Problem: Freezing/blue screen/restarting happens randomly on my Desktop PC. Sometimes it just freezes suddenly. Sometimes a freezing, then a blue screen. Sometimes a blue screen, followed with a restart. Sometimes it only restarts (and then sometimes it restarts again when booting). Sometimes it's just a blue screen.

When?: Sometimes it happens when I run applications which consume too much memory (e.g.: Photoshop, watching movies, playing games). Sometimes it happens immediately after I logged in to Windows. Sometimes it happens when I'm not doing anything (usually only having one Notepad window open).

If I recall correctly, the problem happened about a year or two years ago. It happened suddenly. I didn't make any change to the computer before (didn't install new driver, didn't replace any hardware). Well, I did change the hardware, but it was long before the problem happened (was about three or four years ago).

It doesn't always happen though. Sometimes I could run the computer 12 hours non-stop without experiencing a single problem.

EDIT: Also sometimes I cannot turn on the computer. When I push the power button, the machine seems to be running (because it makes the sound, the fan is also spinning). But nothing is shown in the monitor, even after several minutes, as if the computer is turned off.

Usually I have to turn it off again, and try several times, until it turned on correctly. I'm quite sure it's not the monitor cable, because the cable is already plugged in tightly.

Question: I want to make sure and want to exactly know where the problem lies. Perhaps before I take it into service so I could (hopefully) try to fix the problem. Could anyone help me to investigate the cause of this?

Here are several blue screen screenshots I manage to take:

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Computer specifications:

  • OS: Windows XP Professional SP2
  • Motherboard: ZX-I945LM4
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 CPU 2.40 Ghz
  • RAM: 1016 MB

Any help is really appreciated. Thank you very much.

  • 2
    It sounds you have multiple problems. Verify your memory is good by running memtest86. After you do that install Service Pack 3. After you do that provide more information about the hdd. – Ramhound Apr 15 '13 at 10:55
  • Thanks! Trying to run memtest86 now. I forgot to mention that I also have difficulties in turning on the computer. The machine seems running when I push the power button (because it makes sounds), but on the monitor nothing is shown. Quite sure it's not the problem from monitor cable, as I checked it and it is plugged tightly. Also, I tried twice running memtest86, the computer freezes when it is running memtest86. Could this be another clue in detecting the problem? – deathlock Apr 16 '13 at 2:35
  • You have hardare failures if memtest86 is freezing. – Ramhound Apr 16 '13 at 10:43
  • Finally succeeded in running memtest86 a few days ago. It shows 0 error though. However, I have tried cleaning the dust inside the machine, and replugging the RAM, the HDD, etc. Now it's running quite normally. Sometimes it only shows blue screen when starting the computer. – deathlock Apr 20 '13 at 14:22

Other possible reasons in addition to corrupt memory:

  • Bad HD sectors in critical areas at the beginning of the disk. I'm almost afraid to give my usual suggestion here (buy a copy of SpinRite), because other posters think I'm advertising. But hey, in those cases it works.

  • Corrupt low-level driver. See if disabling/updating drivers helps.

  • I'm not sure about overheating if that may cause this. There's free software utilities available that lets your monitor temperatures, I forgot the name.

  • Plain old dust. Clean the insides of your machine. At the same time pull the memory modules out and plug them back in. Especially check the fans if they're clean and run smoothly.

  • Regarding the temperature monitoring, is it speedfan? Have been using that for a while, it shows Temp1, Temp2, and HD0. Temp1 always gets over 60 degree. I live in a tropical country so sometimes it's a bit hot here, but is that normal? – deathlock Apr 16 '13 at 2:44
  • Upvoted all answers for the clues and accepted this answer since it gives most (but not too much) possibilities. Looks like a hardware failure though. Thanks for all the help guys. :) – deathlock Apr 26 '13 at 13:48

I don't see all of the messages which caused the BSOD. The only one I am seeing is the Error on the last screen which says: "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" Depending on your experience it happens when your computer does a lot of RAM work. Older Memory (RAM) tend to have faults and cause this Errors. Because the Errornumbers are very random except the first number next to STOP: it is very likley that this is a memory fault and not something else like an malfunctioning driver. Please try to download Memtest86 burn it to CD and start a memorytest. Even if it says that all is ok try to remove 1 of your memory modules (if you have 2 or more) and see if it is working correctly. If not remove another module (and of course put the other back in again). If you have other modules lying around try these. Also ask your friends if they still have these all modules somewhere.

  • Thanks! I'm trying to run memtest86 right now. But I find difficulties in running it. The computer always freezes in the middle of running memtest86. I have only tried twice though (going to try it again after work). But does this symptom helps to detect the cause? Seems like a RAM problem but I'm not sure. – deathlock Apr 16 '13 at 2:42

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