Computer Problems

Radikal_DreamerRadikal_Dreamer Registered User regular
About 2 or so years ago we bought my wife an HP Pavilion desktop computer to replace her old one. About 6 or so months ago now it started crashing. This happened immediately following a windows update. The crashes had little graphical errors and a pink tint and then went straight to a blue screen stop error and a restart. For a few days it would only happen once in a while, so she didn't really care, but soon it got so bad and started boot-looping that she tried to fix it. Well, more like Windows itself tried to fix it for her, but its repair options and restore options it wanted to do did nothing at all. So she used the option to restore the computer to factory settings. This didn't work, either. It kept getting the pink tinted screen and crashing.

I tried to mess with the graphics drivers, and a few others after that, and nothing worked, so fearing a hardware problem, I gave it to a friend of mine that knows how to fix computers. He used to be part of the geek squad, and is generally just pretty good with these things. He took it for about a month and ran tests on all the hardware. He couldn't find anything wrong at all physically. His theory was then that HP made an update that wrote to the recovery partition, and that's why we couldn't completely restore the computer to factory settings without the error popping up.

So his suggestion was to wipe the computer and put Windows 7 on it, since that would give an HP-less install. So we go and plunk down our 200 bucks hoping this would fix our 1000+ dollar brick. Well, it doesn't. After about 10 retries in installing windows (it would always crash at the point you need to put in your info, right after installing and then boot-loop for a while), we got it on and we thought it was working. It worked almost all night that night, until about 6 hours later the screen tinted mostly pink and got kind of funky and it crashed again. After that I tried reinstalling the graphics card drivers, and it worked then for 2 days with only two probles, one after waking it from standby and another of the typical pink tint and blue screen crashes came at the end of one night. What's weird about that night is that she played The Sims 3 for about hours with no hitch, and I played Torchlight for a little bit, and after that while on the desktop doing literally nothing is when it crashed. The day after that it was fine. Well now yesterday it went completely bonkers and started boot-looping again.

Now I've got it working completely fine for her with one exception: It only works with the graphics drivers completely uninstalled. Nothing happens at all then. There are no crashes, and it runs great. Only problem is that she can't play her games, and it doesn't look too pretty either. I'm not sure how telling this is, but in fact throughout this entire process safe mode has worked 100% flawlessly. I'm not sure how much hardware problems affect safe mode, but it was very much working fine.

For information sake the computer is an HP Pavilion m9040n, and it has a Geforce 8400gs graphics card.

What can I do to get her thousand dollar not-quite-brick back up and running The Sims and stuff for her?

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Posts

  • SeeksSeeks Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Buy a new video card. Doesn't even have to be great (other than good enough to run her games).

    I'm not an expert, but this has "video card bullshit" written all over it to me. I've got an ATI with heating problems of its own; I can't play Mass Effect 2 for more than about 20 minutes before everything hard crashes. I might suggest setting the fan speed really high and the "refresh rate" (or whatever) low manually, but if it's crashing with something as low-maintenance as Aero on multiple, unrelated Windows installs... I'd say it's time to get rid of that thing.

    Seeks on
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  • Radikal_DreamerRadikal_Dreamer Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Seeks wrote: »
    Buy a new video card. Doesn't even have to be great (other than good enough to run her games).

    I'm not an expert, but this has "video card bullshit" written all over it to me. I've got an ATI with heating problems of its own; I can't play Mass Effect 2 for more than about 20 minutes before everything hard crashes. I might suggest setting the fan speed really high and the "refresh rate" (or whatever) low manually, but if it's crashing with something as low-maintenance as Aero on multiple, unrelated Windows installs... I'd say it's time to get rid of that thing.

    I was mostly thinking that same thing, and was going to use this thread to then ask what exactly I could buy that would fit in this computer and work with the power supply. But the other thing that gets me is that it's never ever crashed during a game. You'd think if it were a hardware problem it'd do it during more intensive activities. It seems to happen 90% of the time right after starting windows and trying to open the first thing or just after opening that first program. And the other 10% of the time is still on the desktop.


    Also, how do I muck with refresh rate and fan speed settings?

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  • SeeksSeeks Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Hmm, that is a little strange. The safemode thing still makes me think the video card is being taxed unduly (or it's just shit). Who knows, maybe Aero just has weird effects on your card. You could try turning it off, or booting a linux live CD and testing out the compositing on that - granted, that's a large download for simple testing purposes, so it might not be a prudent use of your time.

    As for screwing around with the settings, if you've got an ATI card you should have the Catalyst Control Center installed. Using that, you can adjust the speed of the card (sort of reverse-overclocking) and the fan.

    For NVidia, I have no clue, but there's probably something similar.


    If you do eventually decide to replace the video card and are concerned about power supplies and decent current video cards, you'll want to hit up the Computer Build Thread and ask around there.

    Seeks on
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  • XantusXantus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    the reason it doesnt crash in safemode is that safemode doesn't load full video drivers, just standard vga ones. so it's not really using the hardware acceleration on the card.'

    this is definitely bad hardware. these problems can be intermittent and don't always have to happen under stress.

    this would be a cheap replacement to get some better performance.

    or any pcie card that doesnt require a 6-pin power connector (or you could get one with a connector and just get a molex->6pin adapter.

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  • Radikal_DreamerRadikal_Dreamer Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Xantus wrote: »
    the reason it doesnt crash in safemode is that safemode doesn't load full video drivers, just standard vga ones. so it's not really using the hardware acceleration on the card.'

    this is definitely bad hardware. these problems can be intermittent and don't always have to happen under stress.

    this would be a cheap replacement to get some better performance.

    or any pcie card that doesnt require a 6-pin power connector (or you could get one with a connector and just get a molex->6pin adapter.

    Wow, I have no idea what that last sentence even means :lol:

    Anyway, thanks for the advice. We'll probably get another video card then, I guess. Would that card work on my computer for sure? I know some cards require more bigger power supplies and space and stuff. Is that one my best option, or just the cheapest? What would be recommended? I mean if I'm going to buy a video card I might want to splurge a little just to get something better.

    Radikal_Dreamer on
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  • XantusXantus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    yeah that card I posted definitely doesnt have the extra power connector on it. that one was a cheap upgrade... you could even get the same card you have now for cheaper. like 30 bucks.

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  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    doing a bit of googling that model only came with a 300w power supply, so your not going to be able to go too crazy on a new vid card unless you also upgrade the power supply (which is actually really easy normaly).

    not that you need anything that great for a vid card if all it's being used for is some casual gaming, and just about anything will beat that 8400gs for performance.

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  • Radikal_DreamerRadikal_Dreamer Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I suppose I don't need anything too powerful. The wife mostly just plays the Sims 3 and a bunch of older games, and she'll probably play Age of Empires 3 that I just picked up for 10 cents. I use the computer for gaming, too, though since my computer's a mac. As long as we can play most games I guess it's cool. I'm not really a graphics whore or anything. Anything even slightly better than console-graphics is really awesome. I would love it if I could get some of that high res PS2 action going on there, but I'm not sure what something like that really requires either. Also, would Final Fantasy 14 run on something like that?

    But just out of morbid curiosity, what is the biggest upgrade I could make with that same power supply?

    What am I even looking for anyway, while looking for video cards? I'm a complete and utter newb at this type of stuff.

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  • XeddicusXeddicus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    You can run a ATI Radeon 512MB 4670 of some flavor just fine with a 300 watt power supply I know. That will run anything you throw at it most likely, some lowering of details here and there possibly. Newegg seem to only have 1GB models now, so may be hard to track down 512, but I'd say it be fine still assuming you're not trying to Crossfire them or anything. Which you aren't. :)

    Here's a handy list of cards in relation to each other: Higher on the chart the better, but you need one that doesn't require a power supply connection, PCI-E port powered only. I think the 5670 is the best in that category, but haven't tried one.

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  • Radikal_DreamerRadikal_Dreamer Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Xeddicus wrote: »
    You can run a ATI Radeon 512MB 4670 of some flavor just fine with a 300 watt power supply I know. That will run anything you throw at it most likely, some lowering of details here and there possibly. Newegg seem to only have 1GB models now, so may be hard to track down 512, but I'd say it be fine still assuming you're not trying to Crossfire them or anything. Which you aren't. :)

    Here's a handy list of cards in relation to each other: Higher on the chart the better, but you need one that doesn't require a power supply connection, PCI-E port powered only. I think the 5670 is the best in that category, but haven't tried one.

    So this ATI Radeon 512 MB 4670 at Tigerdirect will work fine? Thanks for the chart. All these names and numbers a pretty darned confusing. I'm definitely bookmarking that chart.

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  • XeddicusXeddicus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Yeah, it should. Working fine for me with a 300 watt PSU for a year now. Don't know about BioStar, though, so keep the receipt handy I guess, just in case.

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  • Radikal_DreamerRadikal_Dreamer Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Xeddicus wrote: »
    Yeah, it should. Working fine for me with a 300 watt PSU for a year now. Don't know about BioStar, though, so keep the receipt handy I guess, just in case.

    Wait a sec... I was looking over that page again and it says it needs a 500 watt PSU minimum.

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  • XeddicusXeddicus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    It says that, yeah, but it's only drawing power from the PCI-E slot and that can only supply 300 watts, period. And realistically it never needs to. Here's an article on the 4670's power draw. But if you're not comfortable you can always get a new PSU too.

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  • QuantuxQuantux Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Video has definitely failed. Or the power supply has failed and the video chip-set can't draw enough to init the badass 3D engine the driver wants. I see it looks like there's on-board video available as well. To stave off the cost of a new card and what not; completely uninstall any nvidia video drivers, pull the existing card and use that lovely Intel 3100 (you may have to enable in bios first, but my guess is it'll just work). If you start seeing issues with that, look to power supply replacement. If the case is big enough, get a 4-500 watt quality PS and a better card.

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  • KaimakaKaimaka Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Can I share this thread? it is titled 'Computer Problems', My Blu-Ray drive appears to be poked. I was writing a DVD that was taking a while so I left it going while I was out the house. When I came home my monitor was off, red light, I wiggled the mouse and the monitor came on, green light, but the image remained black so I could see jack. I hit the power button which usually trigger a proper shut down sequence rather than just cutting the power off but that did not appear to work so I hit reset. When the computer was booted up again it would not recognise there was an optical drive present at all, it should have shown my recently burnt disc. The physical eject button on the actual drive does not do anything now so I needed to paper clip the drive open the button does not close it either. So it appears my Blu-Ray drive is poked as it does absolutely nothing but blink a blue light which i guess is it "I'm busted signal"

    I was using the default Disc Burning thing in Nautilus with Ubuntu 10.4 when I had to restart the PC. that should not matter as the disc should have been done by then, although looking at the bottom of the disc it appears only half written

    Windows 7 can't use the Blu-Ray drive either so it is not a Linux issue

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  • XeddicusXeddicus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Sounds like you have it figured out. You can pop in another drive of some kind to see if it sees that one if you have one handy, but if everything else is working fine...

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