First of all, please forgive this long post. I want to give details of my dilema, in hopes of getting an accurate response from someone who might be able to help. I posted this originally in the Win XP forum, with little or no input on the problem. I am not posting the same problem here because I am impatient, but rather I feel much more now that this is a hardware problem.

I use normal and fairly decent surfing habbits, using Firefox as my browser, along with AdAware and Spybot for for spyware, and Norton Corporate for virus protection. I also update the definition files almost daily. My freezing problem hit right away. I left my PC on, and came home from work about a week ago to find it locked up. Upon reboot, things were behaving very strangely. The clock was set back to a 2004 date, certain programs wouldn't run, and even when I tried to uninstall them for a fresh install, I would get an error box with "error X file could not be found" or "fatal error durring uninstallation". This made me think that somehow there was a virus infection that slipped by, maybe hitting some serious .dll or registry files. I figured the best thing to do for such a serious problem is to do a fresh XP install and start from scratch.

So yesterday I went out and bought a new hard drive, and proceeded with a new install, only to find that even with my old drive disconnected completely, the freezes still occur. Not only that, but they happened durring the XP install and even in the BIOS config screen. This really makes me think there is a hardware problem. Could it be possible that a power spike or surge could have fried a motherboard component? Being stupid, I didn't have my system hooked up to any type of surge protection. Even stranger, is that everything works fine for about 45 minutes to an hour and a half, then the freezes happen and keep occuring along with the BIOS warning beeps until I power everything down and let it rest for a while.

I've replaced the CMOS battery, and date/time works fine now. I also hit my entire case and fans with compressed air today, and configured BIOS to auto shutdown in the event of overheating. Something tells me this is strictly hardware, possibly the motherboard, processor, or video card.

Sorry for the long story, and thanks in advance!

From what you've described, it does sound like a hardware problem, but the exact culprit could obviously be difficult to pinpoint.

Even stranger, is that everything works fine for about 45 minutes to an hour and a half, then the freezes happen

That may indicate that heat has something to do with the problem. Failing electronic components often don't shows signs of their failure until they've been "cooking" for a bit. It could also be a sign that the CPU's heatsink isn't firmly seated on the processor, or that the thermal-transfer compound between the CPU and the heatsink has dried up and needs to be replaced.

along with the BIOS warning beeps

Is there a pattern to those beeps? If so, tell us what that pattern is; knowing the exact beep codes could help isolate the problem.

I use Award BIOS on an Epox motherboard, and the beeping pattern is a constant alternating high/low beep. I switched out processor chips becuse I happen to have another Athlon. You mentioned the thermal paste stuff, and yeah thats running a bit thin and dry. One other thing that might help clear this up is my Magic Healh BIOS display. The Vdd voltage indicator jumps around from ok to the red off and on. In the manual it says that the Vdd is the voltage for the chipset. Maybe that might have something to do with my problem?

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