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Old 03-21-2006, 01:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
Location: PA
Anyone Experience these symptoms?

1. Boot PC
2. PC gets to Windows XP logo, and freezes right after the logo disappears.
3. Hit Restart button.
2. PC boots, goes to logon screen, and freezes again.
4. Hit Restart button again.
5. PC boots, goes to logon screen, I logon, and then it freezes just as
the desktop starts to show.
6. Hit Restart button again, PC boots and runs normally, without a problem.

It just started doing this, and I couldn't find a virus or anything, so I reformatted the machine, only to my dismay it didn't solve any problems at all.

Could the CMOS battery be the culprit here? I'm curious because I've never replaced it, and the battery on the board is over a year old.


OS: Windows XP PRO, SP2. Fully updated
CPU: Intel P4 @ 3.2GHz
RAM: 1.5 GB PC 2700
GFX: BFG 256 MB AGP 8x running Nvidea GEForce 6200 OC Chipset.
Board: ASUS P4C800-E
HDD: Maxtor 120 GB 7200RPM PATA
PSU: 450W (I forget the brand)

Running McAfee Internet security 2006, fully updated.

I do not have any parts of the machine overclocked.

Any help is appreciated, thank you all!
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
sashime76's Avatar
Location: Hoosier State
How many sticks of RAM have you installed? 2 or 3? Leave only one stick and try to boot up. One of them might be faulty. If you have an air compressor, spray out the dust on the fans, power supply. If you have spare hard drive, try installing, booting from it. There are just too many varaiables in a PC and can all cause hang ups like your've described.
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
Location: PA
yes it's very annoying. I have 3 sticks of RAM right now. If I put the machine in standby mode, it will do the same thing, if it stands by for long enough.
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Old 03-21-2006, 05:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
shakran's Avatar
I'd be surprised if it was the battery. Generally a dead battery just means the clock is wrong, and the computer takes longer to boot up because it loses the memory of what devices you have.

I'm guessing ram as well, although it could definitely be heat.
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Old 03-21-2006, 06:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
Mine is an evil laugh
spindles's Avatar
Location: Sydney, Australia
1 more vote for "ram is most likely culprit"
who hid my keyboard's PANIC button?
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Old 03-21-2006, 06:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
AquaFox's Avatar
i vote for it being bill gate's fault

.... the ram does seem like it could be it

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Old 03-22-2006, 05:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
steveincolumbus's Avatar
Location: BFE, Kentucky
My guess would be the power supply
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Old 03-22-2006, 10:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
Location: PA
I like the Bill Gates is to blame reason hahahaha.

Hmm... RAM eh? I noticed a couple other things today, when I tried to watch a DVD on the machine, it kept locking up as well, along with when I tried to play WarCraft III.

I'll have to pull the RAM sticks out one by one and see what happens. Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-23-2006, 12:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
Location: St. Louis
I had a problem somewhat like this a month or so back, although only in a specialized case. Whenever I'd run a somewhat intensive 3D game (Half-Life 2, The Sims 2, even Civilization), the computer would lock up after a few minutes. After tearing my hair out trying all sorts of software solutions, I finally cracked open the case and took a look inside. Turned out the fan on my video card had bit the dust (heh), and the card was overheating and crapping out. Bought a new fan for 15 bucks, installed it, and no more problems.

Don't know if this applies here, as your problem seems more general, but I thought I'd throw it out there. It does definitely sound hardware related though.
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Old 03-23-2006, 03:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
Location: Melbourne, Australia
If you have a virus or spyware which is triggered on logon by a registry key (ie a computer setting)


that file has been removed by an antivirus program or similar

...then... you might see something like this. IMHO.

If you believe this theory, I found a program called "Autoruns Utility" which is useful. "HijackThis" is also interesting.

In my case with a similar problem - I was able to remove the offending entry by running in safe mode, or perhaps it was from another login account, I can't remember the exact details.
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Old 03-24-2006, 09:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
Location: PA
Sounds good where can I get this Autoruns Utility?
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Old 03-24-2006, 10:23 AM   #12 (permalink)
Darth Papa
ratbastid's Avatar
Location: Yonder
Go download <a href="http://www.memtest86.com/">memtest86</a>. Sounds to me like dying ram.
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Old 03-24-2006, 01:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
MexicanOnABike's Avatar
Location: up north
possible dead powersupply? i like that it's the only thing that every fucks up on my pcs.
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Old 03-24-2006, 05:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Ah. I just checked. Looks like I got it of www.sysinternals.com

They have a few neat utilities there by the way. Fairly technical site though (it's been around since early NT days).
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Old 03-25-2006, 01:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
Very Insignificant Pawn
Location: Amsterdam, NL
If the PC takes awhile to stablize, like 5 to 10 minutes, in my experience this has always been a RAM module problem.
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Old 03-25-2006, 04:52 PM   #16 (permalink)
sashime76's Avatar
Location: Hoosier State
If you get your system up and running, try Sisoft Sandra and run the burn-in test for at least a 24 hour duration. Sounds like your system is fairly new with a fresh installation of Win XP. I'm still banking on one of the hardware components, RAM / Power Supply. Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2006, 02:50 AM   #17 (permalink)
Location: PA
I'm going to give it a shot here. It will only boot in safe mode now, so the problem is getting worse progressively. If I can actually get it to boot and not lock up, which it is doing at random intervals now, I'll try to run a test on the RAM and see what's happening. I'm just using my laptop right now, and haven't had much time. This just hasn't been a good week for me, the PC died, and the engine decided to blow up in my car two days ago! *sigh*

Thanks again to the TFP members
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Old 03-26-2006, 03:01 AM   #18 (permalink)
Location: PA
Ratbastid I've never ran this memtest 86, do I have to make a bootable CD in order to run the program?
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Old 03-26-2006, 03:06 AM   #19 (permalink)
Location: PA
Nimetec, I checked out that site, and you're right, there's a ton of stuff there worth checking out. Sorry, it's late and I'm too lazy to edit my messages, so I'm being a post whore at the moment
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Old 03-27-2006, 04:58 AM   #20 (permalink)
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Is ok. I'm tired also (after midnight here).

Some useful utilities to catch there are process explorer (it gives you a tree) - and heaps more than MS task manager. And... one or more of the filesystem monitors. I can't remember which I use - but occasionally I need to find out which files are open by what programs.

Sysinternals was famous originally for NTFS4DOS.. back in the late 90s. Mind you, I think it was called NT internals back then.
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Old 03-27-2006, 06:24 AM   #21 (permalink)
<3 TFP
xepherys's Avatar
Location: 17TLH2445607250
It could be a flakey Windows install, too. If a core system file gets corrupted, all kinds of strange things can happen to your system. Reinstall windows (even on top of itself). If there's still an issue, I'll toss in my vote for RAM.
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Old 03-27-2006, 12:14 PM   #22 (permalink)
beauty in the breakdown
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Originally Posted by KrazyKracka
Ratbastid I've never ran this memtest 86, do I have to make a bootable CD in order to run the program?
Yes, though you can make a bootable floppy disk too. Either way, you make some sort of bootable disk and boot to it, and then let it run its tests. Make sure to let it run through all the way at least once, preferably multiple times. If it comes back with even one error, something is screwy with the memory.
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."
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Old 03-27-2006, 02:40 PM   #23 (permalink)
Very Insignificant Pawn
Location: Amsterdam, NL
People replying, please note that after a few minutes the system is stable.

Almost certainly a ram problem.
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:11 PM   #24 (permalink)
Not so great lurker
Location: NY
If the ram checks out, the next step that I would do is to try is to run a "chkdsk /r" I've seen a bad sector on the hd get randomly hit because of swap file usage usually causing lockups or blue screens (usually blue screens tho). Either way once you fix the ram, it's not a bad idea to let windows check out the files (especially the system files) to ttry to fix up the system without doing another reinstall.
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:03 PM   #25 (permalink)
Location: PA
Will do. I'm going to get on it tonight, make a disk and run that memtest program. I'll let you guys know what I find!
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Old 03-29-2006, 09:38 AM   #26 (permalink)
Very Insignificant Pawn
Location: Amsterdam, NL
KrazyKracka, from your first post you indicate the PC takes a few minutes to stabilise. If you have memory that has to "heat up" before
it works, a memory test will not point to the problem.

If you can run the test from DOS, quickly, it may show the memory problem. Let the PC completely cool down before testing.

Good luck.
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Old 03-29-2006, 11:41 PM   #27 (permalink)
Location: PA
I must be a dumbass, I can't get this program to work (memtest86)

I don't have a floppy drive on this machine, nor do I have one anywhere in my apartment, but I can't get the damn thing to write to a CD for booting. *sigh*.

is there a memtest86 for dummies anywhere?
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:15 PM   #28 (permalink)
Not so great lurker
Location: NY
Assuming that you d/l the Iso image from here http://www.memtest86.com/#download0
I'm assuming that you got the zip version, then unzipped the iso image.
After that you should just be able to burn the iso (in nero the option would be something like burn disk from image file). And then boot off the cd that you created. If something else is/isn't happening, just post and someone should be able to figure out what is wrong.
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Old 04-03-2006, 06:11 PM   #29 (permalink)
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experience, symptoms

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