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Hello all,

This is my first post here, but this seems to be an extremely knowledgable and amiable community with some individuals who are incredibly capable and eager to help and after this, I'll certainly be back.

I've been having a recurring problem with my home PC - roughly 20% of the time on booting everything progresses normally and perfectly innocuously right up until the "starting windows xp" portion, with the blue bar progressing repeatedly to the right.

Immediately following this stage, instead of my cursor appearing against a black background that then quickly populates with my icons and desktop, etc, I'm met with a dead black screen and my monitors standard "no signal" alert.

When this problem does occur, resetting will only result in me viewing it again... and again... and again for anywhere up to half an hour at a time.

Eventually, after numerous reboots and trips into safemode to attempt to restart gracefuly (safe mode works fine, thoug a graceful restart doesn't seem to make any difference) my computer will simply decide it's time to boot normally and will simply load windows then sit there smiling at me smugly as if I haven't spent the last hour tearing clumps of my hair out.

This problem is accompanied by another that seems to be related - any time I'm playing a game full screen, be it doom 3 or the very first quake, there is a tendency to randomly freeze, with the audio looping.

After anywhere from 5 to 60 seconds, the audio will loop over a section of about a quarter of a second at the most in length for a few moments and then unlock and continue as if nothing has happened.

Often times though, it simply refuses to unfreeze though, forcing me to reset.

When this occurs, the problem mentioned above will occur 99% of the time - these freezes are occuring roughly every ten - twenty minutes at least.

I'm not entirely sure what could be causing the problem - given that the two problems seem to be linked, I'm highly suspicious of my graphics card, but I would like to put this up for group discussion and hopefuly get some advice on it (which seems to be of very high quality around here) before I go ahead and pay for a new one.

My system:
Windows xp Home, SP2.
AMD Athlon 2400+ (running at 2.1ghz, no overclocking)
512mb ram (I'm quite sure at 400mhz)
Geforce 5200fx graphics card, with 128mb of ram.
80gb hard drive.
17" CRT.

As I'm at work, I am currently unsure of my motherboard's technical name or any other such information, but if anyone here feels that it is required, I'll happily track it down and edit it into this post when I'm next at home.

Thanks everyone for reading through all of that, I feel like I've been kind of long-winded, but accuracy pays.

Kind regards,
Dale Miller.

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Last Post by Auch
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I would suggest that it's either some of your data on your hard disk is corrupted, or, like you suggested, your video card is dead.

To test the hard disk, run ScanDisk, and see if it comes up with any errors. You might also want to run Disk Defragmentor.

If ScanDisk and Disk Defragmentor don't seem to point to any problems, then you should try testing your video card:
http://freestone-group.com/video-card-stability-test.htm

Post any errors (or lack of errors) here.

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I'm quite sure my hard disk is fine, though i'll make sure to check it as soon as I get home.

That link though may just prove to be a massive help though - I'm not sure that I've ever seen anything like it on the net.

Thanks a lot!

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My computer ran perfectly on the stability test for 43 minutes until I eventually had to shut it off for the sake of getting some sleep.

It also benchmarked at 111, which might be a touch slow for my graphics card considering the tables on the site, but it's not really out of range, particularly considering several other programs were currently operating.

Also, my hard drive is compltely defragmented and shows no bad sectors or other problems with scan disk.

I suppose this puts us right back where we started?

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Hopefully i can help.

I jhad a ATI card and i was consistently getting problems like you describe where it was freezing and restarting and even the occasional Blue screen.

After having this occure with two of my computers with ATI card i discovered it was ATI's Catalyst Program which is an optional software install that allows you to tweak your settings. This was causing windows and errors and the system was rebooting or freezing and after time it would eventually quit starting. On the second computer i had with all new parts, even a new ATI, the same thing started happening. I was extremely upset and after troubleshooting, I removed Catalyst and the system went back to normal.

So try completely uninstalling any extra software that came with your video card and re-installing the DRIVERS only. There should be a way through the custome set up to do this with whatever video card brand you have.

Hope this helps.

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Regarding the drivers for ati u can just download their latest, you have the choice of CCC+drivers or drivers alone.

Recently I had a similar situation on a friend, and eventually I went to his place check it out. After some hours spent on checkin his HD, graphic card and RAM I took a look inside the case.
Scared the hell outta me.
That was clogged with the dust,couldnt even tell the size of the cpu fan

We cleaned that only to find his cpu was already in a pretty bad shape.

So, if u manage to put on in windows try using a program to check ur cpu temperatures and post them here. Speedfan is a known program for that

Also, how much of those 80gb u have free? 512ram isnt a lot nowadays, in moments of large cpu charge,like games, cpu is prolly gonna use HD space to use swap files. That wouldnt explain the boot failure but it might help not to crash windows if u add a little more virtual memory

If u wanna give it a try: Control Panel-> System -> advanced -> performance -> advanced -> virtual memory.

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