At the end of my rope

#1 Edited by Epidehl (284 posts) -

So back in May, I took it upon myself to build a PC so I could do some PC gaming. Steam sounded awesome, and I really wanted to play Diablo 3. Got some help from a friend, and everything went smoothly up until about August/September. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but the end result was, everything my PC got kind of fucked and it would blue screen or otherwise crash after seconds of being on and wiping/reinstalling Windows did nothing. At some point, it seemed that either my copy of Windows 7 was corrupted or my HDD was garbage.

Not wanting to spend my money then, I have since replace the HDD with a SSD, and have bought a brand-new copy of Windows 7. The installation went fine, the desktop started up, and then BAM! Blue screen and restart within seconds.

My question is, is there any surefire way to fix this without starting completely from scratch? I've spent some money on this already and really don't want to have to spend more. If more specifics are needed I'll see what I can do.

Sorry if this is a little rant-y, I really needed to vent.

Edit: Got everything running, doesn't seem to crash (for now, though I'll keep an eye on it). However, every time I start up I now get this:

So I installed the the drivers I've got off the two discs I have, restarted the computer and it took a real long time "Preparing my desktop", came up, black background, and this error message:

"Location is not available

C:\\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable. It could be on a hard drive on this computer, or on a network. Check to make sure that the disk is properly insterted, or that you are connected to the Internet or your network, and then try again. If it cannot be located, the information might have been moved to a different location."

And if I try to open and file (like Documents):

"Explorer.EXE

The server process could not be started because the configured identity is incorrect. Check the username and password."

Edit 2: And now this seems to have solved itself after another reboot. Gonna let things sit for a while and update or whatever.

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#2 Posted by IceColdGamer (604 posts) -

Sounds like bad RAM. Cheap and easy fix.

What's the Blue Screen say?

#3 Posted by murse2008 (239 posts) -

Have you checked that the memory, GPU and CPU are correctly seated on the motherboard? Are all the fans inside the case spinning? Have you made any specific changes to the BIOS settings? Try thinking back to the time the problems started and figure out what changed.

#4 Posted by MAGZine (435 posts) -

@Epidehl: This sounds like a RAM problem to me. Your Windows 7 disk should have some recovery tools, and one of them is a memory checker. Let that run overnight.

#5 Posted by MAGZine (435 posts) -

@murse2008 said:

Have you checked that the memory, GPU and CPU are correctly seated on the motherboard? Are all the fans inside the case spinning? Have you made any specific changes to the BIOS settings? Try thinking back to the time the problems started and figure out what changed.

this is also not a bad idea. Reseat everything. Use compressed air if you have it to blow out slots. Use a clean lint-free cloth to wipe down any gold plated connectors. Most importantly: GROUND YOURSELF. don't do any of this where static is a possibility.

#6 Posted by myketuna (1644 posts) -

@MAGZine said:

@Epidehl: This sounds like a RAM problem to me. Your Windows 7 disk should have some recovery tools, and one of them is a memory checker. Let that run overnight.

I would also say its RAM. I've never had a problem with it myself *knocks on wood*, but that's usually the first thing you should check. I believe both of the PCs that were built by the Tested guys for Gary and Jeff had RAM issues that were fixed by replacing the RAM sticks. Pretty common problem it seems.

#7 Posted by MAGZine (435 posts) -

@Epidehl said:

So back in May, I took it upon myself to build a PC so I could do some PC gaming. Steam sounded awesome, and I really wanted to play Diablo 3. Got some help from a friend, and everything went smoothly up until about August/September. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but the end result was, everything my PC got kind of fucked and it would blue screen or otherwise crash after seconds of being on and wiping/reinstalling Windows did nothing. At some point, it seemed that either my copy of Windows 7 was corrupted or my HDD was garbage.

Not wanting to spend my money then, I have since replace the HDD with a SSD, and have bought a brand-new copy of Windows 7. The installation went fine, the desktop started up, and then BAM! Blue screen and restart within seconds.

My question is, is there any surefire way to fix this without starting completely from scratch? I've spent some money on this already and really don't want to have to spend more. If more specifics are needed I'll see what I can do.

Sorry if this is a little rant-y, I really needed to vent.

Oh, and also, never be afraid to ask questions about your PC. There are lots of knowledgable people around here (read: PC vets) that probably could've resolved your issue the first go-round. On the other hand, now you have an SSD. ^^ From your issue, I would've guessed the HDD to be the last thing causing issues.

#8 Posted by Sin4profit (2903 posts) -

@IceColdGamer said:

Sounds like bad RAM. Cheap and easy fix.

What's the Blue Screen say?

this; i've built more then one computer where i bought bad RAM. Bought it through Amazon, the return / replacement was real easy.

When building a new computer, expect to get bad RAM and when you run into this problem single out the RAM in your machine by installing one stick at a time to find the bad one and get a replacement.

#9 Posted by Epidehl (284 posts) -

@IceColdGamer: The blue screen did say "MEMORY [Something]", it passed really fast so didn't quite catch it.

@murse2008: Haven't changed any BIOS settings besides to boot from disc so I could install windows. Thinking back, I believe I did install the fans in it around that time. I've unplugged them for now.

@MAGZine: Just started that up and am letting it run now.

Thanks for the quick responses guys! And if it IS a RAM problem, any recommended places to buy/brands/anything? I buy most of my stuff from Amazon since I have Prime, but wasn't sure if maybe there's somewhere else I should get it from.

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#10 Edited by MAGZine (435 posts) -

@Epidehl: newegg.com, ncix.com -- check prices. If amazon is cheaper, go with them.

Any big brandname is good: corsair, OCZ, G.SKILL, Mushkin (kinda), Patroit, Kingston.

I prefer the first 3 brands.

e: us.ncix.com (my Canadian was showing)

#11 Edited by therealnelsk (275 posts) -

Ugh, dude I just wish you would have asked sooner if you really did go out and buy a new widows 7 copy (the SSD can totally be put to good use). I'd hate to see someone wanting to get into PC gaming get turned away by something like this. That absolutely sounds like some busted RAM, which unfortunately happens all the time. The first thing I do when I get any new ram is run Memtest on each stick one by one for a day. Anything bad turns up, I just RMA it and get some new sticks straight away. I recommend you do the same.

Corsair is my go to. I've had more bad experiences with Patriot than good.

Building a PC is the most accessible it's been right now, in terms of cost and construction, but sometimes you'll just hit a wall. Try not to panic, and hit up the typical message boards for troubleshooting. It's really worth the extra effort.

EDIT: I apparently linked to this thread somehow in my memtest link. Fixed it.

#12 Edited by Epidehl (284 posts) -

Alright, I used the Memory Check tool from the Windows disc and it didn't seem to find anything. Logged in fine afterwards and I'm letting it sit at the desktop for now to see if anything happens. I might try installing my drivers if it seems okay.

The only thing I've changed was unplugging ONE of the fans (since the rest were already unplugged apparently), and double-checking to make sure the RAM was in right, which it seemed to be.

@M3RPHY: Yeah, I'm wishing I'd asked sooner as well. The main things were a) I wasn't really "active" on the forums at the time and b) the friend who helped me build the PC in the first place seemed pretty knowledgeable and had been helpful in the past. The HDD and Windows replacements were recommendations from him.

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#13 Posted by mustachioeugene (498 posts) -

@M3RPHY said:

Ugh, dude I just wish you would have asked sooner if you really did go out and buy a new widows 7 copy (the SSD can totally be put to good use). I'd hate to see someone wanting to get into PC gaming get turned away by something like this. That absolutely sounds like some busted RAM, which unfortunately happens all the time. The first thing I do when I get any new ram is run Memtest on each stick one by one for a day. Anything bad turns up, I just RMA it and get some new sticks straight away. I recommend you do the same.

Corsair is my go to. I've had more bad experiences with Patriot than good.

I fully support everything said in the above comment.

#14 Posted by believer258 (11563 posts) -

@Epidehl said:

Alright, I used the Memory Check tool from the Windows disc and it didn't seem to find anything. Logged in fine afterwards and I'm letting it sit at the desktop for now to see if anything happens. I might try installing my drivers if it seems okay.

The only thing I've changed was unplugging ONE of the fans (since the rest were already unplugged apparently), and double-checking to make sure the RAM was in right, which it seemed to be.

@M3RPHY: Yeah, I'm wishing I'd asked sooner as well. The main things were a) I wasn't really "active" on the forums at the time and b) the friend who helped me build the PC in the first place seemed pretty knowledgeable and had been helpful in the past. The HDD and Windows replacements were recommendations from him.

Wait, you've unplugged the fans? As in, they're not working? The computer's fans should stay plugged in.

#15 Edited by Murtaug (308 posts) -

Having built four computers in the past six months, two of which had very similar issues, this really sounds like a RAM issue to me. Hopefully you bought good RAM from some place like Crucial, a lot of the generic brands just do not offer the guarantee that names like Crucial do. In both cases where the computers I built were crashing, a simple RMA of the RAM to Crucial solved the problem.

And as others have said, take a good careful look through every thing in your case and make sure all cables are attached tightly and to the correct places on the motherboard. Remove and inspect both the motherboard connector and the gold connections on the video card. Make sure your RAM is properly seated, some times it might feel like a stick of RAM has snapped into place but it might be at a slightly off angle or perhaps not pushed fully into the slot.

Good luck, building your own computer can be a bitch, but it can be a very rewarding experience too. Any questions you do not get answered here, maybe try over at the Tested.com boards. If you are completely stuck, feel free to shoot me a PM, I will try to help you with what I can or at least get you pointed in the right direction.

EDIT: *READ ME* - You have no fans plugged in right now? If that is the case, shut the PC off and get all fans plugged into appropriate power connectors and running. You want flow running through the case, so make sure fans are blowing in one direction. If you are running with out any fans at all you may just be running into an overheating issue. This could damage your CPU and other components!

#16 Posted by therealnelsk (275 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@Epidehl said:

Alright, I used the Memory Check tool from the Windows disc and it didn't seem to find anything. Logged in fine afterwards and I'm letting it sit at the desktop for now to see if anything happens. I might try installing my drivers if it seems okay.

The only thing I've changed was unplugging ONE of the fans (since the rest were already unplugged apparently), and double-checking to make sure the RAM was in right, which it seemed to be.

@M3RPHY: Yeah, I'm wishing I'd asked sooner as well. The main things were a) I wasn't really "active" on the forums at the time and b) the friend who helped me build the PC in the first place seemed pretty knowledgeable and had been helpful in the past. The HDD and Windows replacements were recommendations from him.

Wait, you've unplugged the fans? As in, they're not working? The computer's fans should stay plugged in.

Agreed! Unplugging the fans is not a way to get your computer to start running! At the least, you should make sure your CPU fan is powered and on.

#17 Edited by Epidehl (284 posts) -

@believer258: Well, my concern was that I'd somehow messed something up way back when I first plugged them in, so, just to get things back to how they were when my computer last worked I unplugged them for now. If my computer keeps running, I'll shut it down, plug 'em back in and keep going.

I should clarify that up until JUST NOW, there have been fans in, and the CPU fan is still plugged in and running. I installed extra ones at about the time that everything went wrong. I'm almost sure it's not an overheating issue. Though, okay, I'll shut down and plug them back in!

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#18 Edited by Epidehl (284 posts) -

So I installed the the drivers I've got off the two discs I have, restarted the computer and it took a real long time "Preparing my desktop", came up, black background, and this error message:

"Location is not available

C:\\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop refers to a location that is unavailable. It could be on a hard drive on this computer, or on a network. Check to make sure that the disk is properly insterted, or that you are connected to the Internet or your network, and then try again. If it cannot be located, the information might have been moved to a different location."

Edit: And now if I try to open and file (like Documents):

"Explorer.EXE

The server process could not be started because the configured identity is incorrect. Check the username and password."

Online
#19 Edited by Snail (8574 posts) -

Buying Windows 7 again was a bit of a waste of money. You could've gotten Ubuntu on a CD, and format/install that OS. That way you would know if the issue was with Windows, right? Guess it's a bit late for this suggestion though.

Also don't spend way too much money on RAM. I'm not sure what the pricing should be in the US, but if I'm not mistaken you shouldn't be paying a lot more than 30$ for 8 Gigs of RAM. Additionally heat sinks don't really matter on RAMs and those without them tend to be a bit cheaper, so if you find a good deal from a reputable brand don't hesitate because of a lack of shiny metal plates.

#20 Posted by Marmalade (192 posts) -

I was in this exact situation last week, getting constant blue screens with a "Memory Management" problem. I suspected the ram, like a couple have already suggested to you, and bought new sticks and installed them a couple days ago; have been running fine ever since.

#21 Posted by Epidehl (284 posts) -

And now this seems to have solved itself after another reboot. Gonna let things sit for a while and update or whatever.

This seems like as good a time as any to ask, but when this thing does get back up and running I'm obviously gonna get Steam back on it. I've got all my games/saves and stuff backed up on an external hard drive, and was curious exactly WHAT files I'm gonna need to copy back over to get what I need. Since I've got 212GB of space on this SSD I want to make sure I've only got what I need.

Online
#22 Posted by Vextroid (1354 posts) -

@Epidehl said:

And now this seems to have solved itself after another reboot. Gonna let things sit for a while and update or whatever.

This seems like as good a time as any to ask, but when this thing does get back up and running I'm obviously gonna get Steam back on it. I've got all my games/saves and stuff backed up on an external hard drive, and was curious exactly WHAT files I'm gonna need to copy back over to get what I need. Since I've got 212GB of space on this SSD I want to make sure I've only got what I need.

the folder 'steamapps' and the Steam.exe file. Steam can rebuild itself.

#23 Posted by Barrock (3525 posts) -

Under your BIOS, where is Network located in the boot sequence?

#24 Posted by Epidehl (284 posts) -

@Barrock: Nowhere, insofar as I can remember. Pretty sure it's just SSD, CD-DVD Drive, and... blank in the 3rd spot. Either way, it's started up fine and updating now, really have no idea what was going on with that error.

@Vextroid: Thanks!

And really, thanks to everybody in this thread. Even if this thing blows up tomorrow, you guys were fast and a great help, took a LOT of stress off me, I couldn't ask for a better community of support!

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#25 Edited by hussatron (189 posts) -

Did the blue screens stop after unplugging a fan? I wonder if its an issue with the power supply. Not that fans use much power, and I still think it's the RAM, but what's the maximum power output of your power supply (something like 380W or 500W)?

#26 Posted by Epidehl (284 posts) -

@hussatron: I'm not sure actually, on either count. By the time it got back up and running, I plugged... 2 of the fans back in, not counting the CPU fan which was never unplugged, one intake, one exhaust. As of now there's no blue screens, and it's been running way longer than it did last time I got them.

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