Solved Windows 7 Locks Up When Accessing Devices and Printers

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Sirav33

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Jan 15, 2019
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Hi. I have a Dell XPS 8700 that I purchased in Nov 2015. Its a 64 bit system and has the following details (all as when purchased):

- 4th Generation Intel(R) Core(T M) i7-4790 processor (8M Cache , up to 4.00 GHz)
- 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz (4GBx4)
- 2TB 7200 rpm Hard Drive + 32GB mSATA Solid State Drive (Plus a second 2TB drive I added in)
- AMD Radeon(TM) HD R9 270 2GB G DDR5
- Intel(R) 7260AC + BT4.0 [802.1 1ac + Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 2.45 GHz,2x2]

It's been a great system and I've only used it for office and business applications (nowadays mostly all online) and some music functions (streaming, ripping, playing mostly).

It has run perfectly since purchase and I've always kept it clean and maintained with Norton and Malwarebytes etc etc.

A week before our Christmas shut-down it started to randomly freeze. The cursor would stop and no input of any sort was possible. Only option was hard restart.

The system would then work for a while but would always freeze again at some point within an hour or so. If I restarted and left the system alone for an hour or so it would freeze at the log-on screen.

I tried numerous fixes, including using "Driver Easy" Pro to update all drivers and system restore. I did a full "Chckdsk" which took a full 24 hours but came up with no issues. Nothing I tried stopped the issue.

In the end I disconnected everything from the system (including the 2nd harddrive) and used the inbuilt Factory Reset feature to wipe the C drive and reinstall windows to the factory state. I was actually really happy with this as I figured it had to sort my issues out and meant I could keep running Windows 7 rather than "upgrade" to Windows 10 (as I haven't got the Windows 7 recovery disc which I thought I would need).

So all seemed good and I was working away, re-installing software etc etc. I again used "Driver Easy" Pro to update all drivers and updated Windows as well as Norton and Malwarebytes. The computer wouldn't freeze at all anymore, so all good.

Until I decided to install a printer. I went to "Devices and Printers" and clicked "Add Printer" and Windows thought about things for a bit and then froze again, fully locked up.

Now when I run the computer it works fine, no freezes at all no matter how long I leave it running, unless I open "Devices and Printers". As soon as I just open "Devices and Printers" BAM, system freeze and lock-up.

I've now run the Dell System Diagnostics which did a full system scan and tested all hardware with stress tests etc. Everything passed with no issues detected.

So now I'm at a loss and don't know what to do. I've tried everything I can think of to "save" my Windows 7 computer but if I can't get passed this "Devices and Printers" freeze/lock-up I'll have no choice but to bin it and buy a new one.

Any help would be hugely appreciated.

Cheers.
 

Sirav33

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
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Here's the TSG System Information Utility report:

Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.4
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, Service Pack 1, 64 bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4790 CPU @ 3.60GHz, Intel64 Family 6 Model 60 Stepping 3
Processor Count: 8
RAM: 16335 Mb
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon(TM) R9 270, -2048 Mb
Hard Drives: C: 1834 GB (1739 GB Free); E: 0 GB (0 GB Free); F: 976 GB (224 GB Free); G: 886 GB (323 GB Free); H: 1834 GB (1652 GB Free);
Motherboard: Dell Inc., 0KWVT8
Antivirus: Norton Internet Security, Enabled and Updated
 

Sirav33

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Jan 15, 2019
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12
Ran a "sfc /scannow" with the following result:

"Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations".

Prior to re-installing Windows I ran the RAM mem tests which didn't raise any issues. I did however run the RAM tests against the existing RAM configuration (rather than testing against individual modules).
 

Sirav33

Thread Starter
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Jan 15, 2019
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Ran a SeaTools 'Long Generic' scan on both harddrives and came back with no errors.
 

Sirav33

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Jan 15, 2019
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Just ran a MemTest86 and came out all clear. Didn't test individual RAM modules, but the 4 set came out all clear after 8 passes.

Same thing still happening, everything goes great until I click on Devices and Printers - Then it's full lock-up.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
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Be sure "print spooler" and "bluetooth support service" are both set to "Automatic" and are started in control panel/system and security/administrative tools/services.
 
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Sirav33

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Jan 15, 2019
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Hey snuffleufflegus, cheers for the thought. Had a look at that earlier when I googled a bit on the issue. Both are already set to 'auto'.

I notice that fix was for a 'hang' at devices and printers, unfortunately I get a full system lock-up.

This is getting pretty frustrating now. Had a look last night and have a new XPS system at check-out, I'm just holding out hope before hitting "Pay Now" that I can somehow miraculously save this one with my beloved Windows 7 system, even just for another year.
 

texasbullet

Ramon
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Jun 11, 2014
Messages
2,771
Have you tried restore your computer as when you purchased it. Make sure you backup your documents before attempting this and make sure you have your drivers available too if not already pre-installed in your system.
 

Sirav33

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Jan 15, 2019
Messages
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Hey texasbullet, you betcha. I did a factory restore and fully wiped the harddrive and re-installed win7 using the Dell System Recovery partition. The computer was exactly as I received it out-of-the-box.

I was fully expecting that to correct my initial problem, but that's when the lock-up started when accessing Devices and Printers. I figured that at least it was a consistent fault that I could replicate, hoped that would give me some leads on narrowing the issue down.
 

Sirav33

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
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I wonder if I should try to factory reset again, but this time not run "Driver Easy" to update all the drivers? What harm can it do I guess...

Although if it is a "bad driver" I would love to be able to isolate it now, as chances are at some point it will just auto-update after the re-install anyways, and won't I them be in the same situation I'm in now?

Poo.
 

texasbullet

Ramon
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
Messages
2,771
Did you downloaded the driver from your printers manufacturer website.
If you continue having same problems try a different (new) hard disc drive to see if you have same issues.
 

Sirav33

Thread Starter
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
12
Can't install a printer at this stage using "Devices & Printers" 'Add a Printer' function (because of lock-up), haven't tried installing a printer manually at all. Currently no printer on the system.
 

Sirav33

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Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
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OK, things have gone downhill fast. Ran the MemTest86 and restarted the computer, went into start-up options and switched back to booting BIOS 'from legacy mode' (rather than 'UEFI' that I had to change it to to get MemTest to run), and switched back to booting from the hard-drive as option #1.

Restarted and get a "Windows Failed to Load" error and can't find an installation of Windows.

What?? Think I may be royally screwed here.
 
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