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#101200 - 25/06/2002 06:27 Oh Windows. What are you doing to me?
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
So yeah, I'm having trouble with my computer already. As stable as Win2K was on my old machine, for some reason it's a buggy mess on my new one.

Every so often doing the most random thing will cause the whole system to restart. I went in to redirect the "My Documents" folder, I click on the "change" button and all of a sudden the screen goes blank and I'm booting up again. Disconcerting, yes.

Then smaller things will happen. Like I inserted my motherboard's driver disk, and the driver install program wouldn't run. Something like "Application failed to initialize." This is annoying, because I needed to install drivers to see if I could fix the problem of my CF card reader not being recognized anymore.

When I first set everything up, I put a CF card in the reader (it came with the mobo), and tada! There was a new drive in "My Computer." I was able to see it just fine. But then overnight, something changed and now when I put the card in, it does nothing at all!

The last thing I've noticed was that after about 5 minutes of playing GTA3, it'll just lock up and I can do nothing but a hard restart. This is most likely a problem with the game, though, as it sucks.

Do you think there's a general problem here? Is there something in my system that could cause most of these glitches?

Also, for some reason Windows keeps bringing up some screen about a "digital signature" or something every time I try to install new soft/hardware. Can I turn this off?

Thanks for any help you can give me!
_________________________
Matt

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#101201 - 25/06/2002 06:34 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4146
Loc: Cambridge, England
trouble ...mess ...restart... screen goes blank ...Application failed to initialize... it'll just lock up... Do you think there's a general problem here? Is there something in my system that could cause most of these glitches?

Sounds like you've got a hardware problem (CPU, motherboard, or, most likely, RAM). Try booting a memtest86 floppy and leaving it going for a while. http://www.memtest86.com

Also try making sure everything (especially RAM) is seated properly. If all else fails, try underclocking the FSB/RAM. If underclocking makes it all work fine, it's fairly certain there's a hardware problem.

Peter

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#101202 - 25/06/2002 06:41 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: peter]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
Oh man, I don't want to hear that....argh. that's not good. I'll run that test tonight.
_________________________
Matt

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#101203 - 25/06/2002 06:53 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4146
Loc: Cambridge, England
Oh man, I don't want to hear that....argh. that's not good. I'll run that test tonight.

Other lines of attack might include removing one or more DIMMs (if possible) or checking on the CPU heat situation (i.e. is the heatsink on properly) using something like Motherboard Monitor http://mbm.livewiredev.com.

Peter

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#101204 - 25/06/2002 07:10 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
BartDG
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2564
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
I agree with Peter. Some hardware thingie in your PC is bad, indeed, most likely the RAM.

Windows 2000 automatically reboots on occasions like that. Very frustrating, I know.
You can actually disable that "booting", so you can see the actual error.

Go to system properties, (right click my computer, then properties) -> advanced -> reboot and repair eh stuff (option on the bottom) -> uncheck third option with system errors ("automatically reboot")

I'm trying to translate the exact steps here since I'm using a Dutch windows 2000, but you should be able to find this no problem.

Of course, then the painful process of debugging you hardware only begins...
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#101205 - 25/06/2002 07:26 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: BartDG]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
Thanks for the help guys. Man, I hope it's just the memory if anything at all. God please say it isn't the motherboard. I don't think I could deal with that. The CPU wouldn't be much better.

If it helps, I have gotten a few blue screens, mainly on shutdowns I think. And when Win2K was first installed, I saw on that mentioned like a memory dump or something.
_________________________
Matt

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#101206 - 25/06/2002 07:53 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: BartDG]
DeadFire
addict

Registered: 30/05/2002
Posts: 695
I was interested in disabling "auto reboot on error" so I went to look for it. You got the directions just about right. After clicking "Advanced" there's a button marked "Startup and Recovery..." - clicking that will bring you to the dialog box with the "Automatically Reboot" option so you can shut it off.

When I put Service Pack 2 in I hadn't checked for incompatibilities - my mouse software made the computer restart something like 7 times before I caught the name of the driver and realized it was the mouse. I have upgraded so it won't happen again... at least not from the mouse.

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#101207 - 25/06/2002 07:55 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
BartDG
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2564
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
When things go wrong with my (or a) PC this is the order I use to debug it:
First I remove all the not-so-necessary cards (soundcard, NIC,...)

Then I replace :

1) memory
2) motherboard
3) video card
4) harddisk
5) CPU

In that order. In case the CPU is an AMD I'd switch 4 & 5
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Riocar 80gig (010102106) - backup

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#101208 - 25/06/2002 08:01 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: DeadFire]
Armin
journeyman

Registered: 05/01/2002
Posts: 71
Loc: New England
my mouse software made the computer restart something like 7 times before...

You have moved your mouse. Click OK to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

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#101209 - 25/06/2002 08:05 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: BartDG]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
you mean replace as in "get a new one"? Oh cripes. I reeeeally don't want to replace the motherboard. The CPU and memory have warranties on them, and they're not so hard to replace physically. the motherboard would be a giant pain.

Please, please don't let it be the motherboard...

I really hope I don't have to replace any parts, frankly.

By the way, my Win2K came with service pack 2, and I also had to restart in the middle of an installation to get it to recognize it. The Logitech mouseware didn't even get loaded after that. I had to reinstall it before it finally took over.

Please don't let it be a hardware problem.....:(
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Matt

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#101210 - 25/06/2002 08:05 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Armin]
DeadFire
addict

Registered: 30/05/2002
Posts: 695
ROFL. No, it was much more dramatic than that. Windows would not even have finished loading the GUI and I'd get Win2K's blue screen of death. The reason it restarted 7 times is because I couldn't catch the name of the damn driver and didn't know how to stop it so I could read it. So it took me that many tries to catch the filename before it restarted. That was great fun.

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#101211 - 25/06/2002 08:13 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
BartDG
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2564
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
you mean replace as in "get a new one"? Oh cripes. I reeeeally don't want to replace the motherboard. The CPU and memory have warranties on them, and they're not so hard to replace physically. the motherboard would be a giant pain.

Uhm. yeah. I guess I'm spoiled because my best friend owns a computer shop and every time I put a new pc together and something isn't right, I just take a new piece of hardware of the shelf to replace the possible culprit. This has been going on for so many years now, I sometimes forget other people don't have that option. Sorry.

I don't want to be pessimistic, but the last time I encountered such a problem it was a combination of memory and motherboard. Both were replaced.

Here's a tip : if you replace your memory, make sure you replace it with brand-on-brand memory. Much less chance of failiure on those.
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#101212 - 25/06/2002 08:33 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
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Mk2a 60GB Blue. Serial 030102962 sig.mp3: File Format not Valid.

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#101213 - 25/06/2002 08:41 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: genixia]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
How can I be sure it's not the motherboard?
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Matt

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#101214 - 25/06/2002 09:10 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
You can't be sure, but should try to make sure it's nothing else first.

Doublecheck all jumper settings first..
Then check the following, as they can all affect stabillity:
CPU not overheating.
Northbridge not overheating.
CPU core voltage.
Memory voltage.
AGP card not overheating.
AGP card voltage.
Memory timings (Start with the least aggressive automatic timings in the BIOS, not optimised)

All of these measurements should be readily available from MBM (someone linked this earlier).
Something else you can try is Sisoft's Sandria utility. The freeware version is limited, but still useful in your case. You can run a burn-in test, and select which part of the system you are stressing, ie memory, CPU etc.

The amdmb foruma should be able to tell you whether people have gained stability by eg upping memory voltage. I know that on my Epox 8k7a, upping the memory voltage was necessary to gain stability when using optimised settings.
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#101215 - 25/06/2002 09:21 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
Oh, and what bios are you running. If the info I've gleaned from amdmb.com is correct, a recent bios fixed some compatibility issues with 512MB memory sticks that was causing stability problems.
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#101216 - 25/06/2002 09:28 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: genixia]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
Hmm. Okay. I'll find that software you mentioned too.

I hope nothing's overheating. I haven't been putting any stress on the system, and there's four fans on the case and plenty of room.

I haven't really made too many aggressive settings in the BIOS. The only thing I adjusted was the FSB to 133 so it would register as a 2100 processor.

So nervous...
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Matt

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#101217 - 25/06/2002 09:34 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: genixia]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
Well, when I had my first problems with the system, I flashed it with the latest BIOS on the SOYO site. I dont' remember the version number, but I'll check that out when I get home too.

By the way, could bad cables attached to more simple things like the CD/DVD drives and floppy drives cause problems? Maybe all my cables were bad...

Also, the OS installed drivers for a lot of the hardware. If I installed the drivers that came with that hardware, could that make a difference?

For example, the items on the fancy cables are:
Toshiba DVD drive
HP SCSI CDRW (on 50 pin SCSI cable)
ZIP drive
Floppy

The items that I did not install drivers for myself:
DVD drive
CDRW
SCSI card for CDRW
ZIP drive

As suggested, I'll also try disconnecting all these drives and pray it's a problem with them and nothing else.
_________________________
Matt

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#101218 - 25/06/2002 11:20 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31160
Loc: Seattle, WA
By the way, could bad cables attached to more simple things like the CD/DVD drives and floppy drives cause problems? Maybe all my cables were bad...

Yes, that is a possibility worth considering.

Also, I have seen stuff like this happen when running certain AGP graphics cards at 4x speed on a motherboard that doesn't properly support 4x (despite the fact that it says it does). I have sometimes had to throttle the card back to 2x to get the lockups to stop.

I have also seen bad USB-port drivers or IDE controller drivers do this sort of thing. Have you made sure to get the proper USB/IDE drivers for your motherboard from Soyo?

I would start by unplugging everything except the video card and one hard disk. See if it all works. If it does, start plugging other things in until it fails again.
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Tony Fabris

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#101219 - 25/06/2002 11:49 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: tfabris]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
Thanks! I'll try all of this.
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Matt

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#101220 - 25/06/2002 11:59 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31160
Loc: Seattle, WA
I also just wanted to say that I agreed with the earlier posts which listed the RAM as a prime suspect.
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Tony Fabris

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#101221 - 25/06/2002 12:02 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: tfabris]
fusto
addict

Registered: 27/12/2001
Posts: 504
Loc: Lummi Island, WA
Ill second that (RAM as culprti)...

Or, uh... well I guess its more like thirding that.
Fourthing?


Zachary
_________________________
...all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

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#101222 - 25/06/2002 12:03 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: tfabris]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
I was also told by the people on the SOYO board that heat would be a problem. They said I could check it in the BIOS. Where? And what are good temperatures?
_________________________
Matt

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#101223 - 25/06/2002 12:05 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: fusto]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31160
Loc: Seattle, WA
And when we say "RAM", we can also mean things like having the motherboard running too fast for the RAM. For instance:

only thing I adjusted was the FSB to 133 so it would register as a 2100 processor.

You sure you got RAM that will really run at 133?
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Tony Fabris

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#101224 - 25/06/2002 12:17 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: tfabris]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
PC2700 had better run at 133FSB

The bios probably has a health check screen that will report temps and voltages.

CPU temps - 55 degrees C seemed to be borderline for my old T-Bird. It'd run forever at 54, but didn't like being taxed at 56.
Northbridge - 35 degrees C seems to be max.

Again, this is a different CPU on a different mobo, but it should give you an idea.
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#101225 - 25/06/2002 14:22 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
Laura
pooh-bah

Registered: 16/06/2000
Posts: 1682
Loc: Metamora, IN
Oh, you will have much fun at this. I've been trying to figure my computers problems out for months now. Every time I think I have it solved, a few days later the crap begins. Replacing the video card got it to stop going black. Pulling out the old ram got it to quit rebooting itself. Now it just locks up, sometimes it can go days without doing it and some days it locks up a dozen times within mintues of coming back up. When I feel like it I'm going to replace the mobo next.
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Laura

MKI #017/90

whatever

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#101226 - 25/06/2002 20:55 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: tfabris]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
Hey guys...I ran memtest.

Is it bad that it runs for 7 hours, gets 7 passes and 4625 errors?

Is there a BIOS setting I might possibly change to make it work? I want to do anything I can before taking these sticks out.

By the way, I got MBM5 and it ran, but it didn't give me any temperature readings.
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Matt

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#101227 - 25/06/2002 21:09 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Is it bad that it runs for 7 hours, gets 7 passes and 4625 errors?

Unfortunatly, yes. That error number should be 0. Make sure to elliminate both individual memory dimms and the slots as the problem before calling it solved.

Is there a BIOS setting I might possibly change to make it work?

You might want to check settings relating to CAS latency. Should be a 3 digit string of numbers, like 3-2-2. Check the memory specs to see what it should be, and ensure it's set right.
_________________________
Tom

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#101228 - 25/06/2002 21:46 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: drakino]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12037
Loc: Sterling, VA
So this was the RAM I got:
http://store.yahoo.com/pcmemory-stores/51pc33ddrsta.html

So that's the stuff. There's a sticker on the sticks that say tey have a warranty, so I suppose I can send them back. Who knows if they'll just replace it with the same or actually give me my money back.

Oh, I should point out that the RAM isn't even warm, so it's definitely not overheating.
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Matt

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#101229 - 25/06/2002 21:55 Re: Oh Windows. What are you doing to me? [Re: Dignan]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
You can get memtest to tell you where the errors occur. Run memtest once and write down those numbers (hopefully, it should only be a few different locations). Then shut the computer down and run it again. Make sure that the locations are the same. If they're not, I'd tend to suspect the motherboard.

I have a friend who's having this exact problem right now, and the locations of his errors are different every time, and the memory works fine in another computer.

Of course, I'm no expert here.
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Bitt Faulk

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