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  • Computer problem, somewhat odd symptoms

    Machine is a DELL M6300, which has 4 gb memory installed, and has been very reliable up to now.. (yes, I know, see below for some reasons)

    The problem is that it will freeze up. Sometimes the display is messed up, sometimes not.

    I HAVE seen a memory parity error message, but I do not know what memory that referred to, on-board cache or the 4 gB.

    The machine passes the "pre-boot system assessment" tests, even directly after it freezes. I have not been able to find an actual memory test error. That goes for running the tests from cold, or running directly after a freeze-up.

    After running the tests, I can run it for hours and have no issue. When it fouls up, it is normally just post-boot, about as long as it takes to boot and get a program running.

    I do have another one as a backup, but it does not have Win 7 (required) on it. I intend to do some memory swapping as a test, but it does not have 4 gb, it only has 2 gb.

    Seems odd that it will run OK after doing the memory test, and that it WILL get through the long test suite OK, whether started cold or warm, even though it has trouble right after the full Windows boot.

    That timing of trouble is pretty reliable, too. It will do the same thing several times in a row.

    It does not really act like a thermal problem, it does not really act like a genuine memory issue. It does not make sense that it is a software problem, since the software will work fine for hours after running the memory test.

    It acts as if it just needs to get through a specific condition (whatever that is) and will then work.

    I DO need to use 7, which is only on this machine, since some of the software is not win 10 qualified, and is known to have issues with 10.

    That makes it worth while to get to the bottom of the problem. Otherwise it would be possible to just replace the machine with a new Win 10 machine that has more processors (which would do renderings better).
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  • #2
    Pull the memory out then re-install the memory but swap every pair so each DIMM is not going in the same slot that it came out of. This is basically just a better way of re-seating it. Re-seat the PCI express cards if you have any as well. If you know how, remove the CPU heat sink and re-seat the processor.

    Comment


    • #3
      On board graphics or separate gpu? That would be my first thing to check with display issues. Any temperature logs from different parts of the system? Hard to know where to start, but ruling stuff out can help

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mattthemuppet View Post
        On board graphics or separate gpu? That would be my first thing to check with display issues. Any temperature logs from different parts of the system? Hard to know where to start, but ruling stuff out can help
        It's not really a display issue, the display works, it seems to just be getting bad data. The problem shows up called a memory problem. Got another parity error, but am using the machine now. It wouldn't boot, now it is working. On board graphics, like all laptops.

        Re-seating is good, I actually want to get as positive an ID on the issue as I can, though. I hate problems that "seem to be fixed", but may pop up again. I really want to point at a part and know what he issue is, since this computer needs to go on a trio wih me soon, or be replaced with the other one.

        it's a "tied" copy of 7, so I can replace the MB, but not change to a different machine.
        1601

        Keep eye on ball.
        Hashim Khan

        Comment


        • #5
          If you have not used memtest 86, (or it's newest replacement) you need to do that. The self test only checks to see that each bank of memory is there.

          Memtest 86 boots from thumb drive, cdrom or diskette and runs instead of the OS. Because it's very small it's likely to be able to run even if you have some bad memory blocks.

          You can set it to run continuously, mapping the errors. If you see the same problem in the same block of memory, you then check the documentation to see which mem module relates to that block. If you can't find that, then just swap the memory modules till you find one module that causes it to fail.

          Dan
          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by danlb View Post
            If you have not used memtest 86, (or it's newest replacement) you need to do that. The self test only checks to see that each bank of memory is there.



            Dan
            Nope.... NOT THE SELF TEST.

            The one you manually select after an F12..... it does about a dozen oor more tests, and takes a half hour to run, or more. Walking bit, and a bunch of other acronyms that I don't know about.

            I just did a bunch of CAD work on big files on the same computer that would not boot a while back..... If anything was gonna stress out memory usage, that would.
            1601

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

            Comment


            • #7
              Pay attention to dust in the machine. I have fixed more than a few electronics problems by just cleaning the pc boards. Most of these were in an industrial environment.

              lg
              no neat sig line

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              • #8
                It might not be a memory fault. I suggest reducing the computer to as little software and peripherals as possible and Windows still run.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                  Nope.... NOT THE SELF TEST.

                  The one you manually select after an F12..... it does about a dozen oor more tests, and takes a half hour to run, or more. Walking bit, and a bunch of other acronyms that I don't know about.

                  I just did a bunch of CAD work on big files on the same computer that would not boot a while back..... If anything was gonna stress out memory usage, that would.
                  Good luck to you. You'd already disregarded the first and best step for your situation, so you are obviously much more skilled than you appear. On the other hand, if you are risking your data by doing a bunch of cad work with a machine that may have flakey memory, it's probably time to bring in a professional who knows what he's doing to fix it for you.
                  At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The only time I experienced such problems was with a desktop computer where I found some electrolytic capacitors on the MoBo had "popped". Several times previously I thought I heard a "pop" sound.
                    http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                    Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                    USA Maryland 21030

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                      The only time I experienced such problems was with a desktop computer where I found some electrolytic capacitors on the MoBo had "popped". Several times previously I thought I heard a "pop" sound.
                      Broken motherboard (or actually the BGA solder joints under CPU/GPU/memory controllers/memory chips) are also common problem in some laptops. Although Dell M6300 wasn't on common suspects list.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by danlb View Post
                        Good luck to you. You'd already disregarded the first and best step for your situation, so you are obviously much more skilled than you appear. On the other hand, if you are risking your data by doing a bunch of cad work with a machine that may have flakey memory, it's probably time to bring in a professional who knows what he's doing to fix it for you.
                        ????????????

                        The CAD work was specifically to see if it was going to flake out.... nothing that I could not lose without a problem.

                        Trying to develop a pattern. So far, if it boots and starts running programs without quitting, it will not have another problem. And it has several times produced the memory message on boot, but NEVER has had the problem if it gets through the boot and program startup.
                        1601

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          MemTest86 needs to run 7-8 hours. Most let it run overnight. If it starts getting errors right away, then it can be stopped early.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                            The only time I experienced such problems was with a desktop computer where I found some electrolytic capacitors on the MoBo had "popped". Several times previously I thought I heard a "pop" sound.
                            That was my first thought as well.

                            Freeze-ups can be caused by anything, but if a machine is doing it over and over again, and getting worse as days go by, I would suspect hardware.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have a Dell M6500 which was experiencing random start-up freezes.

                              I started with re-seating the RAM, which has fixed various other PC's in the past, but still had the problem.

                              Next I disassembled the unit and removed / re-applied the thermal compound on both the CPU and the GPU heat-sinks. Not a trivial job, but thanks to the U-tubes and the factory manual a do-able one.

                              My computer now runs perfectly and I'm stoked. I got it for cheap at a school in Altadena, CA that teaches kids to repair tech. JPL donates used / flakey equipment to them so they get some decent gear.

                              All of my PC's are used ( still use the parallel port for CNC ), and the RAM re-seat and thermal compound fix have brought them all back to life. They are my "go to" fixes.

                              Good luck!

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