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Strange freezing problem

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Nancy S, Jan 25, 2006.

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  1. Nancy S

    Nancy S Thread Starter

    Jan 20, 2006

    I'm at a loss to what to try next. My computer freezes (nothing works - including ctrl-alt-del --- have to power off to restart) and has been since september. Freeze happens anywhere from several hours to 10-12 days. recently it's been every 3 days 15 hours and 4 days 7-1/2 hours. Computer was brand new in february 2005

    HP Pavilion a820n Win XP home SP2
    3.2gig processor
    originally 512MB RAM - upgraded to 1.5gig in december (after the problem started)
    200gig HD over 90% free space --- new in november (after HD failure - tech installed and reinstalled windows since computer under warranty - problem happened with the old HD as well as the new one)

    wireless connection Linksys router (other computer has no problems) and D-link wireless card (other computer- an e-machine- has the same - no problem) WEP security and the router is also secured

    I had norton systemworks and norton firewall - which I removed a couple of weeks ago because I was told it could be the problem (now using AVG and win XP firewall with router hardware firewall.

    Here is what I have tried so far - some with help from HP online support, some from the microsoft support, and from another forum. Everything I tried, the computer still froze so I reinstalled what I used. The two times the computer was in the shop (November for replacing the HD and december for RAM upgrade) they checked the computer's hardware and ran anti-virus and anti-spyware. They found nothing. :

    MSconfig and removed all of the unessasary start up programs
    removed all the anti-spyware programs one at a time (reinstalling when it was not the problem)

    ran every hardware diagnostics program and checked all the hardware.

    checked the device manager

    all windows updates installed

    AV ran daily (norton until a couple of weeks ago, now AVG) and anti-spyware daily (spyware doctor and ad-adware SE) pluse regular online scans at panda software and tendmicro. Everything including Hijackthis log is clean - including the scans when in the shop.

    checked event viewer and NO related error messages (computer is otherwise extremely stable and doesn't usually have error messages)

    posted Hijackthis log on another forum - nothing seen - that's when it was reccomended to remove norton and see if that was the problem (it wasn't)

    uninstalled MSN Messenger (now reinstalled)

    downloaded and ran HD Tune - scanned for errors (no errors found - remeber freeze happened with the old hard drive as well as the new one) monitored temp for awhile and the hottest was 38C ---- usually was 32C - 34C and sometimes the freeze happened at 34C so overheating is not the issue

    downloaded and monitored the pagefile with pagefile monitor. Sometimes the freeze happened when the page file was only 135 MB (remember, I have 1.5gig RAM so this is not the problem)

    read the same the problems posted here and found out some had solved the problem by decreasing the video acceleration so I lowered and freeze happened 4 days 7-1/2 hour later (I thought it was fixed - previous two freezes were 3 days +/-15 hours)

    Does not matter if I am running few programs or a lot --- sometimes it happens when the computer is just sitting with windows media player playing an online station (a station I have listened to for over five years - including on my old computer)

    Security scans shows my system is secure. Never had a virus or a trojan --- only thing ever is a tracking cookie which I always delete.

    I regularly scandisk and defrag - sometimes the freeze happens within hours of doing all the maintanance (and sometimes days later)

    No error message nor is any in event viewer - the only information event that could be relavant happens every time:

    Event Type: Information
    Event Source: EventLog
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 6009
    Date: 1/24/2006
    Time: 7:46:05 PM
    User: N/A
    Computer: NANCY
    Microsoft (R) Windows (R) 5.01. 2600 Service Pack 2 Multiprocessor Free.

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    Could this mean the freeze has something to do with SP2?

    It seems that the error started after a windows update in september - although after the HD crash, I only have updates shown since november (although it is obviously in one of those updates if that is what is causing the problem)

    The only thing I can think of left to try is to link wired to the modem instead of wireless to see if it is the wireless card (router is a ways away)

    I may have tried other things and forgot to mention them. Except for the inconsistent freezing every few days, this is an EXTREMELY stable computer and there is no other problems.

    Thanks in advance for the help! :)

  2. Colossus610


    Jun 15, 2005
    well now, the unexpected wealth of knowledge you have posted along with your problem is a pleasant little surprise from the usual "It doesn't work":D

    Maybe simple maybe not...
    Have you tried running the computer with one stick of ram at a time?
    It may be that the original 512 MB was causing the initial issues and even with the addition of more, the original problem still exists.
    Maybe try removing the original RAM and running it on only the new stick of RAM you purchased as the upgrade.

    I'll shut up if you have already tried that.:D
  3. Nancy S

    Nancy S Thread Starter

    Jan 20, 2006
    I'll try that. When it was in the shop, they said they tested the RAM. I also tested it with a diagnostics program that came with the computer. Physically I didn't remove it yet (I will tonight or tomorrow) and see if that works. May not know for several days.
  4. Nancy S

    Nancy S Thread Starter

    Jan 20, 2006
    Was NOT the original RAM. I'm taking it in to see if they can find the problem. I do have extended warranty on the computer but the monitor has only a year warranty - so if the monitor is causing the problem I need to get this solved in the next couple of weeks.
  5. Nancy S

    Nancy S Thread Starter

    Jan 20, 2006

    Since the computer was still under warranty, I took it to the repair shop and they ran harware tests for five straight days without a problem being detected and without it freezing. They also made sure Windows was not corrupted. I took the entire system (except printer) and they could not detect any problem. This lead me to believe it was likely a windows program (in which case it would have been in the event viewer or dr. watson logs so I did not think this was likely) or it had to do with the wireless card (because it did not freeze while running the DOS hardware checks) Since it was still under warranty, they said they would get HP to send a new power supply and try that. I took the computer home until they received the power supply. I told the tech that if it still froze with the power supply, I would try swapping the wireless card with the other computer (identical wireless card)

    The computer still froze. When they replaced the power supply, the pagefile usage imediately dropped in half (changing no other settings) so I thought it was fixed. 30 hours later, it froze again. After rebooting, it froze again 12 hours later, then an hour after that. While trying to find information on the driver from the tech support page for the wireless card, I found another driver so I decided to try that before I swapped the wireless cards. After installing the driver and rebooting, I hurried up and waited for it to freeze again. Seven days later, it had not froze. I rebooted (normal reboot for a program installation) and wanted to wait another seven days to make sure. After a power outage and a couple of cable outages (weather related) I had to start the test all over - so that is why I had not posted any sooner. It has been 6 days and 12 hours since rebooting without any interuptions. I believe it was the driver for the wireless card or the driver which was corrupted by a failing or wrongfully installed power supply (if that is at all possible)

    I still have questions and a few theories.

    If it was the driver that came with the wireless card, then why did it not start happening until two months after installing it?

    The other computer (an e-machine) has the identical wireless card and the driver which came with it - same as this computer. The theory I have is that there was a driver update available on the microsoft update site and I had updated it in september and when the HD was replaced in november (due to HD failure), the tech that installed the new HD reinstalled the faulty driver from microsoft (they installed the driver for the wireless card at my request when the HD was replaced and they made sure all the microsoft updates were done before I picked it up) or is it possible that a faulty power supply could corrupt the driver for the wireless card? Why would a power supply even affect the pagefile usage?

    The other computer has had no problems so could the driver have been updated with a microsoft optional update have been the wrong one or a corrupted one? (remember, driver was installed twice - once by me and once by the tech that installed the replaced HD and the same freeze problem happened before and after the HD replacement)

    Since it appears to have been the wrong or a corrupted wireless card driver, why would it be so sporadic and only have froze 3+ days instead of more frequently?

    I thank everyone for their time and help - I'm posting what I have found in case anyone else has the same problem. Hopefully I can get some answers so I can learn :)
  6. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

    Jan 2, 2001
    As a general rule I never install driver updates from MS. If the os does not have native drivers for whatever hardware, download the driver from the device mfg.

    It sounds like you have your problem fixed. If it does reappear, I would check the cpu and system temp. This can usually be done in the bios or via software like speedfan.
  7. Nancy S

    Nancy S Thread Starter

    Jan 20, 2006
    I had previously checked the temp. The computer froze when the temp was 32C / 34C and the max temp while I was monitoring the temp was 38C

    I'm not sure if the driver was from a microsoft update - that's just a theory because of the circumstances.
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