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What is wrong with my computer? [Help Me] | Posted at 9:30 AM

Dear reader,

I have been having some problems with my computer over the past few months. Let me try to describe what's happening:


  • Windows 7 Ultimate RC1 64-bit
  • Intel Core2 Duo E8500, 3.16Ghz (socket 775, Wolfdale)
  • (x2) 2GB Crucial BallistiX DDRII PC2-6400 (400Mhz)
  • Gigabyte EP45-UD3R (BIOS rev. 03) motherboard
  • MSI GeForce 8800GTS 512MB video card
  • (x2) Maxtor 200GB drives
  • (x2) Samsung 750GB drives

A few months ago, maybe two or three, my computer started randomly crashing and closing programs due to page faults and strange occurrences. After logging into Windows I would try to start a program but then the desktop window manager (DWM) would crash, Visual Studio would crash, etc. until in about 5 minutes the whole computer would blue screen.

Chalking it up to faulty memory, I embarked on a series of configurations to find out if my memory was bad. First, I took out a stick. No problems. I took out the working stick, put in the other one. No problems. What the hell? I ran MemTest 86 on both sticks: no errors.

So, apparently, if I put in both of my 2GB DDRII sticks, Windows goes beserk. Note that it happened out of the blue.

What I noticed with only one stick, however, was that my computer was running pretty slowly. Sure, I could play games just fine, but it seemed like programs would take about five times longer to start-up than usual.

After a week, I decided to test both sticks again. I didn't run into any problems… and it has stayed that way, fast and all, until about last weekend. Then it all started back up again. I am currently using one stick right now.

This time, it is definitely noticeable how slow programs start up (running them seems to work alright, although big operations will be slow as hell). The thing is, I've run a few benchmarks with no indication of any slowdowns. The hard drives are accessing quickly, none of them show low access times on HD Tach. The CPU seems to work alright according to OpenMark. I have yet to really test the RAM though, which I still believe is the problem. The only thing that makes me think it's not is the fact that both sticks individually run just fine.

I was playing Dragon Age yesterday and I had to turn off my SQL server service and Windows Media Player network sharing service because they'd randomly use up like 30% of my CPU, slowing the game down. In fact, loading my save game took about 2 minutes which is unbelievable, usually it only takes 30 seconds. That makes me think something, somewhere is wrong.

So, what do you think could be wrong? Is it the OS itself? Over winter break I will be "upgrading" to Windows 7 Ultimate RTM. Is it the RAM? Then how come each stick doesn't seem to have any errors and works just fine? Is it the motherboard? How come it works fine with only one stick and worked fine with two sticks for awhile? Is it the CPU? Then how come benchmarks don't show any slowdowns or poor marks?

I am at a loss here, people. Help me out.

Filed Under: Life Miscellaneous


Any way you can go back to XP or Vista to rule out Windows 7 as the problem?

Memory modules go all the time (well there life expectancy has gone way up in the last few years) they do break, I would suggest replacing the pair of memory modules as there may be an issue with the working one as well.

Try installing back Windows XP. I think it could be on the OS. Your computer might be "hungry" for more memory when it runs on 7.

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Divide by Zero is Kamran Ayub's personal blog. Kamran owns and operates Intrepid Studios, a web design and development firm based in Minneapolis. Despite the above picture, Kamran is usually an intelligent person. Please forgive him.

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