red band crash
May 12, 2005 6:51 PM   Subscribe

my computer is freezing and rebooting

this occurs mainly with the use of musicmatch, but has also occured when i try to copy data from, or burn to, a dvd.
in regard to musicmatch, when it gets to the end of playing an mp3, the screen will freeze, a red band covers the top inch of the screen, and 3 seconds later it reboots. sometimes i'll be able to get through ten songs in a row before this happens, but eventually it'll happen.
did a format & windows reinstall, still happens. i'd recently had an upgrade, so thought it may be hardware related. i took it back to the guys who did the upgrade, but they were extremely resistant to this suggestion, and instead repeated my act of format/install. no fix.
anyone seen this red band before? is that indicative of something specific?
am using xp-home, and it's behaving fine otherwise. mm had never given me problems before the upgrade.
posted by hayeled to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
Sounds like bad RAM. Did you get some memory with that undescribed "upgrade" of yours?
posted by majick at 7:04 PM on May 12, 2005

Just a gut feeling here - yank sticks of memory out, one at a time, and see if that cures the problem.
posted by Leon at 7:05 PM on May 12, 2005

Response by poster: yes, may be ram, shall have a play.
upgrade was case, motherboard, processor, ram & hdd. pretty much the lot.
posted by hayeled at 7:09 PM on May 12, 2005

Download a tool like Hiren's Boot CD (Google will find it for you), burn it, and use the hardware diagnostic tools to do a burn-in test on your RAM overnight. If it's bad RAM, the boot cd will tell you.
posted by Jairus at 7:14 PM on May 12, 2005

(Hiren's Boot CD contains memtest86 as part of its suite of tools.)
posted by Jairus at 7:38 PM on May 12, 2005

Also very possible that this is an overheating issue. Either monitor your CPU/mobo temperature - or the easier fix is to open the case/point fan at it. If that solves it, get extra cooling for your computer. I've never had a problem with bad RAM myself, I've only heard about it, so I don't know what the symptoms are. I know I've had problems like this with heating more than once, so either I have bad luck, or this is the more likely cause.

Good luck.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 7:50 PM on May 12, 2005

Not to get all nanny-ish but Hiren's Boot CD is Warez. The Ultimate Boot CD is actually free and contains memtest and a load of other useful tools.
posted by boaz at 7:52 PM on May 12, 2005

I second Sonic_Molsons concern that it might be a heating issue. This happened to me years back where my computer would restart all the time. I found that if I left it off for a good while and then finally turned it on it would be ok for a while.

But once it reached that temperature it would do the restarting process again and again and again.

Just a simple CPU fan later and i was back in the game.
posted by freudianslipper at 8:10 PM on May 12, 2005

I use Prime95 to stress-test stability of RAM. The advantage here is that it's easier - you can run it under windows. Let it go for a few hours at least to be sure that all is well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:08 PM on May 12, 2005

I third sonic and freudian. If you didn't move your PC recently to somewhere significantly warmer (like inside a cabinet or desk), then make sure all the fans are working.

Also presumably you haven't "overclocked" your CPU like some people like to do. If you don't know what overclocking is, you probably don't have to worry about it.
posted by poppo at 7:17 AM on May 13, 2005

and whoa, i just re-read your post and saw the sentence about "the guys who did the upgrade". what exactly did they upgrade? the cpu?
posted by poppo at 7:20 AM on May 13, 2005

Response by poster: hey guys,
i ran the memtest86 thing for 10 hours and it tells me no errors. i don't think it's overheating either, cos i can run it for days with no hassles until i try to play mp3s.
so thanks one and all for the kind advice, but i think it might just be time to throw the bastard over the balcony. and then spit on it.
upgrade was everything poppo, except sound card, graphics card & removable-disk drives
posted by hayeled at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2005

Well, this is a long shot, because it's not really consistent with the 3 second delayed reboot or the red stripe, but if it's related to the DVD drive spinning up, your power supply could be insufficient/in the process of failing. A lot of PSs that come with name brand computers are pretty shoddy. I had a friend whose computer would reboot seemingly randomly. Replacing the PS fixed it.
posted by recursive at 9:28 AM on May 13, 2005

Best answer: Soundcard wouldn't be an Audigy would it? If so, try either updating or rolling back the drivers. I had bizarre reboot problems that revolved around Audigy driver issues.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:02 AM on May 13, 2005

Response by poster: aha ! it is audigy. a new avenue to explore. cheers pink, i'm on the case
posted by hayeled at 10:24 AM on May 13, 2005

i say you take this pc back to the upgrade guys and start getting is their upgrade and their responsibility to support it.
posted by poppo at 11:05 AM on May 13, 2005

Response by poster: normally a good idea poppo, but i'd compare it to trying to make a 2 year old do calculus. it's been there three times, & i think these guys just don't know what they're doing. the irony is that i took it to someone so that it would work properly first time, as my self-confidence on a build isn't all that flash.
it was a mistake.
cheers to everyone, and thanks pink, for suggesting something i should have looked at much earlier.
posted by hayeled at 12:03 PM on May 14, 2005

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