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XP freezing during a few older games. Help. (1 Viewer)

Radioman970

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This has me stumped. I've pretty much decided to get a new C: hard drive when I can afford one within a month. It'd be great to get some more use out of the one i have....

Here's the problem. While playing certain games, Battlefield 1942 and Hitman 2, the game will play fine for a while, then suddenly I'll hear a somewhat loud click from my PC (hd head tapping? that's my guess). Then it'll just freeze within the game requiring a hard reset. I tried running it in Win98 compat mode to no avail. Meanwhile, stuff like Halflife 2 and Doom 3 worked great on this system with very little trouble.

My specs:

AMD Athlon XP 1800+
512Mb ddr
ati aiw 9800pro
500w psu

I have 3 Western Digital hard drives (no raid):

(1) C: drive is kind of old. It's probably an ata100 or ata133 80gig. It's not fragmented.

(2) a very old ata100 13gig (disconnected) with a few games I haven't yet uninstalled

(3) a sata150 80gig used for video editing work. It's in need of defrag but it's too full of crap.

I was having this freezing problem years ago and disconnected (2) for testing purposes. The freezing seemed to stop. But now it's back.

For testing purposes I've reinstalled BF1942 several times to see if that would fix it. Nope. I installed it once on (3) and the problem continued.

I plan to fully remove (2) today, uninstalling all the games on it, then I'll update the ati video drivers because they are a little out of date. That could possibly fix the problem.

Final thing I'll do is get the new hard drive, a nice Western Digital sata150 320g unit I found. Well, I was mulling over the 320, which had a 8mb buffer and a 160 which has a 16mb buffer. I figure buffer isn't that important so I'm going with more space for about $10 more. :up:

Anyway, any help with this would be appreciated because it'd be great to be able to delay the hd purchase 6+ months.
 

Al.Anderson

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While anything's possible, what you describe doesn't sound like a HD problem to me. That loud click is usually associated with a videocard or memory fault.

Before you start the HD replacement process, perform a chkdsk (the one above the defrag).

The videocard driver upgrade that you already had planned would be my reco for the next step.

And it couldn't hurt to run a memory check utility.

One more thing, make sure your version of DirectX current. If it isn't update it. You could also run the test utility as Start->Run->dxdiag. Then look for bad dll's and run the testers.
 

drobbins

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I had a similar issue with my son's computer. I increased the virtual memory and it worked ok.
 

Greg_S_H

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I have what I think is the exact problem. I thought I fixed it by swapping out the memory, but I didn't. If you replace your HD and it goes away, let us know. I'll then likely follow suit.

Is the sound like a hard drive parking sound? It sounds like the sound your HD makes when you shut off the computer normally, only it does it a couple of times and then locks up? If so, we're in the exact same boat.
 

Radioman970

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Thanks for the responses!

More research on the net confirms Al.Anderson that it's probably not the HD but the video card, although someone in another forum mentioned it could be a power supply unit problem as well. But I've concluded that my video drivers have become corrupt. So you might want to look in that direction Greg because I believe the sound is the same you're having. Also, look at your PSU. About 4 years ago, a day before I was to go on vacation and play games 24/7 on my PC for a week my PSU failed and killed my motherboard. Ouch! It was giving me plenty of warning signs I was just dense.

About the drivers, I was using ATI 5.9 and it's up to 7.2.
htf_images_smilies_blush.gif
Yesterday I installed the latest. Usually ATI installations are unevenful but this time I got all kinds of errors. Microsoft's .net was version 1.1 and it needed 2.0 and I think (hope) that caused the problems. There's now an error with something called mom.implementation when Windows boots up. ATI has said they know about this so it's not uncommon. They say they'll fix it with the next version and recommend using 7.1. I'm going to retry installing 7.2 today and see what happens. Any problems and I'll drop to 7.1.

At any rate, with the 7.2 driver I was able to play bf1942 for a little while with no troubles except some jerkiness caused (I suspect) by it being installed on (3) the sata drive that's fragmented. SWAT 4 installed on C: drive played great with full detail. Definately more testing after I get the drivers reinstalled. DVD playback seemed smoother as well with the updated ATI thingies.

Hopefully I can squeeze a little more life out of this HD. I'm getting worried about sata150 drives being harder to find than the 3.0 ones. So I'm probably going to buy one within a month or 2 just to have it on hand. I guess I could spend a little more money on a 3.0 controller if worst comes to worst. But for this system I'd rather just get a good sata150 for about $100 and be done with it. Save my money for an all new system.

Good idea about DirectX. I'll give that a check today as well. I'm sure it's been years since I've done anything with it.

Drobbins, I usually like to leave virtual memory settings at default. I feel if you have to mess around with that, or get a software memory manager, it's best to go ahead and get a RAM upgrade. But...if it worked I guess you can't complain.

Btw, here's a little more I forgot about my troubles with this sys. When I had (2), the older smaller HD, daisy-chained to (1), the older larger drive acting as C:, I'd get all kinds of weird stuff happening. Playing Hitman 2 or BF1942 it'd make occasional whirling sounds, then that single click and the game would freeze. I also seem to remember problems with non-game usage. I'd disconnected that smaller HD in 2005 and all problem ceased. Yesterday I successfully uninstalled everything on that drive and removed it completely. It was only 9gigs (not 13) so no big loss.
 

Radioman970

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Another thing I forgot to mention. When uninstalling the drivers for the first time I got all kinds of errors. That leads me to believe that they were corrupt. I had no such problems the 3 times I uninstalled the current drivers.

Anyway, an update. I had to install the 7.1 over the 7.2 drivers because the "mom" thing came up again. No big whoop.

I played BF1942 for a little while and it seemed to work just fine. I'm really thinking the drivers are it. More testing today. I need to play BF1942 online for a a couple of hours. Yeah, it's so annoying all this testing!!! :laugh:

DVDs also run better with the latest install of the ATI package.

I'll update again later once I've used everything for a bit longer without problems.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

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The titles you mentioned specifically up there are "modern" games, and they tax a machine heavily. I had issues with a machine a while back but only under heavy load. I tried everything, but only when I decided to replace the cooler on the graphics card did I figure out what the problem was.

The cooler was a cheapo variant that came with the card, and it was only solidly attached on one side of the graphics chip. Under no load, it was fine and got enough cooling, but under heavy load it imploded. The old heatsink literally came loose in my hand when I touched it in preparation for replacing the cooler.

I was thinking since you mentioned two pretty graphics heavy titles that perhaps you might have heat issues.

Hopefully that driver change helped though, but check all the fans and heatsinks too.
 

Radioman970

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That's great advice Kimmo. Cooling is so important. I bought a few things years ago that still seem to be working, a bracket holds a couple of small fans to the side of my video card and pull the hot air out. Also keeping the dust out with a can of air. My system usually stays around 29C. That wasn't always the case. Before the fans I had all kinds of problems with lock ups. Those were Quake II days. I had to be able to play QII for hours and hours at all costs!! :eek:
 

Radioman970

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Well, testing yesterday was fun. BF1942 doesn't do a hard freeze anymore so the drivers were most likely what it was. However, the game does dump to desktop (a lengthy process) once in a while. I remember it doing that before. I set it to Windows 98 compatability mode but it still happens. I remember fixing that problem years ago but can't remember how.

Well, with a new PC in the future I'll dump BF1942 for the others in the series anyway. But at least it can sort of play the game for hours with only occasional problems. Thanks for all the help here. :)
 

Al.Anderson

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Is it the game or Windows that's prodicing the dump? If it's Windows, check the Dump setting (My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Startup and Recovery > Write Debug Info), and set it to "Small". That just improves the symptom; but if all else is good enough it gets you back to playing quicker.
 

Radioman970

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Interesting. That's something I've never looked at. Thanks, I'll try it.

Windows gives me that box politely telling me I'll have to stop playing the game and the program will close. I'll usually select for it to send the error report. The HD operates for a long time with the bf1942 music going on and on. Eventually I can just restart the game and play some more. It's much better than that hard freeze like before.

EDIT: I installed the lastest version of DirectX 9.0c, played bf1942 for hours and had no incident! Yippee! Maybe it'll stay this way for a while. The dog in my sig might need $500 worth of surgery so there will be no new HD for a while. :frowning:
 

Radioman970

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And the saga continues.....

Well, I'd been testing and testing, all seemed well. Then the lockup happened again finally. So I decided to take what I learned here....that it was the video card and not the hard drive. I removed the card and blew some air in it's fan/heatsink. What do you know! Loads of dust came out of there. I thought I'd cleaned it well when it was in the system but you just can't get to it with wires and other cards around it. I believe that did the trick. I still know the drivers needed updating and it didn't hurt to remove that older drive I didn't want cause that brought it's own set of problems.

Well, hopefully folks with similar problems can get help by this little thread too. :emoji_thumbsup:

Check airflow/Defrag HD/Update drivers/update DirectX....that should fix similar problems.
 

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