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Temporary lockup

I've been having an issue lately with Vista 64-bit Home Premium. Sometimes, definitely at least half of the time, when I am opening a new program, or switching between two programs, windows just hangs up for an indeterminate amount of time. To be more specific, the hang-up is a period of limited response; the mouse moves around just fine, and it even changes to the resize cursor when at the border of the active window, or the finger cursor if you're hovering over a hyperlink, but all else is unresponsive. I cant click anything, keyboard does nothing. The only thing that does work is Ctrl+Alt+Delete. It takes me to the appropriate screen and gives me options to log out, switch users, and a few other things, including task manager. Those options are all responsive. When I click Task Manager, the screen goes black, except for the cursor, and continues the long pause (sometimes lasts up to 3 minutes).

Once the computer finally comes back to life, all keyboard strokes and mouse clicks that I made since it locked up are executed, and the task manager pops up.

During the hangup there is no hard drive activity and CPU usage seems to be normal, according to the temperature (there is no increase).

Is it my memory? Hard disk? Processor? Video card? Software? I'm stumped.

Thank you in advance for your help.
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five22bags
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five22bags
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bbrunningCommented:
It's most likely a particular process your computer is getting stuck on. Just because the temp on the CPU doesn't change doesn't mean it isn't running at 99% or just stuck dead in it's tracks. Next time hit Ctrl-Shift-Esc, that will bring up the task manager right away without having to go through the annoying welcome screen menu. You may be able to see the task managers processes and see which one may be using up the processor.
Also, what programs seem to have this happen the most? Is this while browsing the web (you mentioned hovering a hyperlink). Are you using IE7 or 8? Firefox? I've seen IE cause hang ups before. Try reinstalling it up updating to 8 if you are using 7. Make sure neither are beta also. Beta's can cause this to happen as well.
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five22bagsAuthor Commented:
It appears to be "random". Its happened using my primary browser (Google Chrome), its also happened with Firefox 3 and IE8. It also happens sometimes when I launch a game, my cd-burning software, my Usenet software... pretty much anything can trigger it. I can't really say what causes it "the most", but it happens the most both during program launch and switching between programs; I have two monitors and having (for example) Google Chrome up on one, and cd-burning on another, the simple act of clicking into whichever one I am not using can trigger it. Once I'm in the program of choice it almost never locks up with extended use, as long as I don't click off of that program during use.

Also, Ctrl+Alt+Esc will not work; it waits til the hangup is done with before the task manager comes up.

I've ruled out viruses, by the way.
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bbrunningCommented:
Have you checked event viewer?
Start/Search
Type mmc and hit enter. Add the event viewer snap-in and see if you're getting any application or system notifications.
You mentioned having a cpu temp monitor, do you have one for the mobo/hard disks/PSU temp and volts? If not download something to check that. Sensorview can do that. How many watts is your power supply and what's the specs on that system?
Have you recently downloaded any updates? Service Packs? Changed hardware?
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five22bagsAuthor Commented:
I will be monitoring the logs per your suggestion. I will report back when it locks up again.
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five22bagsAuthor Commented:
Okay, I just experienced a lockup when I opened a new tab in Google Chrome and began typing a search string. The event viewer was open on my other monitor and yielded no events of any kind.

I have not downloaded any updates, service packs, or changed hardware recently.
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Randy_KCommented:
What type of computer is this? Do you have the latest bios? I would try running the system in safe mode and see if you can replicate the problem. I would also suggest running memtest86, it can be downloaded at:
http://www.memtest86.com/download.html
Make sure you have all your drivers and security patches up tp date. This sounds like software problem rather than a hardware problem.
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five22bagsAuthor Commented:
Last night it locked up the same way for almost 10 minutes, so I did a hard reset. Since then, I can't seem to repeat the problem. I'm running a defrag, disk check, and other diagnostics now.

Its a custom built PC of mine and everything is up to date, including the bios.
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