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Author Topic: Sudden Crashes Without Warning  (Read 2041 times)

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Asevan

    Topic Starter


    Greenhorn

    Sudden Crashes Without Warning
    « on: July 08, 2009, 03:57:34 PM »
    Normally I'm able to figure out what's going on and fix a problem, but this one really has me stumped -- I need your guys' advice.

    I have an Alienware laptop running Windows XP Pro, SP3. I've had it for over a year now.

    The Problem:
    Sometimes, my computer will crash with no warning. When I say "crash," I mean it simply turns off. The screen goes black, the components inside turn off, fan stops blowing, etc. I never receive ANY warnings or errors beforehand.
    The only two "indications" I've noticed are as follows: First, if I am typing at the time, a second or two beforehand I will no longer be able to type. I can move my mouse around, but that seems to be about it. Second, sometimes the screen will flicker or seem to refresh. Normally when the screen refreshes (and your icons' images have to reload, and any folders you have open return to the "top") it happens quickly, but before a crash it seems to happen "slower" (the screen flickers black).
    Only on two occasions has my computer BSOD'd following these crashes, and each time the screen shut off before I could see what it said.

    Frequency and Other Stuff:
    These crashes don't happen regularly, but seem to be connected to my use of the computer. Sometimes they're very infrequent -- once or twice a month. Other times, like lately, I experience it once a day or so.

    What frustrates me is that I can't seem to trace it to any particular cause.
    No particular program seems to cause it; however, from what I can tell, the more programs I run, the more likely it is to happen.
    I don't think overheating is the cause, since these crashes occur when my computer doesn't feel very hot (and believe me I could fry eggs on the thing at times), when I'm using a cooling pad, and also in the dead of winter when my room is freezing.

    And So...
    That's what info I have. I HAVE contacted Alienware about this in the past, but they were completely stumped. (I would call again, but I believe my warranty has run out.) Because these crashes aren't always frequent, and because I can't seem to force them to happen, they had trouble determining the source.

    If you guys think you know what it is, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Otherwise, I would like to know what else I can do to hopefully diagnose this problem. Are there any programs that I can run, that would catch the details of these crashes right before they happen? What should I look for in, say, the system Event Viewer?

    Broni


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    Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
    « Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 08:26:53 PM »
    1. Disable "Restart on error" feature...

    1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
    2. Click the Advanced tab (Vista: click Advanced system settings).
    3. Under Startup and Recovery, click Settings to open the Startup and Recovery dialog box.
    4. Clear the Automatically restart check box, and click OK the necessary number of times.
    5. Restart your computer for the settings to take effect.

    You may see some error message. If so, post back what it says.

    2. Download, and install SpeedFan: http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php
    Post your computer temperatures:



    Provide processor info (hold Windows logo key, and hit Pause/Break key to find out).

    3. Open Windows Explorer.
    Navigate to: C:\Windows\Minidump folder.
    If you see any .dmp files, zip all of them, and attach zipped file to your next reply.
    Vista users. You may need to copy .dmp files, paste them into some other folder, or desktop, and zip them there.


    Asevan

      Topic Starter


      Greenhorn

      Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
      « Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 08:25:48 AM »
      1. Disable "Restart on error" feature...
      Done. Disabled it, restarted, didn't see an error message.

      Quote
      2. Download, and install SpeedFan:
      Here are the temps, although I just started up so they might not be "normal" yet. I'll take another screenshot after its been running for awhile.



      Quote
      Provide processor info
      Intel Core 2 CPU
      T5500 @ 1.66GHz
      1.66 GHz, 1.00 GB of RAM
      Physical Address Extension

      Quote
      3. Open Windows Explorer.
      Navigate to: C:\Windows\Minidump folder.
      If you see any .dmp files, zip all of them, and attach zipped file to your next reply.
      I checked the Minidump folder before and after I restarted, and there was nothing in it.

      Broni


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      Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
      « Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 04:04:31 PM »
      Your CPU is way too hot.
      Turn the computer off, and clean inside the case with a can of compressed air.
      Turn it on, and see, if all fans are running.

      Asevan

        Topic Starter


        Greenhorn

        Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
        « Reply #4 on: July 10, 2009, 08:17:36 AM »
        Seems odd... it runs a lot hotter than that without crashing when I play games. (I'll try to get a temp reading of that later.)

        What temperature range should my CPU be in?

        ale52



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          Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
          « Reply #5 on: July 10, 2009, 09:01:35 AM »
          Does your laptop set directly on the table or on a support platform?  I found that my laptop would get hot before I built one [I'm a cheap-a-ziod] but you can buy one too :P.  After putting it on the platform I built the fan rarely comes on.  Could be a ventilation problem.

          Alan <><  :D
          I have principles.  And if you don't like them...well...I have other principles!!

          Broni


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          Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
          « Reply #6 on: July 10, 2009, 09:20:33 AM »
          Oooops...mea culpa...disregard my previous comment, since it's laptop.
          I'm sorry.

          Broni


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          Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
          « Reply #7 on: July 10, 2009, 09:21:26 AM »
          Open Windows Explorer.
          Navigate to: C:\Windows\Minidump folder.
          If you see any .dmp files, zip all of them, and attach zipped file to your next reply.
          Vista users. You may need to copy .dmp files, paste them into some other folder, or desktop, and zip them there.

          Asevan

            Topic Starter


            Greenhorn

            Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
            « Reply #8 on: July 12, 2009, 11:23:38 PM »
            It just happened again. Immediately after I restarted, I looked in the Minidump folder and didn't find anything.

            ...clean inside the case with a can of compressed air.
            Bought a can and blew out what I could, but I don't yet have the tools to open the thing up, so that'll have to wait.

            Quote
            Does your laptop set directly on the table or on a support platform?
            Sometimes I have it sitting on a cooling pad with fans built in to help cool it. Other times I don't, but I almost always have it sitting on a flat surface. (Not on anything like cushions or sheets or any material that might block the vents.)
            However, that doesn't seem to solve the problem, as it just crashed while it was sitting on its cooling pad.

            By the way, here's another temp reading after having run for awhile. These are the temps while it is sitting on a cooling pad:

            Broni


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            Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
            « Reply #9 on: July 13, 2009, 09:00:13 AM »
            Those temps are fine for laptop.
            I'd like to see dmp files.

            Asevan

              Topic Starter


              Greenhorn

              Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
              « Reply #10 on: July 24, 2009, 08:21:48 AM »
              My laptop BSOD'd yesterday shortly after starting, and it didn't shut down immediately afterward, so I was able to copy down some information:
              ASWSP.SYS
              PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
              Stops: 0x00000050 (0xF797E044, 0x00000000, 0xED22F4DF, 0x00000000)

              Also, it produced a dmp file, which I've attached. I didn't upload any dmp files until now because when my laptop crashed before this it didn't write any dmp files.

              [attachment deleted by admin]

              Broni


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              Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
              « Reply #11 on: July 24, 2009, 09:22:43 AM »
              Well, it's hard to diagnose your whole problem with just one dump file, but in this case, the error was caused by aswSP.SYS, which is Avast file.
              If you use Avast, try to reinstall it.

              Asevan

                Topic Starter


                Greenhorn

                Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
                « Reply #12 on: July 24, 2009, 12:24:01 PM »
                I'm going to check out this problem with Avast -- it seems that other users have had the same problem. If I can't resolve it I'll just uninstall it.

                I'm trying to remember if I've used Avast since I bought this laptop -- if I have, then it might be the cause of all the crashes I've been having. Otherwise, this might just be a different problem...

                Broni


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                Re: Sudden Crashes Without Warning
                « Reply #13 on: July 24, 2009, 08:01:04 PM »
                I'm using Avast myself with no problem.
                As I said, you may try to reinstall it.