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Computer Freezing - HDD Fried PSU?

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May 5, 2007 11:29:28 PM

I recently helped build a new computer for a family friend after their computer "died." Never really learned the exact behavior, but a professional consultation suggested a new computer.

Additionally, they had a hard drive that contained pictures. They asked me to try to extract the pictures, so I brought the HDD home and switched it will my storage HDD. Turning on the computer, the monitor would not display any image (remained idle). I fooled around with some jumper cables but to no avail.

I replaced their hard drive with my storage drive, and problems started. After about 15 seconds of being on the desktop (loads fine), the mouse would freeze for about 10 seconds. The monitor would then flicker to idle for another 10 seconds. At this point, a BSOD flashes for about a second and then the computer restarts.

Reformatting Windows XP seemed to fix things. However, when I tried to Activate my Windows copy, the same error occurred. Additionally, the same happened when I tried to stream a video. Seems that high load on the HDD/Processor makes this occur.

Could the HDD been fried and therefore harmed my PSU? I haven't found a way to keep the BSOD on long enough to document it, but has anyone else ever had this problem?

PC Specs:
Asus A8v Deluxe MB
Athlon 64 FX-53
2 GB Corsair RAM
2 76GB WD Raptors in RAID 0
1 Seagate 176 GB HDD (Storage)
EVGA 6800 GT
Antec 500W PSU

Any help is greatly appreciated!
May 6, 2007 12:40:52 AM

Have you taken any voltage readings using a mulitmeter? It doesn't sound like the PSU is under stress so that is strange. It only sounds like windows is having issues, but to be sure maybe remove it from the testing by booting up UBCD or Knoppix (linux) to isolate any OS issues you may be having, in that link I mention to run prime in linux - on top of that, pop open a root term and run "badblocks" that should stress the hdd in question.

[code:1:ac2730b5df]root@doolittle:~# badblocks -sv /dev/hdb1
Checking blocks 0 to 26686768
Checking for bad blocks (read-only test): 24960/ 26686768[/code:1:ac2730b5df]
You could run "badblocks -svw /dev/hdb1" if you didn't care about what was on the drive, it will perform a read/write test which will be more stressful power-wise. I don't have to tell you to be careful, use "fdisk -l" to show you a hdd summary of what linux detects on your pc. "sdb" is the master/secondary on my system.

That should be more stressful than your windows media player issue (unless windows itself is that much more a hog :lol:  ) and if the psu is the problem, you should have similar lockups/reboots.
May 6, 2007 12:47:41 AM

Not too familiar with Linux, but I may gave that a try at this point.

I reformatted the HDD, I would think that a problem may arise in that process if something with the HDD was acting up. I think you may know more about this topic, however.

What really confuses me is how random it is. I can install applications and right now I am writing this message on the computer. When I try to activate my windows, however, the new window remains empty and the computer will freeze within 10 secs. It also froze once when I tried to open a firefox window.

If some other part of my computer other than the PSU was fried, would the computer be this functional?

It almost seems like it's a virus more than anything, considering only certain things trigger the freezing.
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May 6, 2007 1:03:58 AM

Yea if you formatted w/o probs it is probably ok. The badblocks and manufacturer HDD diags (also on UBCD) would give you 100% confidence...

You know, it could be a memory issue. Since the UBCD also has memtest on it, and let that run for a while. I forgot about memtest, it's the first thing I run on a fresh build :oops: 
you can also try swapping the dimms and see if that makes any difference.
May 7, 2007 2:20:15 PM

Hey a similiar situation occurred to me yesterday...

I was booting up as usual, except it hung when it was supposed to boot of the hdd - apparently the boot sector was gone, cd's boot no problem... I tried all the troubleshooting I previously mentioned - all the read only tests including the maxtor diags passed no prob so I disconnected all my other hdd's except the boot drive and stick in my winXP pro disk so I can fixmbr/fixboot and hope my data is intact unfortunately "invalid partition table" :( 

oh well I was sad about loosing my save games (esp GRAW) so I hooked up and old drive that had a ghost image as the slave, started the copy and suddenly it shut down and I get a whiff of that smell - the magic smoke :o  :cry:  it appears to originate at the master/primary, a maxtor 250gb ATA/133.

So I pull a spare 80gb, get a good clone of the xp root partition and boot up - everything seems good except no on-board sound at all 8O so at this point it's 2:30am and way tired.

Guess I was lucky nothing else seems dead at this point, I think I have a SB live laying around so that will solve that problem but I am slightly worried about the GPU.

Sad times :( 
!