Computer locks up all the time

Hi All,

I have a problem with my computer locking up- pretty much to the extent that it does it within minutes (or sooner) of booting up. Typically the cursor will freeze and all processes will stop. Have to do a hard reset. Other symptoms are the screen will black out, then reappear or just black out and not reappear.

I was able to run in safe mode but since that is not practical I formatted the drive and reinstalled XP. I noticed that the computer ran without issue until after a few restarts the system detected the video card (PNY Geforce 6200 128 MB) and installed the drivers. Then it was back to the same problem. Uninstalling the drivers resolved the problem but obviously the graphics are clunky and not okay to enable me to use Photoshop etc.

I tried installing the latest NVidia drivers, I tried installing older drivers - same problem.

Thinking it was the graphics card I changed it, still have the same problem. (Card was replaced by shop for a PNY Geforce 6200 256Mb). The previous card had worked fine for 11 months.

Latest development is that the system has locked up once even on the basic setting (video card not installed) and I have now turned down all graphics hardware acceleration.

Completely confused as to the likely cause of this problem and why the system seems to work without the graphics card installed (even though that may now be developing the same problem) and why it locks up with the graphics card. Not clear on how the graphics are produced prior to installation of the graphics card - are they produced by the chip on the motherboard and sent through the graphics card or is the graphics card processing the graphics in a 'reduced' mode.

Is the motherboard at fault? Incompatibility between M/B and NVidia graphics card? (Although this seems unlikely since the original card worked okay for 11 months.) Power supply issue? RAM chips? I am trying to locate the most likely cause of the problem since I don't want to change all the components on an old system.

Any help would bre realy appreciated!

The system is about 5-6 years old: Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM, XP Home Edition, motherboard Medion MD 8080 (can see no other reference)
7 answers Last reply
More about computer locks time
  1. What is the brand and model of PSU?
  2. It's a Delta Electronics DPS -350PB (Max Power 350W) which was the original model fitted by Medion.

    Additionally to my earlier post: having turned off the hardware acceleration, scrolling through pages is a lot less juddery. I may try to reinstall the video card on a lower hardware acceleration setting and see if that makes a difference. Still doesn't explain why the problem has developed when the previous card was fine on the maximum setting.
  3. IMHO, your systems seems a little old, 5-6 yrs is already old. And during those times, you didn't experience similar problems right?

    It could be any of your components that could trigger the problem, some annoying problems are hard to troubleshoot if they occur simultaneously on 2 or more components.
    I guess it's time to buy a new PC, it has served it's purpose.
    Just my suggestion.
  4. Your system isn't very demanding, and should run fine on that PSU, BUT, at its age, capacitors on the mobo or in the PSU may have failed. If they failed in the PSU, it could be sending very ugly waveforms on to your PC, causing all sorts of problems.
    Your RAM may heve taken too many spikes and now is flaky. With a system that old, it would be too easy to just throw parts at it until it works, but you will probably have wasted a lot of money and time that way.
    Considering its age, you might do better to just replace it and call it a day. If you have been satisfied by the graphics performance of your 6200 GPU, you could use the integrated video of an AMD 790GX or 785G mobo (which is at least slightly better). If your old Pentium has been satisfactory, you'll find that a cheap AMD X2 240 kicks its butt.
  5. Onus said:
    If they failed in the PSU, it could be sending very ugly waveforms on to your PC, causing all sorts of problems.

    Ah yes, ugly waveforms... 1's and 0's
  6. I'd have to agree with jt283
    you could just build a better new one for 300$ or so and be ahead with all new parts.

    the only other option is to take it to a shop where they have all the components/parts to troubleshoot it.. but that could be 200$ or more to fix.. better off with a new improved one.. get much better performance anyway..

    just call it an upgrade

    if you havent tried it.. the one thing you could try is removing the processor memory cards etc..

    blowing all the dust out.

    reseating just the minimal amount of components and seeing if it works.

    try something like prime95 with rounding errorcheck turned on.
  7. Thanks for the replies.

    I was in favour of replacing the PSU but checked the RAM and found that 2 modules were faulty. The original 2 modules that came with the machine were fine, it was the 2 upgrade modules I fitted a few years ago that were screwed.

    The system is running just fine now with no lock ups.
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