I am writing this from an HP e9180f computer. It is not crashing. This is not something I thought I was ever likely to write.
- disable Onboard 1394 (Firewire) in the BIOS
- do a clean install of Windows 10
Discussion and Background
It may be that disabling 1394 is all you actually need to do. I don't know. If you read online, you will find (in usual fashion) posting after posting about new BIOS versions, taking the case apart and putting in a new fan, etc. etc.
Here's the short story of my e9180f:
- bought it in 2009 (I think) with Windows Vista. could never get it to be stable.
- upgraded to Windows 7. could never get it to be stable.
- upgraded to Windows 10 in 2016. was initially unstable until I made some changes.
- now appears to be running without crashing
The e9180f is part of a family of HP Pavilion Elite machines that were so unstable there was a class-action suit.
The documentation on the HP site is gone, but you can read e.g.
- ZDNet - HP ordered to repair defective Pavilion Elite desktop PCs - January 4, 2012
- Class Action Lawsuits in the News - Hewlett-Packard HP Pavilion Elite Desktop Class Action Lawsuit Settlement - June 1, 2011
- ComputerWorld - Lawsuit claims HP PCs suffer constant lockups, crashes - Nov 16, 2009
It even had its own website, www.HPEliteDesktopSettlement.com - now long gone, but preserved at Archive.org - https://web.archive.org/web/20111220121242/http://www.hpelitedesktopsettlement.com/
It would be ironic if all of this ended up to be down to a flaky 1394 controller that was never diagnosed.
I don't know where exactly I found the advice about the port, probably this HP Support Forums post - Pavilion Elite e9180f freezes, crashes, BSOD.
I haven't upgraded my BIOS, I'm running 5.13
I did however as mentioned disable Onboard 1394
I am running on a Windows 10 upgrade, with multiple layers of legacy cruft from the original Windows Vista full of HP pre-installed programs, and the Windows 7 upgrade on top of that, with many many crashes.
You'd be much better off just doing a completely clean Windows 10 install.
I don't know if you actually need to do anything other than that, but anyway here's the extra clean up I did...
- deleted almost all pre-installed programs and services from HP
- uninstalled the Norton Security that I had been running (now just using Windows 10 security)
- replaced all 32-bit programs that I could with 64-bit versions, including 64-bit Firefox and Chrome (it may take some extra effort to find the 64-bit versions; they often default to downloading the 32-bit versions)
- disabled a bunch of start-up check stuff (Adobe Updater, Java Updater)
In general I ran Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DELETE, select Task Manager, select More Details) and looked at Processes and eliminated all the 32 bit ones I could.
I mostly run Chrome rather than Firefox as Chrome seems to have a smaller footprint.
I think what was happening is the 1394 controller would error out in critical ways. This would reflect the behaviour, which was mostly that it would crash when doing interactive I/O things (using mouse and keyboard) while being stable for doing incredibly intensive but non-interactive things (like the Windows 7 and Windows 10 upgrades).
Buried in Windows 10 you can get more info about what the system sees, I do this by going to the Start Menu, selecting Settings, then searching for reliability and clicking View reliability history (there's probably an easier way to get to this function). Since making the changes the computer is completely stable, including when running a very large map in Minecraft, which is fairly resource taxing (and actually crashes on some other lower-powered computers).
With its i7 920 CPU providing 4 physical cores (8 logical cores) at 2.67 GHz and the fancy three banks of 3GB of RAM, even 7 years after I bought it this computer performs well. I'm glad I kept it around as it can now replace my old Vista machine as it was always intended to.
In the unlikely event you happen to find an HP e9180f second-hand for sale (presumably extremely cheap), hopefully the above advice will help you to get it to work again.