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HellBound Hackers | Computer General | General Computer Problems

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Hardware problems?


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Posted on 22-09-08 19:21
Hello I have a general computer problem. I am trying to help a friend out and figure out what is wrong with his computer. This is a 4 year old computer. I realize this is 100 in computer years, but he needs it for college, and he is very broke. He will be saving up for a bottom of the line setup, but for now I need help trying to figure out what is wrong with his current computer to hold him over.

System: HP Pavilion a510n, Processor: 2.10 GHz AMD Athlon XP, RAM: 1.5GB DDR PC3200 RAM, HD: 120GB 5400 Hard drive, OS: XP Home Edition, Other: Media card reader, DVD, CD Burner.

Problem: After computer is booted into XP randomly (sometimes right after startup, sometimes 30 minutes or more) the computer just freezes, or does a random reboot. No error message. The screen just freezes, or just restarts by itself. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, on the web, word processor, doing virus scan, whatever.

What I’ve done: I check the CPU temp in the BIOS before and after a lock up or random reboot and the BIOS is saying that the temp is well below the cut off temp. So I took out HD and replaced with fresh formatted XP Pro HD. Same thing is happening, still random freeze and random rebooting. Then keeping the fresh hard drive in, I removed the Video Card he installed himself and used the onboard video device. Same thing is still happening. I replaced ram with one stick of 256 MB ram stick. And the same thing is still happening.

Now while I had the fresh HD in, I attached and scanned his HD and found 373 viruses/malware. Is it possible that a virus or some malware got into some kind of ROM memory like the bios or something?

Any ideas of anything else I can check out? I don’t have a processor or motherboard to swap out. Is there any other way to check them?
Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
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RE: Hardware problems?

spyware
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Posted on 22-09-08 19:27
Hm. First of all, nice post. Secondly; did you try replacing cabling? I don't know much about hardware, but it seems like you've covered the usual suspects, might we worth it to get new cables. Cheap too.

I don't think it's virus related, because of the random freeze times. I think your initial thoughts about malfunctioning hardware are in the good direction.

Oh, also, "bottom of the line" should be "top of the bill", but I like your version too.



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but it is suicidal for nations in the long term.�
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Edited by spyware on 22-09-08 19:33
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Posted on 22-09-08 19:33
I'll try the cabling. Really the only thing I can replace is the IDE ribon cables right? Unless I got a new Power supply.
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spyware
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Posted on 22-09-08 19:37
tecj9 wrote:
I'll try the cabling. Really the only thing I can replace is the IDE ribon cables right? Unless I got a new Power supply.


Yeah, I don't think it's the power supply though. Try PM'ing a link of this thread to Korg, he's a hardware maniac. Perhaps he holds the answers you seek.



img507.imageshack.us/img507/3580/spynewsig3il1.png
"The chowner of property." - Zeph
[small]
�Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term,
but it is suicidal for nations in the long term.�
- Carl Sagan
[center]�Since the grid is inescapable, what were the earlier lasers about? Does the corridor have a sense of humor?� - Ebert[/ce
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Posted on 22-09-08 19:47
I just PMed him. Thanks again.

I will get some new IDE cables and try them out because they are so cheap, and it wouldn't hurt to have some around even though sata is defacto now. But I didn't put this in the first post. I did disable the DVD and CD burner drives, and used their cable to hook up the HD. I used both IDE cables, so most likely that's not it unless they are both bad.
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Posted on 22-09-08 20:27
Edit: Try unplugging all of the "extra" devices from the mainboard (like the media reader, any other USB/sound feeds to the front of the case, etc.). Try plugging in the infected hard drive into a different system; you could even use your own, since it would not damage any of your hardware. It could be the mainboard, but I've also seen media readers cause rebooting issues before. Damn good post, btw... very detailed and respectable.




Edited by on 22-09-08 20:41
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Posted on 22-09-08 20:50
very nice post. Anyways, One of my friends had a close problem with random reboots, but how I fixed it, was to remove the battery for about 5 minutes, then replace the battery, and boot it up. It hasn't happened since, So that may be one option to try. I don't remember why I removed the battery, I just remember that it worked.

Hope you can get it working again.


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Posted on 22-09-08 21:26
tecj9 wrote:
Now while I had the fresh HD in, I attached and scanned his HD and found 373 viruses/malware.


Does anyone else thing that is kind of... unusual? What AV program did you use to scan with? There is probably a lot you are going to want to do to clean up/ speed up anyways. Are you even sure you got everything?

EDIT: Oops, I missed the part about it happening with a different HD.




Edited by on 22-09-08 23:00
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Posted on 22-09-08 22:42
Huh. Well, I don't think it'd be a hard drive/virus issue if a second hard drive had the same issue. Maybe something's up with the mobo? Have you tried playing a live CD (like backtrack 3, etc)? I've had an issue with a computer that would randomly shut off after a little while, but that was definitely the power supply. You could try and replace the CPU heatsink/Fan - that's usually pretty cheap.


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RE: Hardware problems?

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Posted on 22-09-08 23:02
First thing you need to do is disable automatic restarts go to:
My computer>properties>advanced>start-up and recovery>settings and uncheck automatically restart, and make sure debug info is set for small memory dump. That way when it crashes it will write to the minidump and we can debug it from there.

Also check for any revisions for that mobo's bios, Last thing for now is to check for dirty power supply connections at the board and make sure the P/S is dust free. Try only plugging in the mobo and hard drive and see if it crashes.

If you do get a bsod or not check your minidump to see if it wrote anything. Then post back. Don't have much time now I'll check back later.







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Posted on 22-09-08 23:07
Thanks for all the help, I'm going to do the stuff you guys suggested, and I'll post when I get some results.

Thank you again.
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Posted on 23-09-08 02:25
Try to free the bios, by taking the button battery off the motherboard. Also download the latest bios update for your computer moterboard.
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Posted on 23-09-08 08:25
Just be sure to read the manual before you do a bunch of shot-in-the-dark experiments with the computer's hardware.




Edited by on 23-09-08 08:25