Once more, I call upon the services of the PA technology boards for help with my technological inadequacies. Anyways, here's the deal:
I was playing Dawn of War 2 (which I play often at middling settings so as not to upset my delicate machine) when it freezes. This is not common, but not a huge cause for concern, or so I thought. I try to turn my computer back on, and it boots very slowly. Slow to the point of being impractical to use. I let it cool off, and try it again, in safe mode. I actually get to the desktop this time, but when I right clicked, the computer slowly froze and my motherboard emitted a loud BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. One, solid, beep, until I turned off the computer. Here are my hypotheses:
1. Processor overheated and something in it broke, now it only functions at really low temperatures (such as when my computer has been off for 15 minutes with the case open to air it out) and quits functioning once it heats up (like when I boot windows)
Actually that's about the only thing I can think of. If you guys could confirm this or possibly explain another way that this could have happened and help me fix it, I would be in your debt about 6 times over. One final thing I think could be useful to add is that my computer first boots to the BIOS, and it does that perfectly fine. I can monitor my CPU and system temperatures from there, in case you guys want temperature readings. Anyways, thanks.
Try taking a normal house fan, pointing at the side of the computer with the case open, and turning the computer on, to see if the additional air helps.
How long have you had the computer? It could be that the thermal compound between the HSF and the CPU has dried out to the point where it is no longer effective. You could try pulling the HSF off, removing the compound from the HSF and processor, and re-applying thermal compound.
I'd also try re-seating the video card and ram.
Do you have parts you can swap in/out to test to see if things are working(specifically ram and video card)?
Obviously only try things one at a time, so it's easier to narrow down the issue.
I've had the computer for a while, two and a half years now almost, and it is the first and only one I've ever built, so the application of the thermal paste could have been flawed, I'll try to redo that some time later today. I have no extra parts to test out, unfortunately.
Edit: I just discovered I don't own any fans.
I agree with wunderbar - this could be anything, not necessarily a heating issue. I wouldn't bet on heat, since the response of most computers to heat is to shut off, not to run slowly or freeze (although it can happen).
It would be good if you described exactly what the process of booting slowly looked like. Did it pass POST? Then what happened? Windows progress bar moving slowly across the screen?
Here's something to try, if you can - chuck a USB drive or a CD with some lightweight Linux distro at it and see if it starts.
First, when I power on my computer, I'm confronted with the POST - this is normal
Then, after I hit f1 to continue, I see the windows screen with the little blue bar under it. This screen generally passes, and then it goes to the little "enter password and username" dialogue box. Sometimes I can get past this one. If I do, the desktop won't load, or at least, it loads so slowly I've never actually seen it do it.
I'll try those linux ideas, but if my computer won't even boot into windows, why should it boot into any other OS?
edit: is the little blue bar unusually slow? Which part is slow?
Just in case my description "Little blue bar" isn't enough, here's the screen that I mean.
How is the next screen sluggish? Mouse unresponsive? Animations really slow? What's on this next screen anyway?
POST, then "little blue bar" screen, then the welcome screen (looks like this: http://www.windows-help-central.com/image-files/windows-xp-logon-screen.jpg ), then the desktop. It no longer makes it to the desktop, and I guess depending on how my computer is feeling it just decides to stop on any part of the boot sequence between the little blue bar and welcome screens. Sometimes the loading bar continues across forever, but has never actually stopped before. The mouse responds fine, but the one time I made it to the desktop (in safe mode), the entire thing froze when I right clicked. Other than the loading bar, there are really no animations to be observed otherwise.
You know you can turn the floppy drive off in the BIOS right? Then it wont' do that anymore.
Anyways, I was puttering around in the BIOS trying to boot from the CD, and I'm pretty sure that my computer operates perfectly fine in the BIOS, so maybe its a hard drive issue (please correct me if I jump to any stupid conclusions). Also, my keyboard is halfway unresponsive now. F1 works to boot it up, but nothing beyond that does. I'll work on this, but I'm going to add this to the list of things I'll probably need you guys to help me get through.
Update: I'm now running Ubuntu off a CD, and it works perfectly fine off the desktop. Does this mean it isn't a processor or RAM issue, but a hard drive thing? Also, I have the UBCD burned and I can run it in Ubuntu, I just don't know which tools to run. Any thoughts?
Update update: I'm now posting from my computer (the broken one). Here's the situation, so far as I understand it. I have two hard drives, and one is partitioned in to three chunks. None of these 3 chunks will open, and one of these three chunks contains windows. I take this to mean that this hard drive is somehow broken. All the programs that are operational are on my H drive, the still-functioning drive. This is a screencap of the error message I got:
Just remember to read all options carefully before selecting so you don't accidentally start installing over your existing drive; as I remember the XP disc can be quite cryptic.
Even if it's possible to avoid wiping, I usually do so anyway, as long as I have my stuff backed up already to another hard drive. An upgrade install always risks all sorts of complicated problems.
For one final question, what's some good freeware virus protection that I can get? I'm gonna get spybot search and destroy and keep windows firewall up for now. Is that adequate, or should I get something more substantial?
The windows firewall is good enough, and spybot is fine, though I'd also use Windows defender too, it's free.
Edit: I'm pretty sure right now that to fix this, I need a driver disc that came with my motherboard. Unfortunately, that disc is snapped in half on my table, and I have no idea how it happened. Also, the manufacturer (epox) appears to have discontinued driver services for that motherboard, so I think I'm kind of fucked.
2. download the drivers
3. copy to flash drive(or other media)
4. Boot to windows
5. install drivers
what's the motherboard model number? I'll bet a quick trip to google could find the appropriate drivers.