Troubleshooting Lockups

hipsterdoofus

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
155
Confession: I am an idiot. The reason is because I thought I would be a nice son and take my old computer and turn it into an HTPC for my parents. DO NOT DO THIS! You will support it forever!

Okay so for the most part the config for this machine is listed in my sig. The original build is a 2007 system. My HTPC is a 2009 build and I've never had problems at all.

Anyway, my parents say that it "locks up" on them and they have to restart. And of COURSE it never locks up when I check on it. So I'm trying to troubleshoot and I know there are some people here who are great with these things.

My dad says it will lock up at times during watching live tv, at times watching recorded tv and at times watching netflix on media center. I can't imagine it being a memory issue - my HTPC has 2 gigs of memory also and recently was recording 4 things while watching another all without a hitch. The hard drive I replaced so it is barely a year old. Any ideas on ways to figure out what is going on with it? Thanks
 

Jagger100

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 31, 2004
Messages
7,589
I can't say if this is the problem but going to 4 gigs wouldn't hurt, especially if you're running windows. Even if it isn't the real problem it would probably smooth things over.
 

Black5Lion

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
325
Confession: I am an idiot. The reason is because I thought I would be a nice son and take my old computer and turn it into an HTPC for my parents. DO NOT DO THIS! You will support it forever!

Okay so for the most part the config for this machine is listed in my sig. The original build is a 2007 system. My HTPC is a 2009 build and I've never had problems at all.

Anyway, my parents say that it "locks up" on them and they have to restart. And of COURSE it never locks up when I check on it. So I'm trying to troubleshoot and I know there are some people here who are great with these things.

My dad says it will lock up at times during watching live tv, at times watching recorded tv and at times watching netflix on media center. I can't imagine it being a memory issue - my HTPC has 2 gigs of memory also and recently was recording 4 things while watching another all without a hitch. The hard drive I replaced so it is barely a year old. Any ideas on ways to figure out what is going on with it? Thanks
I know that feeling bro, except in my case I'm the one who's using the PC *facepalm* I also have 2 gigs of ram, and it might help to have a bit more.
I don't know how intensive netflix and live tv is but, sometimes my pc stutters for a few seconds because it ran out of ram. (never locks up tho)
Idk I think it might be worth a shot if you can afford it, it would certainly help with other things.
 

rhansen5_99

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 12, 2001
Messages
2,075
Try checking the windows error logs, might be a particular service or app playing havoc. Right click my computer -->manage -->event viewer-->windows logs and check application for yellow or red !'s. Maybe some google foo from there. You might also try running a memory test with memtest (check out ultimate boot cd) to see if it might be a hardware issue. Also make sure if its ddr2 that you have the memory at the proper settings in the bios, especially the voltage. Last thing to check might be temps, if you have it stuffed in a cabinet it could be overheating (maybe a can of air to blow out all the components) after many hours of usage. Something like speed fan or similar should give you a good indication.

Also what video card are you running on it?
 

xLokiX

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 10, 2007
Messages
263
You could check event viewer, see if something is causing the lockup. Just have them write down the time when there is a lockup and you can check for corresponding errors.
I guess I should have refreshed the page before posting.
 

hipsterdoofus

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
155
Thanks for all the comments.

On the RAM issue, I'll try to look into it. I had never really considered it would be a problem since my HTPC at home runs splendidly on 2 gigs. I just hate to buy them 2 more if that won't fix the problem is all. What would be the best way to see if it is pegging out on RAM? I'd like to log some of this stuff while I'm not there to see it, obviously.

Also, I'm trying to remember if i checked event viewer. Part of the biggest problem here...is that they have an old tube tv. You can only imagine the pain in my eyes trying to see the screen (yes, its like an svideo connection, bleh). So it is VERY hard to troubleshoot in place unless i take the thing home or plug in a monitor to it. I'm going to be there tonight so I may take a monitor over to mess with it.

I think I may have a ultimate boot CD here at work so maybe I can take it along. And...ah yes speedfan. I've actually used it at work and haven't thought of that. The video card on it is just... I think a radeon 4550. I actually used it in my machine before I switched over to an HDTV also...however, I will say I didn't run netflix and such at the time on there too. I have to use something with Svideo out right now until their TV gets upgraded. For the sake of my sanity I'm thinking of buying them like a 32" for black Friday, at which point I'll need to swap out their video card with one with HDMI output anyway.
 

hipsterdoofus

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
155
Hmm if they have decent internet ,maybe use logmein or something from your machine :)
Well their internet is okay to their house but unfortunately their HTPC is on wireless...cause I didn't want to run cable to where the tv is (vaulted ceiling - ug).

Well I looked at the computer the other night and yes, it is indeed having problems. I was unable to determine the extent of them. I will say that using speedfan, it shows that their GPU is running hot. They have a radeon HD 4550. I opened up the case and was kind of surprised to find it didn't have a fan (oops). Additionally, their wireless seems to be dropping or something occasionally which im sure could cause issues.

So for my first resolutions - I have an old WRT54G. I think I'm going to set it up as a wireless bridge. Then I'll hook up the HTPC via ethernet to the WRT54g and we won't have to worry about weird wifi issues as much.

Secondly, I'd like to replace their video card. They SHOULDN'T need anything too fancy, but I'm planning on potentially replacing their TV soon, so they will need something that will do HDMI. Is there such a beast as a card that will do svideo AND hdmi? (and has a fan on it)?
 

rhansen5_99

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 12, 2001
Messages
2,075

hipsterdoofus

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
155
I'm further confused. Today, I went to work on this HTPC and it was barely usable. It would boot up and essentially be frozen, couldn't do much with it at all. I finally got fed up with it and decided to bring it home to work on it in a better environment....zero problems, runs great. I really don't get what is going on. One thing I'm wondering is if Windows just does not like scaling down to like 800 x 600? Other than being hooked up to their old crappy tv, the only other differences from here to there are 1) A remote control receive hooked up via USB and 2) An external linksys wireless adapter.

I'm likely going to end up buying them a TV (maybe Black Friday), but I'm still confused why the thing is running so bad. So you would recommend the 6450 as a decent card to run hdmi to a TV?
 

hipsterdoofus

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
155
Bad hard drive?
I don't think so. I haven't tested it but again I took it home and the machine was running well. I have a lot of hard drive experience and it wasn't acting like it had any issues. If I continue to have problems I will likely test it. The drive is only a year old, so I just don't see it.
 

cyclone3d

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Messages
13,466
It could very well be electrical interference from their TV.

Could also be that their TV is introducing voltage drop/noise into the line. A good line conditioner would probably clear that up.

It could even be that they have really crappy electrical in their house or even coming from the utility company.

Does that HTPC have an active PFC power supply? If not, I would recommend it.
 

hipsterdoofus

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
155
It could very well be electrical interference from their TV.

Could also be that their TV is introducing voltage drop/noise into the line. A good line conditioner would probably clear that up.

It could even be that they have really crappy electrical in their house or even coming from the utility company.

Does that HTPC have an active PFC power supply? If not, I would recommend it.
I highly doubt it I think the PS may be the same crappy one that came with the case :). I had speedfan running against the unit and saw elevated temps on the GPU, but i didn't get anything else that indicated gpu issues (artifacts or anything weird). The whole thing just starts up slow and then it would occasionally "lock up" - which ...it wasn't 100% locked up, but no real control over it so it may as well have been.

Again, after taking it home it was working fine. I am also wondering if the wireless was screwing with it. It was a linksys wifi over USB adapter. So now I've switched them over - they are connected via ethernet to an old WRT54G I had which is doing wireless bridge to their other wifi router. At least it takes the wireless issue out as being an issue.
 

hipsterdoofus

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
155
Just an addition to the weirdness. Apparently the computer did well for awhile, now my dad called me and said he can watch tv on it for 30-45 minutes and locks up. That sounds like either 1) memory or 2) a heat issue.
 
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