Can anyone help with this nightmare?

  Dalston 17:57 02 Sep 2003

PC Nightmare!

Does anyone have any ideas what the problem may be? I can usually diagnose most problems but this is baffling me! Before I invest in any new parts I need to know what is the most likely problem area!

I have a custom built 2nd PC which is sufficient for it?s job, even though it is not the fastest machine on the earth. I definitely want to get it going again so any help will be gratefully received! It has the following main bits inside:

K7ZVA Motherboard
AMD Duron 850mhz
Hercules 4000XT 32mb Graphics Card
Hurcules Gamesurround Fortissimo II Sound Card
640mb PC133 SDRAM
Windows XP Home
Running a single ADSL Connection via a Fujitsu External Modem

I have been having the following problems. The PC will generally start up ok and can in the main and provides me with a short amount of use before things start to go wrong. In nutshell, things start to freeze up! When connected to the internet, the connection will drop and the modem light will go out. The PC still reports an active connection even though it is not. I can still use the PC for a short while before other things lock up. When I go to shutdown, it does not do it properly and I have to switch off doing the dreaded press and hold the power button!

Even without an internet connection, it still bombs out after a short time. The modem light will go out as before ? it is though there is some kind of power supply problem. The modem is ?powered? by USB.

Now, I know I have mentioned internet connections and modems a lot in the opening salvo, however, I suspect that there could be one of two things ? PSU problems or that I am in the early stages of a motherboard collapse.

There are two other symptoms. Firstly, once I have shut down by using the power button, I have to wait for a good couple of minutes before the PC will fire up again! Secondly, my monitor was tending to flicker when I was using my PC.

I have suspected the my HDD may be a little unreliable, but Seagate drives are usually so damn good so I don?t believe that is the case. Can anyone help me??

Any comments or suggestions welcome or I will supply more info if required!


  Legolas 18:14 02 Sep 2003

A couple of things I would suggest

1) Sometimes a faulty memory stick can cause instability in the system so you could check that.

2) Have you checked the temperature of the CPU and the M/B as high temperatures can also cause instability.

Just a couple of thoughts.

  Diemmess 18:33 02 Sep 2003

Going one jump ahead with Legolas

If any part is too hot then pay some attention to the fan concerned.

It really does make a huge difference to have clean fan blades. Truly amazing how the build-up of caked dust will destroy the fan's ability to move air.

Remedy: With everything switched off take a nice artist's paintbrush and sweep off all the accumulated dust

  Newuser38 18:34 02 Sep 2003

I think it could be psu. Have you tried using search above. There have been quite a lot of similar threads.

I had similar, but not exactly same with my old HP. Fixed with new psu.

  da vej 19:48 02 Sep 2003

just an idea - try using windows task manager and the process option to see if there is any program causing problems

  phredd 22:10 02 Sep 2003

Try checking all power and card connections by disconnecting and reconnecting just in case it is a loose or dirty connection. Include memory sticks and the edge connector to the motherboard if you feel competent to go that far.

  Dalston 08:00 03 Sep 2003

Thanks very much for all your suggestions.

I opened the PC up again last night and checked that the fans on the CPU, PSU and Graphics card were all whizzing around. There was quite a bit of dust so I will have a good clean up tonight.

When I made the original post, I had not attacked the problem for a while, and trying again last night, I booted up and tested whether it was application based or if I just left it alone, it would be OK. Both times it locked up within 5 minutes - no errors messages, just a frozen desktop.

I have checked the MB and CPU temperatures in setup and they don't appear to be a problem although lock up after a short time indicates a cooling problem.

I will search the threads for similar problems as suggested.

Some extra information if this triggers a thought:
1) The PC has a completely fresh O/S install
2) Even within the time before lock-up, the PC will not shutdown or restart fully. I have to switch off at a certain point.

Thanks for the suggestions and keep 'em coming if you have any!

  plankton 09:52 03 Sep 2003

2 thoughts:

- Check your BIOS settings are OK (does the modem keep trying to fire itself up?)

- Have you got something to check whether the PC has been attacked (Spybot/Ad-aware or something?). Mine did crazy things until I cleared it up.

  graham√ 09:59 03 Sep 2003

Check the USB Root Hub in device manager. Properties, Action, Power. ADSL modems draw 500mA, this is usually the power available to one hub. If you have other devices on the same hub, move them to another if you have one spare. Otherwise, a powered hub will be needed.

  Newuser38 18:21 19 Sep 2003

Still having problems? or cracked it, let us know,and if finished give us the green tick please.

  Dalston 08:01 25 Sep 2003

Turned out to be PSU that was the problem - all working fine now :)

Thanks for your suggestions.

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