Author Topic: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)  (Read 2415 times)

87Warrior

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Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« on: October 13, 2011, 11:21:16 PM »
This post is in regards to my Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop I got for college in 2004  :lol:

For the past few years this machine has been randomly freezing up. The screen locks up and does not respond to any input (mouse, keyboard, volume buttons). The only way to break the freeze is by holding the power switch then turning it back on. It will freeze up when sitting idle, running a photoshop process and when simply surfing the web or typing in Word.

The issue has occurred with XP pro and with a copy of Windows 7. I am now running a fresh install of XP pro.

Please excuse my computer ignorance, but I would like to resolve the situation if possible. Since the issue has occurred over a variety of OS installs and software configurations, I suspect the issue is hardware. The problem is, I am not sure how to diagnose the hardware issue.


Kalgorn

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2011, 10:04:00 AM »
I'm going to bet on a RAM problem. Download Memtest and make a bootable CD or USB drive using the appropriate installer. Let it do a full run through and see if there's any errors.

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87Warrior

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2011, 04:09:00 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it a shot this weekend. I would actually be pleased if it was a RAM issue as I have been searching for a reason to upgrade. Two sticks of 256mb just isn't cutting it.

87Warrior

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 09:41:28 AM »
Finally got around to running the memtest.

Result:


Did it twice, an hour each time, with the same result.

Kalgorn

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 09:45:57 AM »
Likely not a RAM issue then. Could be the harddrive. They fail constantly in laptops because of heat. Go to the harddrive manufacturer's website and download a diagnostic tool for it. You can probably use any manufacturer's software but it wouldn't hurt to get the specific one.

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handle

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2011, 09:54:56 AM »
You should leaving running overnight just to cross the RAM out of the list of suspects. I have had RAM that starts to show errors after 6 passes.

Have you checked if the heatsink and/or fan might be clogged up with dust? If it does look a bit dirty, you should take a vacuum to the intake port and try to remove whatever amount of dust that can be collected. note: this might be dangerous because vacuums create static.

87Warrior

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2011, 10:47:55 AM »
I will let the memtest run over night and see what the results say. I will also find the correct hard drive diagnostic tool and run it.

This thing has two cooling fans that pop out pretty easy. It's been awhile since I've cleaned them out, thanks for the suggestion.

87Warrior

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 03:48:59 PM »
I ran test after test last night and came up empty handed.

To test the HD I followed the steps dell provided for my system. Passed twice. While I was in the diagnostic utility I did a few predefined 'symptoms' check provided by dell. Did the 'computer locks up' and 'Windows blue screen' checks as well as an 'extended hardware' check. Running the dell diagnostic checks took me about 6 hours. I then let memtest run for 8 hours and it did just over 8 passes.

All tests resulted in no errors and passed.

After restarting the computer this morning it immediately locked up at the welcome screen. 

Daemon

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 04:04:46 PM »
Starting to sound like the cpu might be dying on it.

Kalgorn

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 04:44:25 PM »
Rare, but possible. I don't even know how to test that.

Run some heat monitoring software for a while. If a CPU gets too hot, it can freeze.

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87Warrior

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 04:55:15 PM »
Do you have any heat monitoring recommendation? If not, I can search for some this evening.

If heat is the issue, should my fans kick on before it locks up? They do not. When running some of the diagnostic tools, it did a number of tests involving the fan and fan speed.

Thanks for the help thus far guys.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 04:59:12 PM by 87Warrior »

Kalgorn

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2011, 05:00:03 PM »
I use Speedfan but there's a handful out there.

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Daemon

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Re: Help me diagnose a freezing up Inspiron 9100 (XPS)
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 07:02:12 PM »
Prime95. It watches for errors when figuring pi.

I use real temp for cpu temps.

PRIME95- http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/default.php
REAL TEMP- http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp/