Hardware/Power problem

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Thread Starter
May 1, 2001
I can't think of a very good title for the problem my computer has, but here is the jist of it. Basically, whenever my computer runs for a while (2-4 hours), all of a sudden it will decide to quit running. The power will still be on, and the processor fan is still running, but the screen is black, the keyboard is frozen, and none of the cd-rom drives will work or even show any signs of power when I press the unload buttons on them. Then when I turn off my computer and turn it back on, the computer will act like it is starting....the cd-rom drive light will come on, but then it will be in the same state I described above, where nothing appears on the screen and no power to the drives work. The cure used to be just letting the computer sit for a few hours, then it would boot up again. However, over the last few weeks the problem has gotten progressively worse. Before it wouldn't crash for a week or so, and now it seems to crash twice a day. This morning it wouldn't even turn on, and I had left it off for 7 hours. I'm assuming this is a hardware problem since I can't even get power to the cd-rom drives when I boot up. The computer is an Athlon 900 with 512 MB of RAM, windows ME (uck, but it came with the computer). I've replaced the power supply on it, since it was a cheap fix, but that didn't help it. Is it a motherboard problem? Any help would be appreciated, and I'm more than happy to answer any additional questions that may help you give me a clue to what the problem is.

Nate W.
Oct 14, 2001
Have you checked the CMOS...battery?


Abbreviation of complementary metal oxide semiconductor. Pronounced see-moss, CMOS is a widely used type of semiconductor. CMOS semiconductors use both NMOS (negative polarity) and PMOS (positive polarity) circuits. Since only one of the circuit types is on at any given time, CMOS chips require less power than chips using just one type of transistor. This makes them particularly attractive for use in battery-powered devices, such as portable computers. Personal computers also contain a small amount of battery-powered CMOS memory to hold the date, time, and system setup parameters.
Dec 2, 1998
Sounds like an overheating prob to me. Is the fan on your processor running? With that AMD you might need a little more also. Try taking the case off and blowing a fan on it temporarily. Does that resolve the problem? If so, I'd grab another fan for your case.
Oct 1, 2001
Ditto from what angel said.

Athlon are famous for running hot. See if you can upgrade the CPU fan and add a fan to the case. IMHO
Dec 9, 2000
I agree the symptoms point to overheating here. Hope you haven't fried the board. But if you've let it sit for a while or have an external fan you can use for test purposes, and the problem still occurs -- there's another possiblity.

You are right on the borderline where Windows has problems handling large amounts of ram without using system.ini to limit vcache by using a MaxFileCache setting. If you try one, you ought to set it to about half of what MS suggests as the max in the link below. Don't use commas in the numbers though. Eg: MaxFileCache=262144

What I would do here is try swapping out sticks of ram (hopefully you have 2). This will also test for a problem with the ram itself.

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