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I have a computer running Windows 7 that has a weird problem: it's constantly showing the "blue screen of death", but only when the system is cold. If I leave it on for a while, after a couple blue screens/reboots, it starts to work normally, and doesn't show any other problems as long as I keep it on.

The blue screen is always of the same type: "MEMORY_MANAGEMENT". I let memtest run a couple of passes yesterday, but it didn't find any problem. I also ran a complete "chkdsk /B" (no errors) and recently switched the video card to a new one, but the problem was already happening before.

Although the problem seems to be related to the temperature (once the computer is "hot enough", the issue disappears), I don't live in a cold place at all (I live in a hot/dry city in Brazil). Computer starts at about 35 degrees celsius (according to the BIOS hardware monitor).

Is there any relation between failing memory and low temperature, or any other tests I could make? It's pretty hard to investigate this issue with common tests, because since they usually make the system hotter, the problem disappears once I start testing.

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How many RAM chips do you have? –  Dave Rook Feb 1 '13 at 15:14
Such a failure indicates defective hardware. It doesn't necessarily have to be the memory. My guess would be that it is a part that gets significantly warmer. This would be the CPU or the graphics card. Maybe the mainboard, some parts of modern mainboards get get warm to (e.g. southbridge). –  André Stannek Feb 1 '13 at 15:14
have you tried the MS memory checker? I've had cases where the ram passed memtestx86 testing, but the ms ram checker immediately returned an issue with the ram (something specific to windows, since the ram works fine with linux). there were all kinds of problems running win7 on those boxes until I replaced the ram. –  Frank Thomas Feb 1 '13 at 15:26
@DaveRook 4 total, 1 pair of Kingston 1GB modules and 1 pair of Corsair 2GB modules (6GB total). It's an "older" computer, all memory modules are DDR2-800. –  Rodrigo Sieiro Feb 1 '13 at 17:45
@André the graphics card is brand new, but the problem was already happening with the old one, so it's not it. Will try more tests with other components. –  Rodrigo Sieiro Feb 1 '13 at 17:46

1 Answer 1

I agree that it is probably hardware related. Normally, computer components should work better when cold than when hot. The only situation I can think where it would not work cold but would work hot is if something is not seated properly, so it's not making good contact between the components. As it heats up, the minor amount of expansion due to heat could bring the contacts closer together so they make a better connection.

I would try removing and reinstalling any component you are comfortable removing and see if the problem clears up. On that note, you also might want to remove any component not essential to the computer and see if it runs without them, then add in one piece at a time until the problem returns. For example, remove all but one of your memory modules and run the computer. Then, assuming it works fine, swap to another memory module and so on until you locate the bad one or find that they all work OK.

You may want to use some compressed air to clear out the card slots or memory slots to make sure it's not dust that has worked its way in to the connections.

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If you identified the component you could try the baking trick. It's very risky but it worked fine for a friends graphics card. –  André Stannek Feb 1 '13 at 17:49
Actually, the "component expansion when heated" you described makes a lot of sense. I'll disassemble the whole computer and try to clean all contacts, specially memory. Will report the results later. –  Rodrigo Sieiro Feb 1 '13 at 17:55

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