Try to give us as much information about your system and configuration as possible. This shows both a willingness to work through your problem, and a courtesy to those ready to help you. (It keeps us from spending 40 posts trying to rip the data outta you).
Here’s a list of sample questions that are useful when diagnosing a system.
- full description of problem
- THINGS I’VE TRIED SO FAR and to what effect
- full text of any error messages
- any other odd behavior in The Application or OS?
- when did this problem start?
- does it repeat with any Application files?
- location of the computer (Next to radiator, on volcano, floating on ocean, etc)
- Any pets/children with access to the machine?
- Was the machine recently moved or transported?
Is this a new system or new installation?
If not, provide:
- list of recent software installations
- list of recent software upgrades
- list of recent hardware changes
Pre1: Application Questions
a) What version of the application are you using?
b) What revision of the application are you using? (Ex Max4.2.6, XSI 2.5, Maya XXXI)
c) What Cdilla driver revision are you using? (For Max users)
d) Are you using…Direct3D, Heidi, Maxextreme, or OpenGL?
e) Have you recently upgraded a piece of hardware, installed the application on a second machine, or transferred a license?
f) Have you tried running software heidi by executing max with the 3dsmax.exe -h command line? Does the problem reoccur if you use software heidi?
g) Which 3rd party plugins are installed?
h) Do other programs other then the 3d application lockup/crash/explode/implode in similar fashions?
i) Are you overclocking the…Ram, FSB, CPU, PCI/AGP, or Video card(s) in
any manner, shape, form, or dimension?
1) Operating system plus any service packs installed.
a) Direct X version.
b) Any 3rd party overclocking utilities or video card utilities
[Ex. Windows 2000 Service Pack 2, Latest Via 4 in 1 drivers, AGP patch, Direct x 8.1, ]
2) Ram configuration and Ram Speed (# of dimms, where the dimms are, what speed, how big, branding of the memory)
[Ex. 4 Dimms of Cas 2, Registered, ECC, 512 Meg, Mushkin PC2100 DDR]
Motherboard, chipset information, processor speed, board revision
(Ex. Asus A7M266-D revision 1.0, AMD760MP, Dual 2000+ MP’s)
4a) Processor cooling, case cooling
4b) Current CPU Temp, Current System Temp (Found in bios, Press DEL upon bootup)
[Ex. Dual Alpha 8045’s, 38C Cpu temp, 27C System Temp, 1 intake fan, 2
Video card, drivers being used with the videocard, modifications done
[Ex. Geforce 4 (NV25), Nvidia 21.83, reference drivers, Rivatuner, Powerstrip]
Bios settings, AGP4x, AGP driving value.
[Ex. Default bios settings, AGP4X disabled, AGP driving value EA, Ram timings etc…]
Type of periphals in the computer (Soundcard, Scsi card)
[Ex. Hercules XP gaming theater, 3com 905B Nic]
Wattage of power supply
[Ex. 550 Watt Entermax Whisper Power supply]
There is also a troubleshooting faq at 3dluvr.com
If your too lazy to go. Here’s a quick synopsis.
- Run Memtest (www.memtest86.com)
a) 2-3 passes
One error indicates a possible ram timing/speed setting wrong. Multiple errors tend to indicate bad ram. Replace ASAP. Depending on the “mem size” of the error location you can sometimes tell which dimm is bad in a multi-dimm configuration without individually testing every single dimm. (Ex. You have 1024 megs of ram[4x256], and an error occured at 675 megs. This would indicate dimm three was damaged. Remove and test dimm 3 individually)
Do note that memtest requires that you actively end it. If you don’t tell it to stop, it’ll keep going until the end of the universe.
- Use utilities like Sisoft sandra, 3dmark 2001 SE, and specviewperf to diagnose certain areas.
Check all the cables in the system. Check them again. Check them a third time. Inspect for nicks/cuts/scrapes of electrical cords, especially IDE/SCSI/SATA cords. A .1 mm nick can render drive errors. Make sure all cables are SEATED properly.
Check that all cards are seated properly.
Check the ram seating. Are you using dimm’s 0/1 first? Or did you put the ram in reverse order?
Make sure the processor heatsinks are firmly attached, and that there are no air gaps between the sink and the core of the cpu. Make sure that thermal paste/grease/tape was used between the two mediums.
Clean out dust. All fans, vents, pcb’s, heatsinks. Removing dust not only increases thermal efficency, but quiets down the system as well.
If you have spare parts available, try them. A spare psu and video card can shave hours off of troubleshooting time.
Use the godfather of troubleshooting.
Actually use the microsoft knowledge database.
Remember, for us to help you, you’ve gotta help us. Otherwise simple problems can take days to solve.
Looking for even more troubleshooting information? Check out these other forums!
Also don’t forget www.aceshardware.com, www.ars-technica.com, www.hardforum.com , www.2-cpu.com as excellent forum references.