Intermittent lockups, need troubleshooting advice

Discussion in 'Asus' started by John, May 22, 2010.

  1. John

    John Guest

    My computer has begun to exhibit some seriously flaky behavior lately
    and I'm looking for some help in trying to figure out what's wrong.

    The system is an M2N-SLI Deluxe with 2 GB RAM and an Athlon 64X2,
    running Windows XP. It's about three years old and has been running
    fine for all those three years except for a PSU failure about a year
    ago. (I replaced the PSU.) There's been no new hardware added
    recently and the only new software is some Yahoo games that my wife
    DLs, plays for a while, and then removes. I run regular malware scans
    and I've had no indication of any infection.

    The problem that I'm seeing is intermittent and seemingly-random
    lockups. By this I mean that the computer stops responding to mouse
    clicks and keystrokes. The cursor still moves when I move the mouse,
    but that's all. When this happens I have to do a hard reset, and when
    I do it reboots and everything is fine again.

    This started happening about 2-3 weeks ago, and it seems to happen at
    random times and under no particular circumstances. Sometimes it's
    fine for a week, other times it'll lock up several times in a day.

    Today the problem got worse. It locked up and I reset it as usual,
    and this time it failed to boot. It beeped once (as it normally does)
    and displayed the first few lines of the POST screen (identifying the
    board and the BIOS, I think) and then just sat there. I reset again
    and this time it booted normally and it's once again running fine.

    And here's another observation: On a couple of occasions, I was
    working on our other computer (the "good" one) and found that I had no
    Internet access. I walked downstairs to the "bad" computer and found
    that it was in its locked-up state. I unplugged the bad computer from
    the router and the good computer suddenly had its internet connection
    back again.

    In attempting to diagnose the problem, I've run the MS memory test (in
    extended test mode) for about three hours without failure and I've run
    chkdsk, also without failure.

    So what the heck does all of this point to? Does anyone have any
    suggestions either about what might be wrong, or what else to check?

    TIA

    John

    Reply-to address is real
    John, May 22, 2010
    #1
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  2. John

    TJ Guest

    try a live cd of any linux distribution (ie: fedora, ubuntu...) and play
    with it some time and see if it hangs like windows. If it doesnt you can
    think about a fresh windows installation and if linux hangs it maybe a
    hardware issue.

    ---

    TJ :O)
    TJ, May 22, 2010
    #2
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  3. John

    Bob F Guest

    John wrote:
    > My computer has begun to exhibit some seriously flaky behavior lately
    > and I'm looking for some help in trying to figure out what's wrong.
    >
    > The system is an M2N-SLI Deluxe with 2 GB RAM and an Athlon 64X2,
    > running Windows XP. It's about three years old and has been running
    > fine for all those three years except for a PSU failure about a year
    > ago. (I replaced the PSU.) There's been no new hardware added
    > recently and the only new software is some Yahoo games that my wife
    > DLs, plays for a while, and then removes. I run regular malware scans
    > and I've had no indication of any infection.
    >
    > The problem that I'm seeing is intermittent and seemingly-random
    > lockups. By this I mean that the computer stops responding to mouse
    > clicks and keystrokes. The cursor still moves when I move the mouse,
    > but that's all. When this happens I have to do a hard reset, and when
    > I do it reboots and everything is fine again.
    >
    > This started happening about 2-3 weeks ago, and it seems to happen at
    > random times and under no particular circumstances. Sometimes it's
    > fine for a week, other times it'll lock up several times in a day.
    >
    > Today the problem got worse. It locked up and I reset it as usual,
    > and this time it failed to boot. It beeped once (as it normally does)
    > and displayed the first few lines of the POST screen (identifying the
    > board and the BIOS, I think) and then just sat there. I reset again
    > and this time it booted normally and it's once again running fine.
    >
    > And here's another observation: On a couple of occasions, I was
    > working on our other computer (the "good" one) and found that I had no
    > Internet access. I walked downstairs to the "bad" computer and found
    > that it was in its locked-up state. I unplugged the bad computer from
    > the router and the good computer suddenly had its internet connection
    > back again.
    >
    > In attempting to diagnose the problem, I've run the MS memory test (in
    > extended test mode) for about three hours without failure and I've run
    > chkdsk, also without failure.
    >
    > So what the heck does all of this point to? Does anyone have any
    > suggestions either about what might be wrong, or what else to check?


    Have you thouroughly cleaned all the heatsinks and fans, and checked all the
    fans are operating? This should include the display card.

    Try running the memory test program memtest86+.

    Do you let it send crash info to microsoft? Sometime my system has come back
    with useful info in response after a crash.
    Bob F, May 23, 2010
    #3
  4. John

    John Guest

    On Sun, 23 May 2010 12:48:13 +0100, Peter Johnson
    <> wrote:

    >On Fri, 21 May 2010 20:19:20 -0400, John <>
    >wrote:
    >
    >>My computer has begun to exhibit some seriously flaky behavior lately
    >>and I'm looking for some help in trying to figure out what's wrong.
    >>

    >
    >I think I'd be inclined to look at the PSU.


    What would you look for? And how would you look?

    John
    Reply-to address is real
    John, May 23, 2010
    #4
  5. John

    John Guest

    On Sat, 22 May 2010 10:13:55 +0200, TJ <-@-> wrote:

    >try a live cd of any linux distribution (ie: fedora, ubuntu...) and play
    >with it some time and see if it hangs like windows. If it doesnt you can
    >think about a fresh windows installation and if linux hangs it maybe a
    >hardware issue.
    >
    >---
    >
    >TJ :O)


    Thanks for the thought, but given the intermittent nature of the
    problem it seems unlikely that a brief period of playing with Linux
    would trigger the problem. And if it turned out to be hardware (which
    is what I'm suspecting) it would leave me no closer to knowing what
    part of the hardware. I may try your suggestion if I can't come up
    with anything else, but I'm hoping for something more direct.

    John
    Reply-to address is real
    John, May 23, 2010
    #5
  6. John

    John Guest

    On Sat, 22 May 2010 18:58:31 -0500, "Homer Jay Simpson"
    <> wrote:

    >
    >Have you looked at your System Event log in the Event Viewer to determine if
    >there were any Error events and the Source of that error?
    >
    >It might be a Service that has failed to start.
    >


    The event log shows some warnings and errors but they nearly all seem
    to be related to DHCP and apparently are non-fatal. And none of them
    occur near the time of the last two lockups (which I happen to
    remember).

    John
    Reply-to address is real
    John, May 23, 2010
    #6
  7. John

    John Guest

    On Sun, 23 May 2010 12:25:35 -0700, "Bob F" <>
    wrote:


    >
    >Have you thouroughly cleaned all the heatsinks and fans, and checked all the
    >fans are operating? This should include the display card.
    >

    Yes, actually that was the first thing I thought of. No luck, though.

    >Try running the memory test program memtest86+.


    Okay, I'll try that


    >Do you let it send crash info to microsoft? Sometime my system has come back
    >with useful info in response after a crash.


    It never came up with the message offering to report the problem. It
    just locks, then I have to reboot, and then it works quite normally
    after that and acts like it doesn't know anything went wrong.

    John
    Reply-to address is real
    John, May 23, 2010
    #7
  8. John

    Jack Simms Guest

    On Sun, 23 May 2010 15:30:59 -0400, John <>
    wrote:

    >On Sat, 22 May 2010 18:58:31 -0500, "Homer Jay Simpson"
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>Have you looked at your System Event log in the Event Viewer to determine if
    >>there were any Error events and the Source of that error?
    >>
    >>It might be a Service that has failed to start.
    >>

    >
    >The event log shows some warnings and errors but they nearly all seem
    >to be related to DHCP and apparently are non-fatal. And none of them
    >occur near the time of the last two lockups (which I happen to
    >remember).
    >
    >John
    >Reply-to address is real


    try all the event logs :)
    Jack Simms, May 24, 2010
    #8
  9. John

    Foke Guest

    On Fri, 21 May 2010 20:19:20 -0400, John <> wrote:

    >My computer has begun to exhibit some seriously flaky behavior lately
    >and I'm looking for some help in trying to figure out what's wrong.
    >
    >The system is an M2N-SLI Deluxe with 2 GB RAM and an Athlon 64X2,
    >running Windows XP. It's about three years old and has been running
    >fine for all those three years except for a PSU failure about a year
    >ago. (I replaced the PSU.) There's been no new hardware added
    >recently and the only new software is some Yahoo games that my wife
    >DLs, plays for a while, and then removes. I run regular malware scans
    >and I've had no indication of any infection.
    >
    >The problem that I'm seeing is intermittent and seemingly-random
    >lockups. By this I mean that the computer stops responding to mouse
    >clicks and keystrokes. The cursor still moves when I move the mouse,
    >but that's all. When this happens I have to do a hard reset, and when
    >I do it reboots and everything is fine again.
    >
    >This started happening about 2-3 weeks ago, and it seems to happen at
    >random times and under no particular circumstances. Sometimes it's
    >fine for a week, other times it'll lock up several times in a day.
    >
    >Today the problem got worse. It locked up and I reset it as usual,
    >and this time it failed to boot. It beeped once (as it normally does)
    >and displayed the first few lines of the POST screen (identifying the
    >board and the BIOS, I think) and then just sat there. I reset again
    >and this time it booted normally and it's once again running fine.
    >
    >And here's another observation: On a couple of occasions, I was
    >working on our other computer (the "good" one) and found that I had no
    >Internet access. I walked downstairs to the "bad" computer and found
    >that it was in its locked-up state. I unplugged the bad computer from
    >the router and the good computer suddenly had its internet connection
    >back again.
    >
    >In attempting to diagnose the problem, I've run the MS memory test (in
    >extended test mode) for about three hours without failure and I've run
    >chkdsk, also without failure.
    >
    >So what the heck does all of this point to? Does anyone have any
    >suggestions either about what might be wrong, or what else to check?


    In my experience, lockups tend to be caused by:

    - Video issues (either card going bad or driver issue)
    - Excess heat (bad cpu/vid card/chipset fan)
    - Bad memory

    Have you replaced your vid card driver recently (either manually or via
    Windows Update)? Have you checked all your fans? The memtest utility
    mentioned previously should address memory issues.

    You say it happens randomly. Have you ever noticed it locked up when you
    first sit down to use it, or do the lockups always occur *while* you're
    using it. If it's the latter then try and be more cognizant of what you
    did just prior to the lockup. If it happens right after clicking on
    something then the likelihood is high that it's video related (the system
    is trying to display something that it can't display).
    Foke, May 24, 2010
    #9
  10. John

    John Guest

    On 24 May 2010 11:24:01 -0500, Foke <> wrote:


    >>So what the heck does all of this point to? Does anyone have any
    >>suggestions either about what might be wrong, or what else to check?

    >
    >In my experience, lockups tend to be caused by:
    >
    >- Video issues (either card going bad or driver issue)
    >- Excess heat (bad cpu/vid card/chipset fan)
    >- Bad memory
    >
    >Have you replaced your vid card driver recently (either manually or via
    >Windows Update)?


    Nope

    > Have you checked all your fans?


    Yup. Dusted everything out, too (actually found it wasn't as dusty as
    I expected, but blew everything out anyway).


    > The memtest utility
    >mentioned previously should address memory issues.


    I haven't yet had a chance to try memtest 86+ but I will


    >You say it happens randomly. Have you ever noticed it locked up when you
    >first sit down to use it, or do the lockups always occur *while* you're
    >using it. If it's the latter then try and be more cognizant of what you
    >did just prior to the lockup. If it happens right after clicking on
    >something then the likelihood is high that it's video related (the system
    >is trying to display something that it can't display).


    I've been watching for patterns of what I was doing and I haven't
    noticed anything consistent. Sometimes it locks while in use,
    sometimes while it's just sitting there unused (i.e., I've walked away
    and come back later to fnd it locked up). It's hard to say if it
    happens right after clicking on something because the only way I
    notice it's locked is that I click on something and don't get a
    response. But I don't know whether it locked at that moment or 10
    seconds earlier or two hours earlier if I happened to be away for two
    hours. I did on one occasion think to look at the tray clock when it
    was locked and I found that it had locked several hours earlier while
    I was out of the house and it was unused.

    John

    Reply-to address is real
    John, May 25, 2010
    #10
  11. John

    Phat_Jethro Guest

    On 5/23/2010 3:28 PM, John wrote:
    > On Sun, 23 May 2010 12:48:13 +0100, Peter Johnson
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >> On Fri, 21 May 2010 20:19:20 -0400, John<>
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >>> My computer has begun to exhibit some seriously flaky behavior lately
    >>> and I'm looking for some help in trying to figure out what's wrong.
    >>>

    >>
    >> I think I'd be inclined to look at the PSU.

    >
    > What would you look for? And how would you look?
    >
    > John
    > Reply-to address is real


    I was going to say the same. I had a similar issue with random lockups,
    screen freezing etc.
    Turns out my original 550W PSU had gotten a little old and tired and I
    had added in a newer CPU, more RAM and a few bigger hard drives. Once I
    swapped it for a newer 700W, issues have gone.

    J

    --
    Jethro[AGHL] aka Phat_Jethro
    Reply Email: jethro86 (at) gmail (dot) com
    Phat_Jethro, May 25, 2010
    #11
  12. John

    Foke Guest

    On Mon, 24 May 2010 20:07:21 -0400, John <> wrote:


    >I did on one occasion think to look at the tray clock when it
    >was locked and I found that it had locked several hours earlier while
    >I was out of the house and it was unused.


    That probably eliminates video driver problems as the issue, but doesn't
    necessarily eliminate video as the culprit. I don't recall you mentioning
    if you have a discrete video card or are using onboard video. If it's a
    discrete card then be aware that many of those have fans too.

    To eliminate excess heat as the issue, do you have any utilities that show
    your system temps?
    Foke, May 25, 2010
    #12
  13. John

    Bob F Guest

    Phat_Jethro wrote:
    > On 5/23/2010 3:28 PM, John wrote:
    >> On Sun, 23 May 2010 12:48:13 +0100, Peter Johnson
    >> <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> On Fri, 21 May 2010 20:19:20 -0400, John<>
    >>> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> My computer has begun to exhibit some seriously flaky behavior
    >>>> lately and I'm looking for some help in trying to figure out
    >>>> what's wrong.
    >>>
    >>> I think I'd be inclined to look at the PSU.

    >>
    >> What would you look for? And how would you look?
    >>
    >> John
    >> Reply-to address is real

    >
    > I was going to say the same. I had a similar issue with random
    > lockups, screen freezing etc.
    > Turns out my original 550W PSU had gotten a little old and tired and I
    > had added in a newer CPU, more RAM and a few bigger hard drives. Once
    > I swapped it for a newer 700W, issues have gone.


    I had a similar problem with a way underused brand new 600W cheapo supply. After
    about 3 months use, it finally smoked, solving the problem. The 400W brand name
    supply I replaced it with had no more problems.
    Bob F, May 26, 2010
    #13
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