View Full Version : PC hardware question- computer shuts down?

03-27-2008, 10:06 PM
geeks, can someone point me in the right direction here? last night my CPU just shut down for no reason, while I was in mid sentence :mad:. Both times using Firefox, not that I think that has anything to do with it.

What I changed though is I just popped in more RAM- I had 2 half-giggers in there, and I yanked those out and put in three 1-giggers. Both ram types are the same, PC3200 DDR. The new ram is Centon brand, here: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2749433&CatId=147

I have 3 slots for RAM in my motherboard, 1 of them was unused. So just a few minutes ago I shut back down and yanked out 1 of the 1gb chips, and the thing seems to be working now, has been on for at least 15 minutes, which beats last night's record by a long shot. what's curious though is both nights the computer would work great for like an hour, then shut down, then the next time shut down only after a few minutes. Last night after 3 shut downs I just turned it off and got on the laptop, tonight I tried removing ram.

I've got a little more to say but I'm going to post up now, just in case this crashes I don't want to start over. Here's a picture of my hardware properties now:


03-27-2008, 10:11 PM
So as you can see it says I have 2.0 GB of ram, which is correct... 20 minutes ago that said 3.0 GB. Can you shove too much ram in? Did removing the 1GB correct it?

last night on two of the three crashes (the last two) I received an event log in the Event Viewer. But tonight I didn't get one, but again it only crashed once. Here are those events though, just in case someone can read this stuff:

03-27-2008, 10:14 PM
Yes I know I'm on SP1, I don't have SP2, but maybe I should just buy it if it's that important, hasn't been an issue though. I must say the box seems to truck right along with more RAM, I can't tell a difference between 3 and 2 but 2 seems quicker than 1. I have only used FireFox, IE, and Outlook though, haven't done any CAD which is why I bought the RAM in the first place. I'm going to try that next.. as I will continue to poke around and see if the machine crashes again.

03-27-2008, 10:22 PM
Yes, you can put in more RAM than your motherboard is capable of handling, but at 3GB I doubt that's it. It may be that one of the chips is bad. Pull one and run for awhile. If it crashes again, swap one of the ones in for the one sitting on the desk. Crash again, do it again. Do this until all 3 have sat on the desk or the computer doesn't crash anymore. And just for grins, what's the spec on the motherboard for max memory?

03-27-2008, 10:28 PM
sp2 is free, sp3 is also just around the corner. they probably wouldnt fix this issue (which is most likely a single bad stick), but I doubt they could hurt.

03-27-2008, 10:31 PM
These things have a lifetime warranty, so I bet if I can prove I've got a bad one I could exchange it. So far so good too, hasn't crashed since I pulled the one. How do I check the spec on the motherboard for max memory, is that in a device manager somewhere? I don't think I still have the book that came with it..

03-27-2008, 11:03 PM
internets...MB spec and BIOS updates. Be careful flashing your BIOS or you'll end up with a brick.

03-27-2008, 11:42 PM
Some motherboards require you to use Ram in certain configurations. My old system had three slots but would only go to 2gb. I had to install 2@512mb and 1gb, I could not do 2@1gb.

Most likely it is a bad stick, swap them out and when it crashes again you know. The other thing may be a bad slot, by moving around the sticks you can check that out yourself too. I bet it is a bad module, should be able to return it without a problem.

03-28-2008, 12:29 AM
I concur on the advice others are giving here.

03-28-2008, 01:20 AM
You shouldn't need to buy SP2 -- it is downloadable for free if you have a valid XP license.

03-28-2008, 02:41 AM
There are memory testing programs available out there on the internet...That's how I discovered the caca RAM in my laptop that was causing problems...I can't remember the program I used way back when and I don't know if the programs are free or not as the one I used was provided by the IT dept. at work.

Good luck!

03-28-2008, 09:32 AM
I don't know how to flash a BIOS, so probably won't do that. Mike you're welcome to come up and try it sometime though if you want and know what you're doing. I just want another 6 months to a year from this CPU, then I'm going to get one of those new quad processor things, we've got one here at work as a setup computer and it's screaming fast, I must have it.. :D

You shouldn't need to buy SP2 -- it is downloadable for free if you have a valid XP license.

Yes, but therein lies the rub :o

thanks for the tips guys, I removed the chip from the same slot that was empty before, and again everything seemed fine for a good hour or so last night so I may be back in business. I'll keep the computer on as much as possible this weekend to see if the problem persists.

I have this theory that computer knowledge is age-dependent, it's like a bell curve that peaks right around age 22. It's a sad feeling knowing you're on the back side and sliding down fast, but man you should have seen me banging around in autoexec.bat files back in the day, that was the mad note fo sho, I was the batch file rula.

03-28-2008, 09:42 AM
Most CPU's need the ram to be configured in matched sets or pairs.

03-28-2008, 03:45 PM
When you boot up your system there should be a hardware diagnostic test available to you. Stick in the ram and run the test, if it is bad it will find it.

When you boot up look at the info on the screen, depending on model etc. it usually is something like F8 or F2. Each system has its own key but give that a shot.

Or you can Google "ram test" and run that.

No valid copy????

03-31-2008, 12:17 PM
To me it sounds like a thermal issue, since you said it runs fine for awhile and then shuts off.
The new memory could be running a little hot.
Make sure all of your fans are running and your system is in a well ventilated area as to not restrict air in or out. also make sure your chassis is clear of dust bunnies.

03-31-2008, 12:21 PM
I actually just blew out all the dust from the CPU when we moved a couple weeks ago. It ran fine all weekend with just the two 1gb chips in there, I think the "balance" theory of matched sets is prevailing here, I may just bring that other 1gb into work and upgrade someone else's box with it.