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Random computer lock ups - Bad heatsink?

Last response: in Systems
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January 7, 2012 12:00:36 AM

Alright, so I've been having this problem for a couple weeks now, and also had it when I first built my computer. I'm on my iPod and am too lazy to look up my specs right now, but I'd you need them, I can them.

What my computer will do is, at random times, completely freeze where not even the mouse will move, requiring a hard reboot. It is now usually freezing on the "Windows is starting..." screen, sometimes making it to boot, but when I try to do anything even remotely demanding (like opening Chrome) it'll freeze. I had this problem to some extent when I first built it, but it went away and I haven't had the problem in a year.

I have a dual boot with Ubuntu and I never ever use it (because Ubuntu is unbelievably glitchy for some reason) and I think it freezes too.

I'm starting to think its the heatsink because it was caked with dust and after I cleaned it (didn't reapply thermal grease, was I suppose to?), it worked for about a day, but is now back to just as bad. I have a program that came with the motherboard that monitors the CPU temp, and it's been at around 90f. The heatsink and fan came with the CPU, btw.

So what do you think it could be? Sorry if I didn't supply enough info. But do you think it's the heatsink? I'd hate to buy a new one and find out its the ram or something. Any advice appreciated, thanks!
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2012 12:19:17 AM

CPUs aren't one of the top causes of BSODs.

It is possible the paste does need to be scraped off, cleaned with alcohol and a Qtip, and reapplied (small dot in the center).

If I were taking the CPU fan off for some reason, I would probably reapply the paste if I had some available.

Anyway, it is more likely that the BSOD is caused by these things:
1) Bad Ram
2) Bad Drivers
3) Bad Hard Drive
4) Heat induced failure

Try to boot into safe mode and see if you can crash it. That helps rule out drivers as a problem.

Also, download and run Memtest86+ while you are sleeping tonight.
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January 7, 2012 12:29:06 AM

Raiddinn said:
CPUs aren't one of the top causes of BSODs.

It is possible the paste does need to be scraped off, cleaned with alcohol and a Qtip, and reapplied (small dot in the center).

If I were taking the CPU fan off for some reason, I would probably reapply the paste if I had some available.

Anyway, it is more likely that the BSOD is caused by these things:
1) Bad Ram
2) Bad Drivers
3) Bad Hard Drive
4) Heat induced failure

Try to boot into safe mode and see if you can crash it. That helps rule out drivers as a problem.

Also, download and run Memtest86+ while you are sleeping tonight.


I don't know where I mentioned BSoDs, I haven't been getting that, just complete freezes. I forgot to mention however that I did boot into safe mode a few times with the same freezing issue. I also forgot to mention a few times upon booting since this issue occurred I've been getting a command prompt saying "One of your hard drives needs to be checked for consistency" or something. I don't have any thermal grease currently, do you think that would be in relation to this problem though?
Thanks
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2012 12:40:43 AM

From what I understand about thermal paste, the paste should ideally pretty much glue the heat sink onto the processor. If you disconnect the two then air would get in between it and keep it from re-bonding. That is why I would reapply it if it was available.

It might not hurt to buy some and try it, because freezes are often heat related.

Sorry about the BSOD thing, I guess I am kinda tired at the moment.

In any event, try downloading some temperature monitoring programs like HWMonitor from CPUID and see if you can't get a better idea of your temperature situations immediately prior to crashes.

Also, if you are getting errors from your hard drives it wouldn't hurt to scan them for errors if you havent. Go into My computer, right click on the C drive, hit properties, tools, error checking, check now, check the box to scan for bad sectors, start, accept that it will work during reboot, and then restart the computer.

If that doesn't find anything, try it on a different connected hard drive instead. You probably won't have to restart if its just a data drive.

If you freeze in safe mode too, that pretty much rules out drivers and guarantees that it is some sort of physical problem.
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January 15, 2012 8:41:31 PM

Okay I have some new info on the issue, but I'm inconfident in making my own judgement. Some other issues have arisen since my computer started acting up, and now they're getting worse. One is, I'll get the initial boot splash screen, but then after that I just get a white bar blinking in the top left corner, and it doesn't do anything. Another one I've had is it'll get to the "Windows is Starting" screen and the windows logo will show up and kind of subtley move, and it'll just stay that way forever. But it's not frozen per say like usual,, because the Windows logo is moving.

So this seems to be suggesting that it's a hard drive issue right? Since it sometimes just gives me that command prompt white blinking bar and not boot.
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January 17, 2012 12:18:15 AM

Markery said:
Alright, so I've been having this problem for a couple weeks now, and also had it when I first built my computer. I'm on my iPod and am too lazy to look up my specs right now, but I'd you need them, I can them.


What are your system specifications and how long ago did you build the computer?
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January 17, 2012 12:27:05 AM

Open up the system, take out the ram, video card, and power plugs, and reconnect them all, wipe the ram and video card contacts with alcohol and a cotton swab to rule out any dust causing the issue.

You might also unplug and replug all of your sata cables at both ends as well.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 17, 2012 12:59:55 AM

I once found a bad HDD with a free trial of HD Tune. There were big spikes and dropouts in the graph instead of the somewhat jagged continuous curve you normally see.
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