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PC crash
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davolente
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February 20, 2011 - 6:26 am
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Running fully updated XP. 2 gig RAM. I have an age-old problem that nobody seems to have an answer for. It appears to be mainly associated with Thunderbird. I can be downloading mails in T/Bird and try and click on a link in a mail to bring up Firefox and - phut! Whole computer crashes. It sometimes also happens when trying to start another program whilst doing something in Thunderbird but it seems to predominantly occur whilst running Thunderbird and Firefox together and trying to multi-task. My screens (I have two monitors) just go totally blank with no warning at all and that's it. All gone! Nothing running at all. Power supply is still running but I have to push the power button to rustle up the computer again. Power supply then sounds like it shuts down and re-starts and PC re-boots. I am at a loss to know where to start fault-finding this problem, as it is intermittent but happens enough times to be annoying.

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Jim Hillier
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February 20, 2011 - 4:33 pm
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Hi davolente, and welcome to the forum.

After reading through your post, I'm not at all surprised nobody has come up with a solution to date. This would be a very difficult fault to diagnose and especially so because it is intermittent.

The fact that this is happening mainly when you are multi-tasking would normally suggest a memory/pagefile issue BUT that seems unlikely with 2GB RAM.....a real enigma!

I am thinking that the whole Thunderbird/Firefox/multi-tasking thing may be coincidental and this is actually hardware related. It may still be a memory issue but hardware related rather than software.

First thing I would be trying is swapping out the RAM with new (or known good) RAM cards. You could also download [url=http://www.memtest.org/#downiso:dv7njgpr]Memstest86[/url:dv7njgpr] to test your existing RAM ~ You would need this version: [b:dv7njgpr]Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)[/b:dv7njgpr]

Just burn the ISO file to disc and then boot from the CD.

That's about all I can suggest but Dave and Ziggie are close by and hopefully they can come up with some better ideas.

Cheers.....Jim

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davolente
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February 20, 2011 - 6:13 pm
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Thanks for that and the welcome . I was vaguely thinking along those lines but the weird thing is that once the beast has crashed and re-booted, it seems OK and I can have all manner of windows open and programs running without incident. I can't recall the problem rearing its ugly head again, although I can't be 100% certain, bearing in mind the intermittent nature. Very odd. However, I'll give MemTest a bash. I had this somewhere already on a floppy but I presume there must have been an update or two since I downloaded it! I have a feeling (although I can't confirm it - such is the longevity of the problem) that it was intermittently crashing [i:1z6vnh1k]before[/i:1z6vnh1k] I upgraded the RAM.

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Jim Hillier
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February 20, 2011 - 6:39 pm
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Yes davolente, it is a strange one indeed!!

Have you checked your pagefile settings? Go to: [b:1l2wo93l]Start>Control Panel>System>Advanced (tab)>Performance[/b:1l2wo93l], and click on the [b:1l2wo93l]Settings[/b:1l2wo93l] button. Now click on that [b:1l2wo93l]Advanced [/b:1l2wo93l]tab and let us know what the settings are for handling Virtual Memory?

[quote:1l2wo93l]I presume there must have been an update or two since I downloaded it[/quote:1l2wo93l]
Yes, the original Memtest project has been taken over by new/different developers.

[quote:1l2wo93l]I have a feeling (although I can't confirm it - such is the longevity of the problem) that it was intermittently crashing before I upgraded the RAM[/quote:1l2wo93l]
Hmm, if that is the case it would be unlikely faulty RAM is the cause. Still, at least running the Memtest software will eliminate that as a possibility.

I have alerted both Dave and Ziggie about your question.....I'm sure they will respond ASAP.

Cheers....Jim

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Chad Johnson
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February 21, 2011 - 8:21 am
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Hrm. Random computer crashes. The worst to diagnose (especially remotely) because they seem so hard to diagnose. At this point it could be hardware OR software related.

So, some first steps for troubleshooting:

1) Back up - it's possible that you're looking at a large scale hardware issue. Best be prepared.
2) A few questions:
-Does the computer lock up / freeze [i:1urg6i2h]every[/i:1urg6i2h] time you click on a link in Thunderbird?
-Is Thunderbird open every time the computer crashes? / Has the computer crashed with Thunderbird closed?
3) Have you done a virus / malware scan?
4) Check your event viewer (Right click my computer --> Manage Computer --> Event Viewer) immediately following a crash and check for errors in the 10 minutes leading up to the crash. Check all the categories (Application, System, etc).
5) I assume clicking on links in Web browsers isn't causing this issue - or you'd be screaming louder. What about links in other programs? Live Mail, Word, Open office, etc.

Right now it could be a number of things: corrupted Thunderbird install, bad firefox install, or hardware related: hard drive, ram, possibly motherboard. Please be patient with us as we blunder around a bit first, but we'll help you find the answer (or die trying, lol)

--Zig

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