Lockups :(

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
I'm having problems with my laptop locking up. It's an HP/Compaq nc8430. I won't bother rattling off all of the specs, you can read them here:
http://shopping.hp.ca/cStoreCA/opti...ategoryId=305&ComponentID=8944&BEId=5&Lang=EN
That is the exact notebook I have, only I've upgraded the RAM to 2GB.

When the lockups occur, it's a *complete* lockup. The mouse and keyboard don't respond, if I'm playing audio at the time it freezes, it will constantly loop the last few milliseconds of whatever audio is playing. The only hardware controls that will respond are the audio mute button and the power button.

The lockups will happen anytime, with no common denominator as to when or how they happen. I can be working, listening to music, watching a video, gaming, at idle .... it doesn't matter. Frequency seems to be anywhere from every day to once a week.

The only way to get out the lockup is a hard shutdown (holding in the power button until it switches off).

I have troubleshooted in the following ways:
  • These lockups were occurring before I upgraded the RAM, so I removed the original RAM (leaving the new RAM in) and the lockups still occurred. So it's not the RAM
  • I structurally copied my partitions to another hard drive and then put that hard drive in the internal bay. The lockups still occurred. So it's not the Hard Drive

Additionally, I've run the built-in memory and hard drive tests in the system BIOS. They both reported no errors.

I would like to run the computer in the system BIOS (sitting completely idle) for a long period of time to see if it's hardware or software related...but I don't have a long period of time (gotta work).

Any other ideas? This is getting really frustrating :(
 

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
No, I keep a close eye on temperatures with SpeedFan. I have my laptop on a stand that raises the back end up to increase airflow beneath the laptop, and then I have a fan sucking air away from the cooling vent. It works very well.
 

october

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
199
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Car(s)
'07 Ford Focus TDCI 3DR Van
Hi epp_b,
Heat & liquids do not like laptops.

How old is it, what OS are you running & what is happening specifically when it locks up? Can you replicate it at will?
 

Jmiller

Active Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2005
Messages
427
Location
Nebraska USA
Car(s)
2001 Oldsmobile Aurora 3.5
I hate to suggest this but have you ever formatted the machine? Do you have a lot of stuff installed on the machine? I find formatting a fix for a lot of problems. Take the time and do it right though which includes a backup of important stuff on the machine now, then go download the newest drivers from HP's website. Burn drivers onto a disk. After reformatting install drivers and go get all the windows updates. Then only install the software you need.
 

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
Hi epp_b,
Heat & liquids do not like laptops.
Actually, liquids like them too much. So much so that they'll close circuits that aren't meant to be closed and cause lots and lots of shorts :p (no, this laptop has never come into contact with liquid)

How old is it, what OS are you running & what is happening specifically when it locks up? Can you replicate it at will?
I just bought it at the end of July. It's running Windows XP Professional and I cannot reproduce the lockups at will. There is nothing specifically occurring when it locks up.

I hate to suggest this but have you ever formatted the machine? Do you have a lot of stuff installed on the machine? I find formatting a fix for a lot of problems. Take the time and do it right though which includes a backup of important stuff on the machine now, then go download the newest drivers from HP's website. Burn drivers onto a disk. After reformatting install drivers and go get all the windows updates. Then only install the software you need.
That is exactly the very first thing I did. I can't stand default installations. I installed XP Pro from scratch using my own disc, installed all of the drivers from HP, Windows Updates and then my applications. This is a sparkling clean installation.
 

october

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
199
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Car(s)
'07 Ford Focus TDCI 3DR Van
Hi epp_b,
If you bought it in July & did a clean install of your own copy of XP SP2 (that's another matter entirely lol) then this leads me to say there is a problem with the mobo in the laptop. Back up your data & send it back under warranty.

Either ring HP or get a tech friend (if you know one) to do so & demand a replacement. This would definately seem like a heat issue to me related to a faulty motherboard.

Remember there was the bad batch of batterys on Dell & Sony laptops this year so why not a dodgey motherboard?

Lots of PC stuff, if not the majority, is made in China so go figure.....

Ring HP as I said & either get it replaced or a new laptop. New equipment does not perform like this unless there is a fundemental flaw...which you may have. I still maintain it's a heat issue.....

Backup & re-install & see what happens. If no joy the get on the phone.....
 
Last edited:

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
Hi epp_b,
If you bought it in July & did a clean install of your own copy of XP SP2 (that's another matter entirely lol) then this leads me to say there is a problem with the mobo in the laptop. Back up your data & send it back under warranty.
Ugh...I was really not wanting to do this. I'll have to go back to my *really* old desktop clunker :(

Either ring HP or get a tech friend (if you know one) to do so & demand a replacement. This would definately seem like a heat issue to me related to a faulty motherboard.
It's not a heat issue. Like I said, I constantly monitor the temperatures and there's nothing seriously out of range.

Remember there was the bad batch of batterys on Dell & Sony laptops this year so why not a dodgey motherboard?
Could be.

Ring HP as I said & either get it replaced or a new laptop. New equipment does not perform like this unless there is a fundemental flaw...which you may have. I still maintain it's a heat issue.....
I would guess that it's more likely a hardware defect than heat (see above).

Backup & re-install & see what happens. If no joy the get on the phone.....
I don't think re-installing will get me anywhere.


This is something interesting to note that I forgot to mention before: when I was using a friend's hard drive for troubleshooting, it only locked up after an entire week. I've since gone back to my existing hard drive and had three lockups just today. That might tell me that it's hard drive related, but it's strange that it still locked up using the other hard drive. Sigh :(

I hope HP does advance replacement.
 
Last edited:

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
No advance replacement - I'll be sending it back in a box that they ship me. Back to my old clunker for a little while :(
 

october

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
199
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Car(s)
'07 Ford Focus TDCI 3DR Van
Hi epp_b,
Result. Don't fret! If you have your data backed up then you will lose nothing except your laptop....until the new one hopefully arrives :D

Let me know how you get on. At least you have a second PC to use while all this hapens. Many here wouldn't :|

I 'managed' to survive without broadband for a month (some time ago now) due to switching telcos & then switching back. I tell ya there's a lot worse that not have your kick-ass rig & having to use the 'backup'....& it's call NO INTERNET :!:
 

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
Actually, I'm away from home right now and there's just one more thing that I'm testing. I may tell HP the problem is solved if what I'm trying out fixes the problem.
 

october

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
199
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Car(s)
'07 Ford Focus TDCI 3DR Van
@ epp_b,
Really? Do tell :cool:
 

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
I have been running Linux inside Microsoft Virtual PC. IIRC, since I started doing that, I starting having the lockups (but I can't really say for sure because I neglected to record the lockups from the beginning). I'm going to stop doing that for a few weeks and see what difference it makes (I'm using VMware instead)
 
Last edited:

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
Well, after almost two weeks of this, I had another lockup.

Tomorrow, I'm calling HP to tell them why they are going to send me an advance replacement...
 

Vette Boss

Forum Addict
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
5,250
Location
United States, Britain, in time
Car(s)
2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 VR6
Are you running VM all the time, as in the service is always running in the background, even when no VMs are switched on? VM can wreak havoc on your system stability, it's best to not use it, really.

Best thing to do in your case is remove any VM applications and run Linux off a flash drive, usually 1gb or 2gb will be enough.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2003
Messages
4,905
Location
Decorah, IA
Car(s)
2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI (USDM)
Are you running VM all the time, as in the service is always running in the background, even when no VMs are switched on? VM can wreak havoc on your system stability, it's best to not use it, really.

Best thing to do in your case is remove any VM applications and run Linux off a flash drive, usually 1gb or 2gb will be enough.

I've seen VMWare services running even when it is not, but I have not noticed anything like that in MS Virtual PC.
 

october

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
199
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Car(s)
'07 Ford Focus TDCI 3DR Van
Hi guys,
I think the problem may be that MSs Virtual PC doesn't 'really' support Linux.

FYI I 'installed' Linux through VPC & all went well....right up to the point where I tried to boot it up....& nothing happened.

I would say use VMWare for Windoes as opposed to VPC as this DOES support Linux etc. MS are just gonna make it harder for you to do what you wanna do. Hell the only reason MS VPC is free is because VMWare offered their VMWare Server app as a freebie.

Personally I'd use VMWare as it's not locked into MS. Remember though you'll need a high spec PC & a ton of RAM to make it worth while.

I've done both so that's my opinion anyways....
 

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
Are you running VM all the time, as in the service is always running in the background, even when no VMs are switched on? VM can wreak havoc on your system stability, it's best to not use it, really.
Yes, I'm running it all the time. I have the hardware to handle it. Core Duo 1.8 GHz, 2GB of RAM and plenty of available drive space. I used to run it on my substantially-lesser desktop which worked just fine.

Best thing to do in your case is remove any VM applications and run Linux off a flash drive, usually 1gb or 2gb will be enough.
I need VMWare to run a virtual Linux server for dev and testing.

Hi guys,
I think the problem may be that MSs Virtual PC doesn't 'really' support Linux.

FYI I 'installed' Linux through VPC & all went well....right up to the point where I tried to boot it up....& nothing happened.

I would say use VMWare for Windoes as opposed to VPC as this DOES support Linux etc. MS are just gonna make it harder for you to do what you wanna do. Hell the only reason MS VPC is free is because VMWare offered their VMWare Server app as a freebie.
Yeah, I figured I'd try VPC to see what it was like. It's really only good for running Windows. Good for testing new software without messing up your host system, but not much else.

Personally I'd use VMWare as it's not locked into MS. Remember though you'll need a high spec PC & a ton of RAM to make it worth while.
More or less, really. It depends on what guest OS's you're running. A text-only Linux distro with 128MB virtual RAM (when I have 2GB total physical RAM) doesn't need a whole lot of computer.

I've seen VMWare services running even when it is not, but I have not noticed anything like that in MS Virtual PC.
Yes, VMWare services run all the time, but it's because VMWare has much better networking capabilities (and overall general "better-ness") than Virtual PC.
 

Top Geek

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
10,837
Location
Canadaland :)
Car(s)
1995 Nissan 240SX
I know this thread is pretty old now, but I should probably update it with my solution. And it's a weird one.

I overrode Windows XP's simultaneous per-second TCP/IP connection limit using the tcpip.sys "hack", setting it to 2048 from the original piddly default of 10. I haven't had a lockup for months now.

I have several networkable apps running at any given time, so it's clear how this fixed the problem, but not exactly why...
 
Top