Occasional hard hangs with new hardware

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Thread Starter
Jun 18, 2004
I have a computer which occasionally hangs.


Might also refer to how I created my problem. I installed:

Windows 98 CD
driver for modem.
dialer for ISP.

I got online to my manufacturer site and downloaded and installed drivers in this order.
Mother Board/ ChipSet.
Video graphic board Drivers.

Then installed Internet Explorer 6 from some - People PC ISP CD. (not my ISP).

I went online to Microsoft and downloaded critical updates (Like 16 MB or so)

I downloaded and installed Media Player. Security Update for Media Player.

I went to the Sun site and got the latest version of the Java. Although the Sun site accused me of being behind a proxy that was not -properly identified. I have no idea what they are referring to. My ISP actually contracts for time on the net to - now Qwest, soon to be somone else. And why should Sun care?

Then the latest DirectX. Then DUN 1.4, MDAC. Assuming that this (late install of DirectX) might be the issue. How do I fix it without redoing all install.

Could I like--- Go to the cabs folder and delete the portion related to the MotherBoard. Reboot. Install the MotherBoard Chipset. Reboot.

Or How?

I do not think this is the problem with this computer though. Which is why I came onto the forum.

I think my problem is either too much heat from new hardware or an insufficient power supply.

My hang is a hard freeze. Screen stays the same. Mouse is frozen. CTRL-ALT-DEL has no effect and will not restart the OS at all.

Installing new hardware is how this problem became apparent.

In June 2005, I received a dead computer from relatives who also complained about this computer quitting, dying at nearly random intervals. This was a Gateway P4, 1.5 Ghz, 256 MB RAM, CD-ROM manufactured in 2001. This computer still has the XP COA sticker on the side of the tower. More exactly it is a Gateway 500 XL. This has serial number 0025445733. The gateway site will give you all the specs on this as it was shipped. Right now I am using a Gateway VX720 monitor.

I determined the problem was a bad hard drive. It was a Western Digital 40 GB. I bought a used 13 GB Hard Drive and poured Windows 98 SE into it. Got all the updates from M$. Computer was stable and ran fine all summmer. (My apartment has Air Conditioning. Meaning I did not overheat the computer during the summer.)

At the beginning of Dec. 2005 I bought a new Seagate 160 GB 7200 RPM hard drive. I was sorta aware of the 137 GB problem. I originally had thought all I had to do was to keep the partitions below that. Actually to run Windows 98 I should keep the partitions below 128 GB so scandisk and defrag would run.

After a number of false starts on trying to get the OS rebuilt I also purchased 512 MB of RAM. A DVD burner. I scored a good deal.

By then I had already flashed an update to BIOS to 'see' the entire 160 GB of the new Seagate Drive. I unplugged my smaller slower 13 GB drive from being a slave on the IDE ribbon cable. I physically installed the DVD burner into the chassis and plugged it in to be a slave on the ribbon cable attached it to the CD-ROM ribbon cable. I moved the 256 MB of RAM into the second slot, and put the 512 MB of RAM into slot one.

Do I have the right RAM? I think so. I can not be completely sure. I bought PNY SDRAM DIMM which the BIOS displays as the same PC 133 as the long working 256 MB. Seems to work. I have used several different memory tests. Those tests seem happy. Although those tests do not show exactly which parts of the RAM are being checked.

In my latest experiment with the new hardware I partitioned the Seagate 160 GB Drive into three equal size partitions with the Seagate disc Wizard tools. I removed the 13 GB older, slower hard drive from the system. (For awhile I had tried to use it as a slave drive.)

The other option for LBA support is to install "Intel Chipset Accelerator" , which appears to be a patch to the MotherBoard. I find that to install this "Chipset Accelerator" I can simply click on the setup. That is not one of the reccommended means of installing the software. None of the three different reccommended means work. I know that on reboot I see a bunch of standard messages of installing drivers and such. I seem to get past the message of IDE---- installed. One of the notes associated with the Chipset Accelerator is NOT to use DMA. Obviously the DVD burner would appreciate DMA.

For awhile there I had the DVD burner working. I watched a movie. I burned a small iso with some standard small Wndows 98 software burner (only burns an iso) (which I got off the Internet). At first I had a fatal error on starting the Windows 98 version of Roxio DVD MAX Player which came with the DVD burner. I deleted the software for DVD/CD burning. Then the same DVD MAX Player showed me the movie. (very low sound) I do not think that Software incompatibility is what causes the hang. Although that will still be an issue for me to face. I still can download later versions of DVD software.

When I watched the movie I had the Intel Chipset Accelerator installed (I think it is working.). More importantly the temperature outside was less than twenty degrees. At the same time I started seeing more hangs the outside temp was above freezing. Correspondingly it was warmer inside my apartment.

When I started seeing the hangs. I tried to install a MotherBoard Monitor Software. While I do not know what some of the stuff in this means. I also tried to use a Temperature software which shows the temp in the Seagate Hard Drive. When I saw the Temp hit 105, I turned the power off. I installed software named SpeedFan. This shows that one fan is running, another is not. I can look inside the case. The fan on the CPU is running. The fan on the power supply is running. The fan blades for the Power Supply looks filthy. Nothing else in the case looks that dusty. And and and. Oh my gosh. This thing does NOT have a chassis fan. The Power supply has a little red light which seems to be continously on and which is next to a button named test (on the power suppy itself) Pressing the button seems to change nothing.

Since I had several different possible culprits of chaos. I unplugged the 160 GB Seagate drive, both power and from the IDE ribbon cable. I dug out a very old 1.2 GB Hard Drive. I plugged it into being the only hard drive in the computer. I un-plugged the DVD burner from both the power and its slave position on the ribbon cable.

I have formatted the small hard drive and installed Windows 98 as described above. I did not install the LBA support.

After only a few hours seems to be stable. At least it has not hung up. The biggest thing I have done so far is to download and install the .NET from M$. I ran memory tests from a bootable floppy for several hours. No complaints from a piece of memory testing software I know nothing about. Windiag from the utillities section from bootdiscs.com

Sometimes. When I restart the computer. I see on the monitor screen a red box which flashes by with an error message. Attention. Frequency out of range. I can not read as fast as that goes by. I suspect this is just an error message from the monitor which is complaining that it lost signal from the tower. Be a big help interpreting the message if I just knew where the message was being generated. If it was from BIOS versus something internal to the monitor. Or ...... Might be a symptom from a stressed out Power Supply.

Anyhow. How should I proceed. Do I buy and install a chassis fan. Do I start looking for a new Power supply. Which Power Supply should I choose for this project. Really I have two more obvious choices. I can simply bide my time. See what happens. I can try to add the DVD burner to the IDE cable and see what happens. I can, in some limited ways run the DVD by way of Puppy Linux. Which takes everything about Windows 98 and LBA support out of the equation. Although Puppy Linux had some unresolved issues with this setup which I would have to work around. Since Puppy Linux would not even use up all the RAM, I would still know very little by using it. Meaning I might not know what my problems are with this computer if I only use it with Puppy Linux.

I could run a exerciser, like the ones which are with a the Mobo Monitor SiSandra. Since overheating might be the culprit. Trying to bake my hardware does not qualify as being smart.

I could take the thing to my local Computer Renaissance shop and let them work on it. That could easily cost me more than it is worth.

Computer Renaissance has a cooling box to go with a hard drive. It appears to fit into the slot for a hard drive and has its own fan and temperature sensors. Then I will need both the chassis fan and almost surely a more powerful Power Supply.

Of course I am quite poor or I would not be fooling with a computer which is order of magnitude below what is easily available today. Before the hangs, I had thought I would buy a copy of XP to get into the present world.

I am also tempted to buy a twenty dollar used hard drive. Put that in. Then hold onto the new Seagate drive for something in the future. Then try to re-plug the DVD and see what happens.

Any one got any thoughts?
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