When the problem is hardware related...

Discussion in 'hardware' started by muf, Feb 22, 2009.

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  1. muf

    muf Registered Member

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    For about 12 months I've been suffering from crashes using Firefox. I've attested the problem to using Sandboxie with Defensewall. I decided that there must have been a small level of incompatibility. It's a combination I was happy with and one I had decided I will suffer the crashes to keep the setup. After each new build of Sandboxie and Defensewall I had hoped that whatever was causing the glitch would be resolved. Unfortunately this was never the case and I've had to persevere with the problem, by choice. I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling different builds to see if I could get them to play happily together.

    Anyway, I'm a bit of a game player as well and I've had problems installing a particularly large game of over 8gb. It would get half through the install and then I'd receive an error message saying the database is corrupt or damaged. When attempting to retry, the error would spring up almost immediately. After a reboot, the problem occured half way in then immediately if I tried again.

    A few weeks ago I decided I'd had enough and had to get to the crux of the problem. I did the usual 'Google' and that came up with the possibility of faulty memory. So I downloaded a program called memtest. I created a cd to boot from using memtest and removed all my memory modules apart from one. Then I restarted my pc to set the test going. After about 15 minutes it was clear there was nothing wrong with the module so I aborted it, switch off my pc, removed the 'good' module and replaced with the module that was located originally in the number two slot on my motherboard. Restarted my pc and off went memtest. Immediately it sprang up multiple errors and after about 1 minute I realised this module had to go to module heaven. I tested the other two modules which turned out to be fine.

    I've now been running the three 'good' modules for the last three weeks and everything is working fine. The game installed and Firefox no longer crashes. On hindsight I suppose it was easy to assume the problem was software related, but sometimes it's the hardware that is the culprit. It's frustrating(and blumin' annoying) to think that all this hassle I've persevered with in the last 12 months could have been avoided so easily. So the motto of the story. Test the hardware as well as the software when your pc is not behaving...

    muf
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Good story. For the future, when using Memtest86, you don't have to remove all but one module to test your RAM. However, in doing so, you quickly isolated the affected module, so, other than the risk of ESD damage every time you reach into the computer, no harm done.

    Also, 15 minutes is normally not enough to ensure adequate testing - I generally recommend letting it run for several passes, or even over night.

    I agree - and not just the RAM - a failing, out of tolerance, or stressed power supply can give some very odd symptoms too that typically might not point to power.
     
  3. muf

    muf Registered Member

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    I tried with them all in but it was taking forever. After one and half hours it was still going and not looking like near finishing. I then took the option to test them individually. I agree that it's not long enough and if the problem wasn't identified immediately then I was going to let memtest86 run the whole way through. Seemed there was one obvious culprit though. As to the power supply. I've replaced it twice on this pc already. Once for a more powerful one to handle a new graphics card I bought and then again when it failed just over 12 months later. The signs were easy to spot though. Tried to switch on my pc and ... nothing! Didn't get a warning, it just died after I'd switched off my pc. I've also replaced the motherboard chip fan as well on this pc.
    [tongue in cheek] It's all good fun though! [/tongue in cheek].

    muf
     
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