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Troubleshooting Windows 8 issues..??

Posted on 2014-02-16
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Last Modified: 2014-03-23
I've been running Windows 8.1 for awhile now without any issues.  This past week or so, though, I've been returning to my computer after being away for awhile to find that it's locked up.

I can move the mouse around and I can see apps that I had open, but the cursor is showing the "wait/spinner" icon, I can't click on anything, I can't do ctrl+alt+delete, and no matter how long I seem to wait it never kicks back in for me.  The only way to get going again is to hit the reset button on the computer, which I hate doing, of course.  

I have no idea what application, or what in general, is causing this.  Is there a way that I can check Windows logs or something to see what's getting hung up when that happens?

Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
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Question by:Andrew Angell
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regmigrant earned 250 total points
ID: 39863549
when you reboot you can review the event logs and find 'last shutdown was unexpected' then go back (earlier) from there to see if anything logged a problem, however if an application hung then it probably never got a chance to log anything.

- from metro, type event and it should find event viewer for you, open the system events list and look for event 6008 - this is the acknowledgement that you rebooted without shutdown

 other options:
- check windows files with system file checker,  you will need to open a command prompt with administrator access - type cmd into metro and when it shows cmd.exe right click and run as administer. in the console type sfc  /scannow and windows will verify its own installation

- check drives - right click each drive in turn and choose tools, scan for errors

- check sleep state - right click power icon, power options 'choose when the computer sleeps' and change everything to 'never' ie: don't sleep, don't hibernate etc  - some programmes get befuddled by windows trying to go to low power and I've seen this get worse since the 8.1 update.
- keep track of the applications you normally have open and eliminate them one by one, ie: make sure you close one of them down (assuming its a similar set each time)
- a common cause of freezing is video drivers, check you have the latest
- another cause is network timeouts, this is tricky to troubleshoot because you don't know its going to happen until its already started
- leave task manager open with the CPU% column sorted and see if you can observe a particular programme consuming cycles when you return
- if that doesn't find the culprit try again with performance monitor, I find my laptop becomes sluggish and then freezes when avast does an update and takes several seconds to return - I identified it as avast by observing that disk usage was 100% and avast was the culprit

If none of the above work try closing all network connections and disabling anti virus. If the problem goes away download an alternate (free) av before you reconnect
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by:Andrew Angell
ID: 39863567
Thanks for the details.  I'll try some of this out and award points in a bit.
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by:Andrew Angell
ID: 39863574
Well, looks like I may have found the culprit.  My System logs are full of disk errors.

Level = Error
Source = disk
Event ID = 7
Task Category = None

"The device, \Device\Harddisk2\DR2, has a bad block."

How can I figure out which hard drive that is?  I have a system drive, a storage drive, and a backup drive.
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39863588
go to device manager (from control panel or type into metro), open the disk drives folder and click on each drive in turn, in properties go to the Details tab and under 'property' look for 'Physical Device Object Name' and you can see the which is which. Go to that one in explorer and under properties, tools, check disk for errors
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by:Andrew Angell
ID: 39863732
It doesn't seem to match up..??  I see all 3 drives under Disk Drives in Device Manager, but when I click into properties and then view the Physical Device Object Name like you said I get these...

- \Device\Ide\IdeDeviceP0T0L0-0
- \Device\Ide\IdeDeviceP1T0L0-1
- \Device\Ide\IdeDeviceP1T1L0-3

Again, though, the system log shows \Device\Harddisk2\DR2, so I'm not sure which one relates..??
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by:Andrew Angell
ID: 39863764
I ran check disk on all 3 and they're all saying no errors found.  Something is clearly wrong, though, because in the system logs there are about 100 logs a few seconds apart all with the same "bad disk" error, and right after that is when I see the log about the system losing power without shutdown (when I rebooted).
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39864031
type 'computer management' into metro and go to the console.

Click on disk management and you should see all the partitions listed - are they all marked as healthy? click on each and re-run a scan for errors from properties
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by:nobus
nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 39864133
i suggest to run the manufacturer  diag on the drive; long test
personally, i run them from the UBCD : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      

if you find errors you can use HDDRegegnerator (not free) : http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html      
it fixd many drives for me !
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39864173
If it requires a commercial solution then I would go for Spinwrite 6 from GRC.com but let's eliminate the free possibilities first as the drive is largely functional at the moment. However - make sure your backups are up to date and make a separate one to a different unit if you can
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by:Andrew Angell
ID: 39864244
Yeah, everything in Disk Management says Healthy, and all scans are showing no problems.  I analyzed with the defrag tool, too, and they're not showing any fragmentation.  My system log is full of disk errors, though, right before my reboots, and it's happened twice in the past few days.  

Very strange.
system-log.jpg
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39864357
I suggest you go into an admin command prompt and run Chkdsk /r/f if you haven't already, this will force multiple reads and mark any problem blocks as bad - its possible a block is responding ok to any individual read but failing when it being written to or when multiple sectors are involved. The /f parameter will force fix of errors and /r will attempt recovery. Even if this doesn't solve the problem it might help to identify which disk is failing.

Also would you look at the detail of the bad block events and see if there is any information identifying the block or the number of blocks with a problem? we are looking to see if the same issue is being reported a lot or the problem is actually getting worse.
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by:nobus
ID: 39864494
i still recommend running the diag first, as i posted above.
IF the drive has problems -running chkdsk only makes it worse
but it's your choice
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by:regmigrant
ID: 39864621
Nobus is correct that chkdsk can cause problems under certain circumstances - because it finds orphaned chains of data and recreates them as files in the root folder with a useless name. Given that you have 90% functionality at the moment I don't consider that to be a huge risk but if this is critical data you should get couple of separate disks and do a byte by byte copy of the system as it stands - at worst you will have  spent a small amount of money and have an extra backup device.

- under normal operation the drive's own controller will spot bad sectors and mark them as unusable without windows noticing, the fact that you are getting the event logs indicates that this process has reallocated as many sectors as it can (the limit is around 80) and bad blocks are still appearing; take this as an indication that the drive is on the way out and you have been given a little time to take recovery actions

If you are concerned download Diag as nobus suggested or hdtune free (for example) before running the chkdsk /f/r
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