What the Bloody Fuck is Going On Here? (PC Related)

Okay, on Wednesday I had a massive system crash because I fucked some shit up when I was installing new software on my PC. No biggie, I had back ups of most my critical files so the only thing I really lost of value to me were some e-mails. Also, I figured it be a bit of a godsend because I could now do a clean install of Win98 without the bullshit software that had been on the hard drive when I installed it into this PC. (I cannabalized various components out of my old PC when the motherboard went.) I figure that with a clean install of 98 the damn thing will run better and not crash once a day or so. Bzzt! Thank you for playing! Bob, who’s our next contestant on your life as a loser!

The first problem I run into is that after doing the install (Win98 1st ed, followed by Win98 2nd ed upgrade) my modem doesn’t work. No real surprise there. It came from the old PC and I had a bitch of a time getting it to work whenever I ran the “Quick Restore” CD as they forgot to tell the damn thing to load the drivers for the modem when ran it. So, I have a CD with what I think are all the necessary drivers on it. I install those. No dice.

At this point I figure I’ve got two choices: 1.) Grab the “Quick Restore” CDs run them, and put up with the crappy version of Win98 that’s on their, or 2.) Go out and buy another modem. I opt for two, figuring that I shell out the money for the modem and I never have to struggle through this shit again.

I get to the store and see that I can get an external USB modem for a little less than an internal modem. Hmm, says I, an external modem would save me the trouble of tearing my PC apart and yanking out the old one and putting in a new one. Need to get a USB so I can have it and everything else hooked up as well, but what the hell, I’ll do it.

Get home, hook up everything and its all hunky dory, for about an hour. Then the PC starts crashing. Okay, fine, I install a program that’s supposed to keep Windows from crashing. Doesn’t help. Fuck.

Now, I start doing some real digging around in the settings. I disable the power saving features, kill most of the stuff from the auto run that loads when the PC boots, and still the damn thing crashes.

I’ve been digging at this bitch for days now and I can’t figure out what’s causing it to crash. I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled software and still it crashes!

And it always does it in the same basic ways: The PC starts getting sluggish, all the lights go out on the USB devices and then the damn thing locks up. If it doesn’t do that, it just suddenly locks up and then reboots itself without ever giving me the BSOD.

I’m beginning to think that Zaphod Beeblebrox had the right idea about computer programming.

This is new?

This sounds like it might be a hardware related problem. Here’re a few possibilities:

You might want to check to see if the CPU is overheating. Are the fan and heat-sink properly connected? Is there adequate ventilation? Check your BIOS temperature monitor or use one of the freeware temp monitors that are available. I use Intel Active Monitor.

Another possibility is that your power supply might be overtaxed. Perhaps the new modem was the last straw. You might consider upgrading the power supply.

Sometimes bad RAM can cause random freezes and crashes but I don’t think that would explain why your USB devices lose power first. Run a memory check util, just in case.

Also, I’d uninstall that crash-protection program you tried using. I find they’re resource hogs and often cause just as many problems as they solve.

When you say 2nd Ed. Upgrade are you talking about the Service Pack CD Microsoft has available for order or a real Win98SE upgrade CD?

I 2nd the power supply suggestion. If that is one of the components from your old computer that could be your problem. If you have a few minutes post a detailed list of your components (with brand and driver version) and we can help you out a bit more. The more detail the better…

well, that crash type sounds to me like the power supply, too,
but it could be some subtle, unlisted conflict. you said it happened when you attached the USB modem, right? and that the old, crappy one is still in there? well, maybe you should take out the old modem. even if that’s not the problem, it will free up a tiny bit of power and put slightly less stress on the power supply.

of course, if that works, it’s just a stopgap. but, it’s something to check.

Ah, man, I came in here all ready to hear Tuckerfan gettin’ all medieval about Polical Correctness, and it’s just about crashing PC’s. Poo.

(Good advice about the bad RAM, though, Hodge. That’s what’s always happening with my PC, so maybe I’ll try replacing/adding to the RAM to see if I can get it to stop freezing up so much.)

featherlou, make sure you run a diagnostic utility before you go replacing any of your RAM. Doc Memory is a very powerful free program.

I should also add that wonky video cards can also cause random freezing and crashes.

Well, the USB Hub the modem’s hooked into is self-powered. I’ve disabled the anti-crash software and that’s improved the performance only slightly. Just tried to run the bios software that gives me the hardware status and it seized up. The motherboard’s a Gigatech, running a 750 mhz Athalon processor, the fan and heatsink are good for a 2 gig processor, I’ve got a Voodoo 3 video card, the USB hub’s a Belkin, the soundcard’s an el-cheapo Creative Sound Blaster (don’t remember the details on that one), the USB modem’s a Zoom. Plugged into the hub I’ve got an IBM web cam, the modem, and a Pablo drawing tablet. I’ve got an MS optical trackball plugged into the other USB port. The power supply’s a 300 watt jobber (I think). I’ve got 2 20 gig hard drives in slave/master set-up, and I’ve got 320 megs of PC100 RAM. I downloaded all the updates for 98 (other than IE). I don’t really see how it could be hardware related as I didn’t have these problems until I had to reformat the hard drive and do the reinstall, but who knows?