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PC Freezes randomly - Please help!

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March 2, 2011 12:35:29 AM

Hi there, I suddenly started seeing my computer randomly freeze regularly a few times a day and I need some help figuring out what could be wrong. All replies are highly appreciated! :) 

So, what happens?:
I'm sitting there working in sony vegas, after effects or playing some games, talking on skype\mumble etc.
Suddenly I see my mouse cursor completely freeze, along with everything else, all sounds just stop.
NO bluescreen, NO changes in computer fans or sounds in general.

This leaves me with no other choice than to hold down the power button on my case for about 5 seconds to force it to shut down, then start it up again.

Wierd stuff!:

1. On one occasion, the computer froze only for about 4-5 seconds, then resumed as nothing had happened.
That only happened once, I do not know if this is in any way relating to the issue or not, but I suspect it does since it was of the same fasion.

2.One time after this happened I forced shutdown and turned the PC on again and when I started the PC, after it showed the Asus logo and went on to loading windows, it just showed a white underscore blinking in the upper left part of the screen.
I needed to force a restart yet again.

3.Another time this happend, as usual, I forced a shutdown and turned it back on, when it came to the Asus motherboard logo, it stayed there for a good while, I started to wonder what had happened...and I tried pushing CTRL+ALT+DEL to re-boot.
It did not respond, completely freeze actually.


I've checked:
*It's not overheating, my HDD's, graphics card and CPU are all stable at 41 degrees celcius on idle and about 50 degrees on full load.



Here's the PC Specs:
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Ultimate 64-bit (I have all the latest updates)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.40Ghz (Stock cooler, stock clock speeds) "This one is aprox 3 years old"
RAM: 4.0GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 533Mhz (8-9-9-24) (2 sticks from kingston) these are about 1 year old.
Motherboard: ASUS P5E3 Deluxe (LGA775) - This one is fairly new, about 1.5 years.
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770 from XFX, with latest drivers.
HDD's: 488GB Seagate ST3500418AS ATA Device + 78GB Seagate ST308110AS ATA Device + 488GB Western Digital WDC WD5000AAKS-00A7B0 ATA Device
Soundcard: Creative Soundblaster Audigy SE with custom drivers from Daniel K (god damn creative -,- )


Other info:
*I have no anti-virus or anti-spyware and stuff like that but I did run some scans a couple of weeks ago just to be sure, didn't find anything at all.
*I've had this windows installation for about 2-3 years without reformatting so there could be some Registry problems, although I checked using some sort of registry problem scanner\fixer thingy, I don't remember what it's called but it was supposed to be quite good.


Thanks!

More about : freezes randomly

March 2, 2011 3:35:41 AM

What power supply are you using? If you have a multimeter you could make sure your getting good power.
March 2, 2011 5:47:25 AM

Oh, I forgot to add that.
I'm using a 600 watts from cheiftech, it's fairly new, about 1 year or so, It was expensive too :S
And yes, the pc gets enough power... well, it has been working like this for a year so why would it not?
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2011 12:23:16 PM

RAM issues are among those potentially causing random lockups.

Click the Windows 'start' button (used to be a start button anyhow) and type "memory" in the run/search box and run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. Choose 'Restart now...' or 'Check for problems...' as appropriate and let it run the check against your memory. It will display the results when windows next loads (pending any lockups).

Let us know how it turns out.
March 2, 2011 12:31:11 PM

Thanks ubercake! I will try that :) 
March 3, 2011 10:36:33 AM

Ok, I ran the mem diagnostic tool and it said no problems was detected.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 3, 2011 11:10:25 AM

OK. So the RAM's OK.

When you see the cursor blinking sometimes this could indicate an issue with OS corruption though because you occasionally experience freezing at your ASUS logo screen, the problem is lower level than with Windows. I would be inclined to start looking at either the power, video card or the disk now. It could be the motherboard too, but we'll start with power, video and disk.

I bought a bad video card that caused thes kinds of issues for me in October. Fortunately, I found out a day after I bought it and exchanged it for a new one. There were big inconsistencies with the boot times, freeze ups, boots that would reboot. Similar problems to that which you'd see with RAM. Did you recently add this video card, or have you had it for a while?

Do you have another video card you could swap in for this one?

Also, not trying to be your mom here, but if you ever put that PC on the internet, you should get an anti-virus product installed. AVAST.com has a good free 64-bit offering. They've been doing 64-bit since before AMD first released their Athlon 64. It's worked well on all my home PCs. I recommend it to anyone.
March 3, 2011 11:43:12 AM

I did download avast and scanned, it didn't found anything. My video card is about 1 year old now. Hard drives are older though, 2-3 years old I think. I've never seen the cursor blink by the way.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 3, 2011 2:11:54 PM

afflicto said:

2.One time after this happened I forced shutdown and turned the PC on again and when I started the PC, after it showed the Asus logo and went on to loading windows, it just showed a white underscore blinking in the upper left part of the screen.
I needed to force a restart yet again.

I called it a cursor because the white underscore was usually used in command-line OS's as a cursor.

I'd see about swapping out your video card with another if you have one available. Right now, you're just trying to determine which component is causing the slow/strange boots and freeze-ups.

Also, age has something to do with whether something might potentially work or not, but I wouldn't say that's the determining factor in your case. Just to give you an example, I have two hard drives running on a P4 machine that's just over 7 years old. They are WDs though.
March 3, 2011 6:35:43 PM

Hm ok. I haven't had a freeze since I started this topic, so I'l wait. If it happens again, I'l try something. Although, It would be a pain to "test" using another video card, cause what if it RANDOMLY does not happen. since I mean, I haven't had a single freeze now in about 2 days almost.
March 3, 2011 7:45:42 PM

Could be your CMOS battery is dying.
March 4, 2011 6:17:35 AM

Very very similar to a problem I had. Check for shorts on the case, or shorts due to brackets on the cpu cooler mounting or anything else that could be causing connections where there shouldn't be, especially since you're now saying it hasn't locked up in a couple days after moving things around in there.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to check your power supply out. If you have a multimeter (voltmeter) you can do the paperclip trick and test all the pins to make sure you're getting consistent voltages.

Refer here to what I did/ended up being the solution.

Good Luck!
a b B Homebuilt system
March 4, 2011 3:15:59 PM

bukowskaii said:
Very very similar to a problem I had. Check for shorts on the case, or shorts due to brackets on the cpu cooler mounting or anything else that could be causing connections where there shouldn't be, especially since you're now saying it hasn't locked up in a couple days after moving things around in there.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to check your power supply out. If you have a multimeter (voltmeter) you can do the paperclip trick and test all the pins to make sure you're getting consistent voltages.

Refer here to what I did/ended up being the solution.

Good Luck!


This is true. I've seen shorts do this as well. A screw behind the motherboard can get you every time.
March 4, 2011 8:04:04 PM

ubercake said:
This is true. I've seen shorts do this as well. A screw behind the motherboard can get you every time.



Yeah, on my first build I screwed in every riser it came with (for a total of 12 or 15) instead of just the 9 needed for the MB, and I was getting all kinds of weird bugs. Shorts jumped higher on my list of things to check because I've had quite a few problems with them... mostly due to my own incompetence :lol: 
a b B Homebuilt system
March 5, 2011 1:45:25 PM

bukowskaii said:
Yeah, on my first build I screwed in every riser it came with (for a total of 12 or 15) instead of just the 9 needed for the MB, and I was getting all kinds of weird bugs. Shorts jumped higher on my list of things to check because I've had quite a few problems with them... mostly due to my own incompetence :lol: 

That is freaking hilarious. I did the exact same thing thinking it would give the board more support behind the motherboard for when I mounted the heat sink. It definitely gave the board more support, but also caused shorts as described. It only took me one build like that for me to never repeat that mistake. Ha! 9 is now a number I will never forget.
March 7, 2011 2:10:16 AM

I would try swapping the RAM with another set, one on your motherboards recommended RAM list if possible. I also use a memtest bootable cd to test the ram and just let it run a whole day while I'm at work. If that doesn't work, I would try swapping the video card. If it still randomly freezes, I would try swapping the motherboard with a different one that can use all of your components. See if it can stay on for a few days straight without freezing. Make sure your CMOS has proper mhz/voltages for your ram. For example if a motherboard is made for 1333 mhz ram and you buy 1600 mhz ram it might work at 1600 mhz or it might not, but ram can be underclocked so the 1600 mhz can be set to 1333 and still work. Also check your motherboard settings for automatic cpu powersaving type options and try disabling all of those. If none of that works you could try reformatting and reinstalling windows, drivers, windows updates, and even get microsoft security essentials, a free anti virus.
March 7, 2011 2:27:32 AM

triplej said:
I would try swapping the RAM with another set, one on your motherboards recommended RAM list if possible. I also use a memtest bootable cd to test the ram and just let it run a whole day while I'm at work. If that doesn't work, I would try swapping the video card. If it still randomly freezes, I would try swapping the motherboard with a different one that can use all of your components. See if it can stay on for a few days straight without freezing. Make sure your CMOS has proper mhz/voltages for your ram. For example if a motherboard is made for 1333 mhz ram and you buy 1600 mhz ram it might work at 1600 mhz or it might not, but ram can be underclocked so the 1600 mhz can be set to 1333 and still work. Also check your motherboard settings for automatic cpu powersaving type options and try disabling all of those. If none of that works you could try reformatting and reinstalling windows, drivers, windows updates, and even get microsoft security essentials, a free anti virus.



It froze in the BIOS (Asus Boot Screen for him) so this indicates that it is a hardware issue, or at least part of the issue is low level. No need to reinstall windows. He has already tested RAM, so basically its going to boil down between Motherboard, HDD failure, Video Card, or shorting.

What I would recommend is boot off of a flash drive into some flavor of linux and see if it still freezes to rule out the HDD, or check the S.M.A.R.T. status of your discs (also easily done in some flavor of linux, I prefer Ubuntu).


Then you can check for shorting by removing from your case and building on a cardboard box with bare setup. Check jumpers are right, check that your CPU cooler back breacket isn't shorting anything out, make sure no pins are bent or hooked up wrong.

Then you can switch out the video card for a different one if lock ups continue.

If they still continue, you should get your MB tested at a shop, some shops will test for free.
March 13, 2011 12:42:12 AM

I installed Ubuntu Linux a week ago just to try it out for fun and I did get a freeze in ubuntu yesterday. So it's not software related.

There's 2 stores here in the city I live in.
Mobildata and Halden Dataservice :p 
Both are ridiculously overpriced and expensive.
They both test PC\hardware, finds the problem and a solution for a set price of about 68.75 USD\51.22 EUR.

I don't have any other hardware handy so won't be able to test it myself so that's the only thing I can do.


Possible cause, in order of likelyhood, from my perception and experience:
*RAM (It froze in the bios once though...so maybe not)
*Hard Drive
*CPU?
*Power supply?...fans still run and I can see the screen but no sound + it's frozen.
*Can't be video card. If it was, sound would still play, would it not?
*Motherboard?

March 13, 2011 7:23:09 AM

Virus infection is excluded.

Only 2 posibilities are to be considered:

1) RAM issues ( check if there is not dust in the memory slot - remove the RAM gently clean it)
2) hard disk bad sectors ( most probable) - use either Hard Disk Generator or Flobo Hard Disk Repair ( you need to run it in BartPE boot disk - cannot run inside WIndows 7, it does run only in Windows XP) You could install Windows XP and run Flobo in Windows XP if you don't want to tuse BartPe boot disk
Both repair bad sectors without wiping your data.

If one of these utilities detect bad sectors and cannot repair, format several times with low level format ( maxllf) - this will wipe all your data.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 13, 2011 1:38:11 PM

One thing that can cause shorts from the BIOS setup is if you have your front-panel audio set to HD when it should be set to AC'97.

I worked with someone on another thread where this cleared up this issue.
March 13, 2011 5:20:03 PM

mary221 said:
Virus infection is excluded.

Only 2 posibilities are to be considered:

1) RAM issues ( check if there is not dust in the memory slot - remove the RAM gently clean it)
2) hard disk bad sectors ( most probable) - use either Hard Disk Generator or Flobo Hard Disk Repair ( you need to run it in BartPE boot disk - cannot run inside WIndows 7, it does run only in Windows XP) You could install Windows XP and run Flobo in Windows XP if you don't want to tuse BartPe boot disk
Both repair bad sectors without wiping your data.

If one of these utilities detect bad sectors and cannot repair, format several times with low level format ( maxllf) - this will wipe all your data.


I think hard disk issues may have been ruled out. His system still freezes in bios before it even accesses the hard drives, so the probability of this being the culprit is minimal.

ubercake said:
One thing that can cause shorts from the BIOS setup is if you have your front-panel audio set to HD when it should be set to AC'97.

I worked with someone on another thread where this cleared up this issue.


Yes, this is also an issue. And even worse is that if you have this set wrong, I've heard that it can actually damage your mobo permanently.
!