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System Freezing, RAM or Harddrive issue?

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  • Homebuilt
  • RAM
  • Hard Drives
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
March 11, 2009 1:17:34 PM

My system freezes when I try to install software, games, drivers, etc.

I got XP installed to begin with, and updated it with SP3, and everything goes fine, but it freezes when I try other stuff.

It didn't always used to do this, it's about three weeks old, I had a few games installed before, but reformatted after I started having problems.

Could this be a RAM issue or a Hard drive issue? Could it be anything else? The system runs just fine otherwise, I'd been playing Bioshock and Far Cry 2 and it never had a problem...

Gosh this is annoying :) 

Specs are:
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

Q9550 processor
P45 Gigabyte board
4gb DDR2 g.skill RAM 800
4850 Radeon Card 512mb

The HD is a 640gb WD Caviar Black

More about : system freezing ram harddrive issue

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 11, 2009 1:50:51 PM

Is the "freeze" a temporary freeze or a complete system halt?
Are you monitoring your CPU and video card temps?

Could be software/driver related.
Boot up in Safe Mode and run some tests there.
If you get a freeze in safe mode start thinking hardware.

Then test with just 1 stick of RAM. Then test with just the other stick.
Try tests using a different RAM slot too.
March 11, 2009 1:59:08 PM

Yeah, it's completely frozen. And I've checked the temps, but I can't imagine it'd be that anyways since I was gaming with it and it was just fine.

What kind of tests would I run regarding the software/drivers?

I'll definitely test the RAM configurations though. This is just wholly frustrating, thinking I got my crap together, build a computer for the first time ever, and it has a silly problem like this :( 
Related resources
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 11, 2009 2:03:59 PM

TechPriestAcolyte said:
And I've checked the temps, but I can't imagine it'd be that anyways since I was gaming with it and it was just fine.
Could be a symptom of "about to fail" hardware.

A boot to Safe Mode loads minimal, standard software and drivers. If Safe Mode runs fine without freezes you know its probably not a hardware issue. Try duplicating anything that would cause a freeze in standard mode.

March 11, 2009 2:09:53 PM

Hmm, I'm thinking of just trying a replacement of the RAM and HD and see what that does, I'm just at a loss as to how I can install the OS to begin with, and update, etc, but can't install my software without it freezing. That is the only thing that does the trick, it doesn't always freeze in the same spot either, for instance, I've been trying to install The Witcher, and it freezes and different spots along the installation process.
March 11, 2009 3:30:58 PM

Check your ram timings. Run memtest86. I don't think its a hard drive failing (it could be but I just got a gut feeling its not). Also try to run scan disk.

Also check your error logs and see if anything looks fishy. Look for errors and see if these give us any details.
start > control panel > administrative tools > Event Viewer > Application (try system too)
March 11, 2009 3:43:04 PM

M'kay, will try those, what do I do regarding memory testing if I don't have a floppy drive? (oversight, didn't buy one)

Also, what is Scan Disk, are you talking about the basic windows utility stuff?

I'll check the errors too and post what I find.


Could this be a problem between my hardware not cooperating with XP? I'm thinking I'm going to try installing Vista and see if there are still problems, since I plan to upgrade to 7 anyways.
March 11, 2009 8:25:30 PM

burn the memtest86 software to a cd. on the memtest86 website there is instructions on how to do this. Then set your computer to boot from cd in the bios. This will then boot the cd instead of your os. Then the memtest86 can do it's magic. Memtest86 ussualy takes a few hours to run as a heads up.
March 11, 2009 8:47:00 PM

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

You can download an ISO from there and just burn it to a CD using magicISO, ultraISO, ImgBurn, or CDburnerXP (or many others), and it comes with memtest86+ along with some cool other tools that you can test/diagnose your RAM and HDD with.

Another idea, your mobo could be on the fritz. I've had my mobo go bad out of the blue like that. I mean, it took some time. My computer froze randomly throughout a month or 2 after purchasing it. Overnight while idle it would freeze, playing games it would freeze, but some days, even weeks, nothing would happen. Then one day, it froze and i went to turn it back on and never POSTed. So I bought a new mobo and everything has been fine since.
March 11, 2009 10:22:55 PM

you should get a nice BSOD if the primary hard drive stops responding.
Random freezes id guess its a memory problem, or maybe an an overclock problem ?
It could just be a software issuse too.
March 12, 2009 5:30:44 PM

@Lee-m
ya that's why my gut feeling its not a hard drive failing. Ussualy you get a bsod when they go. I think this is a memory issue.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2009 5:32:55 PM

I don't know if I agree with the generalization that you'll get a BSOD with a failing HD. I have a HD failing in my old backup PC. Occasionally I will hear a loud tick from the HD and the computer will just freeze up requiring a hard reset. There is no BSOD, just a complete freeze.
March 12, 2009 5:37:19 PM

Thank you all very much for the help and advice! I'm gonna take it all in, check everything out, probably buy another HD and some RAM and try those too, and report back. I'll check back in if I run into any snags!

Thanks for the memtest and bootdisk info, that'll be a great help I'm sure! I'm just worried at this point it's worse than RAM or the hard drive...

I really hope it's not a MOBO issue or CPU or something, it really doesn't seem that way though, again, it ONLY freezes during installation, and works just fine otherwise, it had been gaming and stuff with no issue.
March 13, 2009 10:54:44 AM

@shortstuff
Agreed short. You don't always, but from my experinces "ussually" you do get a blue screen. *shrugs shoulders*....just a hunch its not the hard drive. I could be completely off level on this though.