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Old 2009-06-10, 11:00   Link #1
BanishingBook
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: East Asian
Hardware Diagnostics.

My pc crashed, and I don't know how to identify which part of the hardware is beyond repair.

Symptoms:
1.) BSOD - Black and blue screens of death.
2.) Memtest hang (played from UBUNTU.)
3.) sudden restarts
4.) blue screens, if successful loading of windows.

Additional Info:
1.) could not disable automatic restart, I can barely get the chance to do so, because of restarts, which possibly can damage the motherboard/ram/HD; thus I have decided not to turn it on(pc). . . yet

I reckon that the RAM must be broken and needs to be replaced but I'm still not sure, I have asked a second opinion from my brother but I don't think it is very reliable.

So I wonder if any of you guys know any general diagnostic procedures to trace the cause(s) of the crash. So that I can decided what to replace. I'm sure my problem is purely hardware and has nothing to do with the OS.

I know a little with hardware troubleshooting but it's not much and it'll pain me even more if I don't do something with the situation. So far this is the only information I know about the problem.

So, suggestions anyone?
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Old 2009-06-10, 12:24   Link #2
chikorita157
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: New Jersey, United States
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I suggest using the Ultimate Boot CD which have diagnostic tests to see which component is malfunctioning. Try performing all the memory and CPU tests to see if it's the two... if not, you may have a motherboard/PSU failure.
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Old 2009-06-10, 12:25   Link #3
Neat Hedgehog
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Age: 26
Well, you're right that it's a hardware issue. To me, the whole things screams that your RAM is in some kind of trouble. Depending on the scenario, your RAM might not be at fault, though.

But first, a good, simple test is to remove all but one stick of RAM from your motherboard, and then run memtest again and see if it still crashes / hangs. Repeat for each stick of RAM in your system until you find which ones will successfully run memtest, and which ones crash.

If you can't get ANY of them to work, or if all (or some) the sticks check out ok solo, but crash when you have multiple good RAM modules in the machine, then it's a motherboard issue.
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Old 2009-06-10, 14:18   Link #4
Journeyman
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Join Date: May 2009
First of all, check if it is under warranty. Doing it yourself gives you experience and an adrenaline rush (*puts the case on* It should be OK now *ARGH*), but there are quite a few good warranties around, especially from smaller retailers/builders.


The most likely causes are:

a) Faulty RAM. The method given by Neat Hedgehog should work, unless all RAM sticks are faulty or your motherboard only takes RAM sticks in pairs.

b) Faulty CPU. Faulty Intel E8400 are exceptionally good at "it's not me, it's RAM" game.

c) Cooling troubles

d) It ain't coping with load or has a faulty USB device. Some PCs look like Zerg Overmind with all the USB cables attached to them.
Stripping it of all the peripherals (don't forget the flash pens) except for monitor is one way of checking


How old is it? Maybe there are few dust bunnies inside the case, which cause it to overheat?

Quote:
I have asked a second opinion from my brother but I don't think it is very reliable.
And what did he say? Unreliable opinion is still an opinion...

Last edited by Journeyman; 2009-06-10 at 14:19. Reason: Dust bunnies! Never leave them out...
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Old 2009-06-10, 17:53   Link #5
Jinto
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Fürth (GER)
Age: 33
Maybe the mainboard is taost. Take a look on its electrolyte capacitors. If one or many of them look deformed on their upside - or more severe - have little volcones formed by leaking electrolyte the whole current management on your board might fail. After some time that can affect other components irreparably (like north/south bridge, memory controllers, CPU, even plugin cards/devices... that draw their power from the mainboard).
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Old 2009-06-10, 18:27   Link #6
Mooglar
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Have you tried opening up the computer o.o? to see if something is out of the place... try running the computer with the case open and look inside to see what happens.
a fan failing? somethingout of place? something not working from the get go.

if it is the ram do you have a replacement or a friend that you can switch it from? or maybe your bro
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Old 2009-06-12, 08:29   Link #7
BanishingBook
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: East Asian
All your suggestions are noted, and I will try them out one at a time.

@Jinto: The capacitors are fine, I don't see one that is dented, and I do not recall touching them unfortunately.

@Journeyman: my motherboard is clean; I regularly open it to dust off the insides. But I will take your advice and check if it's the USB cables or port, it's(the port) very rusty and also the front audio port near it doesn't work. I use the rear audio port to jack in my headphones. Also I will not forget your other suggestions.

@Mooglar: I hope it's the fan, or the PSU.

@Neat Hedgehog: Okay I will!

@Chikorita: I will look into this suggestion too, I will have to borrow someone's set up to check my components. @__@

Man if it's the motherboard it's going to cost me a lot. It's okay if it's the RAM or if possible the HD. But the motherboard is going to screw a big hole in my pockets. The world's crisis is a big wolf on my doorstep. Sigh.
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Old 2009-06-12, 10:34   Link #8
Neat Hedgehog
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By the way, if you need to use someone else's RAM to test with, there's a slight chance that the computer might not turn on after you put in the new RAM, unless it's the same kind as yours. Even if it's different, most of the time the auto-detect on your motherboard will figure it out and load fine, but I've seen it goof up on more than one occasion and fail to load.

If it does, then just clear your CMOS to force the RAM to auto-detect. You can do this by moving a jumper over one pin, or by popping out the battery, on the motherboard for a minute (I know, most manuals say "ten seconds" but it can take longer). The battery's easy to spot, it's silver and about the size of a nickle. Should be a little spring tab that you can push and it'll pop right out.

Fairly unlikely that you'll run into trouble, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

Good luck with your tests
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