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Computer crashing on me...argh!!!

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Computer crashing on me...argh!!!

Old 07-03-02, 09:31 PM
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Computer crashing on me...argh!!!

For the past couple of weeks, my computer has been randomly crashing on me. I'm not quite sure what it is.

At first I thought it was my MS optical mouse causing the problems as MS sent out an e-mail stating that it has been crashing some people's computers (it still may be a problem, but I plugged in my old PS/2 mouse and my computer crashed again).

My computer is somewhat old now (3 years, not really old, but getting past its prime) and I'm trying to figure out if this problem is fixable or whether I should just get another nice computer to keep me going until I get a chance to build myself a new one. I will be using it partially for work (programming), partially for surfing the web, and a fair bit for playing games (probably equally on all the counts).

I currently have a PIII 500 Tabor Mobo, 230W PS, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, 128 megs RAM, 16 meg video card, WinTV card, NIC card (vital ), somewhat old sound card (some old Soundblaster card), using a KVM switch for my USB keyboard and optical mouse, and running Win2K.

I was concerned that it was a problem with the KVM switch and the optical mouse, but I took that out of the equation by just plugging my mouse directly into my computer...still crashed. It usually happens just as I'm moving the mouse (but sometimes crashes without me touching the mouse at all). It has crashed about 5 times in the past 2 weeks. I thought it might also be the power supply. I've added the WinTV card, CD-RW, and USB mouse and keyboard since I got it so could that be the problem. I appreciate any ideas.
Old 07-04-02, 12:12 AM
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could be a memory problem, or a bad psu. also check to see if there are any irq/dma conflicts.
Old 07-04-02, 12:14 AM
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It was kind of strange. It just started happening all of a sudden. How do I check irq/dma conflicts and how could a conflict have developed? If it's a bad psu, how difficult is it to test? I don't happen to have a spare ps on hand, so I can see that may be a little difficult
Old 07-04-02, 01:40 PM
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OK, something new to add to the problem. It's not actually locking up. For some reason, a program will crash and I can't switch between programs or shut it down. I can, however, see the top of the task manager bar and I'm able to restart my computer (by remembering the keystrokes as I can't see the actual window). It's been 2 different programs so far. The first was PC Mag's digital magazine viewer, the second was Gamespot's downloader/game player. I was installing Magic The Gathering Online to try it out and after the video player that was before the game finished playing, my computer crashed. Once my computer had lines diagonally across the screen (it looked like someone had pulled the screen in 2 different directions) Anyone know if the previous problems mentioned could be what are causing this problem? It's just very weird that something keeps crashing. I only had the downloader and the game opened up, so nothing was very processor intesive
Old 07-04-02, 02:51 PM
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And one more thing that causes it to crash...the screen saver. I have the starfield simulation on. I left it for a while and instead of the stars moving from the center and leaving by the edges of the screen, there were white lines all over the screen. This time my computer just crashed and ctrl-alt-delete wouldn't work. Argh!!!! Very frustrating. Anyone have any ideas?
Old 07-04-02, 03:21 PM
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hmm perhaps a format? that can possibly help... also a little bit more ram couldnt hurt
Old 07-04-02, 04:06 PM
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Have you tried checking the event viewer in Win2k to see if it's reporting any errors?

If it's the RAM or PSU, it'd certainly explain the random lock ups.

For the RAM, try turning on the full RAM check in the BIOS and see if you get any boot up problems. There's also a RAM diagnostic utility (I think DocMemory) that can do a more thorough examination of the memory, but you'll need a DOS boot disk to get that running.


For the PSU, you'd want to check the voltage levels being supplied. The utility you can download that can show you these levels is "Motherboard Monitor" . (Dunno about the accuracy of it) But you could also use a volt meter to check the levels. If you find that the supply isn't giving you values close +5, +12, -12 V, etc, then you are probably drawing too much current and thus dragging the voltage levels down.

From what you have listed, I don't think you're drawing that much current. USB has pretty low power requirements for mice/keyboards, and that's the same for your WinTV card as well.
Old 07-04-02, 04:06 PM
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Yeah, I figure a format would fix most problems. I just don't have an old image of the drive (so I'd have to reinstall all my programs again). 6 hours of installing programs would be a bit cheaper than buying a new computer, just so long as it really fixed the problem. It's strange to me that it just started happening though. I don't think I recently installed anything on the computer. It just started crashing.
Old 07-04-02, 04:50 PM
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UWSarge,
Here's what it said in the event viewer,

The description for Event ID ( 19 ) in Source ( msi8042 ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. The following information is part of the event: \Device\KeyboardPort0.

What's it mean? That seems to be the error that keeps getting thrown each time the computer crashes.
Old 07-04-02, 06:21 PM
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Ah ha, figured out the previous problem. I had my keyboard plugged into the KVM switch and the PS/2 mouse plugged into my computer (KVM is USB). I plugged the keyboard into the computer directly and it did not crash when I moved the mouse after the screensaver came up. However, the screensaver (starfield simulation) still came up with white lines (the stars almost leave a trail behind them instead of them just going off the screen). Does anyone know why the screensaver's doing this? Thanks for all the help with this.
Old 07-04-02, 11:42 PM
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I left it on for several hours...came back...crashed again Damnit! What next?
Old 07-05-02, 12:56 AM
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Originally posted by Lampei
I left it on for several hours...came back...crashed again Damnit! What next?
trun off your screensaver. in fact go into power management and change all the settings to never.

see if that helps
Old 07-05-02, 09:50 AM
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Now it won't boot, so I can't even get to the screen to turn off the screensaver I can't win.
Old 07-05-02, 10:46 AM
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if you don't see anything when you boot, then the cpu could be loose. i have a slot A, and it gets loose occasionally, esp. after moving it.
Old 07-05-02, 10:48 AM
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It actually almost booted to the win2k login screen. It came up with the top of the login portion (the blue bar), but nothing below that. I'm loving my computer now.
Old 07-05-02, 10:51 AM
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hmmm...i'd seriously consider deleting windows and reinstalling. not necessarily formatting, if you know how to do it. you have to get rid of all the windows files, and the one in the root directory, i.e. c:\. you'd have to use attrib -s -h -r *.* in the root dir. then delete all the system files. oh, and this has to be done in dos mode.
Old 07-05-02, 10:54 AM
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Yeah, definitely looks like a strong possibility. What does -s and -r do? I remember -h is hidden files. -s is system files? Would I just have to do the upgrade of Win2K when I install?
Old 07-05-02, 11:09 AM
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-r is for read only

Originally posted by Lampei
Yeah, definitely looks like a strong possibility. What does -s and -r do? I remember -h is hidden files. -s is system files? Would I just have to do the upgrade of Win2K when I install?
Old 07-08-02, 09:59 PM
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Well, I formatted it and it still showed the weird ascii characters. I chatted with a Gateway tech rep. and s/he thought it was a problem with the mobo. I've still got a month of repair/warranty left so I guess I'll let them figure it out Thanks for all the help everyone.
Old 07-09-02, 12:16 AM
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Originally posted by Lampei
Well, I formatted it and it still showed the weird ascii characters. I chatted with a Gateway tech rep. and s/he thought it was a problem with the mobo. I've still got a month of repair/warranty left so I guess I'll let them figure it out Thanks for all the help everyone.
Good news

Usually I do not think about warranties however in this case in may turn out to save you especially if the system is dying.
Old 07-09-02, 08:59 AM
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I don't actually remember getting a warranty when I bought the system, but I guess they decided to just add it to my bill. Kind of lucky now I guess
Old 07-31-02, 09:00 AM
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Well, in case anyone's really interested (and perhaps it'll help someone else), Gateway installed a new video card and apparently it works great now. I haven't booted it up yet, but when I do, hopefully it'll turn on correctly. Strange that a bad video card would display random ascii characters, but I guess if it doesn't know how to output video correctly, then it will look funny.

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