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[SOLVED] HDD Light Goes Solid - Lock up

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] HDD Light Goes Solid - Lock up within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hello, I have been having some problems with my system the last couple of days. At first I thought it


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Old 09-09-2007, 10:05 PM   #1
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Hello,

I have been having some problems with my system the last couple of days.

At first I thought it was the hdd, so I went out and purchased a brand new hdd. (Seagate 320g)

So I get installing windows, everything is fine, I start downloading updates and installing drivers...

Boom, HDD light goes solid, whole pc locks up .. So I reset.

Try to boot back into windows, same thing soon as windows loads.

Reset, go try to do a restore point .. works for a little bit, then same thing.

Go into safe mode, nothing shows in event viewer, I back track and get rid of everything I did, and reboot, works for a little bit, then same problem.

So I get a little frustrated, and rip apart the entire machine. Take out the a drive and the cd burner (never use either), swapped in a new cord on the hdd, and cleaned everything out so it shines, rebuilt the pc and it seems like its working for the moment, so far been 24mins and no problems yet.

However, if the problem returns, does anyone have any idea what the heck is causing it?

Cheers.

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Old 09-09-2007, 10:47 PM   #2
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My System


How old is the computer? I could be the mobo or the HDD cable going bad.

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Old 09-10-2007, 04:27 AM   #3
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Hi elecjester

Adam's question for the age of the computer is a good one, but for a different reason: If the computer is on the floor, on a carpet perhaps even, then over time quite some dust may accumulate. Dust not only will prevent important parts of your system to cool properly, it also may form a resistor alike cover over circuit boards.

I think your problem is solved right now, but if your computer is in a place where it easily may gather dust, I'd advise to clean it at least every six months!
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:12 AM   #4
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It's never been on a carpet in it's entire life hehe.

It is an older system and I do belive I did fix the problem with it being the cable and/or dust.

After tearing the entire system apart, cleaning it and swapping in the new cable, I haven't had any problems what so ever.

It was just driving me nuts, in any case, thank you for replying!

Cheers.
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
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It's never been on a carpet in it's entire life hehe.


Quote:
Originally Posted by elecjester View Post
It is an older system and I do belive I did fix the problem with it being the cable and/or dust.
I place my bets on the "wall of dust". Dust really can kill your computer; preventive maintenance would require it to be cleaned thoroughly every six months (and that include all fans!)

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Originally Posted by elecjester View Post
After tearing the entire system apart, cleaning it and swapping in the new cable, I haven't had any problems what so ever.

It was just driving me nuts, in any case, thank you for replying!

Cheers.
I hear you it would do the same with me. You're welcome!
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:42 AM   #6
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Ok Sadly I am back .. this time with a bit more info.

Ok, computer is still locking up, hdd light goes solid, etc etc same as before. A few things have changed since then though:

1. I can keep the machine stable for a 24-36hrs usually (once I can manage to get it stable that is)

2. Once it is stable I can do anything in it, just like I normally would. However, whenever it goes down for one of its fits. I am always playing a game (different games, but always a online mmo)

3. Sometimes just before it locks up, in game I will see a jerk (like a big patch of lag) and then it will snap back into smooth and then 2 seconds later, boom, total lock up.

4. I have unplugged all my extra fans (like 4 of them) + the various monitoring hardware attachments that come with my tower (such as fan speed, cpu heat, etc). I have even gone ahead and taken out the extra cd burner, the a drive (never use either) and run a seperate household fan blowing into the case for cooling (the inside is like a icecube it seems most times)

5. I even lowered the speed of the cpu slightly in the bios (not alot but i figured it was worth a try)

6. I have tried running the hdd with cache and without cache (still does it)

7. Everything has been taken apart, stripped down and cleaned out / reseated.

8. I have ran memorytests, passed them all np (but that doesn't prove anything conclusively I have learned)

In any case, the problem remains, but at least only when playing games now, and usually I can get a day or a day and a half out of it before it throws a fit. Btw, NOTHING shows up in the system logs, any logging tool I try to use to document exactly what happens when it locks up always reports nothing, like it never happened.

I have decided to upgrade the system completely (new motherboard, video card, cpu, psu)

However, this is going to take a little time to get the parts together and sent to me (could be upto a week or two) so I would like to try to figure out what is going with this system in the meantime, even for no other reason than simply to know exactly what the issue is for the future.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:21 AM   #7
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(Looked for a edit button ... couldn't find one, so, my appologies for the double post)

P.s. I just noticed that when moving my mouse around (from small movements to very quick movement, my cpu cycles go skyrocketing up (anywhere from 56% to 90+)

I use a Logitech G5 (with a cord)
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:32 PM   #8
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hi, don't know if this will help but I remember something from another forum relating to your last post: do you use Internet Explorer? If so find Tools menu and Internet Options. Then Advanced tab. Is there anything about using smooth scrolling, if so untick the box. HTH
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:58 PM   #9
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Hi elecjester!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elecjester View Post
(Looked for a edit button ... couldn't find one, so, my appologies for the double post)

P.s. I just noticed that when moving my mouse around (from small movements to very quick movement, my cpu cycles go skyrocketing up (anywhere from 56% to 90+)

I use a Logitech G5 (with a cord)
1. Is/was your CPU "overclocked"?

2. Mice run a direct INTerrupt on the processor, that is why mice increase the CPU load quite vigorously! If you move it quite briskly 90% could be achieved quite easily!

3. You removed the fans (I hope you placed them back ); but did you clean the fans while they were out? If you clean fans while they are connected to the main board, block them from spinning with a rretracted ballpoint ben or something similar.

4. Did you check the setting Auntiej mentioned in her post?
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Old 09-14-2007, 03:52 PM   #10
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Yes everything was cleaned within an inch of its life hehe.

I was just trying to trouble shoot various things (such as the power supply failing etc), what I did today though was rip out my cpu, tear it apart and lo and behold the thermal creme was practically non-existent, so I did that up and so far I have been able to game again.

But..like I said, I could get it stable for a day or so before, so see if I can break that record then I will rejoice :)

As for that setting, I only use firefox.

But I can check it out, see if its anywhere in there. May I ask how it causes problems though auntie?
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:13 PM   #11
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check your voltage and tempretures in the bios and post them
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Old 09-15-2007, 04:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
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check your voltage and tempretures in the bios and post them
@Dai: Hmm, it seems it stabilized, now... let's wait and see if this stable situation continues for a couple of days.

@elecjester: Let all background applications run, play games, and when it stays stable for the next two or three days, then please come back here, and mark the thread as [SOLVED] in the "Thread Tools"; however if the problem returns, please provide the information Dai asked for.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:20 AM   #13
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elec,

sorry I can't remember why the user in the other forum had the problem but the answer worked for him/her in IE.
Interesting to see what you say about your thermal paste. I wonder how long it is supposed to last. I use a notebook and, although I have opened one up before (after it died!) I don't really want to pull the current one apart to check the thermal paste. I hope this has resolved the issue for you but I'll keep monitoring cos I'm now intrigued.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:59 AM   #14
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Well I have a pretty advanced set of diagnostics running on the machine, I even had a seperate thermal gauge that reads out on the front of my case telling me exactly how hot the CPU is.

Never got any alarms so I never thought to check the thermal paste between the fan and CPU, but since I had pretty much done everything else I could, I decided to pull everything apart in the entire case (like litterally everything lol, tearing apart fans, psu, etc) and thats when I saw my thermal paste was shot, so I redid that and everything has been rock solid since.

@ dai:

I thought it was a temperture problem myself when I first started getting the issue, but in the bios, on the case and in any diagnostic tool I own, everything always read things as peachy keen.

One would think though that with failing thermal creme, the temp would have skyrocketed, but it didnt seem to raise high enough to set off any alarms. Perhaps in the future I will try to lower the threshold.

@ R3:

Ya I wanted to see if I could keep it stable for 3 days (basically monday or so) and if so, I'll come back and let you all know. So far I have pushed the system REALLY hard since I fixed the thermal creme and its holding in there, so I am hoping that was the culprit all along.

You all have no idea how much time I spent tearing this thing apart, cleaning, replacing cables, running diag's on everything .. and if it turns out it was the creme all along I will simply laugh because it's always something simple in the end (well usually).

@auntiej:

Ya I never did like tearing laptops apart, usually cause most things are soldered into the board itself (need a special type of solder to use when removing / replacing too and the tool to actually melt it).

Personally I find laptops just run way too hot usually (esp. older ones), so the wear and tear on the parts inside must be just horrible.

Anywho, cheers all I will keep you posted =)
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:22 AM   #15
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Well I have a pretty advanced set of diagnostics running on the machine, I even had a seperate thermal gauge that reads out on the front of my case telling me exactly how hot the CPU is.
I wonder if that sensor was close enough to the CPU to read its real temperature, another option is that the sensor might be malfunctioning

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Originally Posted by elecjester View Post
Never got any alarms so I never thought to check the thermal paste between the fan and CPU, but since I had pretty much done everything else I could, I decided to pull everything apart in the entire case (like litterally everything lol, tearing apart fans, psu, etc) and thats when I saw my thermal paste was shot, so I redid that and everything has been rock solid since.
Well good of you to take the fan off, most people might just clean the fan and that's it! Taking things apart, and then reassembling the system again is a good repair method, connectors get cleaned by the removing and re-placing process, dust is removed, etc., etc. And you see things like dried out silicone creme (always be careful with that stuff, it is dangerous for humans)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elecjester View Post
@ dai:

I thought it was a temperture problem myself when I first started getting the issue, but in the bios, on the case and in any diagnostic tool I own, everything always read things as peachy keen.

One would think though that with failing thermal creme, the temp would have skyrocketed, but it didnt seem to raise high enough to set off any alarms. Perhaps in the future I will try to lower the threshold.
See my comments on the sensor and its functioning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elecjester View Post
@ R3:

Ya I wanted to see if I could keep it stable for 3 days (basically monday or so) and if so, I'll come back and let you all know. So far I have pushed the system REALLY hard since I fixed the thermal creme and its holding in there, so I am hoping that was the culprit all along.

You all have no idea how much time I spent tearing this thing apart, cleaning, replacing cables, running diag's on everything .. and if it turns out it was the creme all along I will simply laugh because it's always something simple in the end (well usually).
R3PO??? Good! Keep on pressing it, let it "make up" for all you had to go through Serious, though, push it to its limits. If it still stays stable over a longer period.. We're done! Let's hope and that this was the culprit, so far it looks promising!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elecjester View Post
@auntiej:

Ya I never did like tearing laptops apart, usually cause most things are soldered into the board itself (need a special type of solder to use when removing / replacing too and the tool to actually melt it).

Personally I find laptops just run way too hot usually (esp. older ones), so the wear and tear on the parts inside must be just horrible.

Anywho, cheers all I will keep you posted =)
I have to open one soon, my spare laptop all over sudden refuses to start and/or charge the battery... Could be a major job to get that one fixed, but I'll try it!

Elecjester, I'm looking forward to hear from you as soon as you feel that it is the proper time to do so!
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:04 AM   #16
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Well the sensor was right between the fan and the cpu .. can't get any closer :)

It could have been malfunctioning I suppose, but nothing else read the temperture as dangerous either though so, I'm not sure what was going on.

Also, One would surmise, if the CPU was getting so hot, that it was forcing the machine to lock up, why did it suddenly only start doing it in games and no where else? Are the CPU cycles more or less non-existent when browsing / playing videos / etc? but when playing games goes way way up? (I mean it would make sense to a point, I just feel it would have been doing it at more points is all)

Anyways, it's now sunday @ 2pm, been pretty much 2 days since my last post on the 14th, so far so good. Even left it on all night last night in a game letting the game follow through a simple macro to keep the CPU busy (don't worry the macro is built into the game so no cheating for me hehe).

System felt a little slugish today so I rebooted (used to be able to reboot once a week so not sure if its from the game or still some minor issue some where in windows .. I really hate XP. I'd like to go back to win2k but sadly alot of games nowadays are xp only and even going into vista only soon so ugh).

Anyways, I will let the topic run until bed time and if the system stays solid, I'll come close it out :)

Cheers all!

Ej
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Old 09-16-2007, 01:23 PM   #17
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Hi elecjester, welcome back!

Quote:
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Well the sensor was right between the fan and the cpu .. can't get any closer :)

It could have been malfunctioning I suppose, but nothing else read the temperture as dangerous either though so, I'm not sure what was going on.

Also, One would surmise, if the CPU was getting so hot, that it was forcing the machine to lock up, why did it suddenly only start doing it in games and no where else? Are the CPU cycles more or less non-existent when browsing / playing videos / etc? but when playing games goes way way up? (I mean it would make sense to a point, I just feel it would have been doing it at more points is all)

Anyways, it's now sunday @ 2pm, been pretty much 2 days since my last post on the 14th, so far so good. Even left it on all night last night in a game letting the game follow through a simple macro to keep the CPU busy (don't worry the macro is built into the game so no cheating for me hehe).

System felt a little slugish today so I rebooted (used to be able to reboot once a week so not sure if its from the game or still some minor issue some where in windows .. I really hate XP. I'd like to go back to win2k but sadly alot of games nowadays are xp only and even going into vista only soon so ugh).

Anyways, I will let the topic run until bed time and if the system stays solid, I'll come close it out :)

Cheers all!

Ej
Keep it pushing to its limits for remaining two days; don't reboot when it feels sluggish, but I'd keep an eye on available memory (both), your macro may be taking memory, but not releasing it; over time a system is so "filled", that it needs the swap file on every move... which makes it sluggish.

However, in the line of this thread, what interest me most is whether it stayed stable...
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Old 09-16-2007, 01:55 PM   #18
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Thanks =)

Yes, it did remain stable .. no crashes, no lockups, no stutters ...

The sluggish feeling was mostly trying to stream movies online (tv show actually), might have been the site, might have been the system .. sorta hard to tell at times. But after the reboot it was better, so I am assuming its the system.

The game I was playing is very graphic intensive (part of the reason I chose it) so it might have been chewing up a large potion of memory that it didnt want to give up when I shut it down.

But like I said it did remain stable.

Perhaps I will write a help blog on this little escapade.

I am fairly computer savvy but even I learned a fair bit with this particular issue. Provided the system stays stable that is.

I'll keep you updated,

Cheers.
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Old 09-16-2007, 02:16 PM   #19
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Hi Elecjester!

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Thanks =)

Yes, it did remain stable .. no crashes, no lockups, no stutters ...

The sluggish feeling was mostly trying to stream movies online (tv show actually), might have been the site, might have been the system .. sorta hard to tell at times. But after the reboot it was better, so I am assuming its the system.

The game I was playing is very graphic intensive (part of the reason I chose it) so it might have been chewing up a large potion of memory that it didnt want to give up when I shut it down.

But like I said it did remain stable.

Perhaps I will write a help blog on this little escapade.

I am fairly computer savvy but even I learned a fair bit with this particular issue. Provided the system stays stable that is.

I'll keep you updated,

Cheers.
Elecjester, believe it or not... but we learn new things and "tricks of the trade" every day; keeps you young of mind

I have high hopes right now that the problem indeed is solved, but I am looking forward to any further updates from your side, be it positive, be it negative!
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:12 AM   #20
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Ok, well it is monday morning now, and the system has remained rock solid.

I believe I have finally found the culprit!

So I can finally close this post down and mark it as solved :)

Cheers

Ej.

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