Random system freezes: How nail down cause(s)
Posted on 2013-01-24
My computer has several problems which have accrued over the last year or more. However, the currently greatest obstacle to ordinary usage of my computer are its frequent, random, freezes. The two changes I have made in the last year have been to
- increase ram from 4Gb to 8Gb under XPx32, anticipating my
- move to a dual boot with 07x64.
The freeze problem began before either of these changes but has gotten much worse in the last year. Indeed, despite having installed the ram months before moving to the dual boot, it was the dramatic increase of freeze and other problems that scared me into actually installing the dual boot so I could learn Win7 and migrate to it completely but over time. I thought that some undiscoverable bug had so corrupted XP that I was in danger of losing important work. (Even though I have used WHS 2003 happily since 2008).
At one point, I thought I had eliminated the problem when I replaced the WD drive that held the system files with an equally old but unused Maxtor. (pagefile on different drive.) For several days after the replacement, the computer seemed to behave properly, for example, no freezes. But the problems have returned.
The freeze occurs absolutely anywhere:
- any point in boot up / post including
- any time during mem count
- any time up to dual boot choice
- before, during, after welcome screens
- any time during completion of boot after OS start
- any time during any length idle with or without screensaver
- during use of any single or multiple programs
- during backup (WHS reports connection broken).
I ran the Win7 repair and mem check routines and CHKDSK. All report the system fine every time run.
The trial version of AIDA64 Extreme stress test seems to report nothing wrong. The only thing I did was start it, let it cycle through all systems until hard disks had finished 4 times. Since the screen graph said TRIAL while displaying cpu temp and something else, I ran the report wizard. The extremely long report gave stats but no proactive indication of anything wrong.
I thought perhaps there was something wrong with the motherboard but do not know how to diagnose that or any other hardware individually or together. Except for my untutored use of Aida64, above.
The GPU seems to also be okay, although very, very rarely under Win7
- a window will freeze
- a streaming window will freeze the system as audio becomes a very rapid stutter that persists through the system freeze
- moving a window produces a string of windows
Going by my reading of a search of the voluminous EE archives on random freezes, I assume there is no way for anyone here to actually resolve my particular version of the issue. Given this assumption, I guess I am seeking suggestions of doable, substantive courses of action other than scrapping what may still be a wonderful assemblage or inviting some professional to take a look. (My experience gives me much, much more hope and faith in EE than in any computer mavin I could find or pay for.)
In the meantime, I have just ordered Corsair memory at 1333 Hz to replace the 1600Hz I have used since the beginning.
Thanks for any help.
All Win7 system and device drivers, and installed software are up to date though I assume this is irrelevant to the frequent pre OS freezes during boot up. Pre OS freezes seem to be less frequent --- though still present --- once the machine has warmed up.
There are at least two Win7 operation peculiarities that make me think Win7 may have some sort of additional memory problem:
- 07x64 responds more slowly than XPx32, as if it is doing a lot of background work
- WHS fails to backup one of my drives under Win7 but continues to back it up under XP.
Under Win7, the system freezes only when backing up this drive thus breaking connection to WHS. Increasing free space on the drive to 100+Mb does not help and is unnecessary under XP.
Build Date......: June 2008
OS-dual boot: Windows XP Pro x32 SP3 (active) - Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
Power Supply: Thermaltake W0131 Toughpower 850W
Motherboard.: Asus P5E64 WS EVOLUTION BIOS v0802.
CPU................: Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 @2.40GHz 2.39Ghz (2008)
Memory.........: Corsair 8 Gb XMS3 DDR3 @ 1600Hz (2008)
Graphics Card: EVGA e-GeForce GTX 275 (2008)
Mouse...........: Inland PS2 hardwire (Microcenter house brand, I think) (2012)
Keyboards.....: Inland PS2 hardwire (Microcenter house brand, I think) (2012)
KVMA switch..: CablesToGo Truelink 4-port (2008)
01..........: STM3500630AS (XPx32 - 07x64)
02..........: WD1600AAJS-08PSA0 (PageFile; tech data)
03..........: WD1001FALS-00J7B0 (data)
04..........: WD10EACS-00ZJB0 (data)
05..........: WD10EADS-00L5B1 (data)
WHS 2003 Connector
Logitech Orb webcam
Active Desktop Calendar
HT OMEGA CLARO
virtual Clone Drive