Diagnosing a slowing down then freezing laptop

SKIPPY PB

Estimable
Jan 9, 2015
53
0
4,610
7
Im trying to diagnose a laptop, complaint is it slows down and eventually freezes. This is an old alienware running Windows 7.

I copied the HDD onto another SATA HDD that is known to be working. So I am not thinking this is a HDD issue. The graphics cards are known to be weak on this model as they get really hot and die frequently. Can the slowing down and freezing be caused by the GPU? It feels as if the CPU has hit its limits.

To verify the complaint I tried to run Team Fortress 2 on it which never actually ran as it seemed to freeze up when it was loaded about 80% connecting to the server for a match. It did load to the main menu and options, etc. However after a significant amount of time CTRL-ALT-DEL worked to get it to the task manager.

Im going to try and run the Intel CPU diagnostic program and see what happens.


Intel Pentium 4 @ 3.0 GHz Desktop CPU


EDIT: I just installed Intel IPDT and right off the bat I get a fail for temperature test.

Expected: Greater than 1 degree below maximum
Recieved: 0 degrees below max


Would it make sense for the PC to put itself into a limp mode because it thinks it is too hot if it is not?
 
Are there a ton of background services/programs running? Is a lot of memory being used - maybe even to the point that the page file on the HDD is being heavily used (assuming it's not disabled)?

Hardware doesn't generally slow down or get tired over time. It's more likely a resource issue, or just a cluttered OS. Still, running diagnostics/stress tests is a good idea - on the HDD, the RAM, and the CPU.
 

SKIPPY PB

Estimable
Jan 9, 2015
53
0
4,610
7
There shouldn't be too much going on as this is a pretty clean OS. Nothing really beside the drivers, net browser and the few programs/apps ive downloaded in an attempt to diagnose it. This OS has been copied to multiple HDD's so I am ruling out a bad HDD, which I believe leaves me with transfer of the data, OS, motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card.

As stated in my edit running intel diagnostics I get a fail right off the bat due to a temperature issue but I haven't been able to gather data on what the actual temperature is. Im thinking the reading may be null if its the motherboard. Im using HWmonitor, MSI Afterburner and IPDT. None of which have given me any information on temps. Is it possible with a Pentium 4 - 531 to get temp information?

Where do you find the page file?



EDIT: This pentium 4 may be too old for IPDT as the Tempurature is not supported. I can't figure out how to edit the parameters to ignore the temperature setting.
 

SKIPPY PB

Estimable
Jan 9, 2015
53
0
4,610
7


No I ripped this one down to nuts and bolts, screen included, motherboard out, etc. Used compressed air and reseated the GPU/CPU heatsinks with a nice new thin layer of artic silver. I used parts from this one to diagnose another one. Anyway problems were persistent before & after. So no changes after.

I want to install a new OS on the thing to test it but I don't know if I will be able to find all the drivers. I spent 15 bucks and bought a 3.8ghz P4 CPU and more ram. It is strange because the actions are not always consistent.
 
HWiNFO32 (or HWiNFO64, if you're running a 64 bit OS) might be able to give you temp readings. Some people seem to like CPU-Z too, though I don't know if it will be any more comprehensive/effective.

Maybe the temp sensor is faulty? You should get a reading, even if your pushing it in terms of thermal capacity. If heat really is your problem and the system is clean on the inside, it could be the sensor. Did you check your thermal compound while you had the computer stripped down?
 

SKIPPY PB

Estimable
Jan 9, 2015
53
0
4,610
7


What should I test with the multi-meter? Just make sure current is running for X to Y? Beause I don't know where to find diagrams/schematics to find out what values/parameters would be in spec.



Do the Pentium 4 chips monitor their own temps? Do PC's go into "limp mode" when sensors malfunction like a car does? What do you mean by checking the thermal compound? I cleaned it and re-did it with Artic Silver 5 or whatever. Pretty fresh bottle.

And thanks for that program. I'll look for it and try it out.

Also this system is 32-bit even though the processor is 64-bit capable.

The pc is an Alienware/Clevo D9T

 


Gotcha. About "limp mode": Sort of. The computer will throttle significantly (throttle as in the performance drops) to reduce the heat being produced by the components. This is also known as passive cooling.

Pentium 4 chips report their temps, yes. The computer should have reports of temps for the CPU, GPU, storage drive(s), and parts of the chipset (yours may show north and south bridge temps). It sounds like you already took care of the thermal compound, too (Arctic Silver), so I suppose the only question then is whether you used too much, too little, or you have just enough - but in any case, it sounds like you'll need to take care of that defective heatsink.

Since the system is old, it might be hard to find replacement parts. You can try the NBR marketplace (notebook review forum) and eBay, maybe even Craigslist.
 

SKIPPY PB

Estimable
Jan 9, 2015
53
0
4,610
7


We'll the other chip arrived which is a used P4 670 reported as in good condition when removed. I play on adding this in anyway as it was about a $10 upgrade so to speak. When I apply thermal compound I clean everything well with isopropyl alcohol and let it sit for 10 minutes to make sure it is all evaporated. I take care to not get skin contact on the contacts or heatsink area of the chip and just hold it by the side edge. My understanding is that metal to metal offers the best heat transfer and that the thermal compound is there to fill in the tiny imperfections in the mating surfaces. What I do is apply a dot to center of the chip and use a tooth pick to spread it around the chip to make a nice thin layer of compound on top of the chip.

Anyway just installed the chip and downloaded HWinfo32. My diagnose with all the information I have now is the temp sensor is inop. Using AIDA64, MSIafterburner, HWinfo and CPUID HWMonitor I get a null, -0, n/a, etc reading for the CPU temps on everyone one. Interestingly enough the HWinfo32 program reports CPU Thermal Monitor (TM1) in green and TM2 in red.

There is a connector that comes off the heatsink and plugs into the motherboard. I need to find the manual PDF for the system again. Maybe its the heat sink sensor that is inop?? idk, and would it does it work by comparing both sensors? So if one is inop it shuts the whole system down?


Can't dig anything up for a service manual either.
 

Maybe. I don't know this system's design very well. Since laptops don't conform to any standard, each design is proprietary and hard to speak for without prior experience with it. The OEM doesn't have any user or service manual PDF archived?
 
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