My PC has become unusable. Why?!

Right. Bear with me.

This is the exact same problem that has afflicted my daughter’s PC. The difference is that on hers, it shuts off; mine freezes up completely.

Long and short of it is that today – out of the blue – it has just started freezing up on me. Like, as soon as I get into Windows after the first time that it’s happened.

The longer it’s left off, the more it’ll go before freezing up. Sounds like CPU temp, right? Except that I reset and see the temp is only 42ºC. When it was on for a bit after being left off, my MSN Messenger settings had been forgotten (password, addy and login preferences) – may be relevant. Also, in Safe Mode which (works for longer before freezing sometimes), on both machines, the ‘need to register Windows’ key symbol would show up in the taskbar.

I see 2 possible causes: a virus, or a stick of RAM which has been in both PCs. The RAM was put in mine this morning and it’s gone several hours being fine and then it started. It’s out now but the problem is still the same.

I don’t know if a virus could cause these symptoms. I can’t actually scan for one, so if it is, I don’t know what to do.

I really don’t see how a stick of RAM could leave a lasting effect on a PC. I’ve just noticed that it’s 2.6v though, and I think that hers is only meant to take 2.5v. It’s the exact same specs as the RAM that I put it in with except that the other one is 2.5v. Could this voltage difference be the cause?

I have tried a windows reinstallation. On hers, it switches off on the windows screen just prior to the user agreement. On mine, setup was copying files but froze at 73%.

I could weep, truly I could.

I think that’s all. Please help. :frowning: Again.

Well a few things to try.

First go into the file manager and right click you C drive, under tools, schedule a scan disc, then reboot the PC and let it do its thing.

Second download the latest copy of Memtest86+ and use their utility to make a bootable floppy disc, reboot with the floppy in the PC and let it test the ram for atleast an hour. It will tell you if the ram is being pushed too hard, by telling you if it makes errors. That can sometimes be corrected by changing the voltage, and sometimes by adjusting their speed. If it can’t be corrected then one stick is probably bad.

If your not running ativirus or a quality firewall, get Avast for the antivirus, and Comodo for the firewall. they both have free version that work very well.

Thanks but I believe you’ve misunderstood - I can’t even get to Windows. It froze as soon as I entered it and I can’t check the disc just liuke I can’t run avirus scan.

Windows setup has frozen halfway through now so using Windopws is moot.

Also, the new RAM is out of the PC again. Just the good old trusty one in there.

Okay, then remove your HDD, install it in your kids PC as a slave. Run antivirus on it first, if it passes then run scan disc.

One thing to do first is after you remove the HDD, give it a shake next to your ear and listen carefully for a sound inside the HDD, if you hear something moving around, then the HDD is broken/bad.

Are you sure to be using something so you are not statically charged while working on your computer. One zap from static electricity (Seriously) even a mild one that you didn’t even notice can cause serious fatal effects that sometimes aren’t even noticed for a month or more. Seriously static electricity does not have to give instantaneous effects. These symptoms are questionable

I know it may not make sense but how old is your video card?

I have on more than one occasion had to replace a video card to get a system up and running long enough to find the other problems. Especially if you have a high end video card in the system now.


Thanks for your replies.

Hmmm well the video card is a Radeon 800xt. I got it off someone recently from their old system. However, I can test another video card in there.

I always use my static wristband or hold the case whilst working on my PC.

I will try the HDD idea out but am doubtful that it is that.

I ask again becauise I swear it is responsible: [B]is it possible that a stick of RAM could have done this, even if it’s not in the system any more?[/B]

Hmmm well the video card is a Radeon 800xt. I got it off someone recently from their old system. However, I can test another video card in there.

The high end cards have to have there drivers and if you have a virus it could have disrupted them from working. I have had to put my old 8mb pci video card in a couple of computers that I was working on just to get it up and start the process of fixing it.

I ask again becauise I swear it is responsible: is it possible that a stick of RAM could have done this, even if it’s not in the system any more?

It could have started the present problem of it not coming up, but once you took it out and rebooted it should have cleared itself up.
Can you get into the Bios? If so just go in and save and come back out without manually changing anything, if there is a minor difference somewhere inside the Bios it will generally clear it self once you go in and come back out.

Also, the new RAM is out of the PC again. Just the good old trusty one in there.

How old is the trusty one ? Is it still trusty ?


OK, it can’t br a virus as I tried a clean insatll on another HDD.

I have been in the BIOS and loaded defaults already but still the same.

The other RAM is 3 years old but I’ve tried another stick and still the same problem.

The only other possibility that I see is the mobo itself. I got it from a seller on eBay. It was a replacement as the first board showed the exact same problems (here) but thinking about it, the RAM in that mobo was this very same problem stick that I mentioned in the first post.

Has mobo BIOS been updated? I had some stability issues with 2 different MSI mobos both of which would actually lose partitions, i.e. show those partitions as unformatted free space, BIOS update fixed issues on both systems. Your problem is a little different, but it may be worth a try since the MSI site states BIOS update can fix some stability issues.

OK, update.

I really thought that it would be the mobo, but I’ve tried my old backup that I keep for PC emergencies and the system still froze at 96% on a clean install with that one.

Swapped RAM and GFX card, same problem - froze at 95%. It’s an older HDD that I tried it on so I’ll have to test another…

Are you loading the mobo drivers after OS install?

The OS never got to install bedforehand.

OK, I tried the old mobo with another HDD, did an install and it’s working. Therefore, faulty component = mobo.

Now I have the problem of determining if this is due to the seller selling me a dodgy bit of kit or if I borked it. But how do I find out? I need to avoid this happening again.

PSU? Anything else? The only thing common to the 3 failing mobos is the stick of RAM.

  1. Does the machine pass at least 5 hour of running memtest86+?
    If it passes, continue to step two.

  2. Have you run full diagnostics on your HDDs? By that I mean utilities supplied by Seagate/Maxtor/WDC/Hitachi/Samsung etc?
    If all tests are completed sucessfully continue

  3. Have you tried to repair all file systems? chkdsk /f (read log!)

  4. Have you tried running a LiveCD of Linux/BSD whatever?
    Does it hang/reboot etc?


Try BIOS update if not already tried. As stated in post #10 I had similar problem fixed by BIOS update on 2 different systems, and 1 system mobo had a Via chipset while the other had a NVidia chipset.

It’s a P4 478 socket.

As a result it is not updatable BIOS.

You can check the resistors on the motherboard.If the tops are discolored or raised it’s a good sign that the board is bad.



I’ve given up on the board. IMO it’s the RAM - 3 PCs, all dead. 'Nuff said.


I’ve given up on the board. IMO it’s the RAM - 3 PCs, all dead. 'Nuff said.[/QUOTE]You have bad luck