PC locks up after 24+ hours

September 6, 2011 at 15:44:06
Specs: Windows XP, 1GB
I own a Dell Vostro 200. Pentium Dual E2160 - 1.8 ghz - 1GB memory. I've used this PC using WinXP SP2 for about 4 years now with absolutely no problems. On July 21 I installed AVS4U DVD playing software. Aug 29 2011 a Skype upgrade (but I do not have either of these programs open at night). Maybe something they run in the background is causing this problem? However this problem started at least one month ago, before the skype upgrade, unless there was an earlier one I don't recall.

I reboot the PC to clear cache when I leave - and leave PC on at night (with monitor off) so when necessary I can remote login with logmein.com. I have no programs running except those in startup which would only be logmein, avast and whatever windows runs in the background.

For the past month or so, I notice the following.

If I login the first night, no problems.

But on the weekends, when it's been more than 24 hours since my last reboot, my pc cannot be remote accessed. Either it displays in my logmein dashboard as being available to me but when I log in it disconnects OR it displays as offline.

When I arrive Monday moring, the pc either already displays error windows or does so as soon as I try to start a program. Sometimes the syst tray and time icons, or even the start button, become solid blue. I must reboot to do anything. Today I had to reboot twice before I could operate normally.

The error windows I see are a generic error - something like it cannot open the program.

As it occurs after the PC is on for more than 24 hours - is something that is running causing it to lockup like this?

Thanks for your help.


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September 6, 2011 at 16:29:00
have you ever taken the case off and, blown out the incredible amount of dust that will accumulate after 4 years and running 24 hours a day.
download this:

create a bootable cd, boot from the cd and run it from the ram for 24 hrs. see if the lock up continues.


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September 6, 2011 at 16:51:27
I will try that when I return tomorrow Larry. Thanks. It might be right because I failed to mention I removed the side panel over a month ago to reformat another hard drive and I have as yet to replace the panel :-(.

However, how would rebooting it each night have caused this problem to go away? It would still have the same dirt & dust in the same places.

Thanks Larry.


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September 6, 2011 at 20:27:04
Dust build up reduces the effectiveness of the CPU's heat sink and forms an insulating layer over everything thereby reducing cooling effectiveness. THEN you leave the cover off! This does not allow the air to properly flow through the entire system in through the front and over components, up and out the back. Your exhaust fan in the rear is just blowing out cool air that is coming in through the side, leaving you stagnant air zones around your hard drive and memory. Use a compressed air can to blow out the dust and properly close the side.
If you still have a problem the you may need to test your memory (memory going bad is often the cause of random freezing and shut downs).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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September 6, 2011 at 22:11:26
Makes sense.

But then why when I reboot it - it is OK? It still would be as hot or hotter and as dirty as it was before reboot?



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September 7, 2011 at 21:05:50
Of course clean it.
Of course let it cool before restarting an overheated system.

"But then why when I reboot it - it is OK? It still would be as hot or hotter and as dirty as it was before reboot?" That is why I said to check your memory, without confirming that it is actually hot you may be just having trouble with a bad memory stick and not really with heat, or it maybe both, or an extended period of running hot may have damaged your memory. Use memtest86 to test your memory. Use Speedfan to monitor your real time temperatures.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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