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I've purchased a system last week and ever since, it's been behaving erratically, not posting and random freeze ups in windows when it does post (with the inability to post right after). I've stripped it down to just the motherboard, the CPU, and the PSU, along with four sticks of memory. The problem that I run into is that it can take the system up to 48 hours to exhibit this freezing issue, so i'm wondering if there is a more decisive, and faster, way of saying "this hardware is defective" outside of waiting for potentially days to see if the replacement of component X has resolved the issue or not.

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Have you checked the system logs? They may be beneficial in diagnosing the issue and would be the first place I'd look.

If you want to rule out certain hardware, you will want to look into stress testing tools. There is a wide variety of such tools depending on your operating system. Judging by your other question it seems you may be running Windows. Have a look at Memtest for memory testing and Prime95 to stress the CPU. Of course it may get confusing trying to rule out a PSU, motherboard and CPU all in one mix, so if you have an extra PSU it may be beneficial for testing purposes. If you have a multimeter handy you can also test your power supply with that.

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Good call on the tools. Have tried memtest for the memory with nothing bad returning. Didn't know about prime95. Agreed on it being confusing to diagnose what's at fault once you get to the core componets, currently have replaced the PSU and seeing how things work then. – canadiancreed Sep 30 '11 at 12:02

You can try forcing the issue by running benchmarks or stress tests. For example, if you have bad RAM, memory stress testers like memtest86 will notice or cause faults.

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Read the logfiles. There where 3 standard logfiles in XP and Windows server, if I remember correctly. Eventlog, Systemlog and Application Log as John T. pointed helpfully out.

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Application Log? :) – John T Sep 30 '11 at 3:22
Thanks. (8 more Togo) – user unknown Sep 30 '11 at 6:04
Good call. WHile I dont' recall anything appearing in the logs that indicated anything out of the ordinary, if replacing the PSU doesn't resolve the issue Im having, will give them a looksee – canadiancreed Sep 30 '11 at 12:03

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