Screen saver lock up

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I have an Athlon XP3200/400 running Win 2000 Pro. Several years old. After
about an hour of inactivity the screen saver froze and I had to either shut
down or re-boot. This has happened about three times so far in the last
month and it always booted back up. After shuting down the last time, it
wouldn't boot. The bios shows the CPU, the memory and then says searching
for IDE's and stops. I tried at least a dozen times. Well I got ticked off.
I banged the side of the box, turned it on and lo and behold it booted into
windows. The box hasn't been opened, or played with at all. I'm wondering if
it might be the HDD getting ready to go since it can't find it? Right now
it's booting up. Any ideas? Thanks.

Rudy



Re: Screen saver lock up



On Mon, 4 Jan 2010 13:09:51 -0500, "Rudy"

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Unfortunately banging could do a lot of different things.
One time I didn't even bang, just nudged a box scooting it
out to get at the screws on the rear and that nudge was
enough to jar a capacitor to the point of outright
shorting-failure while previously it was only manifested in
system instability.

First thing first, at the several year old point you need to
open the box and perform a visual inspection, and clean the
dust out if any is present.  Check for vented capacitors,
fans not spinning (including video card if a fan is present
on one, and in the PSU), and unplug the drives to see if it
goes further in the boot process.

Does it seem to search for drives, not finding any and then
failing to continue booting (shows a message about that or
an underline cursor or similar), or does it seem to lock up
at some random point momentarily after having been turned
on?  Does it always seem to POST then stop at the same
point?

Yes it's possible the hard drive is going out though banging
the box usually won't fix that, you might try unplugging and
replugging the power and data cable to the drive, and
getting the HDD manufacturer's diagnostics utility and
booting to that to test the drive.

If the drive checks out ok you might also try booting to a
memtest86+ media and see if that is stable, and if you have
a multimeter check PSU voltages.

If the HDD is going out you might also see disk error
messages in windows' Event Viewer.

Re: Screen saver lock up



On Mon, 4 Jan 2010 13:09:51 -0500, "Rudy"

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Screen saver freezes could also be the video card
overheating, particularly if no 3D gaming is done on the
system, a 3D (mode) screensaver might be the most load the
video card ever sees, often the video fan or capacitors are
failing, though you haven't yet told us about the major
components in the system besides the CPU.

If the hard drive is several years old like the rest of the
system and you can't find the problem after other advice
given here, consider replacing the hard drive just to get
rid of a part with a finite lifespan, to help guard against
end-of-lifespan data loss.  Today I'd consider getting an
SATA drive instead of PATA, for the better price per GB and
forward compatibility, even if it means also buying a $5
SATA-IDE adapter card if the motherboard doesn't natively
support SATA.


Re: Screen saver lock up




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It dies at bootup right at the point where it recognizes the IDE drives.
Today it booted and ran fine. I shut it off and tonight it did it again. I
took the cover off, Jiggled the HDD conections and it started. I backed up
the data I needed. Tomorrow I'll blow it out and reseat everything. If that
doesn't work I have a couple of Sata Raptors. I think I will put one of them
in just for the fun of it. It's time to go to WinXP Pro on this computer
anyway. This isn't my workstation, just a play around data processor.

Thanks
Rudy



Re: Screen saver lock up




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During the talk of not booting I've lost sight of the question what makes it
freeze in the first place. It froze even after turning the screen saver off.
I know that when sitting idle some programs and services do their own thing
like checking for updates etc. I'm wondering if during one of these events
the HDD acted up or a bad spot was encountered if that could cause the
problem.

Rudy
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Re: Screen saver lock up



On Tue, 5 Jan 2010 09:11:57 -0500, "Rudy"


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Run the HDD manufacturer's diagnostics on it.  Freeze-ups
are more often a hardware problem rather than programs or
services, I would primarily suspect failing capacitors.

Re: Screen saver lock up




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Rudy



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