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Mysterious Blue Screen Issues

I am having some difficulty troubleshooting my BOD issues, so I was hoping someone might have some fresh ideas.

I built the computer back in late 2010, and have not had any problems like this until just recently.

Symptoms: The computer wiil randomly blue screen. If i do a soft restart from here, it will fail to boot up every time, giving an error about the boot drive before windows loads. If, however, I do a full power cycle, powering completely off and back on, it will boot up fine every time, and operate normally until the next random blue screen.

Troubleshooting: I suspected that my hard drive was going bad, but I tried to test everything possible before replacing that. I swapped the power connector with another HDD. I swapped the SATA cable with another HDD. I connected to the other SATA port on the mobo. I ran CHKDSK. None of that worked.

So I finally swapped out the HDD, formatted, loaded Windows, everything seemed fine... until it froze. It didn't blue screen, but rather just stopped responding. It exhibited the same reaction to restarts as before: soft restarts from the frozen state would result in failure to boot, but full power cycles would start it up normally. But it would always freeze at some point, with a frequency very similar to what was happening with the blue screens with the previous HDD.

I assumed that this meant it was not the HDD that was the problem, so I swapped out the PSU. Same problems.....

I'm just about out of ideas. The only thing I can think of now is that my motherboard or processor is on the fritz, but that is a much more expensive component to swap out, so I'm hoping maybe someone out there will have an idea I have not thought of.

Thanks, in advance

Windows 7
Asus M4A785-M Motherboard
AMD Phenom X4 9750
4 gb RAM (I think)
2 SATA HDDs (OS, storage)
1 IDE HDD (storage)
nVidia graphics card

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All Answers

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Have you run diagnostics?

In reply to: Mysterious Blue Screen Issues

Since you've replaced the hard drive & PSU, I assume you've cleaned out all the dust bunnies. But what about the temperatures? Have you checked to see if they're below 50 degrees C? With 3 hard drives and a graphics card, that's a potential for a lot of heat. You might need to install an extra exhaust fan. Replacing the heat sink compound might be in order after 3 years although normally you get a little longer than 3 years. Next I think I'd run memory diagnostics, then motherboard diagnostics. How many watts is your power supply? With 3 hard drives and a graphics card, it should be a pretty hefty one.
Good luck.

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Hmmm, nope, but that's a good idea.

In reply to: Have you run diagnostics?

Yup, cleaned out the dust bunnies.

I don't think it's getting that hot, but I will keep an eye on that.

I've got the one fan at the back of the case, and another directly in front of the hard drives. Hopefully that is enough, but if heat does turn out to be the issue, I'll see about getting another and re-doing the heat sink.

I have not run diagnostics, but I will do that and see what I find.

I had been running this setup with a 450 watt PSU for the past 3 years (though I added the third hard drive about a year ago) and it was working fine. The new one I just put in is 500 W. Do you think I ought to get something with a higher wattage?

Thank you very much for your response.

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A general rule of thumb for PSUs

In reply to: Hmmm, nope, but that's a good idea.

The general rule of thumb for PSUs is to add up the power requirements for all your components, then double that. I don't have the numbers in my head, but you could check it.

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Trade secret.

In reply to: A general rule of thumb for PSUs

Don't tell them that. You'll cause the repair industry to buckle.

PS. If I could send virtual coffee, beer or such you would get 5 pounds of your choice.

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(NT) :-) if you figure out how, I'll take Coors Light draft.

In reply to: Trade secret.

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