn't seem normal, especially with something as old as Fallout 2. I think I actually remember it freezing while using Windows Memory Diagnostic, too, although that may be a coincidence. It only happened once, and it had been on all night, and had picked up no errors, anyway.

Re: modem, I use a Siemens ADSL modem, which connects to a router, which my wireless LAN card picks up on.
September 3, 2006 5:46:12 AM

Why disable USB? No conflict there; it's with the SATA controller. I don't use SATA, though ... Just IDE.

Yep, got latest drivers. No dialup modem on the board, either; just 2 ethernet ports.
September 3, 2006 7:11:04 AM

Yeah, but I realised I made a mistake (see above) - it actually shares IRQ 22 with nVIDIA nForce 4 Serial ATA Controller.
September 3, 2006 7:53:59 AM

Sadly, no, don't have one. Could just try disabling sound, though.
September 3, 2006 8:36:09 AM

Fallout 2 doesn't require sound, and that one crashed with sound disabled. :( 

I tried using onboard video, too, and it still crashed. CPU just fires up to 100% and stays there until it freezes, even if the game is minimized. What I don't get is why this would only start happening now. I mean, wouldn't the IRQ conflict have caused a problem before?

I wish there were an easy way to work out which device was causing the problem. :( 
September 3, 2006 9:42:31 AM

Man, just reinstall the windows! (on another partition if u don't want to reinstall all programs).
after that: install motherboard drivers (chipset(no ide, no nvidia firewall), sound), videocard drivers, directx.
Run 3dmark or any game.
If that works... u know the problem.

ps: Also check temperature of motherboard's chipset (manually)!!!
September 3, 2006 10:58:10 AM

Quote:
Hi, everyone, new here, and I've already got a problem! :oops: 

I'll start with my specs, so I don't forget to add them later:


OS: Windows XP SP2
MB: Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI (nForce 4)
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 FX-57 not o/c
GPU: GALAXY 7900GT (RMAd, now old, crappy 6600GT) not o/c
PSU: Antec 480W
RAM: 1GB generic
HDD: 100GB forget brand
1 x CD-RW/DVD drive (had a DVD-RW drive as well, but disabled it to test PSU)
1 x PCI Gigabyte Wireless LAN card


Okay, so here's the problem. Whenever I'm playing a game, or benchmarking my graphics card - or anything other than staring at the desktop, browsing the internet, or using Word, actually - after a while, everything freezes, seemingly at random. I usually get about 20 minutes, give or take, and then I'm forced to reboot. What happens? Well, the video just stops at a certain frame - no artifacts or anything - and the sound starts looping. That's it. Can't kill the process; the entire OS is frozen, not just the game.

Things I've noticed: I think the sound crackles a little bit (just a few almost inaudible crackles) just before the crash. I've checked the 7900GT, and it doesn't overheat while in a game (no artifacts and the temp's fine). That said, it may get really hot at the last second and freeze everything, but I doubt it.

What I've done to try to fix the problem:

First, I did the obvious - check for viruses, system restore back a week, then two weeks. Restoring didn't work, and there were no detected viruses.

Next, I did a full HD scan, fixing bad sectors and so on, but it didn't solve the problem. After that, I tested the RAM overnight, and there were no issues with that.

Went a little deeper, and read online about nVIDIA's ForceWare Network Access Manager causing similar problems for some reason, and seeing as I never really needed it anyway and it did sometimes corrupt my downloads, I deleted it. Man, that took a while; it just kept coming back.

In the process of deleting the NAM, I updated my chipset drivers cleanly. CAB and drivers were cleaned beforehand, obviously. Then I cleaned the registry for the heck of it, thinking it couldn't hurt.

After all that, I decided to test the PSU by turning off the DVD drive to see if that would help. Nope.

I figured it must be the card. I've had graphics issues before with different cards, so I assumed it was just my bad luck, and I RMAd the 7900GT. I should be getting it back/getting a new one next week, but now I have a sneaking suspicion that they're going to tell me there was nothing wrong with it.

Why? Well, I tested a different card (the crappy 6600GT), and got the same problem after a while. Obviously, drivers were reinstalled for both cards.

So there you have it. If anyone has any ideas, I'd be very grateful to hear them. I really don't want to have to reinstall Windows, but if it is a software issue, that may be the only way. What bugs me is that this only started happening recently, and I've had this setup for a while. The freezing happened infrequently at first, and I thought nothing of it - you know how Windows can be :wink: - but now it happens all the time, and I'm losing my mind!

One more thing I should point out - when I say the 6600GT I'm using is crap, I really mean it. This will make me sound very silly, but here we go: it's practically unusable; it overheats quickly, and everything freezes. So, yeah, it's obviously not the best card to use to test this issue, but it's the only other one I have.

Now you're probably thinking it must be the graphics card that's the problem, and it may well be, but the thing is, the freezing issue I've described and the overheating problems with the 6600GT I'm using are different. For one, there's no artifacting with the other card, but it still happens. I know when the 6600GT is about to fry, as everything gets distorted, so I alt-tab out of the game. But while using this card, the freezing issue I've been describing can happen even when it's not artifacting, so I think the issues are separate. I might be wrong, though.

try a bios update........i think it will help you...
a use to have a similar problem once with a sis830cn mobo and a duron cpu....the sistem was simply freezing in anything ...no overheating...no oc-ing.....i disabled the sound (from bios) still freezing....i checked and changed the memory module ..nothing..untill i updated the bios and everyting went smooth ..
September 3, 2006 12:33:12 PM

Freezing systems are always a bear to shoot.

I like the BIOS update idea, I always go theire early trying to find something. Windows Update, also, in case it's a device driver or software problem. And check out updating the firmware on the motherboard (beyond just the BIOS, there are usually support chip updates these days), and on the graphics card(s).

If none of that seems to make a difference, then we're forced to the next level of diagnosis, which can be, shall we say, "tricky". Which means about anything could be going wrong. Perhaps a driver or interrupt handler that has not been updated. So....

1. Unplug everything (USBs, printers, etc.) that is not needed
2. Configure off everything in the BIOS that you don't need to freeze the system.
3. See if you can get the system to freeze with windows task manager up (sometimes gives a hint as to what is running or hung.
4. Check your thermal temperatures (CPU, GPU, Disks, etc.) while running under load, make sure there's plenty of headroom there.
5. Use one of the start-up utilities to cut down on the stuff that's running in the background, to see if that's the culprit.

And so on. There are boards that plug into PCI and monitor the system as to what's going on, usually you need another screen or system to dump the results to, but now we're getting into serious effort and $s.
September 4, 2006 8:48:17 AM

Quote:
Fallout 2 doesn't require sound, and that one crashed with sound disabled. :( 

I tried using onboard video, too, and it still crashed. CPU just fires up to 100% and stays there until it freezes, even if the game is minimized. What I don't get is why this would only start happening now. I mean, wouldn't the IRQ conflict have caused a problem before?

I wish there were an easy way to work out which device was causing the problem. :( 


go into the device manager and disable devices one at a time
see which one causes the crash
if you leave the process tab open from the task manager you may see which process uses 100% of the cpu
then reboot and find that process and see what device it goes to
once you find out what process it goes to disable that device and check and see if that device also shares an irq with another device.


....BIOS UPDATE.....
September 4, 2006 3:20:34 PM

I had the exact same problem with two identical Intel DG865 systems and
PNY 6600 AGP cards. One system would just hang during game play and
freeze with sound looping, the other ran the same game fine. We swapped
video cards, and the problem followed the suspect card. It was replaced by
PNY and we've been running fine since. When the lockups occur on your
system, does the harddrive light stay on? If so, then you may have bad
sectors on the drive or it may be failing for other reasons. Check your
system events for harddrive or other hardware failures. If you can, clone
your drive to another drive and see if the problem continues. I've found
drives that OEM software (DFT, Powermax) say is fine and healthy but XP
did NOT like, complaining of a bad sector with failure posts in the system
event log. Once the drive was replaced, the system ran without a hitch.
September 4, 2006 5:01:58 PM

A good rule of thumb in trouble shooting is to eliminate the simple things first. Power down, remove and reseat all power connectors, I/O cables, memory modules and plug-in boards. Power up and re-test.

If your system was working before the failure occurred, installing drivers and a new bios will only complicate the process of debugging.

If it worked before, ignore the suggestions regarding int levels and possible conflicts.

Frankly, this sounds like a power problem, perhaps related to heat build up that is affecting a marginal component.
!