How can I find out why games are dying on my pc?
January 21, 2008 8:19 PM   Subscribe

How to get clue why programs are dying (XP)?

We recently setup a used PC for our child. It is a P4 3GHz w/1 Gig of ram running XP pro. Today 2 games quit unexpectedly. One Kid Pix won't even start before we get a "fatal error. send report to MS?" message. I uninstalled and reinstalled only to have it act the same. Another game (a Spongebob game) played for 10 mins and quit with same no info error. Restarted game and it played for 5 min and quit. Restarted again a ran for 5 min then quit.
Is there a system log somewhere on the machine I can check or a freeware utility to log the error cause to troubleshoot?
There have not been any other issues other than games dying. Kid Pix was full install, so no cd is needed when running. The SB games is a partial install and needs cd when playing. We have 6 other games loaded (some do need cd) and none of these are having any problems.
Thank you for any help.
posted by girlbowler to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Games are the hardest thing personal computers do. Look for bad memory or bad video card.
posted by gjc at 8:30 PM on January 21, 2008

Best answer: Yep, seconding that. This sounds like a typical bad memory problem. There's a program out there called MemTest. Download it and run it and see what it says.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:36 PM on January 21, 2008

Response by poster: Well I found the event viewer under control panel - admin tools.
It is far less helpful than I'd hoped.
Kid Pix error gives me
Faulting application kpd3.exe, version, faulting module kpd3.exe, version, fault address 0x0010cf6e.
SB error gives
Faulting application sb_lcp.exe, version, faulting module granny2.dll, version, fault address 0x0000fedf.
posted by girlbowler at 8:37 PM on January 21, 2008

Best answer: Well, as a rule:
Application won't run --> driver/software problem
Crash after running for minutes --> hardware problem (heat, bad caps, other iminant failure)
You are saying both, which is problematic :P

Download the Ultimate Boot CD, and use it to run memtest for a couple of complete passes, and then use it to run a CPU burn in application overnight.

If those tests pass fine, and the computer works fine in every way except for playing games, you are looking at a video card problem. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the driver. Try swapping out the video card (or adding a video card, and disabling the onboard one).
posted by Chuckles at 9:01 PM on January 21, 2008

kpd3.exe sounds like something specific to the game.

granny2.dll sounds like a dynamic link library (something programs query when they need to do something specific, it looks like it has something to do with rendering graphics) that's bad.

Is the computer only crashing with this game or does it do it with other games/programs?

If it's only this game, you can try downloading granny2.dll from one of the links on the google page I linked.

Go to explorer (start->programs (or all-programs)->accessories->windows explorer). Search for granny2.dll and note where it is (the directory). Rename this to granny2.dll-orig or something. Copy the granny2.dll that you downloaded into the directory that the original granny2.dll was.

Try the game again.


Is there a PC version of Kid Pix? A cursory google only showed OSX. Perhaps go to the publisher's website (broderbund?) and see if there is an update or upgrade and install that, if available.
posted by porpoise at 9:07 PM on January 21, 2008

Quick troubleshooting hint- if something worked before and quit for no reason and you didn't change anything, don't install more software. Find out what broke and fix it.
posted by gjc at 9:18 PM on January 21, 2008

Response by poster: Effigy2000 - downloaded and running now. It took me a bit to get a boot cd burned. The problem PC does not have a floppy drive.

Chuckles - I will also try Ultimate Boot CD. I'll check the video card it was added on by prev owner.

porpoise - This is a PC version of Kid Pix. It ran fine on a 3 year laptop and a 10 year old gateway. Thank you for the steps on replacing dll if needed.
posted by girlbowler at 9:25 PM on January 21, 2008

Response by poster: porpoise - forgot, just 2 games crash, out of 8 we loaded. This a pretty stripped down setup.
posted by girlbowler at 9:32 PM on January 21, 2008

Best answer: I've found that some PC versions of KidPix are a bit flakey on some equipment (I moonlight as a school computer technician). For example the latest version (can't for the life of me remember name and number) leaves a block as a cursor on my 18month old Toshiba but runs nicely on far lowlier laptops.

Nthing Porpise and have a look for an update.

Also check your video drivers and cooling on the video card.
posted by chairish at 12:52 AM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: I ran Memtest v3.4 last night and it flagged 41 errors with a confidence of 63.
After work today I opened the case to get the video card info and to look at the memory info too.
The memory is Kingston ValueRam KVR400AK2/1GR, which is 1GB in 2 sticks (512MB).
The MOBO is a Abit VT7 which says to put in the sticks into either slots 1&3 or 2&4.
Last night they were in 1&3. I tried putting them back in in 2&4 and ran memtest again. This time I got 100 errors with 63 confidence. I swapped back to 1&3 and now I have 102 with 63 confidence.
These errors were only on test #7 - Random Number Sequence.
Errors are flagged on both sticks.
I have looked through the memtest readme to understand its diagnosis, but I do not fully follow. Should I be seeing errors in more than one test if mem is bad? Or does failing one test with mid level confidence point to the mem being the real problem?
posted by girlbowler at 4:50 PM on January 22, 2008

Best answer: That is a very good question.. I would work to eliminate any error, but it may not solve the problem you are experiencing.

Even though errors are showing up on each stick, test the sticks one at a time. Also, it will probably work with sticks in 1 & 2 or 3 & 4, it just won't be dual channel (so a little slower).

If you're up to it, try increasing the DRAM voltage a little bit (manual - in the BIOS Setup, under SoftMenu Setup). Anything up to 2.8V should be fine, but that is a bit of a guess..
posted by Chuckles at 5:28 PM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: One stick passed clean.
The other reported 15 errors, again 63 confidence.
Then I remembered to doas porpise and chairish suggested and check updates. There is not an update but there is an apparent bug for this ver with (some) xp installs. The website had a walk through for compatibility settings. I followed that and it now works.
I will put the other stick back in, and check KP again.
If that works I will look into SP and the problem dll.
Thank you all again for your help. I'll let you know how things go.
posted by girlbowler at 8:23 PM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: Just to give a very late update, after much illness in the house and busy hectic times.
So many months later I finally was able and motivated to DL burn the UBCD iso. It showed that one of the memory sticks was bad. I ran a couple other tests/utilities just to see.
I removed the offending memory stick, and had the little one test it out. It has been almost 2 weeks and the system is stable. Kid Pix is not so stable but it is the only thing that has crashed the system. Talking to other with KP they say they have random crashes with it also.
Thank you all for you help and advice.
posted by girlbowler at 12:40 PM on June 1, 2008

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