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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2-and-a-half year old custom built (by me) computer with an AMD Athlon 2500+ processor, 512MB PC3200 RAM, and a 120GB hard drive. Starting about a month ago, it would occasionally freeze, and I would have to reboot.

Now, the problem is much worse. Each day, it starts freezing more and more, and now, it is freezing every single time on startup.

Here is what I have been noticing: Usually, I will click on something, and nothing happens. If it is something in the Start Menu, it will stay highlighted, basically whatever I click on will look just how it did before I clicked on it. At this point, I know that in 5-10 seconds, the computer will completely freeze. Freezing just like how I remember in 95, 98, and ME. The mouse stays exactly where it was, the keyboard is unresponsive too, and I have to reboot. Other times, I can hear a "click" noise out of the tower right before it freezes. Whenever I reboot, there is a good chance that it will freeze up right on startup, and I usually have to reboot a few times to get it doing, but then it will freeze up sooner then later in the fashion that I just described. Now, I can't get the computer not to freeze at startup, and I've probably tried around 10 times.

If I boot into safe mode, everything is fine, and it won't freeze. In safe mode with networking, I can access the internet just fine.

I consider myself pretty computer savvy, and have tried lots of things to try to find the problem. At first I thought that it was the RAM, so I ran a memory tester, but it found nothing. Next, I ran spyware/adware scans from Adaware and Spybot, but nothing was found. I ran a virus scan from McAfee, and it was completely clean as well. Next, I scanned the registry, and about 330 problems were found, which I fixed, but that didn't fix anything either. Every few reboots Windows runs its disk scan, but that hasn't fixed anything either. I also ran Disk Cleanup

I don't know what to do next. It could be faulty drivers, bad hardware, I don't know. I don't know what to do next. What would you advise? If I left out any important information, just let me know, and I'll post it.

Thanks very much.
 

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If you hear a click from the tower it could be the hard drive going bad . . probably a good idea to backup any data you cherish quickly, then run diagnostics from the drive manufacturer
 

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Could be a bad graphics card, safe mode loads a different video driver than regular mode. Try reinstalling or updating the card drivers. If the bios setup has a pc health or similar tab, check the cpu temperature. You could have a failing fan. Other possibilities: bad power supply, something corrupted in XP (try a repair install).
 

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It could be almost anything . . the click you described is why I suspect the hard drive. Not much telling why it works in safe mode, except that fewer thing are loaded in safe mode and it may not have as much stress.

If the drive checks out ok, then the other things will need to be checked
 

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Click Start - Run, type in MSCONFIG, then click OK - "Startup" tab. How many entries are listed with a checkmark next to them? Other than entries for an antivirus program and third-party firewall program, very few others need to load and run in the background. This site will help you trim down the startup list.

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Open these TEMP folders:

C:\WINDOWS\TEMP

C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\(USERNAME)\LOCAL SETTINGS\TEMP

then delete all files and folders from inside them.

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I have to lean towards Simpswr's suspicion that the hard drive is going bad. It happened to a friend's desktop that I worked on over the weekend. Fortunately, I was able to burn off the important files and photos to CD-R's before it quit for good.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you. I am beginning to suspect the hard drive as well.

One thing that I forgot to mention, is that it usually freezes when its under a high load. If I have multiple programs running, if I'm try to open an application, or during startup, its usually always under high load when it freezes. That definitely would point to the hard drive.

I always keep my Startup programs down to a minimum, but there are a few additional things things that I can disable. I also frequently delete all temporary files.

I'll pop another HDD in now, back everything up, and run some diagnostics.

I'll post here later with any findings. Thanks for all of your input thus far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have everything backed up, but when I boot off of the diagnostics CD, it freezes right before it can start scanning. I think I'll just reinstall Windows on a new HDD, and see how it works.
 

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How is the dustbunny count inside...remember no vacuums only "can of air".
If the heat synch/fan is encrusted with crud that could cause this. Also dried out cruested mess between heat synch/fan and cpu. Might need to clean off with alcohol and relayer a thin layer of grease. And yes hard drive is also very likely.
 

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I am having a similar problem with a computer that I have been trying to fix for someone. It freezes whenever you stay in the Start menu too long. So far I have reinstalled the operating system on a different hard drive and that didn't solve the problem. I also slaved the first hard drive to another computer to back up the data and it worked flawlessly, so I have pretty much ruled out the hard drive as being the cause. I have looked at temperature as being the cause, but that checks out too. The owner of the computer has added sound and video cards, so on my next visit I am going to try pulling both cards and using the onboard graphics adapter. I think this has got to be a hardware issue.
 
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