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Old 11-03-2007, 06:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

I have this weird problem on my old computer where I would surf the web for a few minutes and then all of the sudden I can't click on anything. I can't close any windows, open any links, nothing. The only thing that works is the taskbar. But... when I press CTRL ALT DEL and then wait 2 seconds and close the task manager window, everytihng works again. Also, the "Physical Memory" box under "Performace" tab seems to refresh when I open the task manager, so I suspect it's a RAM issue. I have 1GB of RAM, so memory size is not a problem. I tried to put Vista on it and the same thing happened. I downloaded a Mem-Optimizer program and it didn't help. I messed with the RAM timings, I even underclocked the RAM and CPU and still, same problem.

How can I fix this?

Thanks.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

Download a program like Memtest86, burn it to an ISO, reboot and run the tool. Its not pretty but if you see lots of red, you definitely know its bad ram.

Could also be hard drive related. A tool like SpinRite (not free) will check the hard drive in the same fashion. There are some free alternatives but I do not know of any that will repair the hard drive if it is bad. Obviously it can only fix some things.

Give these diagnostics a try and see what you get. If its neither, then check back.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

Second thought: to eliminate some possible causes, did you do an upgrade to Vista or clean install? If clean, this could remove possibility of virus or spyware. It could also be a driver problem but since it showed the same on two different OSs, this is less likely.

I would say most likely hardware (do RAM and HDD checks) or bad stuff (do virus/spyware/malware scans).
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

Clean install didn't do it. I'll try those programs and see if it fixes the problem. Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

anyone have a good link for memtest86 or anything like it? preferred non floppy using as my computer no longer has a floppy drive.

My older computer does this same thing too- nearly exactly, and I want to test my RAM to see if it is that, or if maybe my motherboard is having problems.
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Old 11-04-2007, 10:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

Memtest86 - Download Page

Has iso for CD-ROM and floppy. Both free.

Spinrite:
GRC*|*SpinRite Overview**
$80ish i think.

Could do a scandisk (set to do next boot) or check out sites like bootdisk.com to get other utilities.

The trick here is to do all these tests outside of Windows to prove it is hardware related, not software.
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Arrow Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

I left my computer overnight and it seems like the test still wanted to keep on going. I took a few pictures with my camera and here's what I got:



I want to know if this is fixable or the ram has to be changed. Just to let you know in my box I have the first ram that I put in when I built it which is 2 x 256 Corsair XMS PC3200 and the second stick I added this year and it's a Kingston 512 PC3200. My question is = From the test how do I know which stick is faulty and which one works? Or do I have to do this test individually to each one? Thanks for the help guys, I really appreciate it.

Here's what the box has:
AMD Athlon XP Barton 2500+
Asus Socket A mobo
1Gb ram PC3200
320GB Caviar ata 133
MSI 6600GT
400 WATT PSU
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

I would test each individually to be 100&#37; certain. I recently did this on one of my machines and it looked worse than that. I don't remember a lot about how memtest86 works (if it shows error by dimm) but running each stick individually will definitely show you whats up.

I believe these tests will run indefinitely until you stop them. A few hours is usually sufficient. If it is that red, its not a good sign. Good news is RAM is relatively cheap. You can probably order some online to replace your faulty dimm(s) and your machine will run faster too.

If that doesnt fix the problem if you do order them, you can probably return for your money back. However, just by these screenshots, Id say its RAM.

Try a similar tool to check the HDD while youre at it. Maybe there could be a hard drive issue as well (machine got hit with a power spike/brown out to cause multiple hardware failures.)

Regardless, good luck.
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Old 11-04-2007, 04:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

I checked each dimm individually and I found out that one of the 256 Corsair sticks is the problem. When I take it out, the machine works fine. It's not that big of a deal, but I'll try to get a replacement from Corsair because it has lifetime warranty... see how that goes.

Thanks a ton for the help. For now, the computer seems to work like clockwork.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Weird Problem - Maybe RAM freeze?

Well, as much as a machine with 265 MB RAM can

Glad I can help.
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