Computer crashing - have tried everything

Gigabyte / P35c-ds3r
June 25, 2010 at 02:35:04
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 3 GHz / 3582 MB

I am unsure of the exact specs of my brothers pc until i get home and check but its a

Dell Inspiron 531

Windows Vista Home Edition
2Gig ddr2 ram
OCZ 550watt (18amps per 12 volt rail)
300gig HD Seagate

I was wondering if someone could possibly help me with an issue i am having with this machine. The problem is that the machine will work fine up until you put it under some load, ie open up about 3 internet explorer pages, or open two word documents. When you open up 3 IE pages the computer will start to become sluggish and eventually grind to an absolute hault. No BSOD, no restart, it will just freeze as if someone has taken a screen shot. The mouse will not move, the keyboard will not operate. The only option i have left is to restart the machine by holding down the power button.

What i have tried.

1) I assumed that the CPU was over heating, so i removed the heatsink, cleaned the heatsink with some artic clean, removed all traces of dust from the fins, applied (correctly following the instructions on a article Jam once posted) artic silver 5 and replaced the heatsink.

2) I assumed that it could also be the GPU so i removed the heatsink and applied some artic silver on that too.

3) I tested the Bestec PSU and found that the voltages were below tollerance, so i went and bought an OCZ 550w 18amps per 12volt rail PSU. I tested it on arival and all voltages were within tollerance.

3) I ran memtest for 8 hours on the machine and it came up with 0 errors.

4) I took the drive out and plugged it into my PC as a slave drive, i then ran

AVG (Paid version) full scan
Malawarebytes (free version) full scan
SuperAntiSPyware (free version) full scan
Spybot search and destroy (Full scan)

Found zero errors and after all the above the problem remained.

5) I formatted the drive and reinstalled Windows Vista Home. I installed the chipset drivers as well as all other drivers, i installed Office 2007. The machine worked ok for a while and then the problems started again.

What i havent tried

1) changing the graphics card
2) changing the hard drive (which i will try today)

i checked the motherboard briefly i admit for bulging capacitors and found none, not even near the CPU socket.

Do you think it could be a boot sector virus infectiong the MBR section of the HD? if so can you suggest a good tool to remove the virus or completely wipe and rebuild the MBR?

Do you think the HD could be at fault? its not making any strange noises so i ruled that out, but i have some known working drives which i will use to see the result.

I just thought possible someone could give me another suggestion so that i can try it over the weekend?

any thoughts/suggestions/advice will be much appreciated. Thanks.

PS all the software including the OS is legitimate and therefore contain no viruses, just wanted to clarify that just in case someone thought they were pirated sofwtare.


See More: Computer crashing - have tried everything

June 25, 2010 at 09:19:33
Here is something to think about. On Vista with only 2 GB of memory (and the OS uses about 1.5 of that upon startup) opening multiple programs will cause a lot of paging. It could be something related to that paging causing the issue.

It could be the hard drive, but it could also be the SATA controller. I'm assuming you are using the one built into the motherboard. Try using an add-on SATA controller.

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June 29, 2010 at 03:10:04
I thank you for your response, however, here is the issue, the machine has been working with this exact configuration / specs for the past couple of years, in fact it worked flawlessly until recently.

So i do not think that the lack of memory is at fault.

after various tests i have reduced the problem down to either graphics cards or HD.

Will keep you posted in case someone else runs into similar problems.

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