Computer hangs after 10 minutes

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike St.Louis, May 7, 2002.

  1. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    Something strange is happening to my desktop PC (Pentium 3 850 running Windows 2000 Pro).

    I don't use the computer very much as I do most of my work on my laptop. I just use the desktop for FTP and other things and I have had it running at another house. Lately I went to pick up the machine to move it to my new place.

    For some reason now it will hang after about 10 minutes. Once it hangs the screen goes dead and I will have to shut down the power to get it to reboot. A few times it would not reboot at all and so I took the cover off and then it would.

    I have had the machine for a few years and it has always worked fine. I have two case fans in addition to the CPU fan. The fan on the CPU is working and the heatsink is secure.

    Does anyone know what the problem could be? Overheating was my first guess but as I said, all the fans are working and it is not noticably warm inside the case.

    One clue may be that the screen goes dead when it hangs.

    Any help greatly appreciated.
     
  2. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    You may have knocked one of your cards loose when you moved your PC. Try pulling all the cards out and putting them back in.

    The screen going blank when it hangs makes me think your video card isn't seated correctly.

    This might be remote but, your power supply might also be ready to join the choir invisible.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Jason_H

    Jason_H Second Unit

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    I, too, think something might be slightly unseated. I would check and make sure your RAM is firmly in its slots as well. What might be happening (this has happened to me in the past) is that after being on for 5-10 minutes, your computer gets warmer. The heat causes some of the components to expand ever so slightly, but perhaps enough to unseat a certain card or your RAM, causing the system to hang. Go in and tighten everything up.
     
  4. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the suggestions fellows. I will try it out tonight and let you know how it works.
     
  5. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    The problem remains!

    I removed each card and then reseated them individually and screwed them in.

    I can start the machine and go into the BIOS setup and it it'll work fine. Once I go into Windows it will only work for a short time.

    I have had it hang at the login prompt as well as when it is logged in. I have had it hang when there was no keyboard or mouse activity at all.

    I checked the BIOS settings to see if there was anything I needed to change. I found the CPU temperature monitoring screen and saw that the CPU temeperature was well below the warning levels and the CPU fan was fine too.

    I don't know how well the power supply is working but it is not making any unusual noises from the fan.

    A friend told me to try it in Safe Mode so I did this. It hangs there too!

    Any other ideas?
     
  6. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Does it always hang after the same amount of time, especially a nice round number like 10 minutes? Maybe a screen saver is kicking in, or your system is set up to blank the monitor after that long. It should come back when you hit a key or jiggle the mouse. If not, perhaps the drivers are screwy.

    Try disabling screen saver and power saving features in display properties, and see if that helps.

    KJP
     
  7. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    Ughhh! I know how frustrating this can be so here are a few other ideas:

    * Try removing your video card in the hardware profile, reboot and let Windows re-install the driver. While your in there check for any "!" that might indicate problems.

    * Do you have the most recent BIOS for your mobo?

    * Have you recently installed any software or hardware?

    Again, this is VERY frustrating so Good Luck!
     
  8. Drew Wimmer

    Drew Wimmer Stunt Coordinator

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    that smacks of a power supply on it's last legs, power supplies are very sensitive to physical shock, it's possible that you maybe knocked it around a bit when you were moving the system

    first make sure the fans in the power supply are turning on

    if they are, then try this right after your system locks: kill the power,

    disconnect the power supply from your system (this includes harddrives, cd-rom, fans, whatever),

    disconnect the external power cable,

    short the pin with the green wire to one with a black wire (pins on the mobo power connector, a small paperclip will do the job easily),

    then plug the ac power back in and check the voltages the PSU is outputting with a volt-meter (that bit with the pins allows the power supply to power up without being connected to the mobo)

    if the voltages aren't reasonably stable (aren't varying by less than %10 or so), then try using the system with a different power supply you know to be in good working order and see if that fixes your problem
     
  9. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    Well it's definitely not a video card problem. I swapped out the Voodoo3 2000 AGP card with an ATI video card I had in another system. Still locked up.

    The screen saver has been set to none for some time now and there are no power saving features turned on in Windows or in BIOS.

    I tried getting it going a few times last night. It will still start up and run for a few minutes after it has hung up. I don't give it any time to cool down.

    Drew. If I go into the BIOS setup and leave it there the PC runs fine. Once I go into Windows the system soon hangs. If the power supply were the problem, wouldn't it hang in BIOS setup too?
     
  10. DennisHP

    DennisHP Second Unit

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    I'd make sure I had the latest version of the BIOS set to defaults and then make sure I had all the MS updates for the OS.
     
  11. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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    It could be a heat issue, is it in a inclosed place now?
     
  12. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    If it hangs in Windows but not in the BIOS, I'd suspect your RAM is flaky, or not seated properly. Try reseating the RAM, or swapping out modules, or if you have two, take one out, run for a while, then switch it with the other, to identify a flaky module.

    Also, maybe you have a bad solder joint on the motherboard somewhere. With the machine running, try pressing gently on various points on the motherboard (don't touch anything that carries a voltage, just press on the tops of chips) and see if it causes it to freeze.

    KJP
     
  13. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    DennisHP: I have the latest bios update for the motherboard and service pack 2 for Windows 2000. Both have been installed for quite some time.

    AllenN: It's not a heat issue as I have the case open right now. Plus I checked the cpu temp and fan speed in the bios and all is well.

    KevinP: I have removed the RAM and reseated it but I hadn't considered a flakey module. I'll try that out with the RAM - swapping one out and then the other.

    The motherboard is an ABIT BE62. When I was first building the machine I had a problem where if I added a card on the last slot the machine wouldn't boot up at all. I traced the problem to a short between the motherboard and the case. I had a spacer where I didn't have a screw so once I removed that it worked fine.

    One other thing I should mention is that the cards do not line up well with the screw holes. I have to work a bit to get the screws in. Its possible that doing this may flex the motherboard ever so slightly.
     
  14. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    Well it doesn't seem like a RAM problem.

    I swapped out one RAM module at a time and it would still hang after a while. Unless both RAM modules are flakey but that seems unlikely.

    I also tried removing all the cards and only leaving in the video and Promise card. I even unscrewed these cards in case it was causing a short.

    The only things I haven't tried are testing the power supply and testing the motherboard for bad soldering. I am a little nervouse about touching a live motherboard. I'll have to get a pencil or something to do that with.

    How hard is it to change a power supply? Is it simply a matter of bolting a new one in and plugging it into the motherboard? Are the connections standard?

    Still stumped...
     
  15. Drew Wimmer

    Drew Wimmer Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike - sorry for taking so long

    the performance of a powersupply is tied into it's temperature, that is, the hotter it is, the less efficient it is

    also, electronic components in general, particularly those in hardware as sensitive as what's inside your PC, are very vulnerable to high temperatures

    //edit fyi - psu == power supply unit, i think i may have thrown that in there a few times on accident in place of power supply

    it's possible that since there's less of a draw from your power supply before your system is stressed (i.e. at the BIOS settings screen), the power supply is producing enough stable power to run the system, or the hardware inside the power supply hasn't reached a high enough temperature to flake, so once you're in the windows environment, your video card is drawing more power (to render more detailed images on your monitor) and your cpu is drawing more power to keep up with all of the overhead that goes along with windows, so your psu may be flaking because it's internal temperature gets too high with the increased draw from running windows for a given period of time (that's poor wording, i'm not suggesting that there's some sort of fixed temperature at which your psu is cutting out, it could be a bit more random than that)

    anyway, a power supply isn't that hard to swap out, you just have to unplug all of the connections from the old one and remember to plug everything back in when you put int eh new one (make a list of the connections as you disconnect them if you're not familiar with the inside of your pc so you don't forget anything) and then take out the 4 screws holding in the current psu so it can be physically removed from the case (make sure you support the powersupply from below with your hand, it's a heavy metal box so if it crashes down on your cpu heatsink/fan or peripheral cards after you take the screws out it'll most likely break them)

    i cannot stress how important it is that you are grounded whenever you touch any of the components inside your pc, static electricity + sensistive electronics == very expensive doorstop, get a grounding strap form radioshack or some other electronics store before you even open your case
     
  16. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    Drew,

    YOU THE MAN!!

    Got a new power supply and put it in last night. My PC ran all night with nary a hiccup.

    Good call. I was beside myself trying to figure out what was wrong.

    Thanks to everybody for their help.
     
  17. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    YEEEAAAAAHH!! And the peasants rejoiced!!
     
  18. Mike St.Louis

    Mike St.Louis Supporting Actor

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    UPDATE:

    My PC is at it again.

    The new power supply seemed to have solved the problem but now I am finding that after a little while it will reboot.

    It doesn't hang - it'll reboot itself.

    If I leave it for a while and move the mouse that will sometimes cause the reboot. Sometimes it'll just do it while idling.

    I have eliminated any virus consideration or the OS. I have installed XP and it rebooted at the end of the install.

    I don't beleive it is a heating issue at all. I have 2 fans in the case in addition to the CPU fan. I have had the cover off for a while too.

    Cards have been reseated. The screws holding the motherboard in are snug. The RAM has been removed and reseated.

    Is there a utility around that will test RAM?

    I'm running out of ideas...
     
  19. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    There is a DOS-only app called Memtest86 that is highly regarded for memory testing. Use Google to find it, as I'm at work and have limited access.

    Will the computer still reboot if you remove all cards except the video card? Try swapping SIMMs if you can. If you have more than one SIMM, remove one of them, and place the other in the first SIMM slot. Also, make sure that you have the SIMMs installed in the proper order. Like, slot 1, slot 2, etc. If you leave slot 1 empty, you'll get problems. Also, make sure the CPU fan still works. Do you have a motherboard temperature monitoring program running?

    Also, what motherboard brand and model are you using again?

    Hmmm, I see you said ABIT BE62...you still have the manual for it right?
     
  20. Richard_s

    Richard_s Second Unit

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    Here is the link for memtest86 I would be lost without it. If you pass this test you do not have a memory problem. If you fail it can be the RAm or it still can be the CPU (L1 or L2 cache) lets hope you pass.
    http://www.teresaudio.com/memtest86/#download9
    Download - Pre-Compiled Memtest86 v2.9 installable from Windows and DOS
    The reboot is probably that you are getting a "general protection fault" that would normally give you a BSOD but windows 2000 in most cases will reboot on this condition. There is a setting to stop the reboot so you can see the error message but I can't remember where that setting is.
    EDIT: Ok I found the setting. This should stop the reboot and display the error instead maybe that will help isolate the problem but usually it will be a general protection fault"
    go to:
    Control panel >> Click System Icon >> Go to the "advanced tab at the top >> Click "startup and recovery" >> Uncheck the "automatically reboot" in the system failure section.
    Post your hardware configuration if possible that may help.
     

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