Old 09-05-2009   #1
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Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Can a failing hard drive cause a computer to experience freezes and hangs? Likewise, can a bad motherboard cause a good hard drive to behave like it's failing? My computer has been freezing up and hanging randomly. After trying several possible avenues to fix it, I'm now left wondering if it's a bad motherboard or failing hard drive. Acording to Speed Fan, my hard drive will have days that it's "health" is rated at either 94%, 92%, or 45%. Sometimes, if I restart the computer, it will got from 45% health to 94%. For the first time last night, I actually could hear the hard drive working. Leading up to the hard drive sounds, the computer froze up several times and required manually turning it off(holding the off button down) and restarting it. Then, while it was actually not freezing up, it started making noises from the hard drive. Yes, it did freeze up again about 10 minutes later. Speed Fan said the health was 45% then. Today, it says it's 92%. So, I'm left wondering, is the motherboard causing hard drive problems, or is the hard drive the source of the problem all together?
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Old 09-05-2009   #2
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Hi,

with a bad harddrive, you should have related entries in the Windows event log.
Additionally, I'd recommend getting the disc diagnostic software from the HDD manufacturer in order to check the HDD.

Also take into consideration: a bad memory stick can also cause freezes and other ugly things. Memtest is a nice tool to check. Let it run over night.

The Ultimate Boot CD contains Memtest and a couple of HDD diagnostic tools.

Michael
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Old 10-05-2009   #3
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Thanks for the help. I've run memtest and prime95. Memtest gave me no problems. Prime95 didn't give me any problems either. BUT, when this computer is acting up, any application I try to run, including just sitting there idle over night, will eventually freeze/hang whatever is going on. The computer becomes non-responsive to any input other than pushing and holding the power button in until it shuts off. Last night was real bad...probably froze up 4-5 times within a 1/2 hour. That is when I noticed the hard drive making noise for the first time. Right now, the hard drive is quiet and the computer is working fine. I tried to run the diagnostic utility form Western Digital, but, it didn't work. Probably because this computer is a Dimension 8400. I've tried HijackThis forums to clean the computer of any infections thinking maybe something got through and was causing problems. The computer's clean and infection free. The event viewer has logged errors. One of the most prominent was a problem with ide port 0. The only things connected to the only ide port on this computer are my dvd burners. The hard drive is sata. I installed a ide controller card to try and by-pass what I thought may have been a bad integrated ide controller. Everything is still behaving the same way. I even replaced the power supply with a PC Power & Cooling unit that's for a Dimension 8400 computer. The problems still persist. Last night I was getting a lot of Windows Search Service errors and, as a result, disabled the indexing service to see what would happen. I haven't had any of those errors since, but, the computer will still freeze up. The problem is, I get a lot of random errors in "applications" and "system" that don't appear to be connected or are not predictably repeatable. I do one thing and it freezes, I do it again and it doesn't freeze. I've had freezes occur during everything from surfing the internet on both IE8 and Firefox, playing a cd or dvd, being in the middle of an anti-virus scan, and leaving the computer just sit there idle. The big problem is, when the computer does freeze up, there are no errors logged at the time it freezes. Everything immediately stops and nothing can be reported as a result. All event viewer errors occured anywhere from 1/2 hour to 12 hours or more earlier than the freeze. There have been some withing minutes of a freeze(the ide port 0 errors), but, addressing the problem didn't help. I have had "a device connected to the computer is not functioning" error in relation to IE8, but, it doesn't give a source other than "unknown." It's all very frustrating since problems can occur at anytime, during anything, and leave no real trace most the time. The best indication was last night when the hard drive started making noise and freeze ups were occuring so often. That's why I began to wonder if the hard drive is causing the problems or the mother board was causing the hard drive to start making noises like it did last night. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-05-2009   #4
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hercules1 View Post
Thanks for the help. I've run memtest and prime95. Memtest gave me no problems.
how long did you run Memtest?
Quote:
The event viewer has logged errors. One of the most prominent was a problem with ide port 0. The only things connected to the only ide port on this computer are my dvd burners. The hard drive is sata.
This doesn't matter. Sata controllers can be configured as "IDE compatible".
Run the diagnostics tool from the HDD manufacturer.

Your post is very hard to read (for me), so I've given up here Some more structure in the text would be very helpful.

Michael
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Old 11-05-2009   #5
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

mciahel, sorry for the cluttered post. My wife and I were getting ready to leave to meet some friends for her birthday while I was writing that post. Let me see if I can make some sense out of what I was trying to say.

To answer your question about memtest, I ran it for at least 28 hours. It was one of the first things I tried after the problems began with that computer. I ran prime95 about 2 weeks ago for about 12 hours before someone crashed into a telephone pole at the end of the street causing a power outage. I didn't bother trying to run it after that.

I'll try to download and run the diagnostic utility for the hard drive again. Last time I tried, it would not work. I do not know why. At the time, I guessed it was because that computer is a Dell. If I have problems running the utility this time, I'll post back what it's saying to see if you have any advice on how to get it to run...that is, if you don't mind.

Now, to address what I originally intended the post to be about. My computer randomly freezes up and becomes non-responsive. There are times that it will go all day and not have a problem. When it does act up, there are times that it will freeze every 10 minutes, but, it may go hours between freeze ups. The only thing I can do when it happens is push and hold the power button in until the computer shuts off. The computer will usually start every time without any problems. Rarely has it froze during start up, but, it has happened (maybe 3 or 4 times). Also, when it did freeze during start up, it only happened after my home screen was already displayed. Also, I have noticing that it is taking several minutes longer than normal to boot up.

I wondered if the computer got infected with some type of virus or malware, so, with the help of a HijackThis forum, we "cleaned" the computer of anything that may have slipped in. This didn't fix the problem either.

I was checking the Event Viewer for errors. I continually started getting errors in both "Applications" and "System." The one that continually occured was and error mentioning IDE Port 0. The only devices connected to the IDE port were my dvd drives. I disconnected the dvd drives and the freezing appeared to stop. At the time I thought this was either because I disconnected the dvd drives, or, because it was one of those times that the computer just happened to be working. So, I connected each dvd drive, one at a time, and without the other to see what would happen. The problems would occur with the drives connected individually or both at the same time. This led me to think that I may have a problem with the ide cable, port connector, controller, or something hardware related to it. So, I tried a new ide cable, and, while I was in there, a new sata cable to the hard drive. When that didn't help, I installed an IDE controller card in an attempt to by-pass what I had hoped was a failing IDE controller. This didn't help either.

All of the above led up to the other night when something new happened. It occured during one of those moments when the computer would freeze up within minutes of booting up and did it 4 or 5 times in a row. When it finally did stay running, I noticed the hard drive making noises. I had never noticed noises coming from the hard drive before. I don't know how to describe them other than it sounded like some clicking and motors under strain. All I know is it was something new. I immediately checked Speed Fan to see if it registered anything about the hard drive. It gave a health rating of 45% and indicated a problem with the "seek error rate." I had seen this before through Speed Fan. Each time though, the health rating would return to 92-94% without any indication of a problem with the "seek error rate" or in how the computer was operating. Also, it didn't make any noises like this time.

Now, I am wondering if the hard drive is mechanically going bad or if there is a motherboard problem which can cause the hard drive to behave in a manner that it would cause it to make noises. I've always heard that if the hard drive is making loud noises that it's going bad. I've never had a hard drive break, so, I don't know what it sounds like, or, even how it makes the computer behave.

So, what do you think? I don't know if I was able to express the situation any better. Hopefully I did. Also, I know I'm forgetting and leaving out a lot...it's late and I got to get some sleep before work tomorrow. Thanks for the help! I do appreciate it!
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Old 11-05-2009   #6
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Hi,

memtest run for 28 hrs? Okay, that's more than enough. Fine.

Then let's concentrate on the HDD. As already stated, a Sata connected drive can also behave like IDE.
Please post the error message you got from event log.
Also tell us the HDD brand.

Since your computer is a Dell, you might also try Dell Diagnostic. Get it from Dell Support website off the "Download Drivers" section after having entered your Service Tag, if it isn't already preinstalled.

Michael
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Old 12-05-2009   #7
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

mciahel, it's a Western Digital 80 gig sata hard drive. I think the model # is WD800JD. I'll have to verify that. I can tell you it's almost 5 years old now. It's the original hd that came with the computer.

It might not be until tomorrow until I can post the error messages. Once again, I'm pressed for time. If I get in early enough tonight, I'll do it then, but, I'd rather try and download the diagnostic utilities from both Dell and WD and let you know how they worked out along with posting the error messages. Thanks again, I'll report back with the results and error messages...hopefully tonight provided I don't walk through the door and have to go right to bed.
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Old 12-05-2009   #8
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Dll a boot disc called Hirens, its got everything you need, including hdd diagnostic tools including vendors.

otherwise u can get it scanned at your local computer shop, it wont take them longer than 5 minutes for a read and write test.
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Old 12-05-2009   #9
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by philta View Post
Dll a boot disc called Hirens,
No need for that since the required utilities are already identified.
Hiren's Boot CD is not an option.
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Old 13-05-2009   #10
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

mciahel, thanks again for trying to help out!!! I downloaded the WD diagnostic utility and it actually worked this time. It reported everything as "Pass" and said the hard drive is OK. This makes me wonder if there's an intermittent problem since the WD Diagnostic utility is reporting the same thing as Speed Fan. I'm going to run the diagnostics periodically and see if they will report comparable results when one or the other indicates a problem with the "seek error rate."

I downloaded the Dell diagnostic utility, but, it would not work and did not indicate why. I will try again. It would just splash a small black screen for about a second then disappear as if I never attempted to run it.

Also, I reconnected both dvd drives to the original ide connector on the motherboard last night. I thought it would be better to use errors that were generated from the original configuration. With that said, I did not remove the ide controller card that I had installed and nothing is connected to it.

The following are errors logged by the Event Viewer. I'll post only the most common ones from both "System" and "Application" to try and conserve space.

First..."System" errors.

Event Type: Error
Event Source: atapi
Event Category: None
Event ID: 9
Date: 5/12/2009
Time: 8:41:01 PM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
The device, \Device\Ide\IdePort0, did not respond within the timeout period.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Data:
0000: 0f 00 50 00 01 00 a4 00 ..P...¤.
0008: 00 00 00 00 09 00 04 c0 .......À
0010: 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 ........
0018: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ........
0020: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ........
0028: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ........
0030: 00 00 00 00 07 00 00 00 ........
0038: 40 00 00 0e 00 00 01 00 @.......
0040: 00 00 06 12 08 01 00 00 ........
0048: 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 ........
0050: 00 00 00 00 a0 4f c5 8a .... OŊ
0058: 00 00 00 00 18 f5 40 89 .....õ@‰
0060: 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ........
0068: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ........
0070: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ........

This error is the latest in a list of 7 of the same errors that occured consecutively every 9 to 10 minutes. There are a about 45 of these errors since returning the computer to its orginal configuration last night. They all say the same thing. These errors are the reason why I ordered the ide controller card. After installing the controller card, these error all but vanished, but, I still had freeze up problems occuring as usual.

"Application" errors...

Event Type: Error
Event Source: Application Error
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1000
Date: 5/12/2009
Time: 8:55:47 PM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
Faulting application iexplore.exe, version 8.0.6001.18702, faulting module urlmon.dll, version 8.0.6001.18702, fault address 0x0003e819.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Data:
0000: 41 70 70 6c 69 63 61 74 Applicat
0008: 69 6f 6e 20 46 61 69 6c ion Fail
0010: 75 72 65 20 20 69 65 78 ure iex
0018: 70 6c 6f 72 65 2e 65 78 plore.ex
0020: 65 20 38 2e 30 2e 36 30 e 8.0.60
0028: 30 31 2e 31 38 37 30 32 01.18702
0030: 20 69 6e 20 75 72 6c 6d in urlm
0038: 6f 6e 2e 64 6c 6c 20 38 on.dll 8
0040: 2e 30 2e 36 30 30 31 2e .0.6001.
0048: 31 38 37 30 32 20 61 74 18702 at
0050: 20 6f 66 66 73 65 74 20 offset
0058: 30 30 30 33 65 38 31 39 0003e819
0060: 0d 0a ..

Event Type: Error
Event Source: Application Error
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1000
Date: 5/12/2009
Time: 8:41:55 PM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
Faulting application iexplore.exe, version 8.0.6001.18702, faulting module unknown, version 0.0.0.0, fault address 0x024fed55.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Data:
0000: 41 70 70 6c 69 63 61 74 Applicat
0008: 69 6f 6e 20 46 61 69 6c ion Fail
0010: 75 72 65 20 20 69 65 78 ure iex
0018: 70 6c 6f 72 65 2e 65 78 plore.ex
0020: 65 20 38 2e 30 2e 36 30 e 8.0.60
0028: 30 31 2e 31 38 37 30 32 01.18702
0030: 20 69 6e 20 75 6e 6b 6e in unkn
0038: 6f 77 6e 20 30 2e 30 2e own 0.0.
0040: 30 2e 30 20 61 74 20 6f 0.0 at o
0048: 66 66 73 65 74 20 30 32 ffset 02
0050: 34 66 65 64 35 35 0d 0a 4fed55..



Event Type: Error
Event Source: COM+
Event Category: (98)
Event ID: 4822
Date: 5/10/2009
Time: 12:07:06 PM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
A condition has occurred that indicates this COM+ application is in an unstable state or is not functioning correctly. Assertion Failure: SUCCEEDED(hr)

Server Application ID: {02D4B3F1-FD88-11D1-960D-00805FC79235}
Server Application Instance ID:
{D44E5670-84F0-4F9E-B2DD-FA7E2F83A770}
Server Application Name: System Application
The serious nature of this error has caused the process to terminate.
Error Code = 0x8000ffff : Catastrophic failure
COM+ Services Internals Information:
File: f:\xpsp3\com\com1x\src\comsvcs\tracker\trksvr\trksvrimpl.cpp, Line: 3000
Comsvcs.dll file version: ENU 2001.12.4414.702 shp

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

This COM+ error is a new one. I've never seen this one before.


Event Type: Error
Event Source: Windows Search Service
Event Category: Gatherer
Event ID: 3028
Date: 5/9/2009
Time: 12:52:20 AM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
The gatherer object cannot be initialized.

Context: Windows Application, SystemIndex Catalog

Details:
The registry value cannot be read because the configuration is invalid. Recreate the content index configuration by removing the content index. (0x80040d03)


For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


Event Type: Error
Event Source: Windows Search Service
Event Category: Gatherer
Event ID: 3038
Date: 5/9/2009
Time: 12:52:16 AM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
The gatherer is unable to read the registry DocIdMapFile.

Context: Application, SystemIndex Catalog

Details:
The system cannot find the file specified. (0x80070002)


For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


Event Type: Error
Event Source: Application Error
Event Category: (100)
Event ID: 1000
Date: 5/8/2009
Time: 11:55:57 PM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
Faulting application services.exe, version 5.1.2600.5755, faulting module ntdll.dll, version 5.1.2600.5755, fault address 0x0001b21a.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Data:
0000: 41 70 70 6c 69 63 61 74 Applicat
0008: 69 6f 6e 20 46 61 69 6c ion Fail
0010: 75 72 65 20 20 73 65 72 ure ser
0018: 76 69 63 65 73 2e 65 78 vices.ex
0020: 65 20 35 2e 31 2e 32 36 e 5.1.26
0028: 30 30 2e 35 37 35 35 20 00.5755
0030: 69 6e 20 6e 74 64 6c 6c in ntdll
0038: 2e 64 6c 6c 20 35 2e 31 .dll 5.1
0040: 2e 32 36 30 30 2e 35 37 .2600.57
0048: 35 35 20 61 74 20 6f 66 55 at of
0050: 66 73 65 74 20 30 30 30 fset 000
0058: 31 62 32 31 61 1b21a


Event Type: Error
Event Source: Windows Search Service
Event Category: Gatherer
Event ID: 3013
Date: 5/8/2009
Time: 12:38:10 AM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
The entry <C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\JOE & SHERRIE\RECENT\DESKTOP.INI> in the hash map cannot be updated.

Context: Application, SystemIndex Catalog

Details:
A device attached to the system is not functioning. (0x8007001f)


For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


These are some of the errors that I'm seeing more regularly. I hope you can make some sense of these. The hard drive has been quiet since the other night. I haven't heard it at all. Also, I've noticed that the computer has not frozen up as much. When the computer begins to enter one it's freeze up fits, I'll immediately try to run the WD diagnostic utility. The only problem is that I'll have to do it after a restart because that's the only way I can get the computer to respond to anything.

Thanks again!!!
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Old 13-05-2009   #11
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Hmmmm....... why has no one mentioned the power supply yet? A failing PS can
cause freezes if the +12 voltage drops enough as well as if the +3.3 voltage drops
enough it can cause you all kinds of headaches also. Since the hdd test says pass
then I'd have to give that 5 year old PS a good look at.
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Old 13-05-2009   #12
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Actually, the power supply was one of the first things I replaced. I thought something along the same lines as you about a 5 year old psu. I replaced it with a 500w PC Power & Cooling unit specifically for a Dell. It didn't help.
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Old 14-05-2009   #13
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Have you run chkdsk on your HDD yet?
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Old 14-05-2009   #14
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hercules1 View Post
I downloaded the Dell diagnostic utility, but, it would not work and did not indicate why. I will try again. It would just splash a small black screen for about a second then disappear as if I never attempted to run it.
Not sure if there are several versions available at the moment. The version I have is some kind of "bootable device creator". It should help preparing either a bootable USB stick or a bootable CD.
So please read the hints given on Dell support website in order to get the proper version.



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Old 14-05-2009   #15
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hercules1 View Post
Can a failing hard drive cause a computer to experience freezes and hangs? Likewise, can a bad motherboard cause a good hard drive to behave like it's failing? My computer has been freezing up and hanging randomly. After trying several possible avenues to fix it, I'm now left wondering if it's a bad motherboard or failing hard drive. Acording to Speed Fan, my hard drive will have days that it's "health" is rated at either 94%, 92%, or 45%. Sometimes, if I restart the computer, it will got from 45% health to 94%. For the first time last night, I actually could hear the hard drive working. Leading up to the hard drive sounds, the computer froze up several times and required manually turning it off(holding the off button down) and restarting it. Then, while it was actually not freezing up, it started making noises from the hard drive. Yes, it did freeze up again about 10 minutes later. Speed Fan said the health was 45% then. Today, it says it's 92%. So, I'm left wondering, is the motherboard causing hard drive problems, or is the hard drive the source of the problem all together?
This in all a "windoze" SoftWare (S/W) problem.

Never seen SpeedFan being a quite compatible HardWare (H/W) error tool. Think you all better visit SpeedFan home page. to learn more, (right now as it see many of'ya are outh in the blue here though.)
My 0.02$.
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Old 15-05-2009   #16
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

MysticEyes, yes, I've run chkdsk. It "repaired" something, but, it was at least a month ago and I can't remember what. All I can say, is the problems continued to occur.

pinto2, I think it's obvious that I am certainly "out in the blue." You mention it's a windows software problem. Do you have any suggestions on how to address it?

mchail, I'm going to try the Dell diagnostic utility again tonight. I'll let you know how it goes. I had another error in the Event Viewer that I've had before, but, didn't locate when I posted the errors above. So, following is the error from Event Viewer from "Applications."

Event Type: Error
Event Source: Windows Search Service
Event Category: Gatherer
Event ID: 3013
Date: 5/14/2009
Time: 9:04:02 PM
User: N/A
Computer: D8SDZW61
Description:
The entry <C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\JOE & SHERRIE\RECENT\DESKTOP.INI> in the hash map cannot be updated.

Context: Application, SystemIndex Catalog

Details:
A device attached to the system is not functioning. (0x8007001f)


For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


The line that grabbed my attention from this error is where it states, "A device attached to the system is not functioning." Any ideas on what that device is?
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Old 15-05-2009   #17
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Quote:
MysticEyes, yes, I've run chkdsk. It "repaired" something, but, it was at least a month ago and I can't remember what. All I can say, is the problems continued to occur.
Run it now.
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Old 15-05-2009   #18
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Well, I ran chkdsk again and it didn't find any errors. I then tried the Dell diagnostic utility again. Actually, I spent more time fighting to create a bootable cd than anything else. Ultimately, I saved the utility to the hard drive and tried creating the boot cd, which I think I did successfully. I restarted the computer, hit f12, and followed the instructions I had printed off the Dell website for what to type in at each prompt. When I typed "Delldiag" at the final prompt indicated in the instructions, I immediately got an error. It said...

Fatal Error TNT.10013: Insufficient conventional memory for data buffers

233360 Bytes conventional memory available
262144 Bytes conventional memory left free
-MINREAL 4000h, -MAXREAL FFFFh
74944 Bytes conventional memory needed
3056 Bytes for application program
63936 Bytes for TNT Dos-Extender code and data
7952 Bytes for buffers in conv mem

Any thoughts?
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Old 17-05-2009   #19
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

I tried downloading and running each of the 3 versions of the Dell Diagnostic Utility. I have not been able to get any of them to work. I can create a bootable cd and get it to start, but, it will either give me the error I posted earlier (TNT.10013), or none of the text I type in at the prompts from the Dell instructions works. I'm at a complete loss. I am seriously thinking I have no choice but to start saving for a new computer and hope this one doesn't become completely useless before that time. I had really hoped to have the option to wait until several months after Windows 7 is released, but, it's looking like whatever problem is causing this computer trouble is not going to be solved. Especially, because I'm not going to throw parts at a 5 yr old computer hoping I find the failing part eventually. That is, if it even is a failing part and not some OS or software problem. Thanks for trying to help. I do appreciate the effort! I'll check back to see if someone might have some ideas that could help or if something happens that can point to a more specific direction to fix it. Thanks again!
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Old 18-05-2009   #20
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Try installing the latest drivers for your IDE/SATA controller, delete the IDE/SATA Controller & reboot windows

It would be a good idea to run Chkdsk on the PC as suggested above, and then backup all your important documents to another/portable HDD ...
If you get a kickass SATA HDD now & use it, you can put it into your new PC, because Dell bundles the cheapest crap HDD's it can lay it's hands on this week - supplied by the lowest tenderer
Being 5yrs old, you will *probably* need to get a PCI-SATA card as well .. but they're cheap now anyway.
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Old 19-05-2009   #21
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

debro, thanks for the advice! I already started down your line reasoning and ordered a hard drive over the weekend. My thinking was I can salvage that and a few other parts to put toward another pc. Actually, it's a result of me deciding it's about time I learn more than adding memory or a graphics card. So, I've decided to take the bull by horns and use this computer as a test bed to learn how to load the os and set it up. If in the process it solves whatever is causing my problems, then great. If it doesn't, then how much more damage can I possibly cause to computer that may not be worth saving. Hopefully, I'll learn how to diagnose and handle problems like I'm having in the process so I don't have to depend on others when a problem develops. Maybe, I'll even be able to offer some help to others for change. BTW, the hard drive I ordered is a sata Western Digital Cavier Black 640 gb. It was on sale at Newegg for the cost of the 500 gb and had free shipping. I'm thinking it should make a good start. Thanks again!
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Old 19-05-2009   #22
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Be aware that when installing Windows XP to a sata drive running in native/ahci mode (ie a Sata controller that's not operating in "IDE compatibility mode / PATA Emulation mode", you will require a floppy disk with 3 files on it and press F2 when starting the windowsXP installer (read the messages at the bottom of the installer screen, you have about 5 seconds per message).


txtsetup.oem (text description file with hardware descriptors, and refers to the two files below)
*driver*.inf
*driver*.sys

Where *driver* is the name of the two files referred to in the txtsetup.oem file.
Sata cards usually come with the necessary files on CD, but not on a floppy disc.

Windows Vista/Windows7 beta will have everything you need .. but sata came AFTER winxp.

As a newbie at this, I recommend you remove your existing HDD while you install WinXP, so you don't accidentally format it.

Recovery tools are notoriously .. slow ... crap ... and inevitably useless.
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Old 19-05-2009   #23
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

I was reading about something like this last night. I was looking-up information about installing XP Pro on a Dimension 8400 without a floppy drive. I'm probably not saying this correctly, but, it provided a "work around" by setting the sata controller to ide/ata compatability, or something like that, to use a cd instead of the floppy for the installation. I printed it up for reference, but, haven't read through it so as to understand it. I just thought at the time it would be good to have just in case. I'm still gathering as much information about installation as possible. That's about the extent to which I'm prepared...still gathering information to start. Thank you for the help and the heads-up on having only about 5 seconds to read each message.
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Old 19-05-2009   #24
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

I'm not sure whether you can set an ADD-ON pci sata card to run in "Pata Emulation" mode though.

You can, however, slipstream your drivers into the WinXP CD that you can custom make, so you never have to worry about hitting F5, nor worrying about floppy disks.
It's quite simple to do, but it takes about 1 hr to do it ... and the instructions (not hard to track down) and a few little proggies.

I did it a few years ago, when sata first came out, but I've changed motherboards 4 times since (with 4 different SATA controllers), and then of course the SP1a, SP2 & SP3 came out ... and so forth ... and it's no longer useful to me.

USB Floppy drives don't work either .. for some reason that's been explained by M$, but I wrote off as "blooming stupid", and didn't consider significant enough to remember. This can also be fixed by slipstreaming some USB floppy drive device descriptors, but you might as well just slipstream the right SATA drivers anyway and fore-go the usb floppy drive altogether
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Old 19-05-2009   #25
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Re: Can a failing hard drive cause system freezes?

Actually, there's no add-on sata card. The motherboard in the Dimension 8400 already has 4 sata sockets(plugs) and controller integrated into the motherboard. It has 1 ide connector and controller integrated too. I added an ide card in an attempt to by-pass the integrated ide controller. I did this because one of the errors I keep getting indicates an ide port and that had me wondering if the ide controller was going bad. I had already tried replacing the cables, disconnecting the dvd drives and trying them one at a time to isolate a drive. I even replaced the power supply. Ultimately, nothing helped and I still kept getting the same errors leaving me to wonder if it's a hardware or software problem. So, I'm just going to start gathering up components as I can spare the extra cash. I got tons of expenses on the horizon...a new roof for the house this year, the resent discovery that we have termites that are being exterminated, a $1100 clutch for my truck that I have to install. Not to mention my wifes truck is due for inspection and needs tires, rotors and brakes. This is just one of those years that everything is happening all at the same time. That's why I'm just going to gather up everything I need as I can and spend the rest of the time learning what not to do on my Dell. In the mean time, I'll just use my wifes laptop when needed.
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