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Is this a Windows problem, or a hardware one?

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by triandrew2001, Oct 8, 2003.

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  1. triandrew2001

    triandrew2001 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2001
    Messages:
    99
    I run an internet radio station from a studio in my home... as with any internet radio stations now, computers are involved. I'm having problems w/ my main broadcast PC locking up, but at unusal intervals. Let me give you the basics I know on this PC's op System and more details on how/when it's locking up, and I'm open to some suggestions on what I can do to remedy the situation.

    HP Pavilion Desktop bought in late 2000
    Pentium III
    well over 256mg of memory installed [memory is brand new]
    Presently running Win-2000 Professional Edition.. was previously running Win98 se
    10g hard drive, not even 20% full
    SiS graphics monitor card [brand new]

    Long before I began running my internet station, THIS machine was my only machine. Since late 2001, I've had problems w/ oit locking up for what appeared to be no specific reason. This began back when I was still on Win98se. In early 2002, it was suggested that I upgrade the machine to Win2000 Professional Edition, in hopes this might clear up the locking problems. I was noticing that most lock ups would happen either during a page change or major graphics change, or when my mouse was moving quickly across the screen. It was suggested that perhaps the internal graphics card that came with it was having memory problems, and to get a new graphics card, so in mid 2002, I got the SiS graphics card, thus keeping the graphics memory usage to the card and not off the main motherboard. for a good period of time from after I installed Win2000 and the new graphics card, it seemed to be running smoother and fewer lockups were happening. A few weeks later, the lockups became again more frequent. I managed to put up with it until this summer when I finally got a 2nd PC for all my work use and had plans on using this original Pavilion machine for my webcast.
    Before setting it up for running the webcast only, I did MAJOR cleaning. Took off all the software that I was no longer going to use on that machine, just keeping it to the bare bones minimum it needed to run this webcast. Upon doing so, I defrag'ed, did scandisk, ran virus software, in general, doing anything you'd do in a normal situation if you were cleaning up a system, just short of wiping everything out and reformatting from the start. [Which, by the way, has been done a number of times on this machine, in hopes to clear up this problem.]
    What I've noticed about when it locks up.. is that it will go 2, 3 or sometimes 4-5 days without a single problem.. not locking at all, and happy as can be. Then somewhere from 3-5 days into a good stretch, I'll have my first lockup, which will in turn be followed by up to 5-6 lockups, within the next 24-48 hours, for NO apparent reason. There are no major changes in graphics or pages, and usually the mouse isn't even bing used. I don't feel this is a memory issue, as I've run the exact same software setup, on a laptop, that is a good 3-4 years older than this desktop, with considerably less memory in it.
    I've run countless diagnostic programs designed to check any machine and determine any hardware or software problems/conflicts/etc., and not one of these could find any technical problems w/the machine. Yet the lockups contine.... every 3-5 days, for several lockups, spanned over a few days, then I'll go a 3-5 days again filled w/ lockups.
    There are no scheduled events on the machine, so it's not connected with anything it has scheduled to run. I'm at my wits end. I'm not asking much of this machine except for it to work.. reliably for more than 3-5 days at a time.
    I'm looking for a solution other than "go buy a new machine." When this machine IS working, it works GREAT.. but when it's not, I'm tempted to throw it out a window.

    Anyone wanna take a crack at this and give me some suggestions? I need my new machine for all my production work, and want to use this Pavilion for my webcast.

    Your thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated. I can be reached via:
    [email protected]

    Thanks!
    DJ Andrew Cannon
     
  2. kiwiguy

    kiwiguy

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Messages:
    17,584
    Couple of points:

    HP machines are not always tolerant of OS changes. This is not a critisicm, but in order to make machines as reliable as possible, optimisation of BIOS code can make them quite OS version critical.

    While HP use main-stream brands of motherboards, the BIOS used is not the "off the shelf" version. Have you checked to see if a BIOS upgrade is available?

    Second point.

    Just because you have fitted a graphics card, don't assume the on-board chipset is inactive. It may still be using resources.

    Third point (OK, I cant count)

    Dont use standby/hibernate modes. This is one cause of long-term unreliability in desktop systems. They get upset sometimes a long time after any standby. Clean power downs and bootups cure that.

    Your system would be a Pentium III, about 700 MHz at that age?
     
  3. triandrew2001

    triandrew2001 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2001
    Messages:
    99
    Okay.. here's a bit more info on the machine, and what I've found out at this time.
    HP Pavilion 8655c
    Pentium III 533mHz
    well over 256m of intalled ram
    PhoenixBIOS Core v.4.06
    BIOS v1.09 (2/14/00)

    Upon checking w/ HP Pavilion, I find out NOW that, although Win2000 should have no problems on the machine, and that it's technically the same as Win98se with some new sharing abilities, HP does not support Win2000. Good thing to know NOW that I no longer have a way to install Win98se again. There is a newer version of BIOS available,not the same BIOS name/number I'm using now, but the only new things about it are for the video card built into the machine and I do not use that video card. I checked in my CMOS about the on-board video card and there are 2 selections for it as for the amount of memory to set aside for it. Even though I'm not using this physically, I set it to the lowest of the two settings (500k or something of that nature.)
    I had a suggestion that this could be a heat issue and I tried installing Motherboard Monitor to get a look at the temps, but according to MBM, there are no temperature sensors in this machine, thus, the software is useless to me. I am about 99% sure it is not a temperature issue, as all my fans are in good working order, plus an airconditioning duct is right behind the PC and it's plenty cool.

    Is there any other system information I can pass on to you that might benefit in making any sort of diagnosis?

    Thanks so much.

    Andrew
    [email protected]
     
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