Computer completely freezing

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I am wondering: how many different reasons can there be for a computer
completely freezing?  Mine started, several months ago, freezing after a
period of time, but only when using doing certain processes.  As near as I
can tell from my own troubleshooting, it seems to only occur when I am using
certain graphics types and/or doing audio... since the audio also goes with
the graphics that are making it freeze, I am not certain whether or not it
is the graphics or the sound that is making it freeze.  The sound, I
believe, is part of the motherboard -- not sure if I can independently
replace it or not.  I tried replacing the graphics card with a couple of
older ones that my technician friend had, but the computer didn't like them
at all -- POST gave me a 1 long beep-2 short beeps sound, a la
"BEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPP, beep-beep".  No video at all.

The graphics card is an AGP, 128MB Radeon 9600 Series card, bought it about
three years ago, I think.  It worked terrific for a long period of time.
The audio device, according to Device Manager, is a CMI8738/C3DX PCI Audio
Device.  No problems at all in Device Manager, yet when the computer
freezes, it's complete -- the whole thing utterly freezes.  No mouse or
keyboard input works at all -- not even Ctrl-Alt-Delete.  I don't have the
ability to save my work, either.  I completely checked RAM, even used a
program that creates a boot floppy that automatically tests RAM... no
problems at all.

Yahoo! Widgets seems to trigger the freeze frequently.  I have previously
tested and made it freeze with a Yahoo widget using sound (along with
numerous others)... that seems to make it freeze quite quickly.  I have seen
AIM make it freeze (unless I had radio or Widgets on also... not sure),
videos frequently make it freeze, Windows Media Player also often makes it
freeze, even when just playing music.  It has frozen when doing
screensavers, I think with 3D-style graphics.

This seemed to start happening very soon after I updated my BIOS, near as I
can tell... but that really makes no sense, because I had my technician
friend reset the CMOS to the original BIOS via the jumpers, and it still
likes to freeze.  Could it be that the fan on the graphics card is not
working, thus causing the card to overheat?  But when I looked at it, it had
dust all over the fan, which seems to me to be a pretty good indication that
it was working... though I could be wrong.

I will post more if I think of anything else that may be related.  I need
some ideas desperately!  Is there application that could test a sound and/or
graphics card completely to see if there's anything wrong with it?  Anyone
have any ideas as to how I can test or fix this problem?


Re: Computer completely freezing

Addendum: From my current research online, it appears that my problem may be
caused whenever I use an application that uses DirectX or OpenGL graphics.
This, of course, is quite annoying.  My other system stats are:

Motherboard: SOYO Dragon Ultra Platinum... or something very similar
CPU: Pentium 4, 2.4 GHz

Anything else I could tell you that may be helpful, please let me know...

-- Eric

Re: Computer completely freezing

On Mon, 12 Jun 2006 04:02:32 GMT, "Eric"

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Uninstall the video card driver (and ATI's CCC if it's also
installed), then reboot, then,

Install DirectX 9c.  Nevermind if that's what is already
installed, just install it anyway.

Install newest video card driver from video chip
*manufacturer* (ATI.COM).

Re: Computer completely freezing

Exchange lots of mouse moves and clicks for a single key press!
Significantly improve working speed by using shortcuts (hot keys).
Avoid Repetitive Strain Injury!


Re: Computer completely freezing

On Mon, 12 Jun 2006 03:24:57 GMT, "Eric"

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325  +- 32768

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After a bios update, the jumper only clears the user-set
parameters, it does not revert the entire bios back to an
older version. I suggest you try the previous bios you had
used, but first leave the system off for awhile to make sure
it is cool, just in case there is an overheating problem.
If there is any doubt about system stability the moment
before flashing the bios, don't do it, pay someone else to
take the risk.

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Ever consider cleaning that dust off?
You might then be able to see the fan and know clearly by
looking, whether it is spinning or not.  It's fairly
important for it to be working, and fairly common for video
card fans to fail.

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Start off by only posting clear and concise details of your
system and the specific things you are doing when it
crashes.  telling us "video" and "audio" is useless, as
practically all PCs have video and audio- so the details you
left out are obviously the ones making your freezing system
different than one that doesn't... or at the very least,
those details need to be considered and then ruled out
before going on to more obscure (potential) problems.

Do the obvious things too, scan for
viri/spyware/maleware/DRMware/etc, check temps and voltages,
and if your technician friend is any good, have them take
another look at it as it's much easier to troubleshoot in
person than remotely.

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