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Essentially, I'm trying to get to the reason why my computer (with XP home) crashes, at least once per day (the crashes seem to be getting more frequent now). By "crash", I mean it freezes up on me: no mouse, no keyboard and the fans seem to get a little louder. There is no BSOD or anything similar. If audio was playing, then I get the monotone, repeating "broken-record" sound (that's the best I can describe it).

I've downloaded memtest. I will do that shortly.

I thought that while I was at it, I'd also put this question out to all of you: I suspect my power supply is playing a role in all this; can you recommend a diagnostic tool that tests the power supply? whether I have a good/bad power supply? I apologize in advance if that's being naive (because perhaps you don't test the power supply!?)

Two things:

1) The power supply is hooked up to a UPS unit; 2) it has been hot here lately.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Edit: From the suggestions below, it looks like I should also be considering an overheating issue.

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Have you checked event viewer to see if there are any errors logged around the time of the lockup? –  JNK Jul 27 '10 at 19:23
    
"lockup"--that's the word I should've used; thanks. I don't remember what time it lockedup today, but I don't see anything out of the ordinary. Should I be looking in Application, System, Security or all? Interpreting the events will be something new for me to do. –  andrz_001 Jul 27 '10 at 19:58

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sounds like heat, especially if the fans get louder. Try putting the computer in an open area, and run the system with the side panel off / open and see if you still get "freezing." If there's dust in there, blow it out thoroughly. I usually use an air compressor at about 40 PSI to clean my electronics out.

Power supply issues usually cause direct reboots or no boot at all, in my experience.

One way to test your power supply is by unplugging non-essential components such as extra hard drives, external USB drives, etc. and running only with the core components.

One other check you might do is go into your computer's BIOS and look at the voltage readings of the 3.3v, 5v, and 12v. If they are really high or really low (+/-.3v, +/-.5v, or +/-0.5v respectively), then you might indeed have a power supply problem.

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Really, the easiest way is to just swap it out for another, known good unit. It takes extensive time & effort (and equipment) to do a real good job of testing one, and if you're just watching (not recording/reviewing) the data stream, you could very easily miss an anomaly.

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Also his issue sounds more like overheating to me than a power supply problem. –  JNK Jul 27 '10 at 19:26
    
Overheating--that's a suggestion. Is there any way to monitor that? BTW, I have in addition to the CPU fan (and obviously the power supply fan), two little fans, about the size of an adult hand palm. One is on the door and one is out the back. Now you got me thinking...are they facing correctly!? FYI the CPU is an AMD quad core. –  andrz_001 Jul 27 '10 at 20:06

My HP Pavillion is on its 3rd power supply. I think heat killed one of them (a power surge killed the other one, but that's another story.) After I replaced the power supply, I moved the tower from the "tower bay" in my desk to the floor (so it could get more air), and setup a small, external fan next to the tower. That fan is always on, and points directly at the tower. I also use a temperature monitor for my hard drive: HDD Thermometer, which tells me that my hard drive is running at a cool 98°F. It also keeps a log that tells me that it hasn't gone above 128° today, even though I've been using the computer all day.

BTW, once or twice a year, use compressed air to clean out the dust inside your computer. It really helps!

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what model system is yours? I've got the a1640n - it has recently been showing symptoms similar to those described by the OP. I was wondering if the power supply might be the issue. –  Grant Palin Jul 30 '10 at 23:26
    
It's an a767c that I bought in December, 2004. –  Tom Jul 31 '10 at 3:24

bsod = hard drive
lockup = power supply.

It could be both. Vista introduced ACPI control via some OEM gui apps. IF you dont upgrade the stock ACPI driver it will give bad readings causing faults that could burn your PSU and anything near it.

Smell anything? That's burnt capacitors

I see this is old but it is relavint to me since I just upgraded a geezer user from xp to win7, win 8 was to much.

Also look into bios firmware dates. That would make both go screwy.

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