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Windows 7 computer freezing

I've got a brand new DELL OptiPlex 980, Windows 7 64-bit, that keeps freezing.  This is a point of sale computer with several peripherals attached (bar code scanner, receipt printer, signature capture pad, keyboard, mouse).  The computer freezes two to three times per day at seemingly random times.  Sometimes the user hasn't used the computer for say 20 minutes, they come back and it's frozen.  Other times, the computer just freezes while the user is in the middle of using it.  By freezing I mean, the user can see everything on the screen, but is unable to move the mouse, use the keyboard, etc.  A restart fixed this problem.

I have looked in the Event Viewer and didn't see anything unusual.  Just flags associated with the computer not restarting properly.  Believing there might be a problem with the computer, I swapped it out for an identical brand new OptiPlex 980.  The second computer had the same problem and the original computer is now working with with no peripherals attached other than the keyboard mouse.

I installed several of these point of sale systems at the same time, all with the same hardware, drivers, etc.  This the only one having problems.

Any help on where to go from here would be appreciated.  Thanks.

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SupermanTB
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SupermanTB
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1 Solution
 
B HCommented:
i'd check the environment, is the pc getting too hot?

if you can, watch the user and see if they're doing something weird

what about the keyboard/mouse - wireless?  possible they're losing connection to the dongle?

those are the only 3 things i can think of that are in common with each pc
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SupermanTBAuthor Commented:
Keyboard/mouse are wired.  The user isn't doing anything funny. It's a point of sale station that is no different that 5 other point of sale stations in the building.  

If the PC is getting too hot, what does that suggest?
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CrowaXCommented:
I would try running MSconfig set it for diagnostic startup, which disables all services and startup programs. See how it runs like that. If it runs fine, enable a few things at a time to narrow it down. Also like bryon said, is it overheating? Aside from the computer being in a hot environment, open it up and be sure the cpu and video card fans are spinning. One of them freezing could lock the whole system up after a bit of time.
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SupermanTBAuthor Commented:
I'll try the diagnostic startup.  I'm not onsite this week, but will be next week and will check the environment out.  If I had to guess that's not the problem as there is a second computer with the same exact setup right beside the problem child computer.
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CrowaXCommented:
Local environment can certianly cause lockups, but one of our server rooms is over 90 degrees in there (don't ask), and our servers work fine. But a stopped CPU fan will almost always cause an overheat. A stopped video card fan can cause lock ups at any time, but usually you see it durring higher performance like 3d games. Good luck.
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SupermanTBAuthor Commented:
The environment issue doesn't seem to add up here, but I'll check anyways.  THanks.
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B HCommented:
well, if it gets too hot it could easily shut down or lock up, especially if built up with dust... not that the brand new one would be dusty...

as a rule i always uninstall all the pre-loaded dell "stuff" that comes with it, not sure if that was done but it's a good idea... they have a lot of services running that don't need to be there.  who knows what their "user experience" collects and reports periodically reports to dell - maybe it's locking up when that dell stuff interferes with the firewall?
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SupermanTBAuthor Commented:
There's definitely not a dust problem.  I removed all the DELL software as part of installation.  There's also very little software running on this computer.  There is no more/less software running on it than 5 other computers with the same exact setup.  These computers have only been in service for about a week.
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B HCommented:
could be useful to replace the things that are plugged into it - at least swap them with a like POS

any one of the wires (keyboard, mouse, scanners, drawer, printers, POWER, monitor...) one of them could be wearing out, and when then user moves in a certain way, it shorts out, leaving the computer baffled and locked up.
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SupermanTBAuthor Commented:
I don't believe it's a physical issue for the following two reasons

1.  Everything is brand new
2.  The computer will freeze when the user isn't using it.  They'll come back to find it frozen.

If I had to guess, I'll end up doing a process of elimination by swapping the peripherals with another computer.  Unfortunately that will be an annoying process as there are several peripherals and it can often take several hours for the problem to occur.  
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B HCommented:
i agree - it has to be something that's common to both of the pc's you swapped in

- user
- attachments
- environment around the case
- power strip (giving dirty power?)

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SupermanTBAuthor Commented:
I think it will end up being either the power strip or one of these attachments.  Narrowing that down will be tons of fun.  However, I would think it a peripheral was malfunction, I would see some sort of indication in the Event Viewer.
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B HCommented:
if it causes the machine to lock up due to a short, it could very easily freeze the machine before it has a chance to even think about writing an event log
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B HCommented:
^ such as if you yank out the power cable, it won't be writing a log entry.  

i know you're not losing power here but, same effect basically
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SupermanTBAuthor Commented:
Interesting.  I'll be onsite next week and will get to the bottom of this.  Thanks.
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SupermanTBAuthor Commented:
The problem turned out to be a bad signature pad.  I had to unplug things and solve this by process of elimination.  Thanks for the help.
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