When I bought my computer off ebay 6 months ago the heatsink and fan had fallen off in transit and I had to reattach it (with thermal grease etc) myself. Since then it's been crashing alot. At first it happened every 30 mins and the guy who sold it to me said to try setting the vcore to +3% as the BIOS had probably reset itself and ASROCK are bad for this sort of thing apparently. I did this and the freezing occurs randomly now between hours and a couple of days. It's just starting to really annoy as I'm running programs which are v. intensive and need ~days to run them.

My power supply is 350W and I've tried disconnecting all the drives to see if it was a power issue but it still crashed. I borrowed a friends half gig of ram and swapped mine and I've discounted that as well now. I really don't think it's a heating issue either as the cpu is running at a max of about 53-56C and MOBO at 28-31C. It seems to operate at this temp fine though. Although it does seem to crash a bit more quickly if I am using 100% cpu.

Other probably minor issues I'm having are v.long boot-up (over a minute!) and when I open an application when playing music the music stutters for a few seconds and the cpu shoots to 90%. That's not right on a 3000+ chip methinks.

I've still not tried a total re-format etc but it's on the cards if I can't come up with anything else. It's just the fact that the heatsink could have crashed into anything in transit that makes me think it's gonna be a hardware - possibly graphics card problem. Some people with similar MOBOs with VIA chipsets are having these types of problem. I was just wondering if anyone else had any other ideas?



Forgot my Specs:
AMD Athlon 3000+ CPU
Running Windows XP Pro with SP1
64Mb Gainward Nvidia Geforce 4Ti 4200 with AGP 8X
BTC 8x +/- DVD RW and basic DVD-R
350W power supply

If you never thoroughly cleaned both the heatsink and the procesor before applying new thermal paste/compound, I'd suggest you remove and and do the job over again thoroughly. If it's an Athlon XP in particular, the core die and the heatsink face need to be completely cleaned with acetone, methylated spirits or somesuch.

But that's simply a precautionary piece of advice. Your problem sounds to me to be software related, and I'd suggest a format and fresh install. Use the most up-to-date drivers, and do things in this order:

Windows updates
Motherboard drivers
Display drivers
All other drivers

In preparation for the fresh install, order a copy of the Windows Security Update CD from Microsoft as described in this topic:


It contains all updates up to October 2003, Internet Explorer, Media Player, DirectX and so on, and will save a lot of later downloading of Windows Updates.

Use up to date drivers from manufacturer websites for your motherboard and all your internal components, except this:

If you have a Creative Soundblaster soundcard of any description in there, install from the CD, then install the updates from Creative's website.

Thermal grease can become condutive ,It can harden it and if its making a connecting between l1 ,l2 cache or what ever ,its like over clocking you CPU .a cleaning might be a good option before reloading .

Cheers for all your help guys,

I have borrowed my friends MSI Nvidia FX Geforce 5200 graphics card and a few really intensive programs have been running for a good 6 hrs now. I'm gonna leave them over night and if they're still running in the morn that will be a massive improvement.

Thanks for your suggestions catweazle and I'll definitely be following those instructions if this graphics card test doesn't work.

No offence caperjack but I feel that there's a lot of paronoid sh*te that gets talked about all this spyware. Obviously there is a problem but some get carried away with it. Some people think "Enemy of the State" is non-fiction.

Cheers anyway for helping guys,

No offence caperjack but I feel that there's a lot of paronoid sh*te that gets talked about all this spyware. Obviously there is a problem but some get carried away with it. Some people think "Enemy of the State" is non-fiction.


I'm sure you'll find that about 90% of all computer systems are infested with 'Spyware' of some sort or another!

It's not some 'James Bond' sort of thing - it's simply stuf that's been planted on your system to gather information about your browsing habits and target advertising at you. An accumulation of it can slow your system down and cause other performance problems. Some more malicious or poorly coded varieties can cause rather serious problems on your system.