Unusual PC problem

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anglia

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May 24, 2006
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I have supplied 3 PC's on separate occasions to a small shop all with new HD's and clean install of XP home. All drivers installed.

The problem is these PC's keep crashing after a few hours when installed at the customers shop and work perfectly when back at my workshop on long soak tests ?

The PC is connected to a broadband modem, filter and telephone socket as well as a PDQ sharing the same socket. Could their telephony equipment be causing this? there electricity supply? faulty anti surge extension lead?

Any ideas anyone??

Regards
Ian
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
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11,670
If you are referring to "crashing" as something like the machine restarting you may want to try installing a UPS at the location where the problem is occuring to see if there is a problem on the power line.

I happen to live in an area that has very erratic power. Attached is a screen shot I just took of my UPS history for the past 4 weeks. As you can see the UPS has caught 26 "blackouts" in the past 4 weeks each of which only lasted an average of 4.9 seconds.

Where I lived previously also had erratic power, and this machine has never been run without being connected to a UPS. Although this machine is now nearly 5 years old it has never rebooted from a power flucuation, and the power supply voltages today are as steady as the day I built the machine.
 

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Aug 2, 2007
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Define "crash"? What kind of crash are we talking about? A general power failure? BSOD? Internet won't work?

What were the users doing or trying to do when the "crash" occurred?

There shouldn't be a filter between the broadband modem and the socket. I'm not sure how telephony works, but THAT might need to be filtered (if it is a dial up program, then it will need a filter).

I'm not sure what a PDQ is, but if it is an Internet or network access solution then it might not be playing well with the broadband modem.
 

anglia

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markomus said:
Define "crash"? What kind of crash are we talking about? A general power failure? BSOD? Internet won't work?

What were the users doing or trying to do when the "crash" occurred?

There shouldn't be a filter between the broadband modem and the socket. I'm not sure how telephony works, but THAT might need to be filtered (if it is a dial up program, then it will need a filter).

I'm not sure what a PDQ is, but if it is an Internet or network access solution then it might not be playing well with the broadband modem.
When not using the machines they have reported blue screen quoting "dumping Memory" and on another PC the C: drive had disapeared from the bios. Used automatic detection in bios to re-establish HD. Both machines work fine in my workshop I cannot re-create these problems?

PDQ is a credit card processing machine.
 
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I would ask about their shut down and boot up procedures (as people in a rush to go home could be notorious for simply turning off all the power and expecting the computer to simply "deal with it"). I would also find out who uses the computers and how; what kinds of programs they run...

Real quick security check: Do you have a virus solution running? Other malware protection? Firewall? Router?

For sure take the filter off the modem and use it for the credit card machine (they are dial up). Or have they reported any problems with the credit card machine?

For BSOD errors, check out this page from Microsoft: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/192463 That should help you gather information about what kind of BSOD they got.

Here's my next question: Let's say they call you saying they have a crash. You come and collect the computer. You turn it on and...is it ok? Or does it crash for you?
 

anglia

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61
markomus said:
I would ask about their shut down and boot up procedures (as people in a rush to go home could be notorious for simply turning off all the power and expecting the computer to simply "deal with it"). I would also find out who uses the computers and how; what kinds of programs they run...

Real quick security check: Do you have a virus solution running? Other malware protection? Firewall? Router?

For sure take the filter off the modem and use it for the credit card machine (they are dial up). Or have they reported any problems with the credit card machine?

For BSOD errors, check out this page from Microsoft: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/192463 That should help you gather information about what kind of BSOD they got.

Here's my next question: Let's say they call you saying they have a crash. You come and collect the computer. You turn it on and...is it ok? Or does it crash for you?
Hi Markomus

The PC's have all booted up OK when back at my workshop except for the one that had lost the C: drive in the bios which I re-established.

Ian
 
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777
If they're ok at your workshop (I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't know), then an attempt to reproduce the problem should be made on site and by whoever it is that encountered the problem.

Me not wanting to leave any stone unturned, I would still be curious about the real life scenario of how they shut down and start the computers each day. Asking directly might or might not be effective. Some people will just out and say, "Well, I press the power button till it turns off." Ouch. Then there are people who know how to do it, but they'll lie and say, "I click Start, then shut off computer and then click the red button." But in reality, they might be at the end of their day (as well as their wits) and might not really care how the computer shuts down, "I'm just not waiting for that d***able computer to take forever to shut down! If it breaks, the company can pay to fix it! I've had it for today! Power off, b*!"

I'm also still curious about security software: Norton? AVG? ???

Knowing the contents of a memory dump would also be helpful.

Also (just to clarify): Are you saying that the computer crashes, they call you, you pick it up, start it and it is fine? Have they tried rebooting on site?
 

anglia

Thread Starter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
61
markomus said:
If they're ok at your workshop (I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't know), then an attempt to reproduce the problem should be made on site and by whoever it is that encountered the problem.

Me not wanting to leave any stone unturned, I would still be curious about the real life scenario of how they shut down and start the computers each day. Asking directly might or might not be effective. Some people will just out and say, "Well, I press the power button till it turns off." Ouch. Then there are people who know how to do it, but they'll lie and say, "I click Start, then shut off computer and then click the red button." But in reality, they might be at the end of their day (as well as their wits) and might not really care how the computer shuts down, "I'm just not waiting for that d***able computer to take forever to shut down! If it breaks, the company can pay to fix it! I've had it for today! Power off, b*!"

I'm also still curious about security software: Norton? AVG? ???

Knowing the contents of a memory dump would also be helpful.

Also (just to clarify): Are you saying that the computer crashes, they call you, you pick it up, start it and it is fine? Have they tried rebooting on site?
The PC's have AVG installed Win XP SP2 Firewall.
They have not told me anymore about the contents of Memory Dump and I cant re-create it at my workshop.
To re-cap they call say computer packed up give me symptoms. Return to me, I power up computer works?? except when I once had to re-establish C: drive in bios??

Ian
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
777
Good recap. Good info. Now we know it shouldn't be due to any obvious security failures. See if the users can reproduce the problem on site.

Your C: drive problem is solved, so that can be left out of the equation for now.
 

anglia

Thread Starter
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
61
Thanks for all the advice
Will look to trying to reproduce on site.

Regards
Ian
 
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