|
Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Tech Help » Looking for ideas on troubleshooting

Default Looking for ideas on troubleshooting

March 4th, 2010, 18:09
My PC os crashing on me, and I am at a loss about how to troubleshoot the thing. It's a four year old rig running Windows XP.

When I boot I see a pattern of junk ASCII characters forming vertical "bars" all over the screen as the BIOS post message is displayed. Windows boot partially, showing the windows logo against a black background. At the point where I'd normally see the login screen I lose the video signal and the PC hangs. At this point the machine only responds to the hard reset button.

XP boots in safe mode though, treating me to a display that doesnt seem corrupted.

I have a few suspects:
Graphics card hardware error
Motherboard hardware failure
Corrupted motherboard settings (the system clock has been behaving oddly for about a month, jumping to 2070 and 2054 between powerups)
Corrupted XP (but could that explain the artefacts on startup, prior to loading XP at all?)

Normally I'd try booting the bloody thing with another GPU to rule that out, but I dont have another PCI Express card lying around I am at a bit of a loss about where to take the old girl now, besides downgrading GPU drivers (which I havent touched for a long time, but they could of course be corrupted) and trying to boot in lower resolutions.
Zaleukos is offline

Zaleukos

Zaleukos's Avatar
Bum

#1

Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,003
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

March 4th, 2010, 18:34
I vacuumed the case and changed the NVIDIA drivers, and the old hog works for the time being. I think I'll back up any important files now.
Last edited by Zaleukos; March 4th, 2010 at 23:20.
Zaleukos is offline

Zaleukos

Zaleukos's Avatar
Bum

#2

Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,003
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

March 4th, 2010, 23:20
Talk about premature joy, the old hog is back to only booting windows in safe mode
Zaleukos is offline

Zaleukos

Zaleukos's Avatar
Bum

#3

Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,003
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

March 5th, 2010, 13:58
Well, a few things to try: Clearing CMOS, running Memtest, and if your chipset (the north/south bridge) has a fan, check if it's actually spinning (my chipset fan failed after 4-5 years which resulted in strange errors, now I stay away from actively cooled chipsets).
--
Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum
Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe
KazikluBey is offline

KazikluBey

KazikluBey's Avatar
Sentinel

#4

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sweden
Posts: 525
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

March 5th, 2010, 15:57
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
I vacuumed the case and changed the NVIDIA drivers, and the old hog works for the time being. I think I'll back up any important files now.
PRO TIP #1: Never, under any circumstance, "vacuum" your case out. NEVER!
Not only can you shift, or dislodge completely, critical components, but the process of vacuuming generates minute quantities of static-electricity which have a detrimental long-term effect upon the sensitive circuitry of your motherboard. Furthermore, vacuuming by no means assures you of the same level of dust-free cleanliness that can be achieved with a simple can of pressurized air (I would personally caution against using any of the 3M brands, as they have a tendency to ice-over, given the extra chemicals they insert into theirs) and a static-free cloth.

PRO TIP #2: Seek the proper help.
Don't get me wrong, mate, I consider myself rather tech-savvy. Indeed, I am certain a great many of the veteran members here share that same belief. Even so, this is primarily a CRPG-discussion/news site, thus I would recommend taking your issue up with a group that is focused on mitigating such things. Personally, I would suggest the following:
http://forums.techguy.org/21-windows-xp/
The good folk there are not only swift to lend a hand, but aided me in navigating through a very complex XP-bug of my own (one that required nearly two days to eradicate) also teaching me about reading HiJackThis logs and other technical files, allowing me to work toward fixing my own hardware/software problems. Best of luck…
themadhatter is offline

themadhatter

Philosopher Emeritus

#5

Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 141
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

March 7th, 2010, 14:43
I second the advice to visit a tech forum.

Is it possible that you only killed your windows? Maybe it's time to reinstall. Can you free another partition? Then you don't have to format your windows partition. Using several windows installs next to each other is no problem.
Gorath is offline

Gorath

Gorath's Avatar
Prime Evil
Moderator
RPGWatch Team
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#6

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,898
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

March 7th, 2010, 18:51
Thanks for the link, MH. The reason I post at a place like this is the low signal to noise ratio, I find it hard to tell which tech sites are helpful and which arent.

Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
I second the advice to visit a tech forum.

Is it possible that you only killed your windows? Maybe it's time to reinstall. Can you free another partition? Then you don't have to format your windows partition. Using several windows installs next to each other is no problem.
I am fairly sure Windows is innocent. I have a garbled screen before loading windows. The whole screen shows a pattern along the lines of

Code:
((((        ((((           ((((
((((        ((((           ((((
((((        ((((           ((((
((((        ((((           ((((
((((        ((((           ((((
and that is before windows is loaded. My main suspect is the GPU (safe mode is the only garble-free mode as far as display goes, and it doesnt stress the GPUs ability at all, using some generic MS VGA drivers) or the Mobo (could the bios have been corrupted because I didnt replace the CMOS battery?).
Zaleukos is offline

Zaleukos

Zaleukos's Avatar
Bum

#7

Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,003
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

March 7th, 2010, 19:10
The garbled text stripes - I had something similar with a damaged GPU once. Maybe someone can borrow you one to check?
GhanBuriGhan is offline

GhanBuriGhan

GhanBuriGhan's Avatar
Wose extraordinaire
Original Sin Donor

#8

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,508
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

March 7th, 2010, 19:20
Definitely a problem for a tech forum.

My guess: The graphics card is kaputt. I had such a pattern a long time ago.

Do you have an old PCI graphics card? It doesn't have to be PCIe, just something compatible with whatever secondary sockets you have on your mainboard. Or does your mainboard have a (deactivated) internal graphics solution?

edit: The power supply is also a possible cause for your problems.
Gorath is offline

Gorath

Gorath's Avatar
Prime Evil
Moderator
RPGWatch Team
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#9

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,898
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

March 8th, 2010, 17:04
I have taken my problems elsewhere, but still thought it would be good form to say something about my "progress" here So far there is very little to report.

I also thought the graphics card was the prime suspect, but the only other card I have is an AGP one, so I cant test that easily.

Today the PC boots without artefacts after having been shut off for almost two days (makes me think this could be some overheating issue after all), but it is likely only a temporary respite. I'm backing up all work-related files now. Ironically the random return of stability will make troubleshooting harder…

Oh well, a GPU/Mobo/CPU upgrade was planned for later this year anyway.
Zaleukos is offline

Zaleukos

Zaleukos's Avatar
Bum

#10

Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,003
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

March 16th, 2010, 09:24
A new graphics card seems to have done the trick
Zaleukos is offline

Zaleukos

Zaleukos's Avatar
Bum

#11

Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,003
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Tech Help » Looking for ideas on troubleshooting
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 13:23.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.10
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright by RPGWatch