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Windows XP: Freezes randomly way too much

By Kirei Blossom ยท 9 replies
Mar 8, 2005
  1. Hi,

    During the past month, my computer keeps freezing way way too much.. and its completely random and doesn't matter what I'm doing at the time. I've tried system restores and everything, but it doesn't solve the problem.

    Right before freezing, the cursor becomes huge and I can't click anything, and then a few minutes later the computer freezes. When I turn it off and on again, it always freezes again during startup, so I have to go into Safe Mode and shut it down from there, after which it boots up and works fine again. But freezes again within half an hour to one hour.

    What should I do? I can't pinpoint any software problems. The only change to new software has been that I've got a new Wireless Internet connection now. Could that be a problem? But the computer still freezes even if the antenna wire isn't plugged in.

    Would reformatting solve the problem or do I have any other options?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,070

    You should look in System event log for error messages .
    You can also turn off programs that start auto matically in msconfig,then turn them on one at a time after a reboot. Run you system awhile to test. with some patience you will discover what causes your problem.
  3. HeddaLora

    HeddaLora TS Rookie Posts: 17

    That's an excellent place to start.

    You might also try doing some basic maintenance. Here's a little checklist:

    -- Delete all temp files (c:\windows\temp\*.tmp, or on XP C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp)

    -- Delete temporary internet files (c:\windows\temporary internet files\*.*, or on XP C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files)

    -- If you use I.E., click on Tools, Internet Options, Delete Files, select "delete all off-line content", click OK

    -- Click on Start, Programs, Accessories, Systems Tools, Disk Cleanup

    -- Download AdAware, check for updates, run it and remove whatever it finds

    -- Download Diskeeper and defrag

    -- Download, update and turn on SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard (or your spyware removal tool of choice).
  4. Kirei Blossom

    Kirei Blossom TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 172

    Okay, thanks. Where do I find the System event log?

    And instead of running Diskeeper, can I just run the Disk Defrag located in Accessories>>System tools??

    Also, I'm thinking of just fixing the problem by reformatting.. Of course its a real pain to load all the data again, but do you think it would solve the problem?
  5. mijcar

    mijcar TS Rookie

    Freezing Windows

    To view event log, easiest way to get there first time is simply open the Windows Help Screen (Start>Help and Support). Then search for "event viewer". You will be let to one or two screens, one of which which take you straight to the event viewer itself.

    Before you reformat, try cleaning your computer. I found myself fixing a forced shutdown by vacuuming out my notebook (a suggestion I found elsewhere). It seems the heat generated by an antivirus system scan forced a shutdown. A freeze could also be the result of overheating.

    Good luck.
  6. Kirei Blossom

    Kirei Blossom TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 172

    Soon as I clicked on Event Viewer in the help screen, my computer froze again. I went into Safe mode and did a shut down from there, but when I restarted again, when the Windows XP logo comes up, it changed to random colors, with a blue background and then froze again.. and so I had to do the Safe mode thing two more times.

    I looked in Event Viewer and for both times when my computer froze today, in the Application Log, it had errors for a source from "VSS" and "Event Manager". I have no idea what this means, so?
  7. mijcar

    mijcar TS Rookie

    Kirei, I am confused. You said that your computer froze, which I understand (or thought I did); but then you said you went into "safe mode" and shut down from there. Just so we don't get confused and exchange wrong information because of a misunderstanding, I will say how I understand these terms:

    1. To me, a computer freezing means nothing on the computer responds to you (with the possible exception of the mouse cursor). This also means that you cannot use C-A-D (control-alt-delete). What do you mean when you say your computer freezes? What works and what doesn't work at that point?

    2. "Safe Mode" -- as far as I know -- cannot be launched from the windows desktop. You can only enter Safe Mode by turning on your computer or by restarting your computer. This means that you cannot use "Safe Mode" as a way of shutting down your computer when it freezes.
    Perhaps you mean something else? Are you using C-A-D to get to the task manager and shutting down things from there?

    3. When you use the event viewer you should be given to links to sites that discuss possible reasons for the problem. Have you seen this? Have you tried clicking on the links offered?

    When I have a clearer idea of what you are describing, I might have an idea or two to offer. Good luck.
  8. Kirei Blossom

    Kirei Blossom TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 172

    Sorry, I should make myself clearer. Here's what happens:

    1 - Computer freezes whenever it wants to. Around 7 times out of 10, right before it freezes, the mouse or cursor becomes huge in size, and I can move it around a bit until the system completely hangs up. Can't move anything. No mouse, no keyboard controls, nothing.

    2 - I switch off the computer.

    3 - I switch on the computer, but whenever I switch on right after a freeze, while Windows XP is booting up, after the logo appears, I get a blank screen and nothing happens after that. It won't boot up.

    4- Even if I switch the computer off and on again, it won't boot up.

    5- So I go into safe mode by pressing F8, and then shut down the computer from there.

    6 - Next time I turn the computer on, boots perfectly... until the next freeze (and these are now increasing in frequency.)
  9. mijcar

    mijcar TS Rookie

    It sounds like some form of progressive degeneration. But unfortunately I cannot tell from what you describe whether it is hardware or software related.

    If your computer is fairly old (4 or 5 years, even), it could be a problem with the harddrive. It could be heat-related. It could be a problem with the registry.

    I know, I know -- too much information, too little of use.

    If it were my computer, I would

    a. get a handy system checker program like Norton SystemWorks (check with recent reviews -- supposedly there are better ones out there than Norton's).

    Then, in order (if one option doesn't work, try the next)
    b. run the checkdisk program (in Norton, that would be the Disk Doctor, in Windows, you could use Run>checkdisk).
    c. run the program that checks for registry errors and system inconsistencies (in Norton, that would be WinDoctor)
    d. clean the computer (if it's a desktop, open the box and clean out the dust -- you need to be careful of static and damaging chips, so make some inquiries about a strategy first; if it's a notebook, vacuum out the vents.)
    e. re-install Windows over the current windows. In other words, do not reformat your harddrive or anything like that, just re-install Windows in place.
    f. reformat hard-drive and reinstall windows
    g. if my computer is too old, just consider getting a new one -- or a new used one.

    I apologize for the generality of my suggestions, but your problem sounds severe as you describe it, and I don't want to say something I don't know for certain.

    Good luck.
  10. swurst272

    swurst272 TS Rookie

    Similar Issues

    I have similar issues with XP Pro or other MS software.
    I thought it was hardware but evidently not.

    I had a Dell Latitude D840 that started locking up in the middle of working. The screen sometimes would change colors, get colored horizontal bands, flash off and on, refresh randomly, and other wacky visual effects. Most times it would run the hard drive like crazy, and then eventually go to a black screen and do a memory dump. I ran all kinds of antivirus, adware, spyware checks and took it to local PC shop who did similar and tested memory and hard drive. They said the hard drive was going bad.

    I now have a Dell Inspiron 1501 onto which I reformatted/removed Vista and loaded my XP Pro along with 88+ MS upgrades. I installed 11 different upgrades from Dell to work with XP PRO for all the hardware. I loaded all my current software, Office XP, Autocad LT97, numerous other misc. software, moved my data files from old to new, installed Norton Antivirus Online from Earthlink(my ISP), loaded more MS, Norton, etc. upgrades. Did a full Norton system scann. Installed Adobe 8 Reader and Flash Player, Media Player 11, and a few other software programs.

    I now have the same problem on my new Dell Inspiron!!!!!!!!
    It locked up twice today.
    1st time the screen went black and started the memory dump.
    Powered down and restarted.
    2nd time went to a blue screen with about 3/8" high horiz. blue bands. Powered down and restarted.
    Both times no keys, mouse, windows button, Fn keys, etc. would work.

    I am now convinced that it is a software issue and not hardware like Dell, AMD, ATI, etc. all blame each other for.

    I have yet to see in the event log what program, software, hardware, etc. is causing it. I have reviewed the dump file (mini010908-1.dmp) created when the thing crashed only to see ATI programs (video card = ATI Radeon 1150)

    Anybody got any answers?????????
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