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Computer freezes but mouse still works

Posted on 2004-10-25
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi all.  Here we go.  I have a Compaq Presario 7940 with Windows XP Home and 512 Mb RAM.  When leaving the computer on all night or for an extended period, it freezes.  The mouse pointer continues to work and programs will load on occasion but VERY slowly.(e.g - 5 minutes).  I have Kaspersky Anti-Virus and all definitions are current and I run a scan every day.  It has found and deleted several viruses.  I have checked my machine for spyware/malware using 3 programs (Ad-Aware SE Pro 1.4, Spybot Search & Destroy 1.3 and Hijack This 1.97).  They all indicate that my system is clean.  I have read that it is possibly a heat related or memory related problem.  If heat related, why does my computer work perfectly immediately after a restart?  Wouldn't the motherboard or processor still be hot?  Is there and outside chance that the OS is corrupted? I have 2 fans in the casing.  A 300 watt rear vent fan and the fan for the AMD-K7 Athlon processor both of which work.  When I originally bought this machine, it had an OEM Windows 98SE configuration, which I upgrade to XP Home in April 2004.  I obtained one upgrade for the BIOS back in 2001.  There are no other upgrades available for download as far as I know.  Recently I also upgraded my video driver (NVidia TNT Model 64 to the latest one, v.61.77), and also upgraded the chipset from AMD to 5.33(XP AGP Driver)   In addition, I switched slots with my memory (2-256Mb cards), on the possibility of bad memory and re-arranging the memory loading priority order, and the results are still the same.  Hope you guys have some ideas.
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Question by:angelfirefive
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    by:Callandor
    Freezes are usually heat problems or Windows driver problems.  If the machine works ok immediately after rebooting, then heat is less likely to be a cause.  To fix a corrupt WinXP driver, a repair install should work and keep your programs and data intact: http://www.dougknox.com/xp/tips/xp_repair_install.htm
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    by:eccs19
    It could also be power management related.  If the computer has tried to go into Standby Mode, and failed, it could possibly cause these sort of symptoms.  My suggestion would be to go into your control panel, power management (power options), and set everything to never power off and see if that makes any difference.  You may also have to go into your BIOS, and make simular changes in there.  Power management rarely works properly in my opinion.
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    Author Comment

    by:angelfirefive
    Thanks guys.  First:  To Callandor.  I'll look into that site and let you know how I make out.  Second:  To eccs19.  Standby and hibernation are both turned off in my computer.  All settings are arranged so that nothing turns off and the power scheme is set up to always on.  The BIOS unfortunately, gives me very limited options and NO options at all as far as power management.  It is a Phoenix Technologies BIOS v2.3 I believe.
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    by:eccs19
    Well I guess the power management was a good idea while it lasted.  I'm suprised there is nothing in the BIOS, but I guess it's not impossible.  If I think of anything else, I will let you know.  I'm thinking that Callandors suggestion may just work.  I would make sure that you have all the correct / latest drivers for all your components.  This utility can help you identify your system components.

    http://www.lavalys.com/products/download.php?pid=1&lang=en&pageid=3

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    Expert Comment

    by:rid
    When the "freeze" has occurred, can you do Ctrl+Alt+del and see anything interesting in the task manager (CPU load, memory usage, running processes)?  Anything left running when you leave the machine (before it gets these seizures)?
    /RID
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    Author Comment

    by:angelfirefive
    First, to Callendor.  I went to that site and attempted to repair XP via the Recovery Console.  The only thing applying to me was CHKDSK, which turned out fine.  In addition, I attempted a repair install via Windows Setup and it would not let me get past the EULA agreement.  When I hit F8 to agree, nothing happened.  Then while in Windows, I tried SFC.  This was interesting as it asked for DLL files from a Windows  XP PRO disk, which I do not have.  I have XP HOME.  So, I could not use SFC.  Now I have re-installed XP from the disk while logged on to Windows to see if that will help.  I'll keep you posted.  Next, To rid:  I have brought up Task Manager (after a long wait) and it DOES show 100% CPU usage even though nothing is really going on.  I have noticed many times that even when actuall CPU usage is low that system idle process (a 20kb file) is VERY active.  I'm not sure why that is.  Memory usage does not appear high and I have used Black-Viper's site for optimizing running processes.  To eccs19:  Thanks for the link.  I'll investigate.  I DO have Windows XP Manager and AIDA v3.20 so I CAN access my information quite thoroughly.  AIDA says my video BIOS is more than 2 years old although I DO have the latest drivers from NVidia, so I don't quite understand that.  Also, The computer BIOS is from 2001 but as I mentioned, there are no download upgrades available from Phoenix Technologies or from Compaq.  Compaq only gave me one update which I downloaded at the time.
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    by:eccs19
    If you have AIDA, then it's basically the same program.  The programmer went to the new company, and now it's made under this new name. (I think that's the basic story)  Your video BIOS and your drivers are different.  Your video card has it's own type of BIOS, and again that's not the same as your MB's bios.  I don't think you need to worry about it myself.  Typically if nothing is happening in the system, then the System Idle process can be up to 99%. (normal)  When the system is halted, what process is using up the 100%?  Let us know.  That may help pin down the issue.
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    Author Comment

    by:angelfirefive
    Ok eccs19.  Next time it freezes I will attempt to bring up Task Manager.  You may want to note one thing about that.  Sometimes I can eventually bring it up.  Othertimes I hit Ctrl-Alt-Del just once and about 20 instances of Task Manager pop up in my SysTray without coming onscreen.  Eventually, one by one, I can close them down.  It totally confuses me as to why that happens.
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    Expert Comment

    by:ogai
    With 512 M of Ram there are some quircks in XP and ME occasionally in w2K. One of them is that some of the components go into standby when the screen saver starts it's a problem if you also have the power saving features turned on and the monitor goes to standby.

    The other thing is that several of the system utilities, esp. Indexing can run through it's entire cycle without refresshing ram. if you have many files this will eventually fill up all available RAM, and use all of the CPU, which means messages from other processes end up in queue including the refresh request for the display drivers.

    If you try to load Task Manager and nothing happens, the natural tendency is to try to load it again. Don't, just wait. if you have a lot of your resources in use at the time you walk away from the machine, these will contribute to the problem either by polling for something to do, or trying to carry out routine functions like calling home and checking for updates. Part of the solution there is to shut down as many of the things in your systray as possible.

    One other thing that strangely enough works sometimes, is to hit ctrl-esc and then open the CD drive door and close it again. Both of those signals have priority over the indexing process and can shake some RAM free. after it's all working again, restarting is a really good choice unless you have a memory management utility that can free up unused but occupied memory. Good luck



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    Author Comment

    by:angelfirefive
    First, To Ogai:  I have 26 processes running.  Background services have been nset up according to Black Viper's website's recommendations for efficiency.  Indexing is disabled.  The only recommendation of his I do not follow is to turn off System Restore.  I have had too many bad experiences in the past to leave myself no option but a total re-install.  As noted earlier, power options are set to always on and for everything to never turn off.  Ctrl-Esc does not work for me.  Next, To eccs19:  Here are the results of task manager in a frozen state.  Biggest hog seems to be AVP32.exe (This is Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal v4.5.0.97).  Fluctuates between 67% and 98%.  The rest is taken up by system idle and task manager.  Exact performance readings as follows:  Commit Charge 161M/1250M.  Peak 200M.  PF Usage 162M.  Kernel Memory (K):  Total 50976, Paged: 35204, Non-Paged 15772.  Handles 5790, Threads 305.  Physical Memory(K):  Total, 523760, Avail. 296288, Sys. Cache 381388.  The following are readings AFTER restart:  Commit Charge 128M/1250M.  Peak 200M.  PF Usage 128M.  Kernel Memory (K):  33548, Paged: 24772, Non Paged:  8732.  Handles 5527.  Threads 323.  CPU Usage 2%.  System idle at about 96%, task manager at 3% and Explorer at 1%.  Seems obvious that the anti-virus is the problem but why?  And why only after the system has been left on for a long period?  There is no scan running at the time, at least not on demand.  Possibly in the background of course but why then is the usage non-existent after restart?  I am thinking of getting Sandra 2004 to benchmark the system and drivers.  Tell me what you think please.  Thanks for trying to keep up with me guys.
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    Expert Comment

    by:winkingtiger
    I would think of replacing the power supply.  Sites like tigerdirect and newegg have them for real cheap.  Your pc is only as strong as it's weakest link.
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    Accepted Solution

    by:
    My first suggestion would be this.  After you have one of these incidents happen, if it will let you get into your Task Manager,  see if it will let you stop the process, and if it does, see if everything returns to normal.  If it does, then it's definately your Anti-Virus giving you trouble.  You could also for an experiment,  temporarily disable your anti-virus and see if your issue happens, if not, then again you know it's an issue with that program.  I have never used that program before, so I can't comment on the charateristics of it.  I always use AVG myself, as it's free, and it doesn't seem to use much in resources.  I'll give you the link if you want to investigate it.

    http://free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php/doc/2/

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    Author Comment

    by:angelfirefive
    First, To winkingtiger:  As far as I have been informed, the power supply and the fan combination are the best I can get for the case I have.  I DID replace the initial power supply with the strongest I could get 2 years ago.  Next, To eccs19:  It sure seems like the Anti-Virus doesn't it?  I don;t use AVG because test results indicate it is not as good as the elite programs (Norton, McAfee and the one I have which recently was awarded the best overall test scores for virus detection and elimination).  I will attempt to cut off the Anti-Virus while staying offline and see what happens.  Thanks to all who wrote in and particularly to eccs19 as yout comments came the closest to tracking it down and were the most helpful.
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    Author Comment

    by:angelfirefive
    eccs19 comment of 10/27/04 is accepted and assigned a grade of "A"
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    by:eccs19
    Thanks, but you have to actually accept the answer. (you should see an accept button next to the comment you want to accept.

    Best Regards
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    Expert Comment

    by:Little_Crow
    There are updates available for KAV to bring it up to v4.5.104, this may rectify this issue.

    There is also version 5 of KAV out, which has some spangly new features, and integrates properly with the XP security centre.  We use kaspersky at work, and have had problems with some very specific hardware configurations, though they have almost all been related to supplier's own power management software.

    Do you have a Network card in your machine?
    On many cards there are power management options that aren't touched by the standard windows PM applet.
    I haven't used XP Home for quite some time, but on XP pro the NIC power management is accessible either through the properties of 'My Network Places' and clicking configure, or through Device Manager.  This could cause problems if KAV is trying to access the internet for updates and your NIC has turned itself off.  

    On some versions of KAV it doesn't like not being able to update it's AVbases, though I've not ever seen it hog the processor time like that.

    Hopefully you mgiht check back on this question, if not it may help people who have similar problems.

    KAV Product Downloads:
    http://www.kaspersky.com/productupdates?chapter=146244099
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    Author Comment

    by:angelfirefive
    To Little Crow:  Thanks for the info.  It would appear that the updater is not the problem but rather, the scanner itself.  It had been set to scan my hard drive daily at 8:00 PM.  I turned that function off and it appears to have stopped the problem of freezing.  The updater has continued to run daily at 7:30PM without a hitch.  And yes I do have a Linksys Ethernet Card but it does not have power management options.  By the way, To eccs19:  The reason I rated you in a comment is that Netscape 6.2, which I have, for some reason does not show the selection boxes next to the ratings.  I used Mozilla Firefox to access this site and corrected it.  Again, thanks to all for their help on a very confusing issue.
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