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Alden Bates' Weblog

Feigning normality since 1973

My Crappy PC

Filed in: Computers.

I have occasional problems with my computer just up and resetting in the middle of doing something. This is, naturally, hugely annoying and I worry that one of these days a reset is going to kill something.

I'm pretty sure it's not the AGP/PCI cards I've got installed, so I guess that leaves the memory, motherboard, CPU, power supply, and two of the four storage devices installed.

Theory #1 is that the CPU is overheating, which is why I usually operate the PC with the side cover off. However doing so hasn't stopped the problem.

The resets most often happen specifically during the process of loading a level in Unreal Tournament 2004. Last night I had one occur while playing a Shockwave Flash file. I've also had one while sending an email in Pegasus with a particularly large attachment. This could suggest some arcane problem with the single hard drive in the machine.

Theory #2 is something wrong with either the CPU (an AMD Athlon XP 2000+) or the motherboard. Perhaps some instruction UT2004 executes during the level loading triggers a bug in the Athlon chip which causes the reset. It's hard to say, because sometimes a particular level will work fine, sometimes it will crash the computer when it's loading.

Posted December 23, 2004 2:46 PM


Guess what I have had this same problem and my guesses were the same as yours...know what it turned out to be my ram was faulty, I would be doing something or in the middle of a game and all the sudden either a blue screen with a code (happend only 2 times) or my pc restarted on its own sometimes repetitivley...I took out the 256mb of ram and had bought a stick of 512 plugged her in and never had the problem since, I have the same processor as you aswell AMD 2000XP, I dont want to tell you to go buy a new stick and find wasnt the problem...but I had the same probs as you and that fixed it.

Posted by: crackersnacker | December 23, 2004 7:20 PM

Thanks, that's given me something to go on. I'll see if I can't download a utility to test the RAM...

Posted by: Alden Bates | December 23, 2004 10:37 PM

Turn on the option in Windows that forces a blue screen to stay on the screen (the default is to automatically reboot). When a BSOD occurs, write down the STOP code AND the four parameters that follow (if a DLL is mentioned, write that down as well). Reboot. Launch IE/Mozilla/Firefox/whatever browser you use. Go to Google and type in "STOP 0xStopCodeYouWroteDown" as the keywords. Look for the link in the results first and other websites second. Also, search for "DLLName blue screen", "DLLName bsod", and "DLLName stop error" to see if anyone else is having the same problem.

That should give you some idea of what is actually going on. You should try to observe when the BSOD actually happens. I once had a device driver I installed that caused Win2000 to BSOD randomly. I finally had a BSOD where it finally gave me the name of the driver - uninstalling it was fairly straight-forward and the system didn't BSOD any more. In your case, maybe you plugged in your camera, launched Windows media player, shut it down, ejected the camera, started playing a game, and then BSODed. It could be the camera drivers, some poorly written DirectShow filter driver (e.g. WinDVD is installed), or the video card driver. I would look into whatever was the cheapest. You get what you pay for. Poorly written and unsigned drivers = BSODs galore.

Posted by: Thomas Hruska | January 22, 2005 11:41 AM

Thomas: Unfortunately I already tried that. The PC reboots without giving a blue screen at all, even with that option toggled.

Posted by: Alden Bates | January 22, 2005 8:11 PM

Iam having AMD 2000+, Asus A7.. motherboard and iam also having the same problem what your comp had. I tried various things but still the problem persists. If you got any solution please inform me it would be a great help to me.

Posted by: Anand | October 18, 2005 12:24 AM

As mentioned here, this problem was located and fixed. The AMD CPU has burnt itself out. It worked fine for normal operation, but as soon as you put a persistant load on it of 100% CPU usage, it would quickly overheat and reset. The only solution, unfortunately, was to replace the CPU. (I've emailed this comment to Anand in case it helps them)

Posted by: Alden Bates | October 18, 2005 7:41 AM

I am running, an Windows XP home edition with an AMD athlon processor.
It randomly restarts when i do things, such as browse "youtube" or play games, i ended up putting a big fan next to pc which actually made the PC last a LONG time without restarting, but the bill was too expensive lol.
How do i fix the problem? and for some reason the BSOD doesnt come on anymore it just randomly restarts.

Posted by: Unanimous | November 26, 2006 2:33 AM

Cud somebody please email me a solution?

Posted by: Unanimous | November 26, 2006 6:50 AM

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