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Old 01-18-2009, 08:19 PM   #1
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Angry Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

Short question with a long description :-)

I was recently given a Sony Vaio desktop system from a friend who moved out of the area.

Works great, except for one thing. It will randomly reboot with no warning, other than a

mouse that freezes up for 3 seconds. I disabled the 'Automatic restart on system failure'

option in System Information, and I get a BSOD with the error 'IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL".

My system information follows:
2.87GB Ram
160GB HD SATA
3.2 GHz P4 Prescott, Hyperthreading
Radeon X300 (PCI express)
MPEG encoder board (in a PCI slot)
Sony DVD-RW drive
Sony DVD drive
305 watt PSU
Windows XP Pro (originally came with Media Center)


Now a list of things I've tried:
I have NOT run a memory benchmark test, yet.
I HAVE inserted one memory stick at a time.
I've used 3 different SATA drives.
I've formatted both drives and installed XP one each drive, twice.
I have used the system after a clean install, and I still get the issue.
I use Ad Aware and SuperAntiSpyware, and keep both updated, so (hopefully), no spyware.
I swapped out the CPU for another Prescott (3.2GHz Hyperthreading).
I've enabled and disabled hyperthreading on both CPUs (via the BIOS).
I've unplugged everything except the hard drive, keyboard, mouse and monitor.
As far as I know, all my drivers are signed. I'm not 100% sure how to check this.
I've swapped the power supply for an Intel Approved 300 watt model (that I've used for 2 years on my other P4 system with no trouble).
I've talked to Sony support (sucks), and they recommend I send it in...for $100


I am pulling my hair out on this one. Also, it could be unrelated, but Internet Exploder and FireFox both crash with some degree of regularity. About the only thing that hasn't been changed is the motherboard itself!

Any suggestions?
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

Is the BIOS set to allow the OS to choose what the IRQ's are set to? It's usually somewhere in one of the advanced areas called 'Plug and Play OS installed' the options are yes and no. Whatever that happens to be set to, try the opposite. I usually leave the BIOS doing the IRQ setting (P&P OS installed: no), but sometimes the OS needs to.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

Never mind, I see you have tried my suggestion.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

Typically that's driver related. I don't see it on your list of things you've tried so if you did forgive me. But update chipset, audio, video and possibly SATA/RAID controllers.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

I did try updating my video card drivers, nothing else yet. I'll try the rest of them this afternoon...
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

Just a thought... any chance that the system may be overheating? You can check the temps in your BIOS. I'm suggesting this because my sister's computer went through the same phase (constant restarts for no apparent reason), and I realized that the temperatures were way too high (and listed in RED) in the BIOS.

I dusted the computer, upgraded the heatsink, and took off a heat shield, and temperatures dropped almost 20*C.
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

A friend of mine had a similar issue, however he wasn't getting BSOD's. If you can, try updating the bios. If fixed my friends problem!
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

I didn't think about over-heating. BIOS could also be doing it, but I don't like to try that unless I have to.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

I have Everest installed. It tells me my CPU is running at 140F (or less. Usually hangs around 130F ish). I put a HUGE AC powered squirrel cage fan right on the heatsink just to see, and it never gets any lower than 120F. This is really a headscratcher for me :-) I appreciate all the suggestions so far. I'm off to see about chipset updates...

UPDATE: I searched for Intel D915GRO drivers, which is the motherboard that came with the system (I did confirm it is still installed). I cannot find drivers, other than from Sony, and they have the exact ones I have installed. Because of that, I can't even flash my BIOS (I did note that the BIOS date is 1/18/05, so surely there is an update available SOMEWHERE!!) Again, thanks for the tips, I'll keep trying anything that is suggested!

Right now, I'm installing a Virtual Machine to see if I can potentially snag some data when it crashes. This would also (hopefully) identify whether this is software or hardware (i.e. if the crashes happen only in the VM, it's obviously software).
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Old 01-24-2009, 07:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Computer randomly restarts, or gives BSOD. PLEASE HELP!!

Still no luck. Any other ideas? I'll try anything!!

I've even checked the CPU socket to make sure there weren't any missing/broken/bent pins. I'm about to buy a new cheap mobo to test everything with.
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