Annoying computer problem... please help

for anyone who might now and can help.. this is driving me up the wall

Here it goes
My 6 month old system recently has been giving me problems.
What happens is that lately, after having the system on for a while, my system will suddely shut down and a blank screen comes on. I notice that my cdrom lights stay on too. When this happens i'll try to turn power off to the system and restart but my computer will start up, the memory checking/processor speed/energy star/ screen will come up and my system will lock after that (also if i try to press delete key to go into the BIOS screen system will freeze) and for the last few times i will need to leave my system off for at least a whole day before i can start it up again.... I used to think it was a video card problem and i had it replaced. (the first video card, the fan never turned on so i thought it was overheating and shutting down)... however even with the new card which works fine the system will still do this to me.
Im wondering if any of you out there can help me pinpoint the problem... could it be the mother board, processor, memory, power supply?!
I tend to lean towards either the mother board or power supply because apparently it needs a day or two to cool down.. but im not sure. Also my power supply, i don't know the exact wattage but im pretty sure is below 300...

if anyone could help it would be greatly appreciated..

my system configuration is

Epox 8KTA mother board
16x DVD drive
CDRW drive
56k modem
20 gig hard drive
900 Mhz Athlon
GeForce2 GTS 32MB DDR
256MB pc133 ram

please any help will be greatly appreciated
anyone experience similar problems?

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Papo on 02/22/01 07:45 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
7 answers Last reply
More about annoying computer problem help
  1. Well, I have no Idea what your problem is. Since it actually runs for a while, well, you know your hardware is working. But before I would start replacing parts left and right... did you try formatting your drive and installing windows from scratch yet? Cause usually, when I get funny bugs like that.. especially after 6 months, that's what I do. Takes care of all the old and forgotten files at the same time. Anyways, I hope you find your problem! Good Luck!
  2. It is possible that your processor is overheating (or something else is overheating). This happened to me a few years ago, and it makes sense in your case. Since you cannot simply restart, the pro. is still hot... and you must wait until it cools later before you can. What kind of processor, and what kind of heat sink and or processor fan are you using? Is the processor fan definitely running? Do you have a case fan? Running?
  3. I have an athlon thunderbird 900. My heatsink and fan are a Cool Master (which was in tom's cooling i guess its not that bad) and its always on. MY only other guess is that the power supply is the one overheating since yesterday i tried to boot up and the system booted up until the dvd drive was found and then shut down. right away i noticed a burnt smell but couldn't pinpoint wether it was from the processor.. or heatsink... or something else.
    im just trying to find out what the problem is before i have to start spending unnecessary money buying part after part until i find the problem...

  4. Sounds like a heat problem, except you shouldn't need to wait a DAY to restart it. Try it after an hour or so. Doesn't sound at all like a software problem as somebody else had suggested. You shouldn't have to wait at all to reboot its just windows screwing up.

    A few things to try in order of easy/cheap -> hard/expensive...

    Take the case cover off and set a big fan blowing into the case. This may help isolate it to being a heat problem vs. something else. While the cover is off, look and see that all of the system fans are operating properly (cpu, case, chipset, video, etc.)

    Borrow some ram from somebody and try it that way. Or, if you have multiple sticks, try them one at a time.

    Try reseating the heatsink/fan unit on the CPU. Remove the HSF, take off the thermal pad, add some compound (artic silver, etc.), and reinstall.

    Try another power supply. They can sometimes work fine cold, but degrade at higher temp. These take the longest to cool down also. Or try unplugging non-critical components (CD, Zip, extra HD, etc) and see if it gets more stable as you lower the power load.

    If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the power supply (provided all the fans are working properly). But you probably don't have a spare 250w - 300w supply laying around, and they're a bit expensive. So try the other stuff first.

    If all else fails, start replacing components until it works :-(

    Good luck

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
    In practice, there is.
  5. Just one more thing to check make sure power management is turned off. Some motherboards have a setting in the bios for this. Check in control panel also.

  6. I had that problem once. Turned out to be the CPU. When the heat sink was installed it shorted the CPU out somehow. Pull the CPU out and check it. Left a large burn mark on the underside of mine
  7. If there is a burnt smell, you probably have a short somewhere. I would take out all the hardware that is not essential and see if you still get your problem. This means only one harddrive, the video card, and the processor/heatsink/fan. If it works, slowly add components back to your system until it stops working. Stop at the one that makes it crash and that should be your bad component. If it still doesn't work after removing all non-essential hardware, try a different processor if you can, then try a different hard drive, and finally a different motherboard (if possible). If you can try a different power supply, that might be it, but it sounds like you have adequate power if you are burning things up. I shorted out my floppy drive by plugging it in wrong. I discovered the problem later and after powering on for the first time after fixing it, I fried the power wire going to the floppy drive. It screwed up one of my CD-ROM's also. All I can say is, if there is a burnt smell, something major is going on. Catch it before it becomes a larger problem.

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