Vista desktop random freeze, dark screen, no cursor

By kw02 ยท 13 replies
Feb 14, 2012
Post New Reply
  1. HP Pavilion m8300f desktop 4 years old I'm working on for my brother has occasional freezes. I was referred here from the Virus and Malware folks because there's nothing they saw in the diagnostics.

    I reseated the memory, I've run the Vista memory test.
    I cleaned the innards and power supply of dust. Wasn't badly loaded.

    I have run hard drive diagnostics from Vista. I will run the WD hard drive test later tonight.

    I have changed from AVG to Avira antivirus today. It did give one blue screen when doing Avira scan and I believe the defragmenting was also running--with Vista it's hard to tell. There is one minidump record. Otherwise the computer just goes dark screen with no hard disk drive light showing any access.

    Where do I go from here?

    See attached mini.dmp

    Attached Files:

  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

  3. kw02

    kw02 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I'm having trouble with MemTest and getting it to boot. I downloaded from the page the bootable compiled iso version. I unzipped it and got the iso. I used Imgburn and put it on a CD-r.

    It won't boot in my old XP pro machine nor in the Vista machine I want to test.

    The Vista machine passed the built in HP diagnostics including a memory test. It's a group of tests from PC-doctor or some name like that.

    But I want to run the Memtest.

    The temp remover by Old-timers removed a boatload of temps. I had run the Microsoft accessory program to clean disk and I had run CCleaner. But this still removed lots.

    No new blue screen--just had one of those yesterday.
    But occasional freezes. I did find Avira froze on a scan on an AVG file with .exe extension. I ahd run the AVG remover after the Control Panel remover. I found file folders from 2012 and older versions of AVG, so I manually deleted those.
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Okay download one of the pre-built .iso files from here:

    The other source(s) seem to have problems with their files...
  5. kw02

    kw02 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Memtest worked

    That new link gave me a working CD.
    Memtest ran 47 passes and memory didn't show a failure.
    The hard drive passed W. Digital's hours long test from their test program.

    I will run a Diskcheck \f \r (I'll check the correct letters).
    I have not cleared the Virtual Memory file and done a file defragment as recommended.

    The computer has been on for a long time with no freeze.

    I am considering changing from Avira to AVAST or Windows Essentials, but I have experience with Avira that is positive.

    SpeedFan shows the hottest any internal thermometer got was 52 deg. C. and this is with hard drive running full busy doing scans.

    What next?
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    "I am considering changing from Avira to AVAST or Windows Security Essentials, but I have experience with Avira that is positive"...

    Windows Security Essentials does not interfere with Windows Defender or Windows Firewall like 3rd party antivirus programs do. This helps when multitasking or playing games. MSE re-enforces these built-in Windows programs. If your copy of Vista is fully updated, MSE would be a good choice
  7. kw02

    kw02 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Windows security essentials

    Installed Windows Security Essentials. Decided it might be more friendly to Vista Hm PRm.

    Had a couple of quirks solved by restarts and it finally updated correctly. Did quick scan. Then started a full scan.

    Found the computer rebooted about 20 minutes later. Tried to find things in event viewer to help. Closest I found was that program rundll32 stopped.

    I have auto restart on BSOD turned off. So this was something that just rebooted the PC back to the users logins.

    How can I trace further?
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    You might have to do a fresh re-install of Vista now... I had hoped we didn't have to do that :(
  9. kw02

    kw02 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hard drive problem? Power supply?

    Even though the hard drive passes WD's long tests and Vista's dskchk /f /r, I am suspecting the hard drive. I've unsnapped and resnapped SATA cables and the power cable.

    Returned the PC to the owner to use to see effect of all the housekeeping and cleaning done on the machine, including registry. After being cooled in the car for 10 minutes, the computer froze booting 3 times before it completely booted into windows. One freeze was BSOD, others were just freeze--no disk accessing.

    After running for a 20 minutes, on a reboot it also required one 5-second press on the power button to unfreeze and get it to completely reboot.

    It's a WD 320 gB hard drive. How can I determine if it's failing even though it passes WD's diagnostics several times?

    Power supply? I used SpeedFan to graph voltages and they all seemed as stable as could be.
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    "It's a WD 320 GB"...
    That's a pretty old drive... try just replacing it
  11. kw02

    kw02 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    freezes, reboots, trouble starting cold.

    I switched the hard drive for the other one as the initial boot drive. It has 2 320 GB drives.
    I recovered Vista Hm Prem to that relatively empty hard drive. It's on a new install of Vista.
    Greatly speeded up startup and getting to the user's desktop.

    Installing about 140 updates so far in groups.

    Still shows freezes, occasional blue reboot, minidumps attached. Real pattern is that for cold machine (71 deg) the lights flash and the hard drive doesn't run after the initial split second. The DVD drive shows blue flashes for a second longer. The fans inside the box run on CPU and box vent, but nothing comes up on the screen--no Press F11, etc., for recovery.

    Then the second time it goes longer but still the hard drive light didn't run again. 5-second press to turn off the power, then boot again and it makes it normally.

    Pattern is the computer freezes after the cold startup frequently, every few minutes while downloading updates. The longer it runs, e.g., 40 minutes, the freezes seem to disappear for the most part.

    I vote for power supply now that the hard drives have been eliminated. It's a 300 W. HP LITEON branding.

    Attached Files:

  12. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234



    Yes, replace the power supply
  13. kw02

    kw02 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Still trouble

    I replaced power supply.

    On start, it will flash drive light for a split second then after a couple seconds show the startup screen that gives normal pattern with choice reminders for F11, etc. Then goes to black screen normally. But stops there.
    On retry it will make it

    Then froze after few minutes. No Alt/F4 nor ctrl/alt/del would unfreeze it. So HP's troubleshooting says it's not software?

    Then i got a blue screen on next try part way through start up. Minidump attached. It said file system manager problem.

    Then did startup repair

    What else can cause a hardware problem like this? But the computer would run for hours after it's warm with sometimes a nonrecoverable freeze widely spaced in time.

    The date and time got lost and were on 2007. I had to reset before it would connect to internet or Windows Updates because the time would not check. Is this an indication the motherboard battery is bad? Can that cause the other problems?

    Attached Files:

  14. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    "The date and time got lost and were on 2007"

    Yes, replace the battery and make sure the time and date stay correct after doing this. If the date and time don't stay, the motherboard may be bad

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...