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[SOLVED] Pretty sure my Motherboard is toast.

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] Pretty sure my Motherboard is toast. within the Motherboards, Bios|UEFI & CPU forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Symptoms: Random crashes, freezes, hangs. I've seen BSODs for just about everything I can think of, USB, Unspecified, Generic (Could


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Old 10-25-2012, 02:58 PM   #1
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Symptoms: Random crashes, freezes, hangs.

I've seen BSODs for just about everything I can think of, USB, Unspecified, Generic (Could be anything), Memory Failures, the works.

These crashes happen at random intervals... sometimes immediately, and sometimes after 2 days.

Currently, I can load windows (7, pro), but I get the loading circle if I hover over the start menu or tray, and no desktop items launch/open. Right clicking does nothing (but hey, the mouse moves!).

I've had crashes while trying to load windows, I've had crashes mid bios,

I've had crashes mid gaming, and crashes while watching the Daily Show.

Sometimes it thinks that Windows 7 is the issue and needs to be repair-installed.

Sometimes it thinks that it can't load anything, and needs a file from the Motherboard disc.

Sometimes it just refuses to load the bios at all.

Sometimes explorer.exe needs to be killed and restarted after booting up.

Always, it takes a really, really, silly long time to shut down (or restart).

Sometimes it freezes in mid crash dump during a BSOD. (Usually at 50 or 90%)

My temporary fixes have been clearing the CMOS occasionally, reverting to a backup of windows, running startup repair, or just simply leaving the computer off (switch in the back off) for about a minute.

These tend to fix anything and everything the computer thinks is currently wrong with itself... for a little while.

Sounds like it could be overheating, no? It's not, I've actually reached in and touched the components to prove to myself that the instruments are reading correctly, and nothing is outrageously hot.

Brand new graphics card, all tests clean.
2 full double sweep tests of 8gb (4x2gb) memory, clean both times (they were done almost a month apart).
I've done hard drive disk checks, I've done multiple virus checks both boot time and standard, with malwarebytes as a secondary and avast as primary, totally clean. (I also know antivirus kung fu, and no services, startup stuff, or processes look out of place (which doesn't mean it's 100% certainty, nothing ever is)).
Plenty of space on either hard drive (90gb free on the 300gb, and 1.23tb free on the 1.5tb).

And finally, notably, it freezes on the Windows XP install on the 1.5tb harddrive as well. Which screams hardware issue to me... and if it's not the CPU... not the GPU... not the RAM... not the HD... not the PSU... not the built in Soundcard... it's gotta be...?

Replacing motherboards is a hassle, so I am trying to delay the inevitable by hoping it could be anything else.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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What specs are you running?

Memtest+ should be run for at least 6 full passes.
D/L Memtest+ burn it to a CD using a free program like Imgburn if you need one then boot from the CD to test the ram, let it run for at least 6 passes or until you see an error.

Have you tested the hard drive with the manufacturers diagnostic utility?

And lastly lets get a look at some of the dump files.
Follow the instructions here> https://www.techsupportforum.com/foru...ta-452654.html
Lets see if the BSOD dump file(s) can tell us whats going on.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:28 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure with the information I have given, you can conclude that the specs are unnecessary info, I don't think the computer is cooperative enough right now to run 6 passes of memtest at once without crashing halfway through... (but hey, just one more 2 pass and it should count as 6, right? lol)

Considering the BSODs such as IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL and other various memory related BSODs are just a few of many (really how likely is it that every single BSOD I've seen is the issue... although of note, for the ones it aactually was able to create a file for, the "Location" has been 1033, mostly, if I recall correctly.)

Yes, the hard drives have been tested.

Also, I forgot to mention, the very first thing I did was look for faulty drivers. There were a few drivers that were problematic. I can't recall specifically which ones, but they were not anything related to the Graphics, sound, or anything immediately recognizable. But how likely is it, that a faulty driver or two is causing such a plethora of crashes?
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:41 PM   #4
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The first time I got a BSOD (I forget what it was complaining about specifically) I went through the whole process of trying to figure out what had caused it specifically, and I went all super sleuth on it... only to find out it was a "generic code" which said "could be anything".

The second BSOD was a memory related one, and I went "oh joy, I need to replace my memory" ... but then I did a memtest, and it came out perfectly clean (I've had memory failures in the past (long time ago) and the memtest did not come out clean, and I replaced the memory).

Shortly after I had a USB related BSOD... so I started checking USB drivers, and then every other driver. For the faulty drivers I found, I got replacements.

Everything seemed fine, and then it crashed again... Sometimes I think, aha, finally I have solved the issue! ...and then another crash. 3 days go by, no crashes. Clearly 'that' was the issue... boom crash, crash, crash, crash, crash... and then nothing for days. Same song and dance for a month.

So, which is more likely, everything in my computer is totally borked, or... just one, big thing which is connected to everything... is borked.

Let's ignore the BSODs for now, and look at the issues like

Invalid boot file (which goes away after a restart)
Crash in the middle of the bios.
Nothing loading, just a blinking "_" at the top left.
Windows fails to start (crash) but then, with nothing done other than powercycling... it works fine.
Computer turns on, but the monitor never registers that anything is there to be presented (orange monitor light turns blue when the bios starts to load... except this time, it just stays orange).
Windows loads, but ctrl+alt+delete does nothing, right clicking does nothing, loading animation over the start menu...

What are these symptoms of?
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:59 PM   #5
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Not a clue if you want to follow the instructions I will go through the dumps, I'm not going to enter the guessing contest without all the data.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:10 PM   #6
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I suppose you won't be able to help me then, maybe some one else can. I've already chased those red herrings, and I don't really want to spend the entire day chasing them again. If it was just analyzing crash dumps and BSODs, I can do that myself ~_^ (and have). They're symptoms, but not the problem.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:17 AM   #7
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The symptoms can help us determine the cause. Up to you whether you want help from the experts on this forum. You're welcome to visit a PC repair shop instead and pay for the same services to have someone diagnose and service your system.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:28 AM   #8
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You need to tell us what specs you have.

The irq error can mean driver issue or a memory issue. You could also have a psu issue but we cannot help just by guessing. We can be more helpful if we know what we are working with.

You wouldn't phone a mechanic and say I have a car it doesn't work would you?
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:43 PM   #9
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I built the PC myself, and I am not a helpless little girl. There is no reason I can fathom to go to a PC repair shop. I would be more likely to work at one.

I'm not convinced that my specs are necessary. It's run Windows 7 smoothly for quite a while, various new games, I recently upgraded the video card (about 6 months ago?). The specs will not provide any useful information as to why it is crashing. If you'd like the make and model of the motherboard, I can provide that for you. From my first post you should be able to gather that it has 8gb of ram from 4 sticks of 2gb each, it has two hard drives, one a 300gb, and one a 1.5tb. It runs Windows 7 Professional, and Windows XP one on each hard drive. What else could you possibly need to know? The Ghz of my CPU? Totally unnecessary. It's more than enough Ghz. It's crashing during low stress or no stress as much as moderate stress, it's never under high stress. I don't overclock anything.

The newest components are the Motherboard, PSU, and GPU. The oldest is the Disk drive.

The BSODs are completely red herrings. I hate to invoke Occam's Razor, but it's more likely that there is one overarching problem with the computer, causing a myriad of unconnected blue screens, than every other part of the computer breaking down all at once. All of these problems started about a month ago, before that, there hasn't been a single problem for years.

This isn't like telling a mechanic "I have a car that doesn't work" or even, a better analogy, telling a doctor "I am sick."

It would be more akin to telling the mechanic "My steering wheel doesn't turn very well, blue smoke is coming out from under my hood, there is a rattling sound when I start the engine (etc)"

Or telling a doctor, "I have a runny nose, I have a red rash on my torso under my left arm, I have hot and cold flashes, and I am coughing up blood."

Any mechanic, or doctor worth their salt could come up with a hypothesis of the possible problems based on that information alone. So if anyone here is a competent computer technician, then I expect the same.

If your computer tech prowess comes from using google and various favorite websites which I can use just as well as you, then I am afraid your help is unnecessary, because I can, and have already, done that myself.

I'm looking for an expert, with experience and knowledge, more experience and knowledge than I have.
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:56 PM   #10
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The reason for all this is because I am not exactly overflowing with money, so replacing my motherboard, even for say, $75 or so, is a lot for me... and replacing motherboards is a real hassle. I'd have to get new thermal gel, and disconnect and reconnect everything... and despite everything I know telling me "something is wrong with the motherboard" I want it to be something I can fix without spending money I don't have.

If I could spare the money I probably would just buy a new motherboard and get it over with already.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:31 PM   #11
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Good luck!

I was willing to help, but I now feel like you insulted us for not being fortune tellers...


Despite that, I will give you some interesting reading about Memtest86+ and how reliable diagnostic tools are when a problem is intermittent.

Some of the best information provided by a user who had RAM problems that were difficult to track down:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainDju
Okay, finally got the new identical RAM kit delivered, and had time to run some tests, I think the conclusion is indeed a faulty RAM kit:

First I ran a positive control test where I reset the BIOS settings to Auto for all items I had changed in a previous post, and re-installed the faulty RAM in the A2-B2 slots
--> Crashes as frequent as before, as expected

Then I placed the faulty RAM in the A1-B1 to see if it could be a faulty slot (mobo) issue instead
--> Crashes as frequent as before, consistent with the faulty RAM theory, but does not rule out the faulty mobo

Third step was to remove the faulty RAM and install the new RAM kit in slots A1-B1
--> Not a single crash in a total of 10 hours of gaming, where I used to have crashes every few minutes. Still consistent with the faulty RAM theory, but does not rule out the faulty mobo

Last step was to move the new RAM to the A2-B2 slots to test them:
--> Not a single crash in over 18 hours of gaming/intensive use.

So in conclusion I think it is safe to assume the mobo is fine and the old RAM kit is faulty, so I'll send it out for replacement.

Here are my lessons learned on this one:

- Even though everyone hopes for a quick fix, ALWAYS perform test steps one by one (e.g. remove ONE supposedly faulty component and test right away). If you change multiple things and the issue is resolved, you won't know for sure what actually solved the issue.

- MemTest results are definitely not 100% accurate unless you leave it to run long enough. I think it's pretty safe to say that running it for less than 10 passes is worthless.
Note that even with enough successful passes (20+ have been advised) it does not replace real-life situations a.k.a. whatever you usually do on your computer that makes it crash.

- If the component you're suspecting is plugged in the motherboard, don't rule out the possibility that the motherboard itself is faulty, ideally have a negative control test with another similar component that is known to work fine

- RAM issues are a pain to diagnose as you can easily have false negatives as I have had. Also there's nothing you can do with your computer without RAM :p

I'll mark this one as resolved, hopefully it can help other people.

Anyway, thanks a ton for your super fast follow up and very knowledgeable answers.

TL;DR: The RAM was borked in the end, tadaaa :D

You are convinced it is not the RAM because the diagnostics said so after a few passes... I have seen it take up to 22 passes to determine a problem. I have also seen replacing the RAM being the only surefire way to determine the RAM is not the problem.

I am by no stretch of the imagination saying it is the RAM, just that your tests so far are not foolproof and do not rule anything out...

Based on your descriptions, my first inclination would be hard disk related of some type. That may still mean the motherboard, RAM, or CPU, but it could be as simple as a bad cable or BIOS settings. Have you tried different cables? Have you tried IDE/AHCI settings in the BIOS?
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:36 PM   #12
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If you feel insulted by what I said, then you are ascribing the idea that your tech support prowess comes from google and other websites, and that's an admission of guilt and nothing else. I didn't point any fingers, or say any names... I'm just saying, I can use google and tech websites just as well as anyone else, so if that's all you can do, I don't require someone else to do that for me.

It's not just the 4 passes on the memory test that convince me that it's probably not the ram. It's every other piece of evidence I have as well. The sound card has failed to initialize occasionally, the graphics card has experienced some issues a few times, drivers which are perfectly fine sometimes register as totally screwy other times, windows occasionally thinks it is impossible for it to boot up, the computer takes about 15 minutes to shut down regularly... This cannot all be explained with just a RAM issue. So, deciding based off of one type of BSOD, that it must indeed be memory (which was what I originally thought before all the rest of the events), is like saying that it's my soundcard (built in) that is faulty. Because my soundcard has on occasion failed to work.

I have at least narrowed down the root of the major problems to something hardware related, so I am not chasing after drivers at the moment (even though a driver related BSOD was the one I had most recently, and decided out of courtesy to write down the info for... feel free to chase after this red herring: DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL 0x0D1, (0x00, 0x02, 0x00, 0xFFFFF880011CECF5) rdyboost.sys (crash occurred immediately after entering the password at the login screen for Windows 7). Of note, that is one I have never seen before. After hard shutting down and restarting, the computer worked fine for the rest of the night. Previous to this crash I had put the computer into sleep mode. It never woke up to the saved state.

I have occasionally cleared the CMOS effectively putting the BIOS back to default mode, but that has only been as effective as leaving the computer completely off for 60 seconds.

I don't have any spare ram to play around with, nor the money to purchase fresh ram to test the idea of the ram being bad as in the example posted. If I had extra money, I'd place my bets on the motherboard at this point.

Which cable are you suggesting might need replacing, the ones connecting the hard drive(s) <- edit... there are two hard drives, and it has crashed with both of them, although when running windows xp on the other hard drive it tends to just freeze entirely rather than BSOD.

And to be clear, I am not totally dismissing the idea of Random Access Memory (after all... random crashes... could be a few bad sectors in one of the 4 sticks which causes the computer to crash only when it hits those sectors... but then, how are the non-booting at all, bios crashes, sound card failures, and the like explained? Or the slow shut down, non-functionality of anything after the desktop has loaded except that the mouse can move around and change its graphic...)
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:12 PM   #13
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I was not implying that I search on Google, merely that what you ask is impossible. We do not know what hardware you have based on manufacturer, what steps you have taken to diagnose the hardware other than the vague descriptions given, what drivers have been blamed in crashes, when you last clean installed Windows, what software is installed, etc. You have us working almost entirely in the dark.

On top of that, every effort to help you has been met with sardonic replies and holier than thou attitudes. You came to a forum to ask for help from people who do not have your system in front of them, yet you give no information about the system, and then you dismiss any help offered as that of amateurs who don't know anything about hardware just because we cannot give you a clear cut answer to your question with the little information given.

For all we know, you have cobbled together different types of hardware that will not work well together, i.e. RAM with different timings, RAM from different manufacturers, RAM not meant for the CPU in the system or the motherboard it is installed on, etc.

Some of your logic also makes no sense. You blame the motherboard because you say it must be some major component that all the hardware interfaces with, yet all the hardware interfaces with all the other hardware, so it could be anything based on that logic and is not necessarily the motherboard.

You have not described how you ruled out the CPU, the hard drive, the sound card, the display card, etc. in any great detail. The only details we have are with the RAM diagnostics, for which the steps are suspect and make me wonder whether steps taken with other hardware would also be suspect...

If you want help, you need to help us help you by giving us more information and providing more specifics as to what you have done to this point. Right now, I have a vague understanding that the system is having problems and that the problems are most likely hardware related based on the symptoms described, but I have no reports or logs to back up your assertions.

You've been offered help by one of the best hardware experts here at TSF, and you instead turned it down and chose not to provide him with the info requested. Wrench97 would probably have been able to help you with enough information. After the slap in the face you dealt him, I doubt he'll be back. That is your loss.

I am also on the verge of walking away from this one.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:26 PM   #14
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The issues you describe could be power related they could also be driver related.

Did you know that a faulty psu can throw up BSODs which look like they relate to ram, driver and harware failure error?

I have also seen memtest find ram to be faulty after a lot of passes usually 7 passes is what we say is a safe bet (by testing one dimm at a time, both for 7 passes). Testing two sticks at once can cause unpredictable results.

We don't get paid on TSF nor are we related to John Edwards so we can only help with the information provided. Computers and their hardware come in all sorts of varieties so knowing what we are dealing with is 90% of the issue.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velexia View Post
I suppose you won't be able to help me then, maybe some one else can. I've already chased those red herrings, and I don't really want to spend the entire day chasing them again. If it was just analyzing crash dumps and BSODs, I can do that myself ~_^ (and have). They're symptoms, but not the problem.
Good day to you :)

The BSODs may well be the symptoms, but they are exceptionally useful in finding the actual problem.

If your system just freezes or shuts down, it can be hard to try to find the actual cause of the problem without at least a little trial and error.

But with those BSODs, dump files keeping a record of incidents occurring up to the point of the crash, and potentially the true cause of the crash, are recorded and saved. From this data, we may be able to more accurately pinpoint the exact cause of your problems: be it confirm that the motherboard is indeed dead before you waste money replacing it only to find that it wasn't, and that we could have told you that, or be it some other software or hardware component.

However, how are we going to perform complicated math on these strings of numbers if we don't know your exact system specs, and exactly how fast each part of your computer is? How are we going to be able to let you know of well known problems, recalled faulty components, or incompatible components, if you don't answer our questions and tell us what components you are using?

Every single question we ask is for a good reason. We do not waste any questions. Every time you refuse to answer one of our questions, any diagnosis we make becomes a little less certain, and a little more error prone.

We can help you. So far, you may have chased off both wrench97 and writhziden, some of the best hardware and BSOD experts anywhere.

I cannot help you. I am not an expert in this area. I simply do not know the answers.

But if you go back and answer our questions, and you agree to co-operate fully with us, I will ask them to come back and give you one last chance. I cannot guarantee that they will, but I can ask.

Does that sound like a fair deal?

Richard
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:35 AM   #16
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In response to green, I am indeed aware that it could be PSU related... in fact, I have had this (well, very similar) issue before about 3 years ago, and I replaced both the motherboard and the PSU. It turned out to be the motherboard, but now I have a very nice PSU at least. There's no reason that it could not be the PSU, but I suspect that it is not. A major p[roblem I have is that, because of finances, I have no way to test any particular part by replacing it with another working part (except the soundcard... but that's the least likely of all to be an issue).

A lot of the issues seem memory related, but a lot of them are not memory related at all, and all of them have been happening for the last month. Not a single issue has occured before that time since the new motherboard and psu were installed. 3 years is also a wild guess, it could easily have been 2 (such a bigg difference, lol).

So my major culprits would seem to be PSU, Motherboard, and Memory. In light of all of the evidence I have before me, I feel fairly confident that Memory is not the issue. The PSU is one of the more expensive parts, and it would be unlikely and unfortunate for me, if that is the problem. The motherboard was about $75... and the symptoms I am having are very, very reminiscent of the last time a cheap motherboard (relatively) was giving me grief. One sec while I retrieve that make and model...

Motherboard: ASUS M4A77TD-PRO

ASUS - Motherboards- ASUS M4A77TD PRO

One thing of note, recently I had a check disk find a couple of errors on the hard drive, it ficed a few things, deleted some others... and I haven't had a crash yet, but that doesn't mean there won't be one tonight (we'll see).

I have a feeling that those errors were created by the stress the computer has been going through from crashing and hard shutdowns and such.

Well, the computer is doing it's favorite of the week... mouse moves, but nothing is responsive.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:44 AM   #17
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In response to Richard, I understand that I have presented complicated issues, and I understand that people may think that I have put together components which are not compatible...

But three years of perfectly smooth running, and a decent knowledge of computers (especially my own) tells me that the components, which were carefully checked for compatibility before purchase are indeed compatible.

Right now, the only basic piece of spec information which is missing is the CPU,

It's an AMD Phenom II, Quad Core 3.something Ghz. It's very nice.

This isn't some top of the market as of yesterday computer, but it is very suitable for everything I do with it.

The reason I am cagey about giving my specs is because I know they really have nothing to do with my problem, so I see no reason why anyone would need to know them.

Now, if someone had asked for a list of parts, makes, models, etc... I would comply with that, even though it is more work, because that could very well be useful information.

I'm not interested in beating around the bush and painting by numbers. I've done that already. This computer has been around since 2005 (granted it only has one part that connects it to that year, the disk drive). I've worked on it, solved problems, replaced part, etc, etc for the last 7 years. I know it pretty well, and working with it has given me a pretty good deal of experience in fixing it, and the computers my friends have.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:02 AM   #18
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Now then, to this other post...

I disagree with the idea that I have a "holier than thou" attitude. My attitude is, I know my computer, I don't want to waste time chasing false trails, and I am at least as competent at solving technical issues as anyone who can read a BSOD code off of a website and figure out what caused it. I've done it for this instance of computer problems already, and I have done it in the past.

What I want to do here is take take half jumps, rather than little steps. Narrow the problem down faster by disregarding what is highly unlikely. Like calculus.

The next thing you say is simply not true, that I gave 'no' information about my system. I did in fact give a decent amount of information.

What I am hoping for is replies to what I feel are some fairly simple questions...

What can cause these symptoms (the ones I have described). I feel that together, we can figure out all of the possible causes based on the symptoms, and move forward from there. I amnot concerned with the BSODs currently. Maybe after we have figured out the possible causes of the other symptoms I will be interested in the BSODs, but for now, they seem like a waste of time.

To me, chasing after the BSODs is like fighting zerglings as they attack your base, rather than determining the location of the hive, and attacking that.

If you feel like you can help, please do, if you don't want to, please don't. Don't lose any hair or sleep over this =)

As for the other guy, if he is the best, maybe it's gotten to his head. I do not acknowledge anyone's authority on any subject, in any place, until they give me a display of their awesome super powers.

Asking me for my computer specs may seem like a good place to start, but they are really irrelevant at the moment.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:07 AM   #19
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1. What can cause the BIOS to never load, the computer to turn on, but the monitor to never register anything to display? (My thoughts: Problem with BIOS-> Motherboard or PSU).
2. What can cause the computer to stop responding halfway through the POST? (My thoughts: Problem with BIOS-> Motherboard or PSU).
3. What does it mean when taking no action other than restarting the computer fixes both of the above problems? (My thoughts: Problem with the Motherboard or PSU).

Let's ignore all of the other symptoms I have noted for now.

Can any of those three symptoms be explained by anything other than the Motherboard or PSU?
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:53 AM   #20
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1 PSU, Mobo, CPU, RAM, all
2. HEAT, CPU, RAM, Other hardware failure.
3. If you restart a system and BSODS or crashes and hangs dissapear then this could be: hardware (any), psu over or undervolting, overheating. sometimes can be because your virtual memory and ram capacity are used up. Restarting flushes the memory.

a cpu can hit 100 degrees c in 1 second and cool down just as fast.
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:stop: This guide has been updated! Please see here: https://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f255/how-to-bench-test-build-and-troubleshoot-your-computer-918754.html The purpose of this thread is to demonstrate an easy way to test your system prior to complete assembly. If you take the time to...
linderman Motherboards, Bios|UEFI & CPU 1 08-01-2007 04:15 PM
How to Bench Test / Troubleshoot Your System
The purpose of this thread is to demonstrate an easy way to test your system prior to complete assembly. If you take the time to bench test your build prior to full assembly you will save yourself hordes of time in troubleshooting a faulty component. The most efficient way to minimize lost...
linderman Tweakers 1 08-01-2007 04:15 PM

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