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The Internet dies, other devices die, Windows dies

Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
edited July 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
So I have a fairly old but gradually upgraded PC running Windows XP. It's been remarkably stable for years, with only a minor problem with the power supply some time ago (which has been replaced now). A week or so ago, however, everything changed.

I got a copy of Lord of the Rings Online. My old Gigabyte DVD drive wouldn't read the disc, so I borrowed the DVD drive from my flatmate's Dell, replaced my old one with it and installed the game. My flatmate's DVD drive is still in my computer (and my old one isn't); this (and installing the new game and whatever got installed along with it (something about .NET framework, I just clicked OK) is the only thing that has changed in the computer setup between my machine being stable and, well, the way it is now. I haven't removed the DVD drive, because it causing these problems seems impossible to me (it's not active when the problems occur, there isn't even a disc in it).

Symptoms that have appeared in the past few days (they all occur separately, seemingly independently of each other):

- My network connection stops working at random times. This always seems to occur when there's a lot of hard disk activity and (I think) the system resources are low (read: after playing LOTRO for a while, but it has also happened once during intense bittorrenting). Using "/ipconfig renew" at the command prompt gives a "file not found" error message, which sounds strange. Using the Repair option in Network Connections just fails. I need to reboot the machine to get my network connection working again.

- My sound device (some shitty sound chip integrated into the motherboard) stops working at random. It works at Windows startup, then dies at some point; this doesn't seem to be triggered by system load. This is more rare than the above scenario; it has only happened twice. I can still see the sound device listed in the Device Manager, but when I try to manage Sound settings in the control panel, all options for sound devices are grayed out: Windows seems to think I don't have a valid sound card. Again, only a reboot seems to fix this.

- My computer boots itself. This has only happened once, but it was worrying enough. It didn't seem to be triggered by anything: I was at the Windows desktop, moving the mouse. I got a SYSTEM SHUTDOWN window that informed me that a shutdown has been inititated by SYSTEM, and that I have 60 seconds to save my stuff. No reason was given.

- Windows kind of fails to start up. This has only happened once as well (within a time frame of maybe 4 days of trouble-ridden life). The whole startup process happened at a snail's pace, eventually the empty desktop opened up along with the mouse cursor, and that was it. Reboot needed.

I've dealt with virus infections in the past, although not on this computer, and the SYSTEM SHUTDOWN thing kind of sounds like one. But I have F-Secure anti-virus and firewall running, and they haven't alerted me of anything unusual. I did NOT have System Restore enabled, which I currently regret.

Any advice on what might be causing this, and how to fix it? I'd rather not have to reinstall Windows if I can avoid it; I haven't even seen my Windows XP installation discs in three years or so, have moved to a new flat twice in that time, and might end up having to buy a new Windows which I can't really afford.

TL;DR: Random irrepairable death of network connection, sound device. Weird shutdown incidents and startup difficulties. Not a completely computer illiterate owner, but still at a loss.

Bliss 101 on


  • IconoclysmIconoclysm Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Seems like it could be another power supply problem or maybe a dried out capacitor on the motherboard.
    Hope its the power supply, you wont need to reinstall XP if you have to replace that.
    Check your voltage levels in the BIOS 'system health' page (or whatever its called on your mb).
    If any are more than 10% off their correct levels a replacement PSU may be needed. eg. +/-12v should be between +/-10.8v and 13.4v.

    Iconoclysm on
  • JLM-AWPJLM-AWP Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Have you checked into drivers for the Dell DVD drive? Dell's hardware is often funky, and i've seen some weirder shit occur. After that, I would say its an issue with the power supply or something physical on the mobo. Best of luck.

    You might want to check dells sight for drivers for the dvd drive that came in your friends dell model. Windows may be trying to use a different driver to run it (i.e. The sound device driver).

    JLM-AWP on
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