Windows 7 crashing help
June 22, 2010 4:22 PM   Subscribe

PC randomly freezing after upgrading to Windows 7

I recently installed Windows 7 on my 6-7 year old home-built PC. It ran fine for a few weeks but now it seems to freeze a few minutes after startup. I don't get a blue screen and have to do a hard restart. Looking back at the system logs it looks like I got this error before I had any issues:

A fatal hardware error has occurred.

Reported by component: Processor Core
Error Source: Machine Check Exception
Error Type: Bus/Interconnect Error
Processor ID: 0

The details view of this entry contains further information.

I've looked online for answers but googling the error message mostly brings up overclocking forums and I cannot parse their strange language. The machine seems to run fine in safe mode. Can someone help me troubleshoot this? Or possibly recommend some diagnostic software to download?

Machine info:
Asus P4S800D-E Deluxe motherboard
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz CPU
2x512MB RAM
Radeon 9800 Pro Graphics Card/Driver 4/2009
Temperature CPU 50C/MB 34C
posted by crashlanding to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Windows 7 doesn't run too well on old PCs, and there are driver issues to contend with. Try disabling hardware components and restarting to see if any one component is causing freezing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:39 PM on June 22, 2010

Do you have any spare RAM to swap out your current RAM? If not try running the built in RAM test.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:46 PM on June 22, 2010

Also, have you done a Windows Update to check for updated drivers?
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:47 PM on June 22, 2010

That's a prescott chip, and they're designed to run hot---but 50c @ ambient is too hot. It could be erroring as the chip turns itself off due to overheating, but Blazecock is the man on these things generally, and I concur with him that it sounds like a driver issue. However, you need to address that temp.

I'm saying a run fine to freeze and stop sounds like it might be temperature related, although once upon a time I had that exact issue with a Radeon card killing my system...

That's basically my exact setup for my last computer, although I had a bit more ram.
posted by TomMelee at 5:02 PM on June 22, 2010

Response by poster: I reseated the RAM and ran that test and it found no errors. Windows tells me that all the drivers are up to date but I'd be surprised if my motherboard drivers are really up to date/if there are any out there that would work. I don't have any system restore points from before this issue started popping up unfortunately.

Okay I figure I'll give a little history. It's an old computer that had a version of XP that was less than genuine. With the release of Win7 I was able to obtain a cheap genuine version and went for it. I had been thinking about getting more RAM but was hesitant to sink more money into the machine. I think I'll go out and pick some up.

Typing this on the computer and it still hasn't frozen *knocks on wood*
posted by crashlanding at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2010

Windows 7 should run fine on that machine. I've several similar and it's fine. It sounds like it could be a hardware-related problem to me. My leading theory is dust buildup, especially on the CPU & GPU heatsinks. It may run in safe mode because it's not loading the normal driver for the video card, it's loading the generic VGA driver, thus your GPU fan is running at 100% since the fan control software in the proper 9800 driver isn't running.

So, first thing I would do is give her a thorough and proper dedusting of the internal parts, paying particular attention to the fan blades and heatsinks and intake grills on all your fans, CPU & GPU heatsinks & fans, and case and power supply fans.

The second thing I would do is update that 2 year old driver to the most recent one, which you can download from AMD on this page. I would get the full suite. Note the deprecated support. This might be the last driver update ever released for that video card.

After doing both of those things, I would see how she does. If it's still throwing errors, then I would start reseating the components. RAM and vidcard first, boot her, see if she crashes. If so, then I would remove and reapply the heatsink (I have thermal compound on hand. You may not. You'll want to get a tube if you're going to pop the HS off.) on the CPU. If she's still crashing after all that, I would reseat the CUP and reapply the HS+thermal goo one more time.

If it's STILL crashing, then I'd start swapping out parts to isolate the bad one. You may or may not have spare parts on hand though.

Good luck! Hopefully it's just a mess of dust on some heatsink fins! :)
posted by BeerFilter at 5:27 PM on June 22, 2010

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