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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Programs hang when releasing control

    I have an XP machine that has been plagued by programs freezing at seemingly random intervals.

    Specifically it's my browsers (firefox, chrome) and big applications (XL, Word, Photoshop, Illustrator).

    All my updates are done, system scanned for malware, used memtest to check the RAM, recently replaced system hard disc and the problem carried over - which suggests it's software based.

    The only common link I can find is that the freezes seem to happen when the programs call something external and it releases control back to them. For example I print to a PDF. The PDF file is created and opens in the PDF viewer. Close that and go back - and find the original program is frozen. Or open a couple of tabs in firefox - one of them tries to load a video, and then Firefox hangs. I'll reload the browser, and the same tabs - and this time they're fine.

    The maddening thing is it's not consistent - no absolute sequence I can identify that will trigger a freeze. Just 'mostly it seems to happen when'....

    Any wild ideas on what might be causing this? I'm out of new ones and willing to look at anything.

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  3. #2
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    I would probably think it might be RAM related. If you have multiple RAM chips, I would probably try to determine if any of them is malfunctioning (tests do not always determine that), by removing one or more of the chips and check whether the problem is solved or not.

    If you can't do that, or the procedure does not allow you to find something wrong, I would probably consider a non destructive repair install.

  4. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    I've had success getting problems related to freezes and hangs by defragging the page or swap file. Most defrag programs don't touch this file, but Perfect Disk is the program I've found and used for years to get this done. It's not cheap, but, I've found it safe and reliable and it just plain does what it says.
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  5. #4
    Star Lounger
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    Thank you for the replies

    re Pagefile defrag:
    Never had problewms like this from the pagefile. As an aside - Rather than defrag the page file my preferred method is to turn off virtual memory and reboot into safe-mode. This removes the page file. I then do a thorough defrag (using MyDefrag), and reboot - then turn on virtual memory again. I specify the minimum and maximum sizes to be the same (1.5 or 2x system RAM). This causes the pagefile to be created in a single fixed-size contiguous chunk.

    But that hasn't helped this problem. :-(

    RAM - I did recently take out a strip of RAM when it failed. Can't remember whether that was before or after this problem started. I'll try your suggestion ruirib. The system has a 1GB and a 512MB strip. I look forward to runing XP on 512MB for a day - It'll be like 2006 all over again ....

  6. #5
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    Let us know how it goes.

  7. #6
    5 Star Lounger Maudibe's Avatar
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    What kind of graphics are you running? If integrated, it will take a nice bite out of available system memory especially when using more graphic intense programs. If you can justify the expense, max out the RAM and throw in a low end graphics card with a fair amount of available VRAM. Should see some improvement.

    Maud

  8. #7
    Star Lounger
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    You don't need PerfectDisk for this. Download and install PageFileDefrag from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/s.../bb897426.aspx , and set it to run at every startup. It will add only a few seconds to the startup time, but ensures that the page file, hibernate file (if you use that), and various other system files are always in one fragment only. Totally free, and well worth it.

  9. #8
    New Lounger
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    you said, recently replaced system hard disc
    did you update the mother board drivers?
    is your xp version running on spk3?
    in device manager check all devices for irq address conflicts.
    check task manager for ram and cpu usage on booting into windows

  10. #9
    Star Lounger
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    At the risk of stating the obvious, Fred Langa discusses this problem (or at least a similar one) in the WS of 18/10/2012.

  11. #10
    Star Lounger
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    Just to close up the thread: I think it must have been RAM related - possibly just a badly seated stick. I took out the ram sticks and tried each one individually for a day without problems, then replaced them one at a time and have been OK for the past few couple of weeks. Weird, but apparently solved

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