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New Build PC Freeze/Lock Up Problem

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December 31, 2010 1:48:15 PM

Hi all,

This is my system;

Mobo: Gigabyte P55A-UD3 (Rev 2) (F11 BIOS pre-installed - I think)
Processor: Intel i3 540 Clarkdale @ 3.07Ghz
Memory 4 x 2Gb Corsair CMX4GX3M2A1600C9
Graphics Card: Gigabyte NVidia GTX 460 768mb
1TB Samsung HDD
Corsair TX 650W PSU
4 Silent Eagle Case Fans
All new cabling

Windows 7 64-bit Professional
System Mechanic 10
Microsoft Security Essentials

I have built a very similar system to this one already and it has worked with absolutely no issues whatsoever.

Now then.

This is MY problem;

PC was built 18th December 2010 and seemingly without any problems to speak of.

I use my PC everyday. Sometimes it is for hours on end with lots of activity, but sometimes that activity can be interrupted, and sometimes that interruption is for longer than I anticipated, and the PC is left on, idling.

When the PC is 'in use', I experience no issues whatsoever. I bought an external HDD as a Christmas present for my sister, and as part of the present I bought a lot of downloaded music and film, which took over 24hrs to download. During that period the PC worked fine without any freeze or lock up.

On the other hand, I can go away from my PC for less than an hour, with no processes running, and come back to see that it has frozen. The screen stays on and shows the time the PC 'stopped', rather than the current time, and I noticed today that when it has frozen, the HDD light (on the case) is constant.

In my limited knowledge, this points to some kind of power saving feature kicking in causing the PC to lock up, and as such I've tried to disable any of these functions wherever I can, but the problem remains.

I'm very reluctantly considering doing a reformat of windows (in the assumption that the problem is a softawre issue I can't detect) but before I do, I decided to register here and ask the esperts if they can help.

Many, many thanks in advance.
(and a Happy New Year)
a b B Homebuilt system
December 31, 2010 3:11:14 PM

When it freezes, does it start working after a few minutes? I've noticed that it freezes temporarily when left idle for long times (and sometimes in sleep). I've stopped leaving it in idle and just shut it down when I'm not using it for a while, but as you noted it may not be an option for you.
December 31, 2010 5:29:47 PM

Did you stress test your CPU and RAM after you built the computer? Also, maybe the video card or PSU is to blame.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
December 31, 2010 5:49:50 PM

I'm pretty sure it's not that intense of a hardware issue. I've stress-tested all of my components and the same thing happens to me.
December 31, 2010 11:21:36 PM

boiler1990 said:
When it freezes, does it start working after a few minutes? I've noticed that it freezes temporarily when left idle for long times (and sometimes in sleep). I've stopped leaving it in idle and just shut it down when I'm not using it for a while, but as you noted it may not be an option for you.


Hi.

When it freezes it is totally unresponsive and the only way I can do anything is by powering it off (at the case) and rebooting. I then get the 'windows did not shut down normally' options. I haven't gone down the route of 'Safe Mode' yet as I'm aware of the possibility of breaking something and would rather do that under instruction or with a clear plan of action in mind. Today I discovered something called 'event viewer' - I hoped it would shed light on the matter but the only reports are when I've turned off the PC without shutting down properly. I've tried to disable as many of the 'sleep' options as I can find.

bs6749 said:
Did you stress test your CPU and RAM after you built the computer? Also, maybe the video card or PSU is to blame.

boiler1990 said:
I'm pretty sure it's not that intense of a hardware issue. I've stress-tested all of my components and the same thing happens to me.


Stress test? I'm sorry for my ignorasnce but I have no idea of how to even do that.


I've only built a few systems from scratch. I'd say I'm quite experienced when it comes to hardware upgrades but when it comes to complete new builds I am very much a newbie trying to find his feet. I still aren't confident or proficient enough to use thermal paste with any amount of skill. I do want to learn though.

Thanks for the replies - Boiler I'll go away and read the link you posted, but first let me just say that the latest thing I've tried is to disable the background scans that System Mechanic perform.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2011 4:04:47 AM

Stress-testing is done using programs like Prime95 and Memtest. It tries to make your computer fail and tells you what failed. That way you can isolate and fix problems much more easily.
January 1, 2011 10:47:45 AM

boiler1990 said:
I found an interesting discussion here: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itprope...

It seems that this is a 64-bit OS issue. I didn't read through the whole thread to see if there was a solution.

I read through it last night and this morning.
:o 

Don't know why I couldn't find it but I'm very glad you did. Thanks!

Anyway the problem described in the OP is extremely similar to mine. However, for him (and a lot of others) it seemed that turning the "Auto-hide Taskbar" feature seemed to provide a fix, but others in that thread seemed to believe (as I do know, I think) that programs that run background scans or maintenance may have something to do with it.

As I said, I disabled System Mechanics background/computer idle's Active Scans. This morning I powered up my PC with the intention of leaving it for about an hour to see if it froze, thankfully it didn't.

I suppose I'll just have to hope the freezing issue doesn't return, in which case I could claim this problem to be solved.

Thanks also for explaining what stress testing does, but I'm certain now this is a software, rather than a hardware issue.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2011 1:33:40 PM

That's an interesting fix. I use the Auto-Hide Taskbar option too, and notice that when my computer freezes it seems that the taskbar won't unhide itself while the system is frozen.

I'll try turning that off when I get back to my desktop in a week and try that fix. Thanks for delving through that thread and finding that.
January 4, 2011 10:19:40 PM

hi.. i´ve got reasons to think its your gpu the gtx 460 based on a 104 fermi chip...

i would point you to many other forums.. such as
http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=187401

The card when running does beautifully when idle freezes the computer.
try and have a lil video on the background looping or a 3d background screensaver image rotating or sumthing.. then let to sleep and it wont freeze.

please send a complaint to envidia.. i know this wo having a card for months, shame non of this forums and mags online had said a word yet!!
a b B Homebuilt system
January 4, 2011 10:59:32 PM

It happened with my GTX 460s, but also now with my GTX 470s (GF100-based).

Plus, that forum you linked is not describing the same issue.
January 5, 2011 5:02:24 PM

i was answering to valiant mate.. he describes the same problem pretty well:
"I use my PC everyday. Sometimes it is for hours on end with lots of activity, but sometimes that activity can be interrupted, and sometimes that interruption is for longer than I anticipated, and the PC is left on, idling.
When the PC is 'in use', I experience no issues whatsoever."

clear example to the Fermi chip issue, talked all around forums...

http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?s=daac2e60a3df98eef2...
and urs (boiler) particulary:
http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=168551



a b B Homebuilt system
January 5, 2011 7:30:05 PM

Those are talking about freezing in the login screen, not while idle. Separate (but potentially) related issues.
January 8, 2011 8:38:53 PM

My problem is definitely related to 'idling'.


Quote:
As I said, I disabled System Mechanics background/computer idle's Active Scans. This morning I powered up my PC with the intention of leaving it for about an hour to see if it froze, thankfully it didn't.


However it has frozen since then.

This problem has forced me to look at parts of Windows 7 that I am certain I don't understand, in an attempt to find the root cause.

The latest attempt at a fix involves activating the screen saver, in order to combat the possible cause being the graphics card causing this. I have also located a windows function that has started around the time of more than one instance of freezing. I did this a couple of days ago, but thanks to work demands and the fact that it was a couple of days ago I can't say what the background process was, but I remember that it was something to do with some voluntary option regarding 'helping improve the WIndows experience' - was it called something like "Windows Customer Experience Program", where windows anonymously makes reports to Microsoft.

Anyway, whatever I've done seems to have worked better, as on Friday I had to leave home at short notice, but with enough time to save my work. I then left the PC on, as I have done at other times. I knew I would be away for aboout 3 hours and when I came back, it was working fine.

Then next test would be to power up the PC, then leave it for a similar amount of time, as it seems to be a problem that occurs shortly after, although not exclusively so.

I'll report back when I've had a chance to test.
January 8, 2011 8:55:01 PM

Valiant, theres someone who said in another forum/blog with the same problem to upgrade the bios of your motherboard to the latest on the gygabyte website.... I cant explain you how to do it, but it doesnt look to complicated, if you deserve your nick:)  search for it, give it a thorough read and give it a try...

good luck and keep us informed..
!