So, about three months ago my computer stopped detecting it's peripherals. When this happened I took it to Best Buy and got it sent off to HP for repair. HP replaced the mobo, the processor, the processor fan, and the HDD. When I got it back it began having this (completely) random full system freeze. The computer completely freezes like you took a screenshot and any sound that is playing starts skipping on the note that it froze at. It seems completely random when it happens. Sometimes 30mins after the computer starts up, while playing a game or online, and sometimes even happens while the computer is still starting up. I took it back to Best Buy and they said it must be my videocard so we upgraded it, but it still happens. So, they said it must be my HDD so we upgraded that. Then they said it must be a grounding issue in my apt and they sold me a really expensive UPS - still freezes. They claim that they are unable to recreate the problem in store and that it must be a vista problem, or a program I am running. Which doesn't make sense because I ran Vista for a year on this computer with no problems at all, and the computer has even frozen in safemode with a clean install of windows. I am at a loss. This is the nicest of my three computers, and if I replace a computer I would much rather that it is one of the older ones, if you know what I mean. When it is not frozen it runs like a champ! All my drivers are up to date, I have tried the computer with a different monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers, powerstrip, in a different room, and it continues to happen. It freezes when I am playing a game, or when it is idle. It will freeze during startup, or after being on without problems for three hours. Before it freezes there is no indication that it is going to happen. It just, all of a sudden, freezes and requires a hardboot.
and, the new video card is an ATI Radeon HD 4350
the new harddrive is a 1TB SATA WD Caviar Green 3gb/s
I have been dealing with the "geek squad" for about three months now, and they are telling me there is nothing they can do because they can't recreate the problem in-store. I am kind of pulling my hair out, so any help would be most appreciated!
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Sounds like a high-priority process is grabbing hold of the system and not letting go.
Try using ProcessLasso or some other process control program. "TaskManager" (ctrl+shift+esc) or Microsoft/Sysinternals "ProcessExplorer" may help you identify which process is at involved. You can then either 'lasso' that process or terminate it and see if the problem stops. If it does, you can focus on fixing that process and related programs. You can also use the graphing functions in TaskManager or better, "ProcessExplorer". These can show you graphically which proces is hogging processor cycles.
You should make sure that only the absolutely essential programs startup at boot. If you're using one browser (e.g. InternetExplorer) try using a different one (e.g. Firefox), or don't use one at all for awhile and see if the problem goes away. If it does go away, it would suggest a multi-media app within the browser might be implicated and you can focus on that.
If this is something that started suddenly at a specific point in time, it might have been caused by an automatic or manual software upgrade (like a video player). Sometimes the latest drivers can even cause problems, not solve them, and backing out a driver update can eliminate the problem. I've seen this several times with video card driver updates. Process-hog Anti-virus programs can also cause similar symptoms.
If possible, you might try a system restore to a date before the problem first occurred, although you may no longer have this option with all the changes Geek Squad has performed. (however, also realize using System Restore can have severe consequences and you should understand them before you use the procedure. (E.G. all updates (drivers, security, etc) installed since that date will be purged from the system and you will have to re-install them...ideally one at a time so you can determine which one caused the problem...assuming that after the system restore the problem does in fact go away)
edit to add: URLs and ID more process control utlities
edit to add: You should also determine if you performed any FIRMWARE updates that could contribute to this type of problem. Again, sometimes installing the lastest firmware on a card or device can cause problems, not improve things. I've seen this exact same symptom with video card, motherboard, and CD/DVD drive firmware updates that had to be backed-out to eliminate the problem.
Thanks for the advice! but, as I stated. It is not a process that is causing this. It freezes in safemode and freezes with a fresh install with nothing but windows on it. I have already ruled that out, but thank you for the quick reply and clear answer.
And, to the first poster... how would I go about checking if it is my RAM or PSU?
Those do not automatically rule out process environment issues, as they still depend on the software installed on the computer, and interactions between the software and the installed hardware. And, as I indicated the intent of exploring in detail what is happening with processes isn't just to ID a mis-behaving process, but to ID a mis-behaving environment in which a given process may be involved and provide clues as to where to go from there. As I indicated, having the latest drivers can be the actual cause of a problem rather than ensure your software environment will operate properly. So, freezing in a "fresh install" isn't a 100% definitive diagnostic in these cases if you've included the latest drivers in the "fresh install".
BTW, exploring what is happening at the process level also IDs how much CPU and RAM is being used by a given process, and if any spike in RAM or Pagefile usage is occurring due to that process. Again, it can provide clues as to where the actual problem may originate.
Reanna Perez said: Thanks for the advice! but, as I stated. It is not a process that is causing this. It freezes in safemode and freezes with a fresh install with nothing but windows on it. I have already ruled that out, but thank you for the quick reply and clear answer.
And, to the first poster... how would I go about checking if it is my RAM or PSU?
Thanks John, for clarifying! I will definitely follow your advice then. I thought that since it was a new harddrive, with a new windows on it that it meant that it should be in 'new' condition. I'll begin work on your suggestions and post back here with updates.
Any other ideas anyone has would still be appreciated in case this doesn't work.
Oh, and part of what I meant by 'ruled that out' I had already gone through the windows task manager processes and eliminated anything that wasn't vital and the problem still occured. I will try the links you suggested, though. Thanks again.
John has offered some good advice, but I'll throw in my 2 cents. When this type of problem is suspected to be software related, I often advise people to boot an Ubuntu Live cd. This will eliminate Windows completely & allow you to put the computer through a number of tests. If the system is stable under the Linux environment then you've got a software problem. If you still experience crashes & lockups, you're more than likely looking at a hardware problem. I've successfully used this technique a number of times in the past. It's not foolproof, but I'd estimate that it's effective about 80% of the time.
My HP laptop has a memory test app built into the BIOS. I'm assuming that the desktops would have a similar option. That's probably the easiest way to test the RAM. Next easiest would be something like Memtest86. Finally, you can try removing 1 stick of RAM to see if the system will stabilize, then try the other. I'm pretty sure HP always splits the RAM into 2 modules, so you should be able to try this.
habs fan thus shows I've been off HWA for too long. Using Ubuntu is definitely a good and easy diagnostic to perform when trying to rule-out many Windows v. hardware problems. You can also try booting the UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD) test suite CD/DVD. Both are FREEWARE (of course both groups appreciate donations). It also takes Windows out of the equation and comes with dozens of tests for memory, system, cpu, peripherals, etc. See the websites for more info. There's also a version that can be run from within Windows (UBCD4Win), but that's not what you want in this case. Note that there's a version you can load onto a USB memory stick and run it from there if your system supports booting from USB. Can also boot from a floppy. Either one bypasses any possible CD/DVD problems. http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ (non-Windows boot - also can boot from USB) http://www.ubcd4win.com/howto.htm
habs fan said: ....I'll throw in my 2 cents. When this type of problem is suspected to be software related, I often advise people to boot an Ubuntu Live cd. This will eliminate Windows completely & allow you to put the computer through a number of tests....