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Computer crapped out on me

Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
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.

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    wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    temperature readings would be good. It could be anything really, CPU, motherboard, ram, or video card, and is not necessarily a heating issue.

    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.

    wunderbar on
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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The CPU normally runs at around 130 degrees when its under a load, but I've noticed slowdown at 100-110 now. I'm almost positive it isn't the video card, I just got a new one (on the recommendation of this forum) that has handled most games perfectly fine. I don't know what the symptoms are of failing RAM, so I guess it could be that.

    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.

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    logic7logic7 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    sounds like you have bad caps on the board. Check for leaky, bulging, or tilted electrolytic caps around the processor socket.

    logic7 on
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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Despite the fact that I've never heard of an electrolytic cap before today, I looked them up on wikipedia and google images and figured out what a busted one looked like. None of mine appear to be physically damaged, as far as I can tell. I'll try the house fan idea and see how that works out.

    Edit: I just discovered I don't own any fans.

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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Spoom182 wrote: »
    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.

    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.

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
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    travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    To add to the above, go snag the UBCD, Knoppix or Ubuntu. All three allow booting off the cd. The first provides a host of diagnostic tools. The latter two provide a GUI desktop at the end which will provide additional information about your system stability once it is booted into an OS.

    travathian on
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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I'll try and describe in as much detail as possible the booting process:

    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?

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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Because it might be a Windows problem rather than a hardware problem, or a hard-disk problem, and so on.

    edit: is the little blue bar unusually slow? Which part is slow?

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The blue loading bar moves at a normal speed, but it either stays stuck on that screen, or goes to the next one and is unresponsive / horrendously sluggish.

    Just in case my description "Little blue bar" isn't enough, here's the screen that I mean.

    http://www.microsoft.com/library/media/1033/windowsxp/images/using/setup/support/68224windows-logo-loading.gif

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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Wait, so sometimes it stays at the Windows XP blue bar screen forever, with the little bar continually moving across? And sometimes it continues on?

    How is the next screen sluggish? Mouse unresponsive? Animations really slow? What's on this next screen anyway?

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
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    travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Why do you have to hit F1 to continue? What is the error stopping the POST?

    travathian on
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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The reason I have to hit f1 is just because I never put a floppy drive in the computer. I guess the post doesn't detect one and thinks there's something wrong, so it runs the whole hardware diagnostic and says something like "floppy drive not detected." Either way, it's not really a part of this problem. The boot sequence that I go through, hopefully more clearly explained this time, is:

    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.

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    wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Spoom182 wrote: »
    The reason I have to hit f1 is just because I never put a floppy drive in the computer. I guess the post doesn't detect one and thinks there's something wrong, so it runs the whole hardware diagnostic and says something like "floppy drive not detected."

    You know you can turn the floppy drive off in the BIOS right? Then it wont' do that anymore.

    wunderbar on
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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    To be honest, I didn't know that, but I kind of liked it. I thought it looked cool.

    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:
    http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/982/screenshotmza.png

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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Do you have an Windows XP/Vista/7 install disc? Pop it in, go to Recovery Console/whatever, then run chkdsk /r on your hard drives. A bad sector here or there from the hard shutdown could explain the sluggishness and slow booting behavior (but not why the computer hung to begin with, but that may be just Dawn of War, from what I remember of Relic's games. Pretty and all, but not very stable).

    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.

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Alright, I'll try that as soon as I get the chance, and post back in here with the results. I apologize if I've been exasperatingly vague in my descriptions or otherwise noobish. I really appreciate the help.

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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Before I even had the opportunity to run the chkdsk /r command, the POST informed me that one of the hard drives was no longer operational. So now that it's out of the realm of guesswork, I'm going to install windows on the remaining good hard drive. Do I need to wipe the drive clean, before I do that? The only other time I've installed windows was on these drives before there was anything on them.

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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Depends what's on the drive.

    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.

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Well, my computer is up and running again. Now I need to begin the long pain in the ass process of getting new drivers, virus protection, etc. But I really want to thank everyone who helped out one more time, I would have probably just gotten a new processor at the start and effectively wasted 150 or so bucks without your help.

    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?

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    wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I'd recomment Avast! for anti-virus at least until Microsoft takes their own free AV software out of beta.

    The windows firewall is good enough, and spybot is fine, though I'd also use Windows defender too, it's free.

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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Alright I guess my quest isn't over yet, because I can't access the internet. Quite honestly I've got no idea why this should be, since this morning I was using the same computer to browse the internet on Ubuntu. I looked in a box where I kept all the extra shit from when I was building my PC, and found no drivers that appeared to be able to help. Any thoughts?

    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.

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    wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    1. go to the motherboard manufacturer's website in ubuntu
    2. download the drivers
    3. copy to flash drive(or other media)
    4. Boot to windows
    5. install drivers
    6. Profit

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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I looked on their website, unfortunately, they don't have any of the drivers for that motherboard any longer. I'm going to contact their tech support later tonight, I hope it works.

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    wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Spoom182 wrote: »
    I looked on their website, unfortunately, they don't have any of the drivers for that motherboard any longer. I'm going to contact their tech support later tonight, I hope it works.

    what's the motherboard model number? I'll bet a quick trip to google could find the appropriate drivers.

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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    It's an Epox AF590 SLI2 motherboard. I tried google, the only place that appeared to have them was a website where you had to pay to be a member, and I'm not sure I'm that desperate yet.

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    Spoom182Spoom182 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I have found in the past few days the EPoX is going out of business, so am I just out of luck on these drivers, or is there a place where I can get them? So far I've been unable to locate anything on Google, are there other resources for finding drivers that I can search through?

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