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Hi - My PC is unstable and I need help, because of this my hard drive corrupted after a freeze.

 

I need to prevent this happening when I purchase a new hard drive and to understand the cause of the problem.

 

I built my PC myself but have been experiencing the same problem ever since day 1.

 

MY PC SPEC:

- DFI Lanparty nF4 SLI-DR Expert Motherboard

- AMD Athlon 64 bit x2 Dual Core Processor +4400 Processor

- Northbridge Heatsink

- GeFORCE 7800 GTX Graphics Card (PCI EXPRESS, 256MB)

- Geil 4GB RAM (x4 1GB PC3200 DDR400)

- SONY Double Layer DVD R/RW DRU-700A

- Scythe Ninja Heatsink

- Greenerger SSN Technology Design Power Supply Unit

- Hard Drive – Maxtor drive just corrupted - I will be purchasing new IDE HDD...

- Operating System - Vista

 

Problem:

When I switch my PC on and get into Windows the PC runs absolutely fine for a period of 5-10 minutes then it freezes. It happens in both XP and Vista. This freeze halts my mouse completely, I cannot use the keyboard (and if sound is playing it cuts the sound to one long never ending sound). The only way to restore the system is to reboot via the reset or on/off button on the front of the computer case.

 

When I reboot, just after the option to get into the BIOS, a DOS style message appears which says that the PC did not shut down properly then it counts down from 30 seconds before it loads Windows up again. After the second boot-up the system runs perfectly and will not freeze again until I leave the PC off for a long time and the components cool down again.

If I shut the PC down over night and turn it on the next day the PC again will follow this pattern – boot up, freeze, I will re-boot and then it is fine.

 

The components of my PC were so loud I took steps to reduce the noise, im sure you appreciate that it was driving me nuts. I bought a fanless heat sink and a fanless Northbridge heat sink and installed them. The case has no fans and the Power Supply Unit has a large loud fan pointing onto the Motherboard and Graphics Card which is adjustable – I normally leave this off as it is loud too.

 

I want to just emphasise that this problem was happening even when the case/processor/power supply fans were working at a maximum speed previously so I do not think this problem is because of cooling, although the freeze always happens after a cold first bootup.

 

Recently it froze again and during the second bootup a DOS message appeared saying A disk error occurred, Press Ctrl, Alt and Delete. I put this drive into a USB enclose to try to save files and move them onto a laptop but even though it recognised the drive, the laptop could not ‘explore’ the drive and asked me to format the drive.

 

My problem is not the drive (it was old anyway and I will replace it)... it is what causes these random freezes?

 

Any analysis on this problem is appreciated - I am at my wits end!

 

Thankyou

 

Paul

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Hmmm...I have an old 600W PSU that I could try.

 

Thinking about it, if my PSU is not powerful enough then why, after a second boot-up does my PC does not freeze again and runs normally (!?) Is this a typical PSU symptom?

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A 450W power supply is WAY under-powered for your rig. You need to upgrade to a quality 550W or higher PSU with a minimum of 26A on the 12V rail as soon as you can, even if it isn't the primary reason for your system freezes (but as Paul has pointed out - it certainly could be part of the problem).

 

Have you ran Memtest and Orthos stress tests to confirm system stability?

 

Are all three power connectors attached to the board?

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Unfortunately I cannot test my PC until I buy a new hard drive and get my PC going again.

 

I ran a Memtest when I first built it - as far as I remember the results came back without errors. I have never heard of an Orthos stress test though. I am sure there has got to be another reason for the freeze though, just because it works fine after a second boot-up and goes without freezing until I switch it off.

 

The hard drive that the freeze corrupted was a Maxtor 120GB ATA 16C, and I purchased it about 7 years ago - can the old hard drive be contributing to this crash? (Is 7 years old for a HDD?)

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Certainly the hdd could be the problem. Since hard drives are still mechanical they are one of the most prone pieces of a computer to fail. In your situation I would suspect either the power supply, system instability or a hdd that is fixing to take a poop.

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I now understand the PSU could be a major cause of this problem and will check this-thanks everyone.

 

Also, could cooling contribute to this problem as well? I made my PC vitually fanless (to silence it) but the PC is used in a fairly warm room so I am sure that the components are not as cool as they could/should be.

 

Wevsspot, can you clarify further on the 'system instability' that you say you would suspect? What do you mean by this and what checks would you do?

 

Thanks for your help - I dont want to ruin another HDD (!)

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System instability could be caused by heat related issues.

 

Some of the best tools for checking system stability;

 

Memtest

Orthos or Dual Prime95

OCCT

3DMark Series

various hard drive diagnostics tools depending on your drive manufacturer

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