Re: PC Behaving badly
- From: "RobV" <robv@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 17:42:50 -0500
Over the past few months, my system has become unstable. I'm running
Windows XP on a VIA V21G board based system.
Obviously, I'd like to figure out whether this has something to do
A) corrupted files on the hard drive
B) controller or hardware going bad on the hard drive
C) motherboard problem
I can easily remove the hard drive in question, format it, and then
run some sort of stability test on it. If it comes up stable, then
I'll assume it is a motherboard issue.
Can anyone recommend a utility I can download and use to test a hard
drive thoroughly for issues?
First, make sure the CPU heatsink/fan is clean, no dust, fan rotating at
proper speed. Obviously, clean out dust from the rest of the system.
Make sure all cooling fans are running properly and dust free. I don't
know how old the MB is, so if it's a few years old, inspect all
electrolytic capacitors (milk can shaped things), especially around and
near the CPU for any sign of bulging, or leaking (brownish colored
material on, or under the cap). The top of them should be flat; no
Second, while you're cleaning inside, remove and reseat cards, memory
sticks, cables, power connectors, especially the ATX (power supply)
connector to the MB (be sure power cable is unplugged). Make sure there
is no discoloration on any pins and reinsert making sure it seats well.
One problem could be a bad disk drive cable. Having an extra, known
good (80 conductor) cable for the disk drive to swap out would help.
It's still 40 PINS, but has 40 extra Ground wires to allow faster
read/writes (ATA66 and up).
Third, the problem may be due to a failing power supply. Use a digital
multimeter, available at any Radio Shack for a very low price (if you
don't have one) to check the actual voltages coming from your PSU. Any
black wire is ground; red is +5V; yellow +12V and orange +3.3V. These
should be within +-5% of nominal for +5V and +3.3V, and +-10% for +12V.
They also must be measured while under load: while the system is
running. If you're not up for that, get a spare known good power
supply. You can substitute it for the one in the system to be
absolutlely sure there are no PSU issues.
A hard drive utility to test the disk drive is available for download
from the manufacturer's web site. This is Seagate's download page. Sea
Tools would be the diagnostic program.
Fourth, download Memtest86+. This is a free program that will boot from
a floppy drive (or CD) and test your memory. It should run at least a
few complete passes with no errors. http://www.memtest.org/ This
should be done only after you have ruled out any of the previous
problems, especially a PSU problem.
Basically, you do and test the things that are most likely to cause
problems. It could be the MB (bad caps an example), but the only way to
find out is to eliminate all the other factors that could be causing
these problems (unless you see bad caps, then you *know* it's the MB).
- PC Behaving badly
- From: OhioGuy
- PC Behaving badly
- Prev by Date: Re: How long to run Memtest86?
- Next by Date: Re: How long to run Memtest86?
- Previous by thread: Re: PC Behaving badly
- Next by thread: Re: PC Behaving badly