I'm pretty sure I've finally found and solved the problem.
It wasn't Blender, thank goodness. I would like to apologize to the developers.
I'm sorry. I originally suspected Blender because until recently it was the
only program that was exhibiting the exact behavior I was discussing.
Then the other night, Firefox crashed twice with a page fault. On a hunch,
I looked at the register information, and the segment registers were giving
the same values as were in some of Blender's crashes.
First I thought it was my RAM. I tested it a couple of times, it was fine.
Changed the RAM modules around, didn't help.
Finally I decided to look at my CPU temp in the CMOS after a Blender
crash. It was 70-75 degrees celsius.
I had assumed that heat issues would exhibit themselves as system
crashes (IE, blue screens). Apparently, most of the Windows
programs that run on my machine don't seem to really work the CPU.
Except of course for Blender. I didn't realize just how much it does work
the CPU until I solved the heat problem. Over the last 2 years, I'd barely
touched the CPU heatsink/fan assembly and it had collected A LOT of dust.
I was afraid to try to clean it, because the CPU underneath was so fragile.
Finally I got up the courage, and cleaned both the heatsink and the fan.
Left the machine a couple of hours and plugged it back in. This time, I got
CPU temp readings in the mid 50's to about 60-a good bit cooler than what
it was before I cleaned it.
Booted up Windows 98, and loaded Blender with the file that had been constantly
crashing during render. This time, it rendered just fine.
It also rendered without crashing in Linux when I tried it.
I've rendered the file several times since and have yet to get another crash. While
I'm not 100% sure the problem is gone, it's looking very good, and I'm
Thank God I don't have to give up Windows 98 just yet. Right now, I don't
really have the dough to upgrade, and I've had trouble managing Linux.
Still, I will probably have to upgrade at some point.
Again, I apologize to the devs for blaming Blender for the crashes. I really
like the program, and I hope Windows 98 support will continue for the time
stiv wrote:3)heat - add another fan if components seem to run hot.
Way to go, stiv! That was the problem. Thanks to you and everyone else
who offered advice.
I was wondering if I could ask one more question. I need some help
getting Blender to build on my machine. I don't really have to build it now,
but I'd really like to learn how just the same. Whom or where should I
ask for help?