system hangs, wallpaper OK, no icons or keybd

Hewlett-packard / A775c
April 23, 2009 at 15:33:55
Specs: Windows XP
After sitting idle awhile, only wallpaper is displayed, no icons, no taslbar, keyboard has no effect, mouse pointer moves via mouse. Cap and num lock buttons make led on keyboard light or dark. Cannot bring up task manager or any menus. Must "cold boot". After reboot system may or maynot have same problem. Sometimes several reboots are needed. If I go into BIOS cpu temp is 140f. I use screensaver but don't turn off drive or use hibernation. Could this be caused by non-responsive hard drive or hard drive controller? System checks clean for virus and malware. I would think that the basic cpu and memory system are working since the mouse pointer mover normally. If I load a CD in CD drive: door opens, led flashes a few times, but nothing else happens. Also, when locked-up the hard drive led, on the front of the case, flashes once every 2 or 3 seconds. It does this continously while locked-up. Anyone seen this before? What do you think?
HP A775C, 3.2 ghz, 1 gig, 160 gb, XP sp3

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April 23, 2009 at 17:05:48
"If I go into BIOS cpu temp is 140f."

= 60C
That's way too high for ".....After sitting idle awhile..."

The processor tends to begin to misbehave when it gets that hot.
If it gets a lot hotter when you're actually doing something you could easily damage the cpu - in fact if this has been going on for awhile it may already be damaged.

I strongly suspect you have an overheating problem.

Apparently you have a desktop computer model.

Unplug the case/power supply.
Power off your monitor.
Open up the case by removing the left panel as seen when you're looking at the front of the case.

Examine the cpu fan and heatsink.

If the cpu fan/heatsink has mung (dust, lint, etc.) on it, clean it off, but DO NOT use a vaccuum cleaner to do that (they produce a tremendous amount of static electricity when running, and anything connected to them can discharge that to your components) - use canned air, or an air nozzle if you have access to an air compressor, or an artist's brush that can be used in small spaces, etc. It may be difficult to clean the top of the heatsink under the cpu fan - the most likely place to have mung on it - and the bottom side of the cpu fan blades unless you remove the fan. If you have a case fan, clean that too if it needs it.

With the cover still off, restore the AC power, start the computer and make sure the cpu fan spins - if it doesn't spin, if you're sure the power supply is working okay, don't use the computer until you have replaced it.
If it spins too slowly, and/or if it makes rattling or screeching noises, most likely to be noticed when the computer has cooled to room temp, has not been used for a while, and then is started up, the cpu fan's bearings are failing - replace it as soon as you can.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

Failing power supplies are common and can cause your symptoms.
Check your PS.
See response 4 in this:

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibilty, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

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April 24, 2009 at 05:59:40
Hi, thanks for the reply. I googled "pentium 4 3.2 temperture range" a few days ago. From what I read I didn't think that 60c was that bad.
I checked the temp right after a lock-up during re-boot. I don't like the way that HP set up cooling on this model. For the most part this computer is silent, the fans spin very slowly and kick into high speed once-in-a-while. I happened to have my hand near the rear power supply fan when it kicked on and noticed that the exhausted air was very warm for a short while.
I going to swap out the power supply. I have one with a 120mm fan that quitely moves a lot of air. And somewhere I have a Zalman large copper heat sink and fan, I'll try it too.
Thanks again, gibson

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April 24, 2009 at 13:00:48
"I googled "pentium 4 3.2 temperture range" a few days ago. From what I read I didn't think that 60c was that bad."

You thought wrong. See below.

I checked the temp right after a lock-up during re-boot"

Thats NOT the same thing as ".....After sitting idle awhile..."!!
The temp in that case would be hotter.

A friend of mine has an Athlon 64X2 6400+ (3.2ghz).
It's temp ".....After sitting idle awhile..." with the boxed AMD supplied cpu fan and heatpiped heatsink is about 35 C.
It never gets hotter than the high 40's under load.

I've heard Intel cpus run hotter at idle and under load, but still, 60C is too hot, especially since it was probably hotter than that before you re-booted.

I looked up the specs for your model

and your mboard.

HP name: Puffer-UL8E

Socket LGA775
Front-side bus (FSB) 800 MHz

It's easy to look up the specs of your cpu on the Intel web site.
All P4 cpus here:

Filter using
CPU Speed - 3.2ghz
Bus Speed - 800mhz
Package Type - LGA775

Click on one of the highlighted sSpec numbers at left
Thermal Specification is the max temp without damaging the cpu.
67.7 C max
69.2 C max
64.4 C max

"I happened to have my hand near the rear power supply fan when it kicked on and noticed that the exhausted air was very warm for a short while."

I looked up the parts for your model.

5187-6114 Power supply - 300 watt (Merlot B, Regular)
Picture and description.
It's definately the standard PS/2 physical size.

It appears your power supply is unlikely to have a variable speed fan - it certainly doesn't have a fan speed control on the back, and it's unlikely HP would supply anything but a PS with a single speed fan.
Most of the air that is exhausted from the case ends up coming out of the power supply. If you felt a pulse of hot air, either the cpu fan was spinning faster at the time, or there's something wrong with the fan in the power supply.

Take a look in your bios. There may be settings for the temp at which the fan is supposed to spin faster - if there is set it to a lower temp.
If you can set the fan so it spins it's fastest speed all the time, or if you can disable the speed control, try that.

Apparently your mboard has integrated video, but your model probably came with a PCI-E card installed in a slot:

PC098-69001 Graphics card - RV370se, Spitfire, RADxxxx, TNP

Your power supply is:

5187-6114 Power supply - 300 watt (Merlot B, Regular)

If you need to replace the power supply, 300 or 350 watts capacity would be fine, BUT if you have installed a better video card, or think you might do that in the future.....

Your power supply must have at least the minumum capacity required to support a system with the graphics card you are using installed, or the max graphics card you might install in the future.
(Onboard video - video built into the mboard - IS NOT A CARD!)
You can go to the video card maker's web site and look up the specs for the model - often under system requirements - the minimum PS wattage, and, more important, the minimum amperage the PS must supply at 12v is stated. If you don't find that, any card with the same video chipset including any letters after the model number has very similar minimum PS requirements.
If you want to cover any possible video card, a minimum 600 ot 650 watt power supply will handle any current high end video card, or even a X2 card (two video chipsets on one card) or two cards in two slots.

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May 3, 2009 at 07:13:04
OK tubesandwires you hit the nail in more than one head! Good info. How do I leave you positive feedback?

I replaced the power supply. A775C had a 300 watt from HP. I had a nice 450 watt "silent" supply in my parts bin that I bought a year or so ago. I did have to order an adapter, mobo was 24 pin and power supply was 20 pin.

The CPU heatsink had dust-lint between fan and sink. I disassembled and cleaned with a fine brush. It was 2/3s blocked. I removed it from mobo, the compound was dried-up and brittle so it got new compound also. I had a Zalman 7000 that I was going to install but it had 3 pins on fan connector while the factory supplied Cooler Master had 4 pins. So I cleaned the OEM heatsink and re-used.

This system came from HP with an ATI Radeon X300 card, not great but OK.

The system ran all night last night and this morning it was fine, I think it's fixed. Asus Tempster utility reports a temp of 27 C. I feel due to clean heatsink and better air flow via new power supply.

Thanks for the help. gibson334

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May 5, 2009 at 08:23:45
I'm / we're glad to hear you cured your problem!

"How do I leave you positive feedback?"

You solving the problem accomplishes that as far as I'm concerned. Too many Topics on this site never get resolved, at least not in the original Topic thread.

"I had a Zalman 7000 that I was going to install but it had 3 pins on fan connector while the factory supplied Cooler Master had 4 pins."

Zalman makes good stuff - your cpu would likely run cooler with that installed.
You can use a 3 wire fan wiring connector on any 4 pin cpu fan header, as long as you connect it to the proper pins.

The pins on the header are closer to one side than the other, and so are the holes in the female wiring connector from the fan, and the female wiring connector from the fan usually has external ridges that line up with a plastic tab on one side of the header, so the 3 or 4 wire female wiring connector can normally only be installed one way, but it's quite common for the tab on the mboard header to be broken off, and you can install the female connector backwards in that case, or you can install a female connector with 3 wires/holes on the wrong three pins of the 4 pins.

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