My computer keeps locking up

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by JinTrigger, Jan 7, 2009.

Jan 7, 2009
  1. JinTrigger
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    Member JinTrigger Asentrix Studios

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    Ok so I got my dad's old laptop. I've had it for almost three-four months now and I love it. but recently, well before I got it, on random occasions it will just lock up on me. The motor(or whatever that humming in the laptop is) is still running but my laptop literally locks up. I can't do anything but shut it off by the power button.....Everything the computer is doing is locked and froze. I've dealt with it long enough but I"m use to leaving my computer on, but now I have to put it in stand by when I"m bout to leave the computer for a long period of time. The times the computer locks up are strictly random. Some days I"m lucky enough not to have my computer lock up. Other days I may experience this five times a day.....What could be causing this. The laptop is a Sony Vaio and its about three-four years old.
     
  2. Strider

    Member Strider Next to the mainstream

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    What operating system are you speaking of, and are there any error codes showing up?

    Oh and hardware specs might be useful, too.

    Have you done any changes before this started happening? Installed some software etc?
     
  3. JinTrigger
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    Member JinTrigger Asentrix Studios

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    I'm using windows XP

    No error codes, the most I get is the computer saying that windows has just recovered from a serious error and that only comes up once in a blue moon

    I'll have to get those hardware specs later.....

    Actually now that I think of it the computer use to shut off all the time but that was because my computer was dusty as hell....I barely had the computer before the lock ups occurred. Actually it happens less frequent now but always at the most inconvenient times (like now when I left my computer on over night to finish downloading the Tales of the Abyss iso...which is taking forever)
     
  4. Strider

    Member Strider Next to the mainstream

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    Hard lockups usually occur due to hardware problems - so overheating is the first thing that occurred to me.

    Maybe you should start by opening the notebook (or letting someone who knows how do it) and cleaning all the dirt to make sure it's cooling correctly.
     
  5. JinTrigger
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    Member JinTrigger Asentrix Studios

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    ok I'll try that whenever I get the chance (I should have address this during winter break cause I have no time to do anything during school) and I'll let you know how it works

    EDIT-My dad also used the external cooling thing...maybe I'll try that for a day
     
  6. Taza

    Member Taza GBAtemp Regular

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    Yup, it's dusty.

    Take it apart and get a can of compressed air.

    Or pay a techie who can.
     
  7. juggernaut911

    Member juggernaut911 GBAtemp Slut!

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    Hmm... Pay girls to blow one thing, pay nerds to blow another... huh...

    You better just check it out before you go blowing it ( [​IMG] ). Too bad this isn't for a Laptop but my friend was telling me about this PCI card (I think it's a PCI card) that scans your hardware and gives you and error report. diagnostics w/o booting into OS!
     
  8. Scorpei

    Member Scorpei GBAtemp Maniac

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    @Juggernaut: That's general Diagnostics really. The thing that card does is use something that the motherboard puts out by itself (AFAIK) and then display that. Think along the lines of some of those motherboards that have a display built in that displays POST messages (I know Asus has a few). You can also use the LPT port (printer port) for that though, in case you're interested.

    If you're thinking along the lines of it getting too hot, simply install a monitor tool (SpeedFAN for instance) and check it out a little. Let your system run for a while and keep monitoring the temps (most probably though, it being a laptop, you can't monitor everything, possibly only the proc.). If it shuts down and you see some strange high temp reading that might give you a clue [​IMG].

    If you want to see the video card temperature you can probably use RivaTuner.

    Seeing as you say the crashes are random (instead of for instance when gaming) makes it sound a little quirky. You could just put both those monitor tools on there and simply let the machine run until it freezes. Then check the temps that are still on the screen (as compared to normal operation, without crashing) (and report em back maybe [​IMG]).
     
  9. Takrin

    Member Takrin GBAtemp Fan

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    could be anything, well i usually suspect, shotty programing, hard drive, video card, ram, cpu then mobo

    to rule out memory go download memtest86, run it a few runs see if you get any errors if not then your clear on ram i've had random lockups few years back which was caused by shot ram after a thunderstorm i kept trying to turn it on and the power kept going out lol...

    hard drive does lock stuff up also, usually can tell by grinding sound or freezes durring med-high drive activity. backup your important stuff and try doing something that makes the comp access the hard drive alot, also its kinda hard to tell if your hd is dieng if it doesnt make the jet engine grinding a lhama sound.

    video card should usually freeze you when you do stuff like watch quality porn, or playing some wow trying to sweet talk a night elf priest into taking you though ragefire chasm. also if theres grapical glitches on screen its usually the graphic card.

    cpu, and mobos pretty hard to diagnose even with those pci cards.

    what i really ment to say beside the useless junk above is...
    use memcheck86

    after a crash goto
    Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer

    check "Application" and "System" events. try to do it right after a crash or write the time down of the crash see if theres any error event that took place at the same time as the crash, if so open it up it should give you alot of data, if you dont understand the error post it here and someone should be able to answer what it was
     
  10. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Just thought I would add something too. Random crashing is one of the hardest things to diagnose.

    The primary suspect is always heat, if this is a Vaio then I would definitely go for this (I had to half disassemble mine to get it to work properly), others have said how you would sort this and there was a thread on overclocking laptops a few days back that had some more info.
    Stressing the machine is a good test, also if you turn it on immediately after a lockup does it last longer than if you left it off all night?

    Second is software. Easiest way is to boot off another disc (linux disc, puppy linux is small so I suggest that) and either leave it or stress it.
    Note this will not fix bad bios settings (which is not that likely in this case as the Vaio line are locked down so it is hard enough to change the date let alone anything that might cause this) but if you are building your own and especially if overclocking look at this.

    Next is hardware. Bad sectors in the ram (laptops generally come with a load of crap installed and not all that much ram (which is often dubious in quality) so all ram will likely get used at some point). This is why the ram test was suggested.
    Remove as much hardware as you can, again being a laptop this gets difficult- battery and hard drive as well as as stick of ram if you have more than one is likely to be your limit and test again.
    It does not count as much but turning off wifi, shifting to a alt graphics card (some newer laptops come with a higher powered card and a low power (in both senses of the word) one.

    Power spikes of sufficient magnitude/characteristics should not happen often enough to cause this but a clean power source (those expensive sockets should do but I would want a UPS or a source I can be sure works ideally), remove the battery too.
     

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