Computer keeps freezing

  Gaz W 22:55 30 Mar 2004

I have a very unusual problem with my PC that has only started within the last few weeks, but has only really started to annoy me in the last two days.

I apologise in advance, because this will probably be the longest posting ever...

I can't pinpoint exactly when this happens. Often it's happened when I've been logging on to Windows (lots of hard disk activity), although it has happened these past 2 days when the computer has been inactive.

Basically, I hear a click (like the power cutting out) coming from the power supply - the same noise you sometimes hear from the PSU when switching off, and then the hard drive light stays on at the front and the mouse only moves really slowly, i.e. if I drag the mouse 10 cm along the table it takes ages before it will appear in its new position elsewhere on the screen. In effect it has actually frozen because Ctrl + Alt + Delete causes everything to disappear (except background/wallpaper if present), so the only way out is to reset.

To make it more complicated, sometimes this click happens and the computer will carry on functioning, but will ultimately crash.

It seems to have been happening more if I leave the computer, and when I come back to it I find it in the state mentioned above. My first thought was maybe it's some sort of power management that's going on, but on checking in Control Panel I found nothing was set to switch off or whatever. Also when the problem occurs all fans are spinning.

Here is a list of my specs (basically everything):

Verre V770K System Case (without standard PSU)
550W Dual Fan (adjustable speed) Power Supply
Abit AT7-Max2 Motherboard (o/b sound & LAN)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (333 FSB)
512MB DDR333
ATi Radeon 9600 Pro 128MB TV/DVI Out
Serial ATA to IDE adapter (Serielle or something)
40GB Maxtor 7200rpm ATA133 Hard Drive
12x Artec DVD-ROM Drive
52x24x52 Samsung CD-RW
Nebula DigiTV PCI
Akasa Blue Neon Light

I also have front USB ports and audio connections on the front, which I'm sure won't make any difference as they've worked fine for 6 months.

Have been using the computer a while and it's survived long enough for me to type this! Any ideas what is causing the problem?

  Gaz W 23:16 30 Mar 2004

Sorry about the layout of the specs - I did press Enter for a new line but it's not worked!

Also I am going to try it with another keyboard tomorrow - this is an old Dell PS/2 one and sometimes it locks up and has to be unplugged/plugged back in before it will work again! I don't think it'll be the problem though because usually the keyboard still works when this happens.

  Gaz W 23:58 30 Mar 2004

Just managed to half replicate the problem - started AVG to scan for viruses (hard disk activity) and the power supply clicked once, but the PC didn't freeze. I'm here typing now and it is probably due to freeze or click again before freezing!

Just clicked again - posting response now.

  Gaz W 00:03 31 Mar 2004

I've just made the worrying discovery that the clicking is in fact the hard disk - it's just done it again and this time I was near the case.

Does this mean my hard disk is on its way out?

  User-312386 00:08 31 Mar 2004

can you give us the mobo temps and cpu temps?

  Gaz W 01:06 31 Mar 2004


Thanks for the reply!

I'm not quite sure how I'd be able to do this from within Windows since I've not got any software for that - it's possible I might be able to from the BIOS, but...

I did a google search along the lines of Maxtor hard disk clicking and got a result that perfectly described the symptoms I have - the hard drive is clicking. What was said was it sounds like a mechanical failure! If this is the case I'm stuck for backing up my TV recordings because every time the hard drive has to do too much it locks up.

Unfortunately, I have lost the page as the computer froze! However it would certainly explain the problem I am having with Windows freezing and hardly being able to move the mouse pointer!

I am still using the computer now and it's going OK at the moment, but I don't know what to do.

Will I be able to install Windows XP Pro (OEM) on another drive or will Microsoft want me to buy a brand new copy? Will I be able to activate it a second time without trouble?

By the way if it is this I have been considering a hard drive upgrade and will get a 200GB Serial ATA one.

  User-312386 01:10 31 Mar 2004

have you gone into safe mode to see if the problem is still there?

  Gaz W 01:15 31 Mar 2004

no haven't tried that - will do now but i imagine it will still be :(

  Gaz W 01:36 31 Mar 2004

Right - tried going into safe mode, but it happened on the way in - probably due to the amount of disk activity, so couldn't go into Safe Mode.

Had also scheduled chkdsk for bootup, and this wouldn't complete either!

It is definitely getting gradually worse, so I think I can assume the worst that it is indeed a mechanical fault with the drive.

I'm not using the computer now - I have it switched off and I think it's probably best I leave it off for the moment.

How long is the usual warranty on Maxtor hard drives and does it apply to the OEM ones? If I can get any money at all back I will!

  The Spires 01:50 31 Mar 2004

When I had a Western Digital drive go with very similar symptoms, it was replaced without question. I simply typed the serial number in on the support page, a lablel was there for printing I posted it to Germany & in just over a week I had a replacement which is still undeer warranty.

  The Spires 01:52 31 Mar 2004

click here I think this is the page you want.

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