Drive error and/or system lock ups and unwanted reboots

I've been having lock ups and unwanted reboots for some months now and have been unable to figure out why. Display adapters are up to date, as is the rest of the system, as far as I know. RAM tests OK. As boot process sometimes shows primary drive errors, I'm thinking now it's my system drive, a Seagate, on which SeaTools will not run (so far: fails with a lock or a boot)!! Windows only says the drive is healthy, etc. Error logs show nothing useful that I can find (plenty of WMs, as I recall).

Seagate ST3750630AS - 750 GB
Samsung HD103SJ - 1TB

I cloned the Seagate system drive to the Samsung and disconnected the Seagate.

System successfully boots with cloned drive and old C: unconnected but locks up soon thereafter while idling, before any user input.

No utility partition found when I attempted to run Dell Diagnostics (odd since clone operation said it was going to clone the whole drive).

PSA diagnostics run and locked up twice at Memory - WCMch Test.
Since the process locked up, no error code was returned, as far as I can tell. I assume it was locked up as the previous tests showed a lot of activity. Does this one sometimes take a long time and appear locked?

Old system drive reconnected; new clone unconnected. Utility partition found; diagnostics run.

System tree : system locks up tests run. All tests except long SATA Disk ones (Confidence, Drive self-test (Long), Read, Seek, and Verify - these were all run briefly) complete without error.

Ran Express Test: One error returned:

Error Code 0F00:133C.
Msg: Read error, check the disk

Test continued to end with no further errors.

Extened test run OK for awhile but ran into a problem when doing the video tests as my 'yes' response would not be accepted to the query about 'is this correct ? (line in reverse, line intensified, line blinking). So reboot forced.

On reboot, I went into PSA (now with the original system drive rather than the clone which was active during the earlier lockups) and the test completed (did not lockup at Memory - WCMch Test) and went into diagnostics.

Running all custom test modules that don't take a lot of time; all pass until hard drive WD-WMATV6771072 (an eSATA drive) returns 'DISK - Interrupt Request(IRQ) not sent in time' error for Confidence Test (Error Code 0F00:1332.), Drive self test short (Error Code 0F00:0632.) and SMART test (Error Code 0F00:1232.).

Tests for the old Seagate system drive return no errors, though an Express test had returned a read error before.

I'm at a loss now, having gotten about nowhere with this seriously debilitating problem.

Tips appreciated.

~ Brooke

system info: Dell XPS Studio 435T REFURB Intel Core i7-920 Processor (8MB L3 Cache, 1MB L2 Cache, 2.66GHz) 750 GB SATA II Hard Drive (7200RPM) 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 16X DVD ROM Drive 16X DVD +/- RW 6GB OCZ OCZ3P1333LV6GK DDR3 PC3-10666 1333 MHz (3 slots) (removed 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz (4 slots) jury is out on this required move); primary intensive system uses: CAD, Photoshop; OS: Windows Vista HP 64 SP2
5 answers Last reply
More about drive error system lock unwanted reboots
  1. To sort out this type of problem substitution of the computers components is the only way to go any other approach can give confusing and misleading conclusions. The first thing to check is the air flow into your computers case and the temperatures of the CPU and GPU under load. The next thing I would substitute would be the power supply and if that proves to be ok change all the components in the computer one by one until you find the problem. This of course assumes that you have the spare parts to do this with which most people do not.
    A faulty hard disk is unlikely to cause reboots although it can cause freezes
    A faulty graphics card could cause both freezes and reboots
    Faulty memory can cause both freezes and reboots
    A faulty motherboard can cause both freezes and reboots
    A faulty power supply is the most likely candidate as being the cause of your problem.
  2. Well, thanks. You make it clear that re-running tests is going to be as inconclusive as it already has been and that was what I was about to do, that and get touch with Dell (system out of standard 12 mo. warranty but still covered under credit card extended policy). And, yes, I am one of those people who doesn't have the spare parts lying around. But it may be quicker for me to try to have a go at it than to screw around with Dell tech, long distance. But, uh, duh, maybe not.

    I'm not too handy with things electrical, but I should figure out how to test the PS, or would you say it would best be traded out owing to the possible intermittancy of the faulting condition?

    Thanks, again.
  3. Substitution of the power supply is the only test. Measuring the voltages with a multimeter will tell you nothing. Note older Dell computers use non standard power supplies check before replacing.
  4. OK re: the PS. Thanks.

    Notwithstanding the fact that I may have multiple hardware issues, is it helpful in fingering a cause that I can depend on a 'refine selection' operation in Photoshop to cause a freeze (and seemingly a period of instability for a while after)? Less dependably but often web page flash (I think) like a MapQuest page I just tried to load, cause freezes.

    (Since I do happen to have several sticks of RAM I'll try trading that out first, though the reason they are not in the unit is that I was having probs even back when I first bought them.)
  5. I traded out the OCZ sticks for the original Dells. Freezes and reboots have ceased but I'm short a lot of power.

    Memtest 86 ran on both sets of OCZ sticks for 15 hours without errors so it seems the issue is one of compatibility with the mobo, specifically with the voltage diff between the stock mem (1.5) and their units (1.65v).

    CPU-Tweaker shows temps to be OK, I think.

    Since my problem certainly seems to be RAM related, that leads to new questions best posted in the memory section, which is where I'll go next.

    Image is of the stock set up.
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