unexplainable freezing

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by cdl, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. cdl

    cdl New Member

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    Ok, i believe i know a lot about computers, but this has me really stumped. and very annoyed. hopefully someone here can offer advice or info

    I am currently running an old linux distribution (mandrake 8.2) because it is the only OS that will work right now. if i try to use anything modern, or somewhat modern, e.g. win XP, mandrake 2007.0, my computer will just freeze at random times -- requiring a hard restart. it's like a RAM problem. the freezing happens even while i'm installing the OS. from scratch... i can't figure out what triggers it.

    here's where it gets more interesting :ugh:

    i used to use XP with no problems at all. one weekend, i powered off my machine for 4 days, and when i turned it back on it would freeze after logging in. i couldn't run it again without freezing. i tried everything. windows safe mode ran fine however... never froze at all (wtf?). i tried to reinstall XP and it freezes during install/config

    my conclusion is some piece of hardware got damaged during the power off..... but why is it that old/simple OSs like my current mandrake or win safe mode work 100% of the time?

    my (old, but simple) system is:

    -abit kt7 raid w/ 700mhz AMD duron
    -2 pATA seagate barracudas
    -voodoo 3 2000 PCI
    -soundblaster live value
    -usb mouse
    -ps/2 keyboard
    -network card

    that's it. again, keep in mind i changed nothing except simply shutting off my computer (which i usually don't do, but have done it for 3+ days in the past :rolleyes:)

    i think i've tried literally everything short of buying a completely new system, which i probably could benefit from, but i'd rather not spend the $ right now. linux is cool, but i just want the ease of windows and availability of programs back

    thanks for reading it all
     
  2. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    So many people answer their own questions, but are afraid to act without validation.

    Sounds like your RAM is damaged. Have you booted Linux in MemTest86+ mode yet?

    Old OSes would run better because they would have a smaller memory footprint. Though, with Linux, I believe you can take the log file from MemTest86+ and give it to Linux and it will avoid using the bad portion of the RAM. Don't ask me how though, I've never done it.
     
  3. Doc Brown

    Doc Brown Don't make me make you my hobby

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    Does linux run on the same drive?

    If so, then probably the memory.

    If it's the other drive in the pair you posted, then it could obviously be the drive.

    Either way, you could try to wipe the drive first. I've seen drives that stuck during the install, and nothing other than wiping the drive would change it.

    You could look for the Seagate disc utility. That should have a good drive erase app.
     
  4. cdl

    cdl New Member

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    i didn't know that old OSs use a different footprint.
    i assumed it was memory at first, because it would just freeze.

    i don't know if this matters, but this is what happens when it freezes in the new mandrake:
    in addition to the keyboad (numlock, caps lock, etc) becoming unresponsive just like during win xp freezes,
    the cursor will keep blinking and it will just hang there while it is booting in text mode

    i have tried installing on both drives. one drive had a bunch of videos which i sacrificed with a format, to start brand new... and it had the same problem as the other drive. i've also tried using only 1 stick of RAM (i have 2), and either one produced the problem.

    i'll try the memtest mode. i wasn't aware of that
     
  5. Doc Brown

    Doc Brown Don't make me make you my hobby

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    Both drives, and both sticks of ram had the same results = possible failing power supply or video card.


    (and less likely, the motherboard)
     
  6. Slid.

    Slid. I'm a guy.

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    Yep, try swapping the video card with another and see if that fixes the problem. If not then it could be the power supply. A few months ago I bought a Dell 2407 (24" LCD) -- since then I've had intermittent freezing, my only explanation being that the higher resolution of the monitor is taxing my video card more (causing it to overheat) which ultimately drains more from my power supply. I just changed my PSU last night and I've been running fine.

    The point I'm trying to make is that it's a dumb situation and even bad hardware can run in reduced environments -- it's when they are pushed to the (near) limit where they'll start bombing on you.
     
  7. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    What I meant by "memory footprint" was "the amount of memory the OS actually uses when it's running". Older programs will always use less memory, just because they're older. That makes it statistically less likely that the OS will put something important, like a DLL, into the spot in memory that's not working right.
     
  8. cdl

    cdl New Member

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    i see what you're saying

    i ran memtest, and it made 1 successful pass which took about 45 min. :/

    i wish i had another video card to use. i thought about it but didn't really think it could be causing the problem. how could this have suddenly happened anyway? power surge? coincidence?
     
  9. Doc Brown

    Doc Brown Don't make me make you my hobby

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    Well I would lean towards the power supply, actually.

    Power supplies take a beating, and lower wattage/cheaper ones fail before too long.
     

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