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XP System freezes


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I'm pretty desperate for help here, folks. This is the most frustrating PC problem I've had in my life.


I have a system as follows:

Motherboard: MSI Neo2 nForce 3

CPU: AMD 64 Athlon 3200+

Memory: 1 Gig

Video: HighTech Excalibur Radion 9550SE

Monitor LG Flatron L1980U Swivel & Tilt, set up in portrrait orientation

OS: MS XP sp2.


It has been perfroming well since I bought it at Xmas 2004. Around October 2008 it started to develop a problem which is now pretty much consistent in its hideous inconsistency. I can link no particular system change to the date when the behaviour strated:


1. When I boot the system, it freezes stone dead after completing the XP startup cycle ..as in CTL-ALT-DEL is ignored...stone dead. Unfortunately it does NOT do it every time...it does it about 70%-80% of the time. If it does not freeze soon after startup, then it freees in the next 30 minutes or so.


2. When I then hit the restart (rather than reboot) button after freezing, it restarts XP and runs properly for (typically but not always) hours


3. It will run like this for a few hours and then freeze stone dead again...hitting the restart button on the box then restores it to working order again


4. If I do not work on the machine for (say) 30-40 minutes, I will more often than not return to a frozen system. Doing nothing on the machine may have something to do with the problem. I have switched off all screen saver or hibernation functions....it does not help.


5. The problem has NOT so far occurred when I tried working in Safe Mode with Networking. But it is hell to work like that. This is the step that makes me believe my problem is XP or software.


6. I am right out of ideas at this time. I have had four months of this and am going nuts here.


I have gone through Event Viewer...its shows absolutely nothing to identify the freezing by. It happens without warning.

I have AVG Free running...no virus warnings

I have run BootlogXP...nothing shows up to identfy the freezing by. It seems to occur after BootlogXP has finished its checks.

I have done an XP Repair install....absolutely no difference

I have switched startup programmes on and off....no difference

I have switched services off in Services Console....no difference

I ran Malwarebyte's anti-Malware...nothing

I have run Spybot Search& Destroy...nothing

I have run Ad-Aware.....nothing

I have specifically turned off Google Updater in the Services console

I have turned off my Kodak printer system in Startup

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I DO changes this disaster.


What I DO NOTICE, is that my windows volume control icon in the system tray seems to be flitting between absent and present between restarts; almost as though its switching between absence and presence is involved in the problem somehow. I cannot swear that it is consistently present or absent when the freezing phenomenon occurs.


As you can see, I'm at the stage where I am utterly grabbing at straws. reinstalling XP and havingto reconstruct all my stuff will be a nightmare I have studiously tried to avoid to date.


I need some wisdom pretty badly. I'm now down to saving backups of a 50 Meg book I am writing every 10 minutes. This is hugely disruptive and I spend a lot of time fixing stuff that was lost due to freezing.


TEST: http://www.pcpitstop.com/betapit/sec.asp?conid=21711995




Edited by HarryB
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yes, I have done that. No difference.


I just wish someone would give me something "softwarish" to try. I have never suffered anything quite as debilitating in my entire life with PCs since the 1980s.


A. If only

1. the behaviour would be consistent

2. be of such a nature that I could induce it to happen, so one can track it

3. it would leave some sort of trace of having happened

...but I have nothing...just NOTHING...just a PC that utterly freezes leaving no trace of the event

And it hits without warning, except for the situaton within 3 minutes of startup.


B. If only I could figurte out whether it is hardware or software


C. If only I could limit it to a certain grouping of sofware


But, I have zero here....just mindless frustration, constantly being forced to redo work.



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you could try process explorer

leave it run see whats using cpu usage

or it could be your harddrive failing

run check disk

see if it shows any errors


from start click on RUN

type in cmd

at the command prompt

type in chkdsk

it will run and show errors


and here is process explorer



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Process_Explorer is on board and I've runit. It does not appear to tell me much beyond the fact that AVG peaks into the 90% region every now and then. SoI killed all processes assiiated with it...anything that starts with avg.


When I try to run Chkdsk /f or chkdsk /x


I get:

"The type of file system is NTFS

Cannot lock current drive."


I checked out what that means I'd have to do, and it sounds scary for a regular human like me

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The type of the file system is NTFS.

Cannot lock current drive.

Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another

process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be

checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)

Is this the actual error your getting

if it is just type in Y

All you need to do is restart your computer

chkdsk /r will run

it takes about 1 or 2 hours to complete

maybe longer depending on the drive

Do Not Disturb This

Edited by mme
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I got exactly what I typed above and not what you typed. HOWEVER, I then decided that the problem may be because I was doing this from Start-run-cmd in full XP. So I rebooted - F8- selected "Safe Mode with cmd prompt".


Then I tried chkdsk c: /f again from the "C>" prompt. This time it ran just like you said and reported that the drive was perfect. It was just a handful of minutes....not 2 hours.


I have also checked my C-drive with Pistop's Disk MD. My C-drive is only 14G. That was fine in 2004 when I originally partitioned it, but it was now filled to 10.5G. So I removed:

1. all old restore points.

2. all things that looked like downloads

3. older updates of Java ( I still do not know what Java does for man or beast)

4. Re-installed AVG from scratch selecting another drive.

5. Reinstalled OpenOffice, using another drive as the place to expand the download files. Unfortunately OO does not give one the option of installing in any place other than the C-drive, as best I can tell. I would if I could


I have it down to around 9G out of 14G now. HOWEVER, I think I need to find a way to repartition this drive without reinstalling everything. I'd like at least half the C-disk clear.


Unfortunately, Google Update is back, somehow. Even though I disabled it in the Services Console, it just ignores me. Jusched.exe was also back, despite me having switched off all automatic communication garbage in Java.


Oh yes....AVG8 is now much more quiet and does not "rattle the disk around" all the time like I reported earlier.


Of course, I have no idea whether I still have the problem...it will strike when IT decides...when it hurts most.

Edited by HarryB
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Okay, this sounds horribly like what happened to my comp a few years back. Our beloved "Lady in Red" helped me, and I would suggest going over to the virus / Hijack forum. I had a Trojan that simply did not show up on normal scans.


You sound pretty computer literate so I will not go through all the usual things but you could try this in the mean time till someone that's a real expert gets on board.


Go to Kasparsky's site, get the free trial version. Save it to your desk top. Then, do a "cold" re-boot, and start tapping F8... I'm sure you know that routine. From there run the scan, and KILL anything that the scan does not like. Reboot after the scan. That might work. You may have to turn off system restore, but first I would run the scan from safe mode. If that shows clear, then this is probably NOT the problem. If it does show bad characters playing with your comp then that may well be the issue.


If it did show some sort of problem, and the clean from safe-mode didn't fix it then you need better help than I can give. It involves dumping system restore, and if the "fix" fails, you get to reformat...


Go to the hijack / virus forum.

Edited by PatrickS
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Back in October, when you suspect these problems started escallating, I noticed that you had installed AVG8.

Many people have complained of various problems with version 8, but primarily because the "Link Scanner" feature would slow down browsing (on Google in particular).


Anyway, my suggestion would be to remove AVG8, then re-install it without the link scanner feature. Here's a howto: http://www.hwdot.com/how-to-disable-remove...ut-linkscanner/


See if there is any relief through this exersize.



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Patrick, Y and mms,


Thank you for your help.


I can announce that, last night, at 12:25a.m., the system hanged again. At that point I was so frustrated that I yanked the power cable out the wall. I was tired...demoralised...fed up beyond redemption...I had just lost the last 15 minutes of typing a crucial piece. This darned thing has been tormenting me so badly that it has been affecting my health.


As from this morning at 7:15 a.m. my PC is no more. It has died a death. It will not boot at all. Both hard drives are fine and run perfectly on the wife's machine. The Box, CPU and Northbridge fans are turning. I have no idea what else works. Maybe I fried my motherboard. Maybe I messed up the CPU. Maybe the Graphics card went. Maybe the power supply went. I don't think I care anymore. If that thing stayed in my house one hour longer I would have acted out the scene of Jack Nicholson and the axe in The Shining. The thing was driving me to hysterics. I have given up. Never in my life have a been so terrorised by a PC. I detest even thinking about it further. I have no idea how much trouble I'll have setting all my stuff up again.


What is left of "The Pig" is now sitting at a PC store in Vancouver. I'll hear what they say, but I predict a new board, with new chip, new memory and new graphics card. " The Pig" is socket 939 and they'll find a way of selling me something else. And I do not have the faith to put together another stack. I'm getting way to old and ornery for this "fiddling under the hood" nonsense. SO...here's where I start bleeding money because I conceded defeat. This monster got the better of me after many months of really trying hard....as you can see from the scanning stuff I installed.


If I had a dog I'd kick it...but we have a cat and it is small and fluffy and no good for kicking ;-)


THERE! I feel better. Thanks.

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The Pig is dead....long live The Pig


I have been accused of being pig-headed and not knowing when to give up. And so it is that the PC-shoppe returned the Pig to me, saying that:


1. They reset the BIOS and flashed it to the latest version....it worked just fine!!

2. Then they tested the RAM, the CPU and the video card ...all perfectly fine

3. They ran the system for a day under stress....no hangs

4. On the second day it hanged.

5. Could I please go back up what I want to back up and then bring it back

...alternatively I could do what they were going to do: reformat the boot hard disk and do a clean install of XP-SP2


SO, I brought it home, backed up everything, formatted the drive. I resegmented it to give XP 30Gigs in which to grow.... or fester, as the case may be.


Then I proudly switched on, sat back and tried a few things.....and it hanged! I glared at the cat..... which promptly ran out of the house.


I then decided to search the internet again. I remembered that the Northbridge fan had made some noises a while ago...so I had given it a touch of WD-40 and it had worked fine, as best I could tell. SO, I thought I may actually have an invisible underlying temperature problem.For this reason I thought I should search overclocker sites for what they find with this board, because they are the kind of people who heat things through stress and then have to make special arrangements to handle that. They should know what makes the board hang for temperature.


I found an intriguing post that suggested:


1. This board is very finicky with memory....but mine had been OK for 4 years! So why mess with it?

2. The hard drives are better off in SATA channels 3 and 4, rather than channels 1 & 2

3. Take off the Northbridge fan and put on a lot more thermal paste, because MSI put very little there.


SO.....with the cat out of the house, the interpid Harry moved the two SATA drives. The machine worked great and I let it run overnight......

By 6:45am yesterday morning it was still running just fine, and then, just as I started moving the mouse,...........it hanged!! Totally frozen.


SO, I took the day off, removed the motherboard, removed the Northbridge fan and added a big clunking Zalman ZM-NBF47 non-fanned heat sink. This was awfully difficult. There is practically zero clearance between this heatsink and the AGP video card's one capacitor. Also the Zalman was a bit wierd and it took me all of 3 hours to get the whole job done...most spent on struggling with mounting bolts/nuts.


Then I booted the system, sat back and enjoyed the boot cycle.......Windows XP loaded just fine. I felt the temperature of the Northbridge area with my fingers and it generally seemed the heat sink was doing a superb job. Then I tried loading Word.......and the system hanged!!


The cat was nowhere near, so I stuck my head under a pillow and screamed my head off in frustration. Then I checked my money and did a mental calculation:

new motherboard : $140

new processor : $150 - $200, because mine is Socket 939 and there are no more such motherboards

new memory : $100, because mine is DDR400 and will not run on new board

New Video card $80, because the present one is AGP and no new boards seem to take that anymore.

This makes around $500!! That's a lot of money and I am justified in being pigheaded about that.


SO I phoned MSI and asked if they have a refurbished board for me. They answered by the end of the day with "yes, but they have to check if it is OK and there will be no warranty...I could have it for $35 if it is working". They would also supply a spare Northbridge fan for $10.


I phoned the computer shoppe and they offered to run the machine further for free to check it out and see what they can do, seeing as they had already taken some of my money without achieving anything. Very nice of them. I'm sure the purpose is to convince me to buy a new machine.


Then I sat back and asked myself one question: What has been going in and out of this darned board that I have not removed or decoupled or disconnected or changed or varied?


And that's when it hit me.....the LAN cable has been in the Gigabit Ethernet socket all this time.


SO...I pulled it out, rebooted, and ran the machine. Two hours later it was still running perfectly ( minus the internet, naturally). Then I decided to shut that LAN service down completely, disable the Gigabit Ethernet connection, and switch on the alternative nVidia Ethernet connection that came as an inherent second facility on this board.


I switched this lot on at 10pm last night (still with the new Northbridge heatsink and the two SATA drives in channels 3 and 4) and ran it through the night, with two progammes that regularly access that Ethernet interface ( OUTLOOK and EVERNOTE). It is now 1pm Saturday and I have done everything I could have wanted to do on this machine and it is still running happily.


SO...The Pig is back.....but I do not know for how long.... 15 hours and counting.

2 further hours later...having worked constantly with it...it is still running well...17 hours and counting.


SO, I'm wondering whether anyone else has seen their system hang in this fashion due to such a LAN connection

Edited by HarryB
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35 hours after changing to the nVidia LAN connection and actively disabling the Gigabit Ethernet connection on this system, all is still running perfectly. This, despite me running all the software I could wish and communicating as I choose on the Internet over this nVidia LAN connection. I have to assume that the Gigabit Ethernet interface was damaged somehow and this has been interfering without any patterm and hanging the entire system apparently spuriously.


Herewith I hopefully end a more than four month frustration that drove me utterly to distraction, almost cost me $500, and nearly had me destroy a very nice machine. I hope the Pig forgives me for calling it "The Pig" and does not act up for some other equally insane unfathomable reason.




...oh yes....the family cat is safe.

AND....new family rule....if a PC hangs, remove the LAN connection before you do anything else.

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  • 11 years later...

Just to report eleven years later, having just stumbled over this old thread: that rig of mine above ran more or less happily for almost six more years until December 2014 on that second Ethernet port.

At that point I finally "saluted the grave" of my sturdy  "Pig" (the Windows XP Pro system above) and changed to Windows 7 Pro (32-bit) on a new  Asus motherboard and chip. Naturally, I refused to buy another MSI motherboard. That Dec 2014  32-bit system allowed me to still use my old 1994 Aldus Photostyler software, the precursor to Photoshop(!) I finally changed to Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) in January 2020 and "saluted the grave" of my much beloved Photostyler in favour of Paint.net. I stayed with my 4-year old tried & tested 2014 hardware, except for adding an SSD to run the OS. It took a full month to sort out the Windows 10 teething problems, including software incompatibilities and strange problems Windows 10 had with my router.  Some irritations, such as task scheduler not executing from shortcuts remain, but I can work.

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I should mention that the small and fluffy cat in the story above was eventually caught in the garden by a coyote. Only a blood patch in the snow remained. She could not move fast enough in the snow of early 2012.

In September of that year, we got a new tabby and I had to have her put down due to cancer just ten days ago. The basic case of my PC, however, is still the old Dec 2004 super-quiet Antec unit of the original Pig.  The cat taxi and cat toilet, on the other hand, have been given away, along with the spare cat food supplies. No more pets for me; it hurts too much. The Pig (or, at least, its case), however, is forever, .... errr...it would appear.  It may very well get buried with me and my beloved 1965 Fender Strat.


Meanwhile, the Task Scheduler problem has been cracked. PC-wise I'm "happy as a Pig in Proverbial".....errr... for now. ("pun" intended).


Forgive the sense of humour; we're made this way where I come from.Your location suggests you would understand.

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