Dell 620 Latitude Windows XP Freeze


This laptop has started freezing after around 10 mins of activity..  Recently I removed a virus-soft spyware by deleting registry values and running malware bytes; but I dont think this is that critical..  On a recent reboot before this started happening I said yes to the windows advantage reminder at startup (usually I had cancelled it)  As far as I can tell it didnt complete abnormally (but then I didnt get any messages that my windows copy was confirmed or whatever its supposed to do so maybe it didnt complete properly)

The xp version is service pack 3..   The system seems to be fine in safe network mode.. It lasts for  a much longer time as far as I can tell..  I use an external monitor in 1680x1050 mode for the normal bootup (not safe network mode)

I installed the dell fan utility from the german site and it didnt tell that anything was amiss with the fan or cpu temp (the fan wasnt running mostly though at least on startup).  I havent run memtest yet..

Before the freeze it has problems switching windows in the taskbar (windows dont come to the foreground easily; I have to minimize stuff for other things to show up).  When it freezes it is sudden and nothing works.  recently there was also a loud beep (internal pc speaker) that didnt stop till I pressed the power switch.

A few months back I recall reinstalling windows xp from the dell cds.    maybe thats the only way.. In this case everything seems and works ok for approx 10 mins before the freeze.. On a couple of occasions, there was a long speaker beep.  On another all window ops came to a halt as the windows were not being repainted on the deskop (so I could fill the desktop by dragging the window)

thanks.. otherwise its back to reinstall the OS (without reformat) as I cant keep working in the small laptop screen at 800x600 in safe network mode (I'd be ok with this if I can get output on my external monitor at high res)

My needs are modest.. I'd be happy with the functionality of the network safe mode at my normal graphics resolution; not 800x600 is there a program that strips windows startup services and programs to the minimal (yes, I know about msconfig but it would be nice to have a program that has more knowlege.. ancountering apple ipod with author unknown is not exactly reassuring! in msconfig.. even legit stuff by Intel is marked as unknown)

I  recall that my earlier reinstall also had something to do with saying yes to windows advantage. so this has me spooked from trying it (till now when I forgot this had tripped me up earlier).    Is it possible that this somehow messes up something?

nsriramAsked:
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aboo_sConnect With a Mentor Commented:
From what you described here it sounds like your Video card is on the edge of dying!
So you might want to disable it from Hardware Manager! This way it would work on minimum energy and performance.

You can also go to start->run->msconfig->startup and uncheck any un-wanted progs!
Also in right click on my copmuter->properties->advanced->performance make it very basic!

A part from that you need a technetion to check your video card re-boil or something!
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nsriramAuthor Commented:
a quick followup:

I got 1024x768 in safe network mode by clicking on the advanced properties tab..  then hilt Fn-F7 to switch to CRT and got the 1024x768 on the big monitor

I was able to browse via my email for a couple of minutes  and then freeze (in safe network mode) and the really annoying loud beep...  

so does this sound like graphic card woes?  is it even possible to change this on the dell 620?  

but the weird thing is that the display on normal logon is ok for 5-10 mins at 1680x1050  so if the graphic card is dead how does this work?
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nsriramAuthor Commented:
this http://forums.cnet.com/5208-19681_102-0.html?threadID=385297  seems to what I am experiencing as well; these people dont have a clue as well
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optomaCommented:
Try running memtest. Let it run for at least three passess
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nsriramAuthor Commented:
ok will do.. I am having good luck at 800 x 600 on safe network mode.. the video card disable referred to by aboo_s  referred to running stock vga drivers from microsoft? instead of the one supplied by dell?  thats what disable does?
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TrustWiseConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Do you have this problem in normal mode when you use the laptop monitor, if not then it is the video card.
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nsriramAuthor Commented:

well, I spoke too soon.. the laptop in safe mode locked up after 30 mins or so of use.. compared to say 10 mins of use in normal mode.
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optomaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
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TrustWiseCommented:
I agree with optima run memtest.
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nsriramAuthor Commented:
memtest is 89% of the way (about 40 mins)  and it hasn't found anything (its a 4gb ram); If I dont followup, it means that memtest didnt detect any errors.  
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TrustWiseCommented:
Offline memtest passes run msconfig go to the startup tab and disable all. Restart and see if you have the problem. If so run msconfig again, go to the services tab, hide the Microsoft services and disable all. (Make sure Microsoft services are hidden) restart and let us know what you find
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nsriramAuthor Commented:
this gets stranger.. after disabling non-msft services and startup.. I browse on a new install of firefox 3.6.2  I install a couple of standard add-ons.. and then it hangs..  Alt-Ctrl-Del doesnt work..  I can move the mouse but the pointer looks like a cursor pointer over much of the desktop except the bar at the bottom where it changes to a white (regular) mouse pointer with the clock icon (suggesting something is really hogging cpu).. Earlier I clicked on start and it did pop up the display.. but it remains frozen there.. So the only thing I can do now is move the mouse pointer as described above..  Initially in this process I could do things to windows (change them to active by click on them) but later all I can do is move the mouse.. none of the clicks works at all..  I also doubt this is firefox specific.  But it does seem some weird kind of driver problem??  But then that wouldnt explain the hang in safe mode after 30 minutes.
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TrustWiseCommented:
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nsriramAuthor Commented:
yes, I did a quick scan.. earlier yesterday and cleared up one spyware..using manual registry removals and then running malware bytes.. I havent run the full scan.. I think it will freeze before the scan is completed..  maybe in less than 20 minutes.
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TrustWiseCommented:
Uninstall Firefox,
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aboo_sCommented:
I have a test for you that will check at once if VGA is the prob.

install a 3d game which will overload graphics and run it(when vga is well installed ofcourse) if vga is the problem your game won't play for 1 minute!
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optomaCommented:
Since you have 4GB of ram memtest will take a good few hours to complete. I have seen it pass the first time and on the second run,fail and so on.

Another way to test the graphics card is to run Dxdiag from run box
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angler-sdConnect With a Mentor Commented:
My first step is ALWAYS tset the hard drive.
Here's a the best I've found. Most bad sectors tend to occur right where windows stores the registry info. Meaning changes intermittently dont get solved. Download Seagate Tools, Burn it to a cd, Boot from that CD, Run the long test (Not The SHORT). I'll bet you'll get a big surprise with a few bad sectors....
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nsriramAuthor Commented:

memtest passed it many times.. and now after I tried to use registry mechanic on safe mode...it hangs at the infamous mup.sys.. I think its a hard drive issue.. Will try to reinstall after reformatting (I got my data earlier when it was somewhat accessible) it..  Is there a comprehensive reformat option on xp install? (not the quick one). will that detect hard disk issues?
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optomaCommented:
Use UBCD and run manufacturers full hard drive diagnostics :) (kinda mentioned above!)
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html 
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angler-sdCommented:
you can boot to a xp cd. Choose recovery council. once you get to a dos promt
Type: chkdsk /r  This will test for bad sectors and report the amount of bad sectors to you after its done. on a 250gb hd will take a good hour or more...
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nsriramAuthor Commented:
thanks all; using the IBM/Hitachi diagnostic from the Ultimate Boot CD to scan the hard drive.   Windows also auto checkdisked recently on one of the bootups (not sure if it fixed anything).. Given that this PC crashed a few months ago (reinstall without reformat fixed it).. Will do a xp cd boot and check disk with forced fixes  next if no errors show up here.
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nsriramAuthor Commented:

The hdd diagnostic didnt give me error codes.. and I did the check disk as well from boot up cd..  Reinstalling with full format..  (lost  my sp3 cd.. making do with an older sp2 cd).

will close this thread and award points to multiple posters.
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angler-sdCommented:
Its got to be overheating then. Thats about all there left on that model...
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nsriramAuthor Commented:
and its running very smoothly after a full format and reinstall (touch wood)
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angler-sdCommented:
Wow! Good luck Bro!
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