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What hardware is causing my OS to get corrupt

Last response: in Components
October 10, 2010 5:33:59 PM

I have a home built system. I think the specs are not important but I can post them if necessary. I built this system for my niece. After about 6 months the Windows XP got corrupt and the computer would not start. I checked the hard drive and all the files were there so it appears the OS files somehow got corrupt.

I reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled Windows XP. I also put the PC on a surge suppressor. A few weeks later the OS got corrupt again.

This time I installed Ubuntu Linux but after a few weeks it got corrupt a third time.

Then I brought the computer to my house, installed a new hard drive and reinstalled Ubuntu. It ran fine for about 6 months but then again Ubuntu got corrupt and would not start.

My questions is, what is the next likely component that would cause this? I'm thinking either the motherboard or maybe the power supply. What are your thoughts and suggestions.

October 10, 2010 5:41:39 PM

RAM try memtest86
October 10, 2010 9:38:55 PM

Ran complete Memtest86 test. Results were no errors. I assume this means the problem is likely not the memory? Any other suggestions?

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October 10, 2010 9:59:00 PM

I would have also thought the RAM would be most likely but you've already tested it with no errors. How long/how many passes did you allow MemTest to run for? Although it's unlikely that errors would occur after the first pass, it is possible since some errors just don't show up until after the computer has been running a while.

A list of your full system specs would help, but at this point it does look as though it could be a motherboard/PSU fault. Do you have another of each that you could swap out to isolate the faulty part? Unfortunately, there's not many methods of testing these other than substitution.
October 10, 2010 10:19:58 PM

I downloaded and used the MemTest86 boot CD. By default MemTest86 ran 5 passes. I just let it run for a couple hours then came back an noticed it was finished. That's when it said no errors. As for the specs, it's a pretty cheap system. Here is what I know.

CPU: Intel Dual Core Wolfdale E5200
HD: Seagate 320GB SATA
Mem: Two 1 GB Crucial PC8500
Video: EVGA GeForce 7200GS
PS: Generic

Of all the components I think the MB and PS are the lowest quality. That's why I am thinking about getting a new MB and maybe new Power Supply.

Any other thoughts?

October 10, 2010 10:29:15 PM

Nothing new to add really, other than if you are able to swap them out it may be a good idea so you know which or if any component is causing the issues. I know it's a PITA swapping them out and re-installing etc. but at least you know it's definitely that particular part before you shell out again.
October 10, 2010 10:49:30 PM

may be that the HDD is going bad already, run a disk checker on it and see if it finds any bad sectors.
October 10, 2010 10:57:10 PM

I doubt it's the hard drive. I forgot to mention that when I brought the PC from my niece to my house, I installed a different hard drive. So I doubt 2 fairly new hard drives would go bad that quick.

Any other thoughts?

October 10, 2010 11:01:34 PM

Yeah, that does seem very unlikely.

Best solution

October 14, 2010 3:21:15 PM

hmm make sure you have last Bios ver...and that your CPU/Chip set are not overheating. You can run Everest you can find tests under tools.
If it pass you can try "burn in test" for will run multiple tests at the same time. Tell us how it go.
Personally i think you have saboteur at your house. :) 
October 24, 2010 4:30:14 AM

Best answer selected by jereece.