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Lately my Win XP SP3 started to make problems. From time to time it freezes completely. Which means that the system does not react to mouse and keyboard. Keyboard led indicators also do not react to CAPS-, SCROLL-, NUM- LOCK keys. The problem is that I don't understand what causes this behavior and it seems to happen randomly. System event log also does not contain any clues. I'm thinking this could be some driver/hardware problem, but I don't know which. Are there any tools that would help me figure out the cause of this problem? Does anybody have any clue how can I fix this?

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2 Answers 2

To aid our troubleshooting I think you can try to list out the system component.

Without this information, though, you can try...

(1) Is the RAM at fault? Memtest86 is an application that tests the ram for you and it is available as a download from the internet.

http://www.memtest86.com/ (for memtest86, click free download)

(2) Is the CPU at fault? Inadequate cooling sometimes can cause catastrophic failure in old CPU (newer CPU fails more nicely with a drop of clock and still running...) Check the temperature with e.g. Everest/Realtemp

http://www.lavalys.com/ (for everest, a program suitable for older system as it supports older motherboard monitoring)
http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp/ (for realtemp, supports core 2 and up)

(3) Could the power supply be at fault? If the system is older than say, 3-4 years and is in continuous use, and the power requirement is almost at 80%+ of the power supply..

Other causes of system hang is unlikely to give a full hang but usually would give BSODs/Reboots.

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Could be a hardware fault. I had similar issues a while back (look through my questions) which were caused by the cooler on my processor not being properly locked into place - probably because it was knocked when I was installing some new RAM.

I have been told that if there's never anything in the event log, the most likely cause of freezes and/or resets is a CPU problem. I don't know if that's a reliable rule or not.

If the CPU is failing intermittently, it is certainly worth investigating cooling issues - especially if you have something like a 3GHz Pentium 4. Maybe you know someone who'd be willing to take the cooler off, redo the thermal paste (which can dry out over time), and reassemble - there's at least a chance that that would be enough.

First thing's first though - clean all the dust out and make sure all the fans are running.

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