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Vista Crashes Everything

Last response: in Windows Vista
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October 23, 2008 8:51:45 PM

Hi, I have a fairly old Desktop PC with the following specs:
Intel Pentium D CPU 2.8GHZ
2 GB Ram - two 1 GB sticks
Geforce 8800 GTS
Vista Home Premium 32 Bit

It should be noted that after I bought and installed my 8800 GTS I bought a larger power supply.
My problem is that everything I run, even Firefox sometimes, crashes. All my games crash after a random amount of time, some after 15 minutes others after 3 hours.
Most, almost all of my games crash with the: "bla bla is not working, shutting down" Vista message.
Except FarCry 2, which simply closes, with no message. Just exits to the Desktop and that's it.

This is a really annoying problem for several reasons:
I want my computer to run properbly.
I play WoW and its a pain when it crashes during Raids etc.
FarCry 2 doesn't have Quciksaves, and its a really big pain when it crashes and I haven't saved for a long time due to the long stretches you have to travel in the game.

Please, can someone help me with this problem?
I've read a little about changing CPU bus times and something with RAM, but I have no idea how to do any of these things.
Please, good people, help me (: .

More about : vista crashes

October 23, 2008 10:15:06 PM

More history?

Did this same PC run XP OK?

Was it running Vista OK before you bought the 8800?

Have you ever updated the BIOS for that old motherboard?

And so on.
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October 24, 2008 12:06:18 PM

yeah notherdude has the right of it, more info is needed.

Also, and this is just a thought, you're running a pentium D, which is sort of old and slow for vista. I know 2.8 Ghz isn't a bad speed but with only one core well ... more cores actually do help in Vista in my experience.
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October 24, 2008 7:39:46 PM

My com shipped with Vista, and the few times I've tried installing XP it didn't work. I've never upgraded my BIOS, since I don't know much about hardware etc.
I'm not sure 'bout the crashing before I bought the graphics card, since I bought my 8800 a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure it crashed a few times, but not nearly as often.
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October 24, 2008 7:40:26 PM

The only things I've "changed" since I bought the com are:
Grapichs Card
Larger power-supply so the 8800 worked
and a 1gb ram stick.
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October 24, 2008 8:24:57 PM

See if it crashes with the original ram stick in there by itself

you might have purchased a ram stick with different specs than the original or it might even be defective - easiest way to check is to take it out and see if problem goes away - if it does go away then we may be able to make adjustments in BIOS to make it work but we should cross that bridge if we get to it.

be sure you have newest drivers for the 8800 from www.nvidia.com
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October 24, 2008 11:30:21 PM

Okay, i'll check tomorrow then when I've got time then i'll be back on this forum (:
thx for the great help so far !
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October 25, 2008 1:08:23 AM

You'd have been much better off if you had bought a matched 2G set of RAM or at least an identical match, to the stick you already had.

You may possibly be able to relax your timings and get it stable, or you may just have 2 sticks that don't run well with each other?
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October 25, 2008 1:36:39 AM

Here is a idea or two.

from a clean boot ctl-alt-delete and get to task manager

under performance look at the very bottom and tell what physical memory % is.
under processes list how many. Over 25-30 is a lot to play the games you want.
under applications what is running?

in the bottom right corner of your screen, what do you have running all of the time?

These are all things that can matter when you are trying to run some top of the line games and the easiest for you to control.
My kid runs WOW on XP with 2 megs, and a lessor video card but if he has everything that he wants running he doesnt like it as much.
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October 25, 2008 2:35:07 AM

to Pat's reply:
I have nothing running but Windows Sidepanel, and I only use the notepad gadget (: .
I tried canceling applications like iTuneshelper and Java from the Task Manager.. it says my physical memory % is about 31, and my CPU is 50-53%.

to 4ryan6's reply:
what do you mean "be able to relax your timings?" I'm not really good with hardware :I .
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October 25, 2008 3:53:34 AM

Daonlybutone said:
to Pat's reply:
I have nothing running but Windows Sidepanel, and I only use the notepad gadget (: .
I tried canceling applications like iTuneshelper and Java from the Task Manager.. it says my physical memory % is about 31, and my CPU is 50-53%.

to 4ryan6's reply:
what do you mean "be able to relax your timings?" I'm not really good with hardware :I .

The RAM timings are some advanced settings in your BIOS having to do with how often the RAM handles data over a given clock cycle. Since fiddling with the BIOS will take some explanation and assistance it is easier to just take out the new stick and see if it stops crashing. If it does stop then an adjustment to the timings or the ram voltage may help, assuming your BIOS allows adjustments. Is this a brand PC or a homebuilt?

In your bios the timings usually appear as something like this: 5.5.5.15 or 4,4,4,12 etc. The 5,5,5,15 would be relaxed compared to the 4,4,4,12. There are some other possible adjustments too. The ram sticks are not independently adjustable, what one does the other must also do, so the idea is to set them both to the settings of the slower of the two sticks.
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October 25, 2008 11:45:45 AM

I have removed the 1gb of ram - in Task Manager my CPU use is only between 1-5% now. gonna test it with FarCry now, see if and when it crashes.
My pc is store bought Medion pc xD .
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October 25, 2008 1:07:02 PM

So, I played farcry for a lot longer than usual and it ran almost as good as with the extra 1gb of RAM, but after about one hour and five minutes it crashed.. x(
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October 25, 2008 2:37:54 PM

Check and see if the fan is working on the CPU and also on the video card. And be sure to download the lastest drivers from nvidia.
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October 26, 2008 12:55:06 PM

both fans work and i have the latest drivers.
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October 26, 2008 12:56:30 PM

I was thinking, couldnt my problem be that my to sticks of RAM dont work well together? because I ran FarCry with just the 1gb, which means 500mb since I have vista, and it ran just as well as with 2gb of RAM, plus my CPU use shown in task manager was between 1-5% where as before it was like 50-55%
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October 26, 2008 1:52:47 PM

Daonlybutone said:
I was thinking, couldnt my problem be that my to sticks of RAM dont work well together? because I ran FarCry with just the 1gb, which means 500mb since I have vista, and it ran just as well as with 2gb of RAM, plus my CPU use shown in task manager was between 1-5% where as before it was like 50-55%



Thats possible they may not work together no matter what you do!

First of all each stick of ram needs to be individually tested to confirm you have 2 good memory modules and you need to test each stick independently in the machine with a memory diagnostic program, then install both sticks and retest with both in the machine and see what happens, then swap the modules in their slots and retest, if you're lucky your M/B may just set the timings for you automatically by swapping the modules.

http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp This is the MSFT Windows Memory Diagnostic program, it allows extended tests after the initial 6 by pressing the T key, if I remember correctly, it runs similar to Memtest86 but is designed to test for errors directly related to the Windows OP/SYS environment.

One thing thats important is if both modules run error free by themselves they may be producing errors together because their timings may be different, if thats the case and unfortunate side effect is anything you installed while the 2 modules were in the computer could have been installed with errors, [Meaning once the problems are resolved you'd need to uninstall and reinstall the affected programs], relating to crashing of any programs installed with the 2 modules in the machine.

I would suggest if you discover the 2 modules are error free independently, but produce errors together then we can see if you can be walked through discovering the individual timings and adjusting the timings. [Which will be a long process with your computer skills but not impossible if you're willing to learn how to do it], but first test the modules and find out if you have 2 good memory modules to work with.

If swapping the modules gives you an error free result, you may be well on your way to resolving this problem.
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