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Thread: help me troubleshoot

  1. #1
    OK, my computer (AMD Athlon Processor, 1.25 GHz 512 MB of RAM, running XP) was put together by a buddy of mine in 2002:

    I've been encountering some crashes when I have my external drive connected with firewire. Upon updating some drivers I discovered that the NetGear FA311 Fast Ethernet Adapter that I have is apparently incompatible with XP. Is this related? If not, this ethernet adapter issue should be addressed regardless, no?

    Again, the hardware on this thing has not been upgraded since 2002, so let me know what I can do here. I don't play video games, but my music collection is becoming problematic.

    If there's any more info that might help, let me know. Did I mention I'm a newb...


  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    Broken's Avatar Obama Supporter
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    The Ethernet issue shouldn't cause your system to crash when you hook up an external hard drive, they are unrelated. I am guessing that your modem is hooked up viva USB, or god forbid... dial-up.

    I can't say I really know what's causing the crashes. But the hardware is old (possibly failing?). Maybe it's time to consider a replacement motherboard/CPU anyways. About $70 worth of a hardware upgrade would completely smoke your current system.

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Your buddy did not place a very high priority on wire management, did he?

    Anyway...take a good look at the capacitors on the motherboard (the tall cylindrical things- they're scattered all over but we're primarily interested in the ones around the heatsink...) and check for tops that are bulging or even leaking.

    Your PC has lead a long and productive life and should really be replaced now.

    Broken's estimate of $70 seems artificially low to me...I'd guess at least $150-250, depending on what is salvageable from the current setup.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    Actually what compelled me to post was an article I read on cnet about hardware (especially memory) being relatively cheap right now.

    If, however, I (emphasis on the "I") were to scrap this thing completely and rebuild on a $300 budget, where do I start? Is this something I can do on my own with adequate resources? Obviously, I'd like to be able to maintain this stuff myself and not rely on a friend to do the dirty work--I feel bad enough trolling here with this stuff.

    Thanks..and yes, the "independent contractor" I dealt with totally neglected the wire management.

    Yes, via usb.
    Last edited by bruce_berry; 02-19-2008 at 05:53 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Your case and optical drives could be retained meaning you'd need a new motherboard, processor, memory, vid card and power supply.
    In addition, your OS would need to be reloaded.

    If this sounds like something you'd feel comfortable doing, we can talk further.

    BTW, there's no reason to feel that asking about this is "trolling"- it's a fair enough question and there's no reason to assume you'd automatically know the answer.
    Replacing the parts is simple enough and requires only a Phillips head screwdriver and a bit of patience.
    I could probably swap out your simple PC in under an hour, including cigarette breaks.
    If you've never done any computer work but are reasonably mechanically adept ( meaning you can pick up a screwdriver without impaling yourself), you might spend 4-5 hours installing the hardware.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    Chewie's Avatar Chew E. Bakke
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    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    Replacing the parts is simple enough and requires only a Phillips head screwdriver and a bit of patience.
    I prefer a #2 pozidrive; the blunter tip allows it to fit #1 head screws, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    If you've never done any computer work but are reasonably mechanically adept ( meaning you can pick up a screwdriver without impaling yourself)...
    Whoah! That counts me out, then.
    There isn't a bargepole long enough for me to work on [a Sony Viao] - clocker 2008

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    was ur usb drivers part of the drivers u updated? can u plug in this external drive to another pc without crashes? have u tried to use a different usb port? aside from all this when was the last time u formatted? does the OS seem to be operating properly? slowing down? not neccassarilly* a new build, but possible just maintainence is in order? how did u come to the possibility that this netgear isn't compatible with xp? i did a quick google search for this NetGear FA311 Fast Ethernet Adapter and found it is compatible with XP (so they say on the web). what does it say in device manager? lastly, is this the only time ur pc crashes?
    Last edited by mr. nails; 02-20-2008 at 03:56 PM. Reason: wording
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  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    Ok I see where I may have misunderstood the info regarding the netgear fa311...

    The crashes were occurring when my external was connected via firewire AND when I tried connecting a flash drive to a usb port on the front of my tower.

    My hard drive space is ok-a little more than half-but I do have a multifunction printer (Canon Pixma mp470), logitech mouse/keyboard connected via usb. The flash drive instigated the latest crash..this one with the external connected in addition to this other stuff.

    Windows is operated properly.

    Oh, and I also did a little cleaning inside the tower..a lot of dust but I did not see anything that bulging, burnt, etc.

    Thanks all for your input
    Last edited by bruce_berry; 02-20-2008 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Broken's Avatar Obama Supporter
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    "If" I had to guess, I would say that the PSU is failing. Anytime there is a sudden extra draw of power the voltage drops and causes a freeze up.

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