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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Hardware Failure?

    Hi All,

    My linux PC became very flakey today - programs either don't open or run for a bit and then dissapear without warning, this includes either X or KDE as every so often I have to log back in again. Once in a while the whole system locks up as well. Sometimes when I log in I only get a command line, other times I get FVWM instead of KDE.
    I though it might have been a memory problem so I downloaded memtest86 v3.2 and ran it but it seems to find different errors on different goes. Last time 'test 7' found >5000 errors before I stopped it, previous to that errors had only been found by test 8, previous to that in test 8 and 5. Unfortunately I have no other memory to try in it - before I buy more is there anything else I can do to test the computer. What else might it be?

    many thanks for your help,

    Mir

    PS I also have windows on a dual boot and it refuses to go now - it reports that windows explorer has encountered an error and doesn't respond to anything except a power cycle.

  2. #2
    Moderator Jen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hardware Failure?

    Hi Miranda

    The fact you have two OS's being flakey now does point the finger at hardware faults. While memtest isn't perfect, the fact it found so many errors plus the symptoms you are getting does sound like it is the culprit.

    What you could do is take the machine into a PC shop and get them to try out the new RAM stick while it is still in the shop. If you can get Windows to boot up normally, chances are your problem is solved.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hardware Failure?

    system specs please

    it sure does sound like hardware failure,especially your RAM results

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Hardware Failure?

    Thanks for your replies - bad news though they are I thought maybe it wasn't the memory due to the different results on different runs. It's pretty dusty in the case, might cleaning it out help at all ( can you vacuum these things? )

    The machine is ( sorry! )- Celeron 2.4GHz, 256MB Ram ( single stick ), 80Gb HDD. It runs SUSE 9.1 with KDE 3.4 and XP ( when it feels up to it ... )

    I have never been so glad for Opera's 'Continue from last time' option as today!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Hardware Failure?

    oh darn, i was going to suggest swapping the sticks of ram over but you only have one stick.

    try to take it out then put it back in. if that doesnt work, bring it to a shop and ask for some more ram, test it there, if it works buy a 512mb stick of ram while your at it.

  6. #6
    Jedi master Rob99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hardware Failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Miranda
    ( can you vacuum these things? )
    At your own risk of statically zapping something else. Blowing is perferred.

  7. #7
    Moderator Jen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hardware Failure?

    Cleaning out your case will certainly be beneficial, but unless you have overheating problems as well from dust-glued fans, it still looks suggestive of RAM. You can get cans of compressed air to blast out the dust (do this outside as it is very messy!).

    Not sure why the number of errors change, but this could be related to how each test run tests the RAM differently?

    As Prescott mentioned, if you are replacing the RAM then consider getting at least 512 MB - both OS's would appreciate it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Hardware Failure?

    Thankyou again. I'll take it in somewhere tomorrow and leave the dust alone for now - it probably isn't the problem. Linux has been telling me for a little while there's not enough room to swing a Kat around here - maybe it finally took action XP would like to tell me but it's so grateful for the occasional boot I think it just keeps quiet...

    Have a good evening and thanks for all of your help, I'll post back tomorrow with my progress,

    Mir

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Hardware Failure?

    If your computer is pretty dusty inside it would be a very good idea to give it a good clean out before you encounter more serious problems caused by crippled fans and general overheating.

    How old is your computer? It may still be under warranty, especially the RAM which often has a longer warranty period than other components if that is the problem. I would get in touch with who you bought it off if I were you.

  10. #10
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    Smile Re: Hardware Failure?

    <This is a thanks and closing post, sorry to those not interested for bumping it to the front page>

    I just got my PC back from the shop, it all seems to be working perfectly now and is somewhat less dusty than it used to be. Apparently the problem was caused by a short on the motherboard, swapping the RAM didn't help,luckily I still have ~4 months of warranty left so it was covered. I'll run memtest86 again a little later and see what it gives me now.

    Many thanks to everyone that posted help for me, it's truly appreciated, I would probably have just put in new RAM otherwise. I still have 256Mb in the box but the upgrade to KDE 3.4 I just installed seems to be less greedy ( probably my imagination! ) so I'll put off the inevitable for a little longer...

    Mir

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