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Computer randomly crashes

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October 28, 2011 4:07:42 PM

OK, I recently added a new sound card and HDD to my computer.
The sound card was only purchased because a family member tripped over the wire connected to the audio port on my motherboard and broke the connection. Since installing the new sound card and HDD my computer does the following.

Randomly the screen will go black and the system becomes entirely unresponsive, the fans and lights stay on. A reset is required. Sometimes this will not work unless the computer is left for a while. (It just boots and freezes).

Randomly the computer will freeze and become completely unresponsive and a reset is required. (screen still on).

Randomly it will reboot itself.

Sometime the i am met with this message upon booting

"please enter setup to recover BIOS setting

CMOS date/time not set

press f1 to run setup

press f2 to load default values and continue"

The date and time are then found to be wrong in the bios.

I tried the computer with a different HDD and with no soundcard in but the problem persists.

I monitored the temps with speedfan and all are normal.

Reformated to no avail so its hadrly a virus.

Tried different power outlet to no avail.

Specs:
amd phenom ii x4 955 black edition
Radeon HD 4870
Corsair 800 watt PSU
4 GB Corsair Dominator RAM
ASUS m4n79xtd EVO
seagate barracuda 7200.12 hdd


October 28, 2011 4:23:06 PM

"I tried the computer with a different HDD and with no soundcard in but the problem persists"
October 28, 2011 4:24:10 PM

Try buying a new cmos battery @$3.
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October 28, 2011 4:29:53 PM

Where would i get one and are u sure this would be the problem? My mobo is less than a year old..
October 28, 2011 4:38:33 PM

Did the problems all start after the guy tripped over your sound wire?

If so, that entire back panel where you plug in your items like USB, Keyboard, etc. may have pulled so hard that the connection could have removed themselves from the solder connections. Thus causing instability because the connections are not good anymore. If so you may need a new mobo.

Or did they start after you installed the new components?
October 28, 2011 4:40:50 PM

did you reinstall all your drivers after changing the HDD? also, the cmos battery could just be loose, did you re-seat it?
October 28, 2011 4:45:15 PM

I can't recall it happening before I installed the new components, but I did not use the computer for more than a few minutes at a time during that brief period in which I had no sound. It always happens after about 2 hours use, but it sometime stretches longer than that. It seems unlikely to me that it is these components because I have tried a different HDD (my old one which worked fine) and it still happens. i also have tried without the soundcard in.
October 28, 2011 4:45:53 PM

Backup battery is not a likely problem as these coin-type batteries have an installed lifetime of >3 years.
If you want one, any chain office supply store or Walmart has them.

Since you have done some things I would have suggested, the next things I would do is (power off of course) remove and re-seat memory cards, if the problem is still present, pull and carefully re-plug every connector and card inside the system box.
All connectors are subject to failure and since they are all Chinese now, they have become even less reliable.

Good luck-
October 28, 2011 4:52:28 PM

I think i had my previous operating system on that HDD. So i just plugged that one in. Im going to try reseat the cmos battery and ensure that there are no audio drivers installed on the system after removing the sound card. I also didn't mention that I actually sent it in to a shop to be fixed, they cleaned the entire system and reset all connections and claimed to have it running for 24 hours without a problem. I was delighted only to find the exact same problem when I got it back. i never actually dealt with them though it was my father who took it in for me and spoke to them. He does not know anything about computer he just knew the guy in the shop. So I am on my own now because I can't afford to get this fixed.
October 28, 2011 4:55:49 PM

did you not re-install the OS???
October 28, 2011 4:58:02 PM

Kedeli said:
It always happens after about 2 hours use, but it sometime stretches longer than that.


alright another few thoughts then. Is there any consistency to it, other than crashing after about 2 hours of use? Does it crash on any specific applications?

I would check to make sure your CPU fan is running too. Sounds like it only crashes after it heats up? Check your other fans too. Run it with the case open to see whats going on in there. When you reboot does it last another 2 hours? Or only during the initial boot up. That would confirm a heat issue.

You can check system stability as well (CPU, MOBO, and Ram) with prime95. Its a simple program you can run to see if it errors out. If it errors out you have a component problem. Usually memory.
October 28, 2011 5:13:14 PM

No it can crash at any time, I played a game for around 30 mins after say an hours use with no problems and then it shut off after another hour while i was just on the internet. This is after I got the pc back from the shop. I also got one 6 hour session without a hitch after getting it back. None of the temps are showing as to hot in speedfan, nothing above 40c. It does seem to last much a much smaller amount of time after immediate reboot though.. If left for a while the life extends. I'll run prime95 now. Your help is much appreciated.

Also before it went into be fixed it did seem to shut off on games but that pattern is not recognizable now.
October 28, 2011 5:16:21 PM

I think your MoBo is on its way out. With it resetting all the time (my old rig did this due to old age) and the damage taken by the tripping over the wire. Everything turns back to the MoBo taking damage, possibly fatal.
October 28, 2011 5:27:14 PM

Ok, sounds like when the connector moved, it's making an electrical bridge of some sort. If you're lucky, nothing else has been affected so far so you can just "extirpate" the defective piece.

I know it's kind of hard to do than it really sounds, but if you got an electrical bridge in there, nothing will help you other than do that. Or at least, cut the bridge it formed.

Cheers!
October 28, 2011 5:28:03 PM

Everything does point back to the mobo being damaged. I wasn't there when it happened but the wire from my stereo was pulled to one side with tension and the plastic casing around the mobo's audio port was cracked. The mobo is only a year old so it must have been this if it is the mobo. Im running prime95 now..
October 28, 2011 5:42:45 PM

Ouch... If one layer of the MoBo was actually bridged, it's a bad bad thing. There's no way you can actually fix it. I've seen "bricked" MoBos thanks to a lil' scratch on the top layer or because it was flexed too much. This applies too, but it wasn't "bricked" right away.

I'm sorry to say it, but IMO it's better to change the MoBo ASAP. It might not be a time bomb or anything, but it certainly is not giving you any pleasure to have those issues.

Cheers!
October 28, 2011 5:56:11 PM

What do you mean by bridged? What happened to it exactly is that the wire yanked on the audio port really hard and cracked the plastic surrounding the audio port (just around the hole). Do you think this could have destroyed the entire mobo?
October 28, 2011 6:12:21 PM

Can you open your PC case and see the area?

If a "dent" was made to the MoBo, what I said applies a 100%. If it didn't, then you have to look for metal pieces around the damaged area that might be creating bridges of electricity.

And by "bridged", I mean that since metal transports electricity (conductivity and all that), you might be short-circuiting the MoBo in some point. Being that because of a dent or a metal piece touching a place it shouldn't.

Cheers!
October 28, 2011 6:50:15 PM

I can't see any damage to anywhere on the mobo except for the audio port..
October 28, 2011 7:34:13 PM

it just happened again there and when i tried to restart immediately a multicoloured line was present on the top of the screen, the screen has a message that comes up as the computer boots "loading asus express gate". it's the first screen you seen upon booting. but it had a line on top this time. it didn't boot until i left it for 20 mins.

How would i go about narrowing the list of possible faulty parts? how do i determine if it's the cpu, mobo or others?
October 28, 2011 8:01:48 PM

So then if the temps are good, and everything worked fine before the mishap, i would either assume the mobo got damaged when the cord was yanked out of it. OR, the computer people who installed your soundcard damaged something. These two scenarios would be the only logical explanations. Doesnt sound like a windows or driver issue if you replaced the HDD to the old one. I suppose a timeline of events would be helpful. From when it worked 100 percent. to the cord pull out...to the computer shop install to when stuff started to not work.

As a random thought, make sure your power supply switch in back is set to 120v vs 220v.
October 28, 2011 8:03:54 PM

not sure what temp monitor program you're using....but HWmonitor is a really good one. I would try using that to monitor the temp on your video card and cpu. In some respects it seems like something is overheating to me, based on what you are saying.
October 28, 2011 8:06:21 PM

once your PC is off you can also try touching the headsinks on various components to see how hot they are. if its too hot to leave your finger on it for more than a few seconds then something might be over heating. just be careful when you do this, and avoid touching any components.
October 28, 2011 8:14:21 PM

an exact timeline of events would be:

1. come home to find computers audio port in the condition stated above.
2. i foolishly unassemble the computer in preparation for a replacement mobo.
3. i remove every part including the cpu from the mobo.
4. i bring the motherboard in to be fixed but am given a cheap soundcard to install instead of replacing it.
5. i install reassemble pc and install soundcard (in my opinion carefully, i built the original myself aswell).
6. problems begin. noticed after about 2 hours of use

p.s i did not notice any problems prior to unassembling pc but did not subject it to prolonged use.
also i can't actually confirm that i had no audio drivers installed when i tried the other hdd so im giving that a shot now.


October 28, 2011 8:19:26 PM

If they gave you a sound card instead of replacing it, then just tell them the MoBo got wacked and save yourself a lot of headaches IMO.

And when you reassembled it, you didn't forget to put thermal paste/compound, right?

Cheers!
October 28, 2011 8:21:34 PM

So everything was removed and then put back together. after this the problam began...however it wasnt fully tested after the cord issue and before the rebuild....so either one could be at fault.

that complicates the issue. if you have another PC at home you can at least test each component individually in a known working PC. You can test things like video card, memory, cpu first.

Did prime95 error out on you or did the computer crash before you could tell? You want to run the one that says "large in place FFT's" or something like that. Memtest86 is another program you can install on a bootable CD or flash drive and run before your computer goes into windows. This just tests the memory and that might help you eliminate that as a possible problem.
October 28, 2011 8:31:29 PM

i did apply the thermal paste. i can probably afford to replace one part if i must but i have to know what it is first. prime95 didn't get to finish as pc crashed again. i dont have another computer i can use so that leaves me with the only option of troubleshooting the faulty part.. as long as it crashes again with no audio drivers or souncard installed but im not optimistic. thanks for the help guys.
October 28, 2011 8:48:19 PM

Don't forget to disable the on-board sound from the BIOS.

Cheers!
October 29, 2011 3:59:04 PM

ok so... it's not the audio drivers. how do I go about diagnosing the problem part? computer ran fine all morning for about 4 hours and then freeze. screen just locks and restart was required.. ugh this is so annoying. help please??
October 31, 2011 9:15:27 AM

im still bettings something is wrong with your MoBo, either a loose capacitor causing a short, or some minute default causing this issue.
November 1, 2011 1:12:40 PM

Hey buddy you have another thread on the forum with the same issue...

By your info here, I understand it is a motherboard fault.

Just if you have the chance to try your graphics card on another pc do it because graphic cards tend to do the same and if someone tripped over the wire then there is a posibility that the graphic card had a big bump or pulled the monitor cable too hard.

Just forget what I said on the other thread.this makes sense now..
November 1, 2011 4:08:46 PM

well the computer did crash in the bios so can i take that as a sure sign of a hardware fault?? and if so i assume that i then begin eliminating possible faulty parts. the problem is i have to be sure which one it is before i replace as money is an issue and i don't want to buy a new motherboard only to find the exact same problem when i get it..
November 1, 2011 8:39:06 PM

Ok you are almost there.try the gpu on another pc and if that pc works fine then the motherboard would be the 'last man standing' but do that because gpu's do almost the same things when they break down. See, bios never lies :)  good luck
November 1, 2011 10:06:13 PM

yeah thanks man i really found something significant there because it crashes almost immediately upon entering the bios, but it runs for at least a few hours on the desktop. i had it running for id say 12 hours between today and yesterday combined. i have not played any games on it though. but today i went into the bios and it froze after less than a minute 3 times in a row. so based on this... you would think it is between the gpu and mobo? if so i'll try to find the culprit now.
November 2, 2011 11:23:44 PM

Glad that its helping. Yeah well just that it sounds odd that the audio ports would had broken,(I have not seen the board tough) but I would be surprised if the display cable was never pulled out in the 'accident' I have troubleshooted many gpus for laptops and that is what they do when they fail. But here,in laptops gpus are normally attached to the mb so that is why I ask you to test if your gpu is ok. Let me know how it went.
November 2, 2011 11:31:06 PM

Well the pc is completely unusable now, by that I mean it turns on but there is no picture. I just get a black screen now.. Can I use onboard graphics with my mobo? It's in the description. It doesn't seem to have any place to connect a lead from the monitor..
!