PC locks up, crashes and now corrupted graphics.

  ajliddle 11:16 22 Jan 08
Locked

I've been running a PC with XP without any significant problems for about 3 years. However recently I've started getting some nasty problems.

The machine crashes regularly, often within a few minutes of XP completing startup but sometimes during the start sequence (many times when the Windows jingle plays). These crashes take the form of blue screens of death with various messages or sometimes just a complete freeze - the desktop just locks up and I can't move the mouse pointer, but it stays as it is until I reset. I haven't spotted any common action that triggers the crash, although the computer seems to run for longer if I do nothing.

In the last day or so, on a few occassions the graphics have been corrupted once XP starts (although the text on intitial startup sequence is displayed correctly). Behind the corrupted graphics, Windows seems to be running correctly.

I also end up in Active Desktop Recovery after almost every crash and reset.

Does anyone have any ideas? Does this sound like a hardware or software issue? What can I do?

Thanks

A

  ajliddle 11:30 22 Jan 08

A photo of the corrupted graphics is here:

click here

and the blue screen of death messages mostly include:

'irql not less or equal' and
'bad pool caller'.

  Belatucadrus 11:37 22 Jan 08

Could be either, first suggestion is to open the case and do some housekeeping. After three years it's likely that fans and heat exchangers will have acquired enough dust and fluff to significantly impair the systems cooling. So gently clean the system with a soft natural fibre brush and check that all fans are functional. Replace any that aren't.
What security software have you got and is it up to date ?

  xania 11:39 22 Jan 08

That picture looks like a graphics card problem. Or it could be a grpahics driver problem. Have you tried booting into Safe Mode to see how this affects things? Would certianly help us to pin donw the problem.

WHen you switch on keep tapping F8 until you get a screen listing alternative boot options, then slsect Safe Mode. You will now find the machine prints a number of lines of text rapidly then pauses for up to a couple of minutes before proceeding to load a resticted version of XP and warns you that you are in Safe Mode. In fact, it will also try to repair certian parts if itself (which miught even cure the problem). Once fully booted up, try loading one or two programs to see if the system crashes and then close down and allow the PC to boot up normally.

  xania 11:39 22 Jan 08

That picture looks like a graphics card problem. Or it could be a grpahics driver problem. Have you tried booting into Safe Mode to see how this affects things? Would certianly help us to pin donw the problem.

WHen you switch on keep tapping F8 until you get a screen listing alternative boot options, then slsect Safe Mode. You will now find the machine prints a number of lines of text rapidly then pauses for up to a couple of minutes before proceeding to load a resticted version of XP and warns you that you are in Safe Mode. In fact, it will also try to repair certian parts if itself (which miught even cure the problem). Once fully booted up, try loading one or two programs to see if the system crashes and then close down and allow the PC to boot up normally.

  Pineman100 11:44 22 Jan 08

I'm no expert, so the following are just some random ideas to check. However, at least none of them can do any harm!

1. Have you tried swapping your monitor with another computer? This would enable you to check whether (a) your monitor works OK on another machine, and (b) the other machine's monitor works OK on yours.

2. Check to make sure that your video card is properly seated in its slot.

3. Are the cooling fans on your CPU and your PSU both working properly, and are all cooling slots/fins/etc clear of dust?

4. Is your hard drive making any unusual noises? Is its data cable properly plugged in at both ends?

  Diemmess 11:45 22 Jan 08

I think it is a hardware fault too.

From far off pre-transistor memories, the graphic looks like interference or sparking due to a connection or component failure.
Unlikely to be any sparks around! It could be a resistor or capacitor failure, most likely in the PSU.

Best guess, try a substitute PSU after checking all cables firmly home in their sockets.

  Pineman100 11:46 22 Jan 08

Sorry for any duplications - I was typing while the above two were posting!

  ajliddle 16:22 24 Jan 08

Thanks for the comments guys. Over the last few days the graphics output was scrambled on almost every startup, but I managed to copy about 120Gb of My Documents to an external HD.

Eventually, the graphics were scrambled every time and the output became intermittent with the monitore going onto standby and back to scrambled graphics every few seconds. (Incidentally Pineman, the problem was definitely computer not monitor).

The computer is now dead with no video output at all and seemingly little HD activity on turning on. Time to take it into the pros I think.

Cheers

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