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laptop freezing but fine in safe mode

Posted on 2011-09-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have a client with a laptop freezing soon after windows starts but works just fine in safe mode.  Any ideas what this might be?

Thanks.
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Question by:now2010
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9 Comments
 
LVL 6

Accepted Solution

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joeyfaz earned 72 total points
ID: 36514511
It can range anywhere from a driver hanging to a virus or any other form of malware. I like to use a bootable antivirus disc and just let it scan the entire hard drive. There are some good ones out there but the one that seems to work best for me is the BitDefender bootable image. You can download it from here: http://www.bitdefender.com/support/How-to-create-a-BitDefender-Rescue-CD-627.html

Once that is done, then I install Avast Free Antivirus, update it and then let it perform a boot-time scan with Max sensitivity, which then cleans up all of the files.
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:leebrumbaugh
leebrumbaugh earned 72 total points
ID: 36514529
Sorry, but that's a little too broad, but I'll give you some good starting points to hunt down and check out :)

First, because it works in Safe Mode that means it's not loading Startup applications or 3rd party dlls.  In safe mode from the Run line type Msconfig.  Once that's up, there's an option to disable all startup applications.  Try that and reboot into regular mode.

Once that's up then you can enable them one at a time to see which one causes it to lock up.

The other thing this could be is a virus/malware.  Do you have an antivirus program installed? Is it updated? There are plenty of free ones you can use.  If you can boot into Safe Mode with Networking you can do an online virus scan.
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by:fabman69
fabman69 earned 72 total points
ID: 36514629
This can be a number of things, as leebrumbauugh mentioned, your question is too broad. To start troubleshooting first disable startup applications using msconfig (type at the run command in Windows XP). If you installed any new apps, uninstall it and test it again. Also run a virus/spyware check while in safe mode using free tools such as MS Essentials (downloadable from the Microsoft site in the security section). That's what I would do to start up with and then go from there.
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Author Comment

by:now2010
ID: 36514812
I could not do msconfig and uninstall and remove anything from  startup because the pc freezes before I could do that.
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LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:blaslett
blaslett earned 71 total points
ID: 36514851
boot into safe mode. unistall the graphics driver

boot to windows normally. If OK, GPU is failing. Common fault on nVidia based laptops inparticular.

bit hard to diagnose with such a broad description and no details as to the model / make of the laptop.
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LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:weedhell
weedhell earned 71 total points
ID: 36514928
in safe mode press windows key + R in command prompt type msconfig and click ok.
in that window you can find a tab that say startup that's a list of applications that starts with your windows uncheck all suspicious applications or just for now take them all out...
them go to services tab... order for ownership and uncheck all that do not belong to Microsoft... click ok and click reboot later... go to startup menu in programs folder you will find one menufolder with name startup take all applications out of it backup them to another folder or delete them.... Reboot you pc and start in normal mode...
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36515415
check event log for problems and errors  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308427
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Jim-R
Jim-R earned 71 total points
ID: 36515538
In most cases I've observed, this is a video driver or video hardware issue.

You don't have to uninstall the graphics driver, just enable VGA mode from the boot menu you get by tapping F8 as the computer starts up.  This basically bypasses the graphics card drivers and uses the ones that Windows setup uses when you are installing Windows.  This is also available as a selection in the MSCONFIG utility.

If it is fine in VGA mode, you know you have a problem with video drivers or video hardware.  

If not, then use MSCONFIG (from safe mode) to disable all start up programs and NON Microsoft services.  On the services tab, select the "Hide All Microsoft" services check box.  Now if it is OK, you re enable what you disabled a few at a time until it chokes up on you again.  Then you can narrow it down to what automatically starting program or service is causing your issue.
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LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:Wild_Tech
Wild_Tech earned 71 total points
ID: 36524841
in safe mode open a cmd window and type sfc /scannow this will not hurt anything, but if you do have a corrupt windows .dll file that might have been changed by a 3rd party program this should fix it.
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