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Vista Notebook Freezes

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Roadie, Jan 24, 2011.

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  1. Roadie

    Roadie Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    119
    My notebook running Windows Vista Home Premium has started to freeze up and act strangely. I'm a novice to intermediate computer user so I've got some questions. I connect to the internet on this system via a wireless router in another room. Signal strength is excellent. In the past I've had a problem with the wireless connection locking up. The connection would stop responding and there would be an exclamation triangle icon over the network icon on the system tray (by the clock). I would have to reboot the computer at which time I would get a blue screen with the title : DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE, collecting information for crash dump.

    Recently this behavior has stopped and is now replaced by the whole system freezing. Pressing control alt delete to try to bring up the task manager has no effect because the hard drive activity light is lit solidly and I'm supposing windows is too overloaded to accept a new task. I've also noticed that if I stay off line, then the system will act normally, but if I use a browser or check e-mail with my Thunderbird install, then the lockup process begins.

    There's not a lot of RAM on this system. 1GB of Ram. At times during these lockups I have managed to bring the task manager up and it shows about 65-70% of Physical Memory being used, with 76 processes up and running.

    The fist thing I suspected was the Hard Drive going out, so between lock ups I have downloaded and installed Ashampoos HDD Control 2, a hard drive diagnostic program. It reports that the primary hard drive (there's also a USB external hard drive connected for storage and backups) is at 95% health with a few minor problems, and performance is at 100%. So I'm guessing I can rule out the hard drive?

    Then I suspected a bad windows update, so I rolled the system back one week using System Restore. It seemed to improve stability somewhat but it continued to lock up.

    I tried using the Windows CheckDisk Utility to scan for errors and attempt recovery of bad sectors, but it froze before it could complete. I had to press the power button on the computer to exit and reboot.

    Then I downloaded and installed the Uniblue Driver Scanner driver update program. Without paying for the program it will only give you a report of needed driver updates. It reports that I have four very out of date drivers: Realtek PCIe GBE family controller (network adapter)/Realtek USB 2 card reader universal serial bus controller/Sigma Tel High Definition Audio Codec (sound-video-game controllers)/and Agree Systems HDA Modem.

    I tried updating these drivers from the Windows Device Manager but all I got was a statement saying my drivers were already up to date. In the case of the Realtek Network Adapter I tried going to the Realtek Website to look for a driver update but either what I need isn't present of I don't understand what I'm looking at.

    I keep the notebook up to date with Windows Updates (except for the above mentioned roll back using system restore). I scan on an almost daily basis using Avast anti virus, Super Anti Spyware program, and recently ran Iobit's Advanced System Care.

    COMPUTER SPECS:
    Gateway P-6301
    Windows Vista Home Premium SP2
    Pentium Dual PCU T2310 @1.46/1.47 Ghz
    1 GB RAM

    Any ideas on how to proceed? Any ideas on updating the out of date drivers manually? In spite of the hard drive diagnostic program's report, could it be the hard drive going out? Not enough RAM? I have the original Windows Install CD, would re-installing the operating system help?

    Thanks for any ideas or input.
     
  2. fodelement

    fodelement

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Messages:
    128
    I hate to post such a short response to such a long informative first post but, it very much sounds to me like your HDD is failing, but its hard to tell for sure. Running a diagnostic test on a HDD in windows is not the most accurate way to test it.

    What I would do is test the ram with memtest. Let it run and pass 5 times or more before concluding it has passed the test.

    http://www.memtest.org/download/4.10/memtest86+-4.10.iso.zip


    And if possible, I would run DFT on the HDD.
    http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/downloads/dft32_v416_b00.iso
     
  3. Roadie

    Roadie Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    119
    Thanks for the links, fodelement. I'll run the tests and see if they can give me a clue as to what is going on. I still suspect the hard drive failing as well. According to the Ashampoo HDD test program, it's running hot, in spite of having the notebook on a chill mat. I guess it's hard to cool a notebook computer. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
     
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