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  #1  
Old 06-24-12, 23:38
Magister Magister is offline
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Default Freeze & Boot Issues - Win7

Hello,


I am having some problems with my PC.

Originally the issue was windows would just freeze / lockup on me at random times.

I thought I had some sort of malware, or driver conflict or something, but after many tests, nothing showed up, and there was never any issues reported in event viewer when this happened.

I was running 2 hard drives at the time (1 IDE and 1 SATA6), so I stopped using my main drive at the time, and switched to my back up (the IDE) and everything was fine for a couple of days, until it started to freeze on me again.

Then, I found the next issue, when going back to the other drive it wouldn't load in to windows, I thought perhaps the boot table was screwed up or something, so I formatted and started fresh, even using a completely new version of windows (still 7, just a different copy).

Everything was fine for about 2 weeks, no freezes, nothing. However the computer was on the entire time (I always leave it running), but no issues on reboots or anything.

Then the power got shut off for a few hours (the city was chopping down trees and had to disconnect power lines), when the power came back up, I had the same problem again, I couldn't log in to windows.

So while I sat there scratching my head trying to figure out what the heck was causing this issue - the computer warmed up and eventually I got back in to windows.

It's been running fine since, however I am dreadfully afraid of shutting it off or rebooting in case I can't get back in to windows again.

I have also been running a tiny program called "caffeine" in the background to keep it from going idle just in case (it basically simulates me pushing the right menu button every few seconds).

Now, I haven't had any freezing issues since I formatted and started fresh, I just have no idea what is causing this and it's killing me. My PC is my life, it's where I work, where relax, where I do my hobbies, everything.


----


Issue Bullet points for TL:DR people:

a. Windows will fail to load (from a cold start)
b. Windows will load if I let the system warm up for abit (just figured this out)
c. no error messages in event viewer
d. no error "beeps" at start up
e. no ques to indiciate an issue (artifacting, physical dmg, smells, sounds, etc)
f. Windows WAS freezing (but hasn't since the format)
g. switched from running 1 IDE+SATA to just the SATA

I have tested the hard drives and the memory - I have ran AVG, Malwarebytes and Sophos, didn't find anything.


I am really at a loss... after all this it leads me to believe it is a hard ware issue;

I was thinking it could be the thermal creme getting thin
Possibly a mainboard issue
Possibly a PSU issue

I just don't have any spare parts to test swap, and money is tight at the moment, so I can only afford to replace 1 thing.

I am really really hoping someone here can help me.

Cheers.
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Old 06-26-12, 08:26
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Default Re: Freeze & Boot Issues - Win7

These are classic heat related symptoms. What are your temps? Have you tried blasting a desk fan into the open side?
Quote:
I was thinking it could be the thermal creme getting thin
Possibly a mainboard issue
Possibly a PSU issue
Note that TIM (thermal interface material) doesn't go bad, wear out, or go "thin" over time. TIM will last for many many years (10+) AS LONG AS the cured bond is not disturbed by bouncing the computer off the floor, rough handling during transport, or by twisting on the heat sink to see if it is loose (ironically, checking with a bit too much force to see if it is loose often loosens it! ).

So if the bond is still good, so is the TIM. If broken it would likely affect your CPU temps. What are your CPU temps? Your motherboard utilities disk should have a monitoring program (or check for a more recent version on your motherboard or PC maker's website). If none, I recommend (and use) CoreTemp for newer Intel and AMD64 CPUs, or RealTemp for Intels.

Is the interior clean of heat trapping dust? All fans spinning freely?

It could be the motherboard, or failing RAM, or failing CPU, or failing GPU, or something else failing. So you need to start at the wall to make sure you are feeding all those devices good, clean power. I will assume your mains is good, but nevertheless, EVERY residence should have available a AC Outlet Tester. I recommend one with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) indicator as it can be used to test bathroom and kitchen outlets too. These testers can be found for your type and voltage outlet, foreign or domestic, at most home improvement stores, or even the electrical department at Walmart.

With wall power assumed good, you need to swap out your PSU with a known good one, or take yours in for proper testing. This is necessary before you spend any money on other parts. In spite of what some will tell you, you cannot properly and conclusively test a PSU at home with most multimeters or a PSU Tester because to do it properly and conclusively it must be tested under various realistic "loads" then analyzed for excessive ripple and other anomalies. This is not possible with most home-use (read: non-professional, inexpensive) multimeters.

I keep one of those testers in my tool bag when "in the field", but I don't assume a PSU testing good really is good (because the PSU is not properly loaded and these testers do not test for ripple). However, if the PSU tests bad with my tester, it is bad.
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Old 06-26-12, 13:46
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Default Re: Freeze & Boot Issues - Win7

See this is what confuses me...

You are saying they are heat related issues, but that is just it, from a cold start (ie: if I shut it off for a few hours) that is when I have my problems!

I have no issues running it hot.

I only have issues getting windows to load if it is cold.

It usually stops right at the first little windows glowing symbol screen, sometimes it will make it just a tad further, but never in to windows, unless of course I let it heat up, then it works just fine.

I have tested the hdd's and the ram and I am pretty sure it's not the GPU

All the fans are free and spinning, no resistance, no smokers or pets in the house.


This is why it has been so hard for me to figure out
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Old 06-26-12, 14:27
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Default Re: Freeze & Boot Issues - Win7

Sorry. These are not classic heat problems. I must not have had enough coffee when I read your first post. So skip that. But my comments about TIM and the PSU are still valid.

Everything inside the computer depends on quality power. That's where I always start troubleshooting hardware (after a good clean and cable connection check).
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Old 06-26-12, 23:23
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Default Re: Freeze & Boot Issues - Win7

Thanks for at least tryin to help Dig.

More than I can say that I've gotten anywhere else. I've made this same post on like a bunch of different tech help sites and no one has been able to help.

Glad it's just not my own tech skills failing me.


In any case, I've decided to just buy a couple of new parts:

this:
GIGABYTE GA-970A-DS3
and
Ultra LSP750 750-Watt Power Supply - ATX

I am also probably going to pick up a GTX 560 in a couple of weeks.

It looks like a pretty solid board and I haven't had any issues with Ultra PSUs in the past (the life time warranty is nice as well).


I'd still love to know what the heck the issue is though. Had me stumped for weeks now.
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Old 06-27-12, 08:29
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Default Re: Freeze & Boot Issues - Win7

Did you already buy those parts? I don't like that PSU. It is not 80+ Certified and I don't recommend any PSU unless it is. 80+ Certification requires the PSU meet strict efficiency ratings across a wide range of realistic loads.

Also, if that motherboard is not an exact brand and model number replacement for what you already have, then the new motherboard is considered an "upgrade". And an upgraded motherboard is considered a new computer - when it comes to software licensing. So - IF your current Windows license is for an OEM version that was purchased for, or came with your previous computer/motherboard, then you MUST buy a new license for this new computer/motherboard.

Alternatively, you can use one of the many free, capable Linux alternatives.

If me, I would get just a new 80+ certified PSU (I like Antec and Corsair) and see if that does not fix your problem.
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Old 07-09-12, 04:17
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Default Re: Freeze & Boot Issues - Win7

Ok so...

Brand new motherboard, brand new video card, brand new power supply...

Was defragging the drive with O&O ... computer did that lock up thing again...(@91% done). I would say it's the HDD
but its happened on 2 different drives. Everything has been swapped out or replaced. Even 2 different copies of windows
have been used lol.

I am starting to suspect maybe it was O&O the entire time.

I haven't had any issues getting into windows (yet) or any other issues so far, I removed O&O just in case

Friggin perplexing issue!
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Old 07-09-12, 10:30
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Default Re: Freeze & Boot Issues - Win7

I don't know what O&O is but why bother with 3rd party defraggers? There's nothing wrong with Windows own defragger.

Remember, the second - and that's not really exaggerating - you start using the hard drive after defragging, fragmentation starts all over again as tiny cookies, temporary Internet files, and other temporary data is written to disk.

I don't care that a 3rd party defragger may pack all my files in closer than Windows Defragger (the idea being, the agonizingly slow hard drive's R/W head will not have to travel as far). That might have been true when 500Mb was considered a large drive, and 512Mb of RAM was the envy of town. But for today, I don't think that's ideal and here's why. First - There's all those (potentially 1000s) of tiny temp files that will soon be bombarding your hard drive(s). Second - Your security programs (hopefully), Microsoft, Adobe, any many other programs on your computer (if you did not manually disable auto-updating) frequently, often daily, release updates to their files.

Those updates are downloaded and saved to your disk somewhere, then installed in a new location out in free space. The old file is copied to a another location for safe keeping and the old file located is marked available - creating hole. Updated files don't physically replace (use the same disk locations) the old files on the disk. So holes will appear that Windows will begin to use immediately.

So again - what good does a more efficient defragger do? Any extra advantage those couple extra percentage points in efficiency are almost immediately "equalized" - leveling the playing field. The Windows Defragger is a "basic" defragger, but a "basic" defragger is all we need. And it's already there.

And that matters because, in my mind anyway, there is something ironic about stuffing even more files (the 3rd party defragger's program files) on to the harddrive I am trying to tidy up.

Today, with today's cheap, fast, monster drives, defragging is way overrated. Monster drives allow us to have a 100Gb or more free disk space. And with lots of free disk space, fragmentation is rarely, if ever a problem. I defrag maybe once a year. But that's mainly because I test a lot of programs so I am frequently installing and uninstalling large applications.

Keeping all the file segment" together is good. But, along as you have lots of free space, it does not matter if all the files are kept together. If you "need" to defrag often, that is a sign you need to uninstall programs you installed but no longer use, or buy more disk space then move some of your programs over to it. This also will give the Page File more room to operate in, and System Restore more room too. Both good things.

I might also suggest a small SSD - today's SSDs are ideally suited for temp files and the Page File.
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