Hello. I'm having a recurring problem with Win 7 randomly grinding to a halt after running fine for hours at a time. This is a new problem that has happened 2-3 times a day for the last week or so.
The system doesn't blue screen, but it runs so slow that it takes several minutes to restart or shutdown. Any open applications appear to close, but it's running so slow that the icons in the taskbar remain highlighted (as if they are open) for minutes. It won't actually let me open taskmanager when this happens (it takes a few minutes as it tries and then gives me an error message about permissions and logons).
It happens most frequently when I'm using a web browser. I mainly use Firefox (v 8.0), but I used Chrome to confirm that it happened outside of Firefox too. I generally run my browser sandboxed (with Sandboxie), but it's happened without the sandbox running too.
My antivirus scan and malwarebytes scans come up clean. Running the computer's diagnostics, the CPU, memory, and hard drive didn't have problems.
I'm not skilled in computer diagnostics, but it feels like a memory problem to me. I have a meter on the desktop, and when things are slowing the CPU activity stays low (<10%) while the memory meter climbs from ~40% (my normal baseline with no applications running) to about 80%. I've been so paranoid since this started that I rarely have more than one or two programs running at a time, so I'm not doing anything that should overburden the system.
It's a 1 year laptop with the following specs, so Win 7 shouldn't be killing it:
64 bit Win 7 Pro (Version 6.1)
4 GB RAM
i5 2.53 GHz CPU
134 GB free of 284 GB
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I don't know how to find what's killing it since I can't open the task manager when it's slowing down. Thanks!