Massive Chronic Unsolvable Computer Failure Problem

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by sakana, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. sakana

    sakana n00bie

    Messages:
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    Aug 24, 2007
    I built my computer about two years ago. At that point, its specs were:

    mobo: Asus A8N-SLI
    cpu: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
    OS: Windows XP Home Edition SP2
    power supply: Antec TP-II 550
    GPU: BFG Geforce 7800 GTX OC 256 MB
    Memory: 1GB Corsair TWINX1024-3200C2
    Hard drives: Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200 RPM SATA (two of them, not in RAID)
    Case: Lian Li PC-V1200B


    I put it all together and it worked perfectly fine for about two months. Then, one day, after windows loaded, my mouse cursor started freezing up, everything started responding extremely slowly, and I got a blue screen of death. I restarted it and it worked fine. Since then, it would randomly either work or freeze up a couple minutes after starting up and give me a blue screen of death. It also occassionally froze on the windows xp loading screen, and I also got errors saying that it couldn't detect the disc. This got progressively worse until it wouldn't start up at all.

    I thought there was a problem with the northbridge on my motherboard, since the northbridge fan had started making loud noises around this point and it seemed to be overheating. I ended up scratching the motherboard slightly while attempting to replace the badly designed fan. Anyway, I ended up having to buy an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe to replace the mobo. It worked fine for a while, then the fan died again and I ended up having to replace it, successfully this time, with a good heatsink.

    The new mobo worked fine for a couple months. Then I started getting the same errors again: freezing up after loading windows, random blue screens of death (with many different random error messages), and being unable to detect the hard drive. When it worked, it would great, and when there were errors, it would slow down to a crawl. Eventually it reached a point where windows wouldn’t even load any more. I thought there might be an issue with the hard drive controller or something, so I tried moving my hard drives to different SATA ports (there were a total of four ports). Miraculously, after moving my drives to different ports, the computer worked perfectly again. For a few months. Then, every few weeks, I would start getting various errors and BSODs and have to move the hard drives to different ports again. It got progressively worse such that no matter which SATA ports I chose, I would keep getting these errors.

    Eventually, earlier this summer, my GPU died and I decided to get a new mobo, cpu, GPU, power supply, and memory, hoping this would finally solve my errors once and for all. I also installed an extra side blower to cool down my components even more.

    New specs:

    Mobo: Intel BOXD975XBX2KR LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor – Retail
    GPU: EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800GTS 640MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail
    Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory – Retail
    Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad - Copper EPS12V 750W Continuous @ 40°C (825W Peak) Power Supply – Retail

    Once again, my computer worked perfectly fine, not to mention extremely fast, for a couple months. Then I started getting a new error! I already made a post about it on a different forum a while ago, but no one responded. Anyway, here is the post so that I don’t have to write it out all over again:

    I also started getting:



    So instead of getting blue screens of death, my computer would give me Delayed Write Failed errors and Unknown Hard Errors and freeze up. Switching SATA ports miraculously still worked, but it kept getting worse and worse. I figured that my main hard drive with windows might be dying, so I replaced it with a 320GB Western Digital (rather than Seagate) hard drive. I formatted it and reinstalled Windows XP Home from scratch. So I now had an extremely clean install of Windows.

    Once again, my computer worked perfectly for a couple months (no more delayed write failed errors!) but then I started getting yet another new error. One day, my computer started taking about four times as long as normal to start up, and then all sound become extremely choppy. Also, all programs ran kind of choppily and took longer than normal to start up. I tried reinstalling my sound drivers but it was still bad. Then I tried switching my hard drives to different SATA ports, and the problem was miraculously fixed. Then, about a week later, my computer started freezing up randomly and it started happening again. At this point, my main hard drive had been moved from the 1st port to the 3rd port and my 2nd hard drive had been left in the 2nd port. Moving my main hard drive to the 1st port didn’t fix the problem, but moving it to the 4th did fix it, at least for now.

    PLEASE HELP ME! I have no idea what is wrong! I have already replaced nearly all my hardware, I’m using a fresh install of windows, and am still getting similar problems. This defies all logic. Is it a software issue or an issue with my hard drive controller? Is it because I am using two hard drives but they aren’t in RAID? Do I need to install some sort of new driver or firmware?

    Repeat: Please help, you are my only hope.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Finn

    Finn Gawd

    Messages:
    888
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2005
    So if I understood right the harddrives are from the old system? Your HD cache or something might give you errors when it gets heated. HD problems can cause erratic messages with no apparent cause. This can affect system stability espacially if your swap file is located on it.

    Try to disconnect both old hd's completely. If the box works you know where the problem was.

    I got so tired to popping hd's biannually that nowadays I make sure that each new box I make has a 120mm fan slot for HD cooling. And I use it.

    Oh and if you overclock the box, set it immediately back to stock settings. This is the first thing you should always do when run into problems.
     
  3. sakana

    sakana n00bie

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    Aug 24, 2007
    No, I got a new Western Digital 320GB hard drive just a month or so ago and installed Windows fresh on it. There's also a lot of airflow over it. So I am relatively confident it's not a hardware problem.

    The delayed write failures and unknown hard errors went away when I got the new HD. I probably should have phrased that better in the post. But I am still having the same issue where my system is randomly freezing up, windows is taking forever to load, etc, when the main HD is in the same SATA port for too long.

    The error is totally reproducible too. Right now my main HD is in the 4th SATA port and my system runs fine. If I move it to the 1st SATA port, windows takes 4x as long as normal to start up, sound is choppy, and everything is kind of choppy/slow in general. But even though it works now, odds are, this will start happening again after a week or two, and I will be forced to move the HD to another port again, or maybe I will be screwed and nothing will fix it. I mean, just yesterday, I had to move it from the 3rd SATA port to the 4th.

    Right now I have no idea what is even the source of the problem. Anything that could help would be useful. Is there some way I could take a log of the system start up and determine the difference between how it starts up when the main HD is in the 1st port and when it's in the 4th? I just don't know what to do.
     
  4. mikey976

    mikey976 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
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    Dec 24, 2006
    ok i think i may have the problem solved i currently own a a8n-sli.
    i would have the same issue turns out disable smart monitoring in bios.
    anythin that isnt auto detected (ide/sata) select not installed.
    also try MS bootvis to speed up your boot times a lil bit.
    are your chipset drivers sata drivers uptodate?

    i suggest u DL a copy of UBCD (ultimate bootcd) its only 100mb and free
    find and run the ibm/hitachi drive diagnostics on your drives.



    now when u get your bsods are u writing down the errors it throws? both the
    windows delayed write and the group of hexidecmal codes it throws at the bottom?

    tip:
    if u are a firefox user. in the built in google search bar it auto completes as u type. so for example is u start with 0x000 ( it will start a list of most common windows errors if yours isnt there just type it out. it will find it.
     
  5. SmokeRngs

    SmokeRngs [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2008

    Messages:
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    Aug 9, 2001
    I'm wondering if the power in your house or just in general with your neighborhood is bad. If you're not getting clean power to the system, it could damage the hardware over time. It would probably be worth getting a decent UPS with power filtering or whatever it's called and see if the problems go away. It could be too late for the current hardware if that is the problem as the damage would already be done.

    I may be way off base, but it's something else to look at.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. sakana

    sakana n00bie

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    Well, as I said, the issue isn't with totally random BSODs or delayed write fails any more. It's this chronic problem of *something bad* happening whenever my HD is in a SATA port for too long, and then that port seems to go bad for that HD, at least temporarily. It doesn't really make sense.

    Anyway, I will try disabling smart monitoring and see what happens.

    Also, do you know the specific appropriate SATA drivers for my mobo? I had trouble finding them.

    Thanks.
     
  7. sakana

    sakana n00bie

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    Aug 24, 2007
    Alright, I've solved the problem, with the help of someone from a different forum.

    The cause of the problem was that my main hard drive was being set to PIO mode instead of Ultra DMA mode for certain SATA ports on the motherboard. This is due to some terrible safety feature in Windows that reduces an HD's transfer mode after six cumulative time-out or CRC errors.

    The solution is a quick reg edit that can be found at http://my.afterdawn.com/ketola/blog_entry.cfm/178: