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  1. #1
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    Question Windows 7 Freezing randomly

    For some time now my computer has been prone to apparently random freezing. It happened a little while ago, so I'll try to give as much detail as I can.

    I had open MS Word, Firefox (showing Youtube) and IrfanView, which was waiting to scanfrom my MFP. I remembered IrfanView had trouble connecting to my scanner, so i wasn't troubled about the spinning circle.

    I went back to Firefox, then moved my mouse to the system tray. The Action Centre flag highlighted, but when I tried to click, nothing happened. I tried to select one of the open app buttons, and again nothing happened. I tried to close Firefox with the X button, and nothing happened.

    At this point I could scroll the web page up and down with keys and mouse but no Windows keys worked (e.g Winkey or Alt+TAB). I could click on a link, and the tab would indicate "Connecting" but nothing was returned. I could click Stop and Reload, and both buttons responded but the display did not change. After a few seconds, Firefox stopped responding to input, though mouse pointer would change on hovering over the Start button. Shortly after this all response stopped, though for a little while the mouse pointer would follow my movements.

    Eventually, the display completely froze. This pattern has been repeated at varying intervals for at least 3 months. I can not identify any application or combination of application. I had been using Google Chrome as my default browser. Aware that it's extravagant creation of processes can sometimes cause problems, I switched to Firefox, which has been generally better behaved, but the problem persists. Sometimes I can work for 3-4 hours with no trouble, other times the problem surfaces in 30 minutes.

    I've had a techie friend investigate the machine - he has tried all the usual stuff; we've also looked at the logs, a couple of known issues cropped up and I've applied the fixes. But nothing odd ever shows immediately prior to the machine freezing.

    Soon after I got this second-hand machine, the display would shut off after about 30 seconds into a video. I discovered I had placed the tower too close to my bookcase! So I wondered initially if the graphics card was misbehaving. However, my thinking now is that this is a Windows issue rather than a hardware or application issue. My reasoning is that the first functions to fail (i.e. System Tray, Taskbar, window buttons and switching) are all mediated by Explorer. It would also seem internet communication (again mediated by Windows) was next to fail.

    Sorry for the long explanation, but having tried lots fo things, I didn't want to be responding to a host of suggestions that I've already tried.

    The machine is HP Pavilion Media Center m7590. I purchased it with XP, but installed W7+SP1 shortly afterwards. It suddenly ran much faster! All drivers are up to date, and I have installed all Windows updates currently on offer.

    full details from Sysinfo are below.

    OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
    Version 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601
    System Manufacturer HP Pavilion 061
    System Model RC520AA-ABU m7590.uk
    System Type X86-based PC
    Processor Intel(R) Pentium(R) D CPU 3.40GHz, 3400 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
    BIOS Version/Date Phoenix Technologies, LTD 3.12, 17/04/2006
    SMBIOS Version 2.4
    Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
    Locale United Kingdom
    Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.1.7601.17514"
    Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 2.00 GB
    Total Physical Memory 2.00 GB
    Available Physical Memory 622 MB
    Total Virtual Memory 4.00 GB
    Available Virtual Memory 2.03 GB **This is following reboot - obviously I can't obtain this figure at the time of the crash!
    Page File Space 2.00 GB
    Page File D:\pagefile.sys


    Any suggestions would be most welcome

    Steve

  2. #2
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    You didn't mention opening up the box and blowing out the dust bunnies. Your description sounds a lot like a heat issue. A thorough cleaning together with reseating RAM sticks, hard drive and expansion card connections certainly wouldn't hurt.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  3. #3
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    I did open up the machine and clean it out when I received it, but I'll try again. I suppose I could also relocate the machine to see if that helps.

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    You don't seem to have a great deal of Available Physical Memory left out of that 2GB.

    Did the tech perform a clean boot http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135 - a defrag, or check to see if anything had been recorded in Event Viewer for the times of the freezes ?

    You can boot up into the BIOS to check the temps or download HWMonitor http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html

    While Win 7 will run okay with 2GB RAM, it's generally advised to upgrade that to 4GB.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    You don't seem to have a great deal of Available Physical Memory left out of that 2GB.

    Did the tech perform a clean boot http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135 - a defrag, or check to see if anything had been recorded in Event Viewer for the times of the freezes ?

    You can boot up into the BIOS to check the temps or download HWMonitor http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html

    While Win 7 will run okay with 2GB RAM, it's generally advised to upgrade that to 4GB.
    Yes, we did a clean boot, defrag, and checked the logs. On all the occasions I checked, nothing unusual appeared in the few minutes before freezing.

    I have performed a more thorough cleaning operation, and removed substantial amounts of fluff from the cooling fins on the CPU and GPU. I have removed and reseated all interface cards and memory sticks. I had just installed hwmonitor and left the room. When I returned the machine appeared to be frozen - no response to keyboard or mouse - although the clock did tick on another minute. I had set up the CPU/Memory sidebar gadget, but didn't have it visible. However, as I type this memory is stting at 65%.

    Fortunately HWmonitor was running as I left the room, so I attach a photo of the screen for your perusal. The temperatures do not seem excessive to me, though I'm happy to be corrected by someone with more hardware knowledge.
    HWmonitor screenshot.png
    Incidentally, I remember memory faults being one of the tech's suggestions, so I ran a full memtest (as provided with GRUB) and found no faults. Windows did recently run an automatic CHKDSK, which showed a number of errors, mostly indexing. But I'd guess that was a result of a crash with open files, rather than disl faults. I've run the disak analyser in Linux, and it shows no major issues.

    So what is my next step?

  6. #6
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    Since this is an older system and "for some time" may go back as far as the update, you may like to check out this article.

    I never incurred a BSOD but other graphic (freezing, blanking) and resource problems cropped up on the first 2 out of 3 older systems I installed that platform update on. The platform update also seems related to I.E.10, so both of those were forever banned on my old systems and they've been fine ever since.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    What settings are you using for your pagefile? System > Properties > Advanced system settings > Advanced tab > under Performance section, click the Settings button > under Performance Options click the Advanced tab > in the Virtual memory section it lists Total paging file size for all drives:

    >>>Edit—just re-read your OP, and I see that your page file is 4GB, which evidently means you have set the min/max at 4GB. Try doubling that to 8GB. With only 2GB RAM, you'll have lots of paging, depending on workload, that set size of 4GB may be jamming you up. And your temps look to be in normal ranges.<<<
    Last edited by bbearren; 2015-01-17 at 12:54.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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    If all of the freezes occur when you have a browser open then see if the Anvi Browser Repair Tool will do anything for you. http://www.anvisoft.com/browser-repair-tool.html

    Click on the relevant icon in the left pane to see what it resets for each.

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    >>>Edit—just re-read your OP, and I see that your page file is 4GB, which evidently means you have set the min/max at 4GB. Try doubling that to 8GB. With only 2GB RAM, you'll have lots of paging, depending on workload, that set size of 4GB may be jamming you up. And your temps look to be in normal ranges.<<<
    I'd add a 2nd 4GB page file to the other (C: ?) drive, so that you have 4GB on each.

    You might also see some 'smoothing' effect by using ReadyBoost on a large, fast USB flash drive: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/w...res/readyboost and http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...0-flash-memory

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post

    >>>Edit—just re-read your OP, and I see that your page file is 4GB, which evidently means you have set the min/max at 4GB. Try doubling that to 8GB. With only 2GB RAM, you'll have lots of paging, depending on workload, that set size of 4GB may be jamming you up. And your temps look to be in normal ranges.<<<
    I checked may pagefile settings: as is my habit, I created a partition (I think 20Gb) for use as scratch space (i.e. pagefile and TMP) I left Windows to manage the size of the pagefile on this partition, but turned of paging on C:. The dialog showed around 1300 Mb of and assigned 2300Mb in use.

    As an experiment, I ticked the box to allow Windows total control for all drives and rebooted. There was a slight reduction in physical memory usage (not really sure why that is, except at that point I hadn't opened Firefox!) other than that nothing changed. However, I have some more details of the odd behaviour - see new post at the end of the thread

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    So, I had Task Manager running always on top, and launched Firefox. Almost immediately I got an Not Responding - but it was using no CPU! I tried to close it with the X button, from Taskman Applications Tab and from Processes Tab. It would not end. In addition, Bitdefender showed as open in the Taskbar, and hovering over the button showed a preview of the UI window, but nothing showed on the desktop. I have the Desktop Bar minimised (i.e. just the label Desktop, with an arrow). I accidentally clicked on the arrow, and the usual menu window appeared with no content!

    I clicked on the Start Button (sorry - the Orb!) and the start menu opened, but I just got a Beep whenever I clicked anything. By now, non of the taskbar elements would respond to any action. By right-clicking on the Desktop, I was able to bring up the context menu and create a new folder. I could move the icons around the screen. I tried double-clicking icons and I got a spinning circle but no application windows. But right-clicking gave a menu and clicking Open started some applications (but not others). Most of those which did open seemed to behave normally - specifically I could move and resize windows, change focus etc. However, when I clicked the Update icon in Teamviewer, it presented Not Responding and is still in that state at least ten minutes later.

    suddenly, as i was typing the previous message, all of the Taskbar related activity suddenly caught up with me! (Though task manager took another several minutes to reappear.) I now see i have two Audacity processes open but inactive and Firefox has finally stopped. As with my attempts on Firefox, trying to kill Audacity produces no results.

    So in summary, it appears that some windows related functions go to sleep for an inderterminate period, then suddenly reawake, whilst others carry on as normal (Team viewer has this instant begun responding!)

    Any suggestions, short of reinstalling Windows 7?

  12. #12
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    Do you get the same problems in Safe Mode with Networking, as I've known of where Bitdefender had reduced a computer to a crawl.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    For a more definitive look at the innards, try opening an elevated Command Prompt and run

    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /Scanhealth

    This can take up to 15 minutes or perhaps longer to run; don't stop it or turn off your PC.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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