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Computer failing to boot, freezing, and crashing


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29-May-2012, 02:13 PM #1
Question Computer failing to boot, freezing, and crashing
My laptop started getting these symptoms at the beginning of May. One night, I came back to my room after a while, only to find that it had frozen while it was idle (nothing happened when I moved the mouse or pressed keys, and I noticed the HDD light was on as if the HDD was busy), forcing me to do a hard reboot. The situation escalated when the laptop started crashing randomly as well. I would be reading a web page, not touching anything, with nothing open but Firefox, and then *click* it would crash and reboot itself, giving me the “Windows did not shut down successfully” error screen (1. http://www.winhelp.us/images/windows.../trouble01.jpg).

The boot issues usually only occur during the first boot of the day, after the laptop has been off overnight. It usually crashes mid-way and reboots itself, prompting the “Windows failed to start” error screen (2. http://www.howtogeek.com/wp-content/...1217020232.png). Then every time I try to run Start-up Repair, it fails, claiming that it can’t fix the problem, whereas, if I try to start Windows normally, after a few attempts, it boots fine. Other times, if it doesn’t crash mid-way during booting, it might freeze, forcing me to do a hard reboot. When this prompts error screen 1 instead, I just start Windows normally, and again, after a few attempts, it boots fine.

Also, sometimes when the laptop freezes, whether during booting or logged into my account, it goes all jittery and scrambled/fractured-looking (slightly similar to this http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Awk8V2UWkT...600/glitch.jpg, but showing more of the screen’s scrambled content and less blank space).

I’ve done a bit of research, but so far, I haven’t had much success diagnosing the problem.
• I have Norton Anti-Virus installed and running on the computer, and manually initiated a scan just to be safe, which found nothing.
• I did a scan with Malwarebytes, which found two things, so I removed them immediately, but that doesn’t seem to have helped either.
• I used CCleaner to clean out the registry and tidy up the HDD, but that only helped to free up some space.
I started wondering if it was malfunctioning hardware and thought that maybe my HDD was failing, as it is constantly close to being full, and the laptop is nearly 3 years old already.
• I installed SeaTools and CrystalDiskInfo and ran both to scan the HDD, with both returning the same all-clear results.
• Lastly, I ran the Memory Diagnostics Tool to check the RAM, which also found no errors.

Puzzled, this was as far as I got by myself before my brother told me that he hadn’t been having any issues with the laptop. He always uses it on the “High Performance” power plan, and he suggested that I switch it to that. Miraculously, this minor change somehow makes all the difference (almost). It has only crashed once since I’ve been using it on this power plan (I had it sitting on a warm bed, so maybe it overheated?), and it hasn’t frozen at all since. I don’t understand how it makes such a huge difference though, as the only differing setting between the two plans, while the laptop is plugged in, is “Processor Power Management > Minimum Processor State” with my plan set to 5% and High Performance set to 100%. The down side is, changing the power plan doesn’t solve the boot issues, and I don’t consider it a proper solution for anything anyway. I assume that if I was to switch back to my previous power plan, the crashing and freezing would start again.

I didn’t make any major changes to the computer immediately prior to the start of these issues, and after all the tests I’ve done, I have absolutely no idea what the problem is. Any advice would be much appreciated, and thank you in advance to anyone who can assist.

Computer - Toshiba Satellite L300 laptop
OS - Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 32-bit
CPU - Intel Pentium Dual-Core 1.73GHz
RAM - 1GB upgraded to 3GB
HDD - 120GB (104GB C:\ Drive)
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29-May-2012, 02:19 PM #2
Is there a reason you have not updated Windows to SP2/Service pack 2? I would start there and see if this helps out the problem your having.
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29-May-2012, 02:32 PM #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by captainron276 View Post
Is there a reason you have not updated Windows to SP2/Service pack 2? I would start there and see if this helps out the problem your having.
I have updated to SP2, it clearly says so in my specs...

EDIT: Also, I have Windows Update set to automatically download and install updates. So ANY updates for anything are applied as soon as they become available to me.
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29-May-2012, 02:42 PM #4
It does now; but not when I looked at it.
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29-May-2012, 02:50 PM #5
That's odd. It was there from the start, I made sure I specified it.
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29-May-2012, 02:55 PM #6
Must have been on my end then. Hopefully one of the Tech's will be able to assist you soon.
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29-May-2012, 03:00 PM #7
I hope so! It will be nice to sort this out at long last. Thanks for the input
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04-Jun-2012, 09:24 PM #8
Also tried to do a check disk scan but it kept crashing midway. Anyway my computer will no longer boot now gonna have to take it in for repair
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04-Jun-2012, 10:20 PM #9
"Cleaning" the registry will almost always damage your machine. Doing it when there is a problem is even worse because all it does is delete what it doesn't understand, sometimes therefore deleting even references to the thing that is causing the problem, making it even harder to fix.

Hopefully, you saved backups of all your files before bringing it in.
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06-Jun-2012, 08:08 AM #10
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Originally Posted by Elvandil View Post
"Cleaning" the registry will almost always damage your machine. Doing it when there is a problem is even worse because all it does is delete what it doesn't understand, sometimes therefore deleting even references to the thing that is causing the problem, making it even harder to fix.
Oh so when is cleaning the registry helpful? Or would you consider it never helpful?
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06-Jun-2012, 01:32 PM #11
I have to agree with Elvandil. The answer to your ? is NEVER. They do more harm than good. Here is an interesting article you might find helpful regarding the registry.

http://lifehacker.com/5482701/whats-...hats-the-point
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crashing, failing to boot, freezing, randomly, startup repair

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