Why does my computer lockup without any warning?

Question

Dear Support4Free:

Hi, and thank you for giving us surfers the opportunity to check out your site...intended to pose to you some computer questions...especially if it's coming from an amateur like myself..anyway...here is my question:

Well, i got an Hp computer...tower and monitor only last December...and lately, my computer has been freezing up completely when I use it. Unless I 'm forced to unplug the tower plug to try to reboot the pc, my computer stays frozen for just about forever. My cursor would not move...nothing. After I unplug the plug and re-plug, and the computer tries to reboot, it gets stuck or frozen again at the very moment the Desktop screen was about to appear.

So, what I've tried to do is unplug again, and run HP's hardware recovery cd disk...and that got stuck, too. After several unplugging and re-plugging, my computer started to run normally, or at least it appears that way...so far so good, right? And then, when I tried to run ScanDisk ( with automatic fixing enabled) or Defragmenting, it got stuck about half-way. Defragmenting shows that I have 3 paragraph-size of bad or damaged areas on my disk.

I emptied out my temporary folders, ran a Mcafee virus scan (no virus, though,),use SafeClean Utility 2.0 to completely clean out my c: drive, safely uninstall couple of programs i don't really need, and even ran a Rambooster and FreeMem Standard. Then, while those things were working for a while, my pc got totally frozen again...I mean, i must have unplug and re-plug maybe 30 to 40 times.

So, that's my whole story about my pc problem. I hope all this explanation help. And Thank You for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Tu Anh Tran

Answer

This question was answered on June 30, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The problem is that the system is booting up and starting to work correctly, but on occasion it either reboots without warning, or seizes hard (no mouse or keyboard response, and a reboot is necessary) These symptoms occur over a period of time.

Diagnosis: This is, unfortunately, one of the most difficult of all problems to troubleshoot on the PC The reason is two fold: first, these problems are usually intermittent, and therefore hard to pin down to any particular cause, and second, there is a really large variety of problems that can cause this sort of behavior It is necessary to narrow done the specific circumstances in order to have a better chance at finding the problem

Does there seem to be a pattern with the lockups? Does it happen while you're using a certain program? Notate the lockups and find out if there is some sort of pattern with them If there is not, you might be looking at something as simple as a broken CPU fan If the CPU gets too hot, it will lock up This problem can be easily remedied by replacing the fan You might also be having a problem with your RAM memory Again, find out what the pattern is on these lockups, if any A pattern helps to identify the problem as does the *lack* of a pattern!

Let us know about anything else that can be helpful to solve your problem Good luck!!

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on June 30, 1999