Want to win a PS4? Go Premium and enter to win our High-Tech Treats giveaway. Enter to Win


laptop hangs and freezes

Posted on 2014-03-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-05-07
I have an HP Probook 6550b, i5 M450, 2.4 Ghz, Win 7, 4GB RAM, with a 16GB readyboost drive.

For quite some time, it has suffered from periodic hanging and freezing.  There is no pattern to what software I am running at the time or what I am doing.  Sometimes it hangs, and I can regain control; sometimes it just freezes and I have to turn it off with the switch.  I have run System Mechanic, Advanced System Care Pro, Reimage, driver checker and update utilities, and other cleaner / repair utilities.  Nothing seems to make any difference.

I have "Who Crashed" running, and there's never any crash dump info.

Sometimes I suspect the graphics driver or chip.  I don't know much about it, but it seems that the computer has trouble redrawing the screen fairly often.

I am at the point of a new computer, but believe this must be solvable.  What should I be looking at?

Thank you.
Question by:pjfromny
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • +5
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 39931513
first at all run serious antivurus software (Kaspersky, Symantec, etc.) for some viruses.
run superantispyware (yeah that´s product name :)) or spybot search and destroy for malware.
you can also make botable CD or USB with Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 - it´s free and you will scan your computer when not running windows.

also run windows update and check for optional updates if there are some of them for your hardware. You can manually install chipset or graphic driver from HP support website.
run sfc /scannow from command prompt (elevated - as Administrator) to check drivers consistency.
also you can  clean your machine from dust (in case overheating is an issue) - you can use air in the can (spray) or if the machine is not under warranty you can disassembly it and clean more precisely.
LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39931664
2 possible causes I would investigate:
1. the hdd:
I use CrystalDiskInfo to check for SMART parameters.
If it's green, run chkdsk c: \R and restart, letting Windows check the system partition for problems.
If it's yellow, run the manufacturer's utility and use the long test. If it's ok, run chkdsk also.
If it's red or if the manufacturer's utility says it can't repair it, backup and replace the hdd.

2. temperatures:
I use Speedfan to monitor the temperatures. Leave it running and see if you can correlate the freezes with high temperatures.
If the temps are problematic, take it to the nearest repair shop and have it cleaned.
You can do it yourself, but if you do not have experience with it I don't recommend it.

LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 39931825
disable readyboost since you have lots of ram unless you REALLY need it. As noted above Laptops have heat problems, check that the fan is working and not ubstructed with lint or other debris (a can of compressed air and blow it out could help).  A failing hard drive will also cause these symptoms (as noted above) as the disk keeps retrying the sector.
Concerto's Cloud Advisory Services

Want to avoid the missteps to gaining all the benefits of the cloud? Learn more about the different assessment options from our Cloud Advisory team.

LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 39931840
The graphics chip is probably overheating.
Disassemble the case and clean all air cooled components from dust and debris.
If you cannot disassemble then with the power off use a vacuum cleaner on all the vents to suck out as much dust and debris as possible.
Air jet spay cans may also be used to assist the removal of dust and debris, and laptop cooling pads can help.
Disassembly and clean all air cooled components from dust and debris is usually the better solution.

Chech hardware with diagnostics on UBCD:

LVL 93

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 1125 total points
ID: 39932279
i would uninstall all toolsq you used to start with.
then i would run diagnostics on Ram and disk, to be sure about the basics, i use the UBCD for this :
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page

 in your case, since it happens infrequently, i would run the diags for a long time, if the suggestions above did not help

and if the problem is the motherboard -  then there's only 1 solution : a new one, or turn this one in for repair
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 375 total points
ID: 39935704
Personally, I think Spybot Search&Destroy is a bit off the pace these days, and would make malwarebytes my very first port of call.  

Take care with any of these downloads that you get them from the original websites, not some clone site that's repackaged the software with a bunch of crud around it.

I would also try removing the battery and just running it on the mains alone - take care NOT to disturb the power cord while this is happening, as if it's disconnected, the lappy will turn off, of course.  The reason for this is that failing batteries can sometimes cause power fluctuations that can cause instability, even if charging at the time.  See if it's more stable like this, and if so, you may want to consider a replacement battery.  

However, the temperature issues mentioned above are pretty likely, as well.

Author Comment

ID: 39935806
It has Trend Micro antivirus, as well as the malware checks in Advanced System Care and System Mechanic.

Windows Update runs regularly.  There are two updates that Reimage fouled up and now won't install, but the issues precede that. The updates are reported to be minor and the Reimage folks gave up on trying to fix it.

I've updated drivers using HP utilities and have Iobit's Driver Booster running.

I've run Superantispyware and Spybot.  Just some tracking cookies.  I will run Malwarebytes.

Just so I'm clear - a power fluctuation would cause it to hand and/or freeze?  

It overheats occasionally, but that seems to be unrelated to the hanging/freezing issue.  I keep RealTemp running most of the time, and when it gets hot, I increase the air space underneath or use an external fan.  If it gets really hot, it just turns off.

I will try without the battery.
LVL 59

Expert Comment

ID: 39996324
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 39996325
by: pjfromnyPosted on 2014-03-18 at 10:00:58ID: 39935806
"It overheats occasionally, but that seems to be unrelated to the hanging/freezing issue."

Overheating is the cause of the freeze, as I commented.

by: Michael-BestPosted on 2014-03-16 at 05:47:47ID: 39931840
"The graphics chip is probably overheating."

Author Comment

ID: 39996358
Okay, I just want to be sure I understand.  I know that it occasionally overheats and shuts down, and I have installed "RealTemp" which warns me that its overheating.  But the hanging and freezing can also be overheating?

I have tried all of the malware removal that was suggested.

I have not been able to physically vacuum the system.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 39996428
Overheating of the video chip is likely the cause of the freeze.
Disassemble the case and clean all air cooled components from dust and debris.

Author Comment

ID: 40007234
I've taken it all apart, cleaned all dust out.  It was not that dirty.  I replaced the keyboard not so long ago, and cleaned it then.  It does not seem to have helped.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 40008282
>>  there's never any crash dump info  << i just noticed this "there's never any crash dump info"  is the system set to make minidumps?  if not, set it , and when you get a dmp - post the dmp file here

Author Comment

ID: 40035129
I'm not getting BSOD.  I'm just getting non-responsive, either for a few minutes or permanently.  I completely uninstalled System Mechanic, and it seems to be better.  It has frozen on me about once a day since that uninstall.

Its been set for a kernal memory dump, so I changed it to small memory dump.
LVL 93

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 1125 total points
ID: 40036423
i suppose the best solution is to backup, and do a factory restore

Author Comment

ID: 40036770
I'm not sure I know what you mean by a "factory restore," reinstall windows?
LVL 93

Accepted Solution

nobus earned 1125 total points
ID: 40037644
a factory restore restores the pc to the state you got it from themanufacturer; it is like a fresh install + all applications from the supplier

Featured Post

Industry Leaders: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

By default the complete memory dump option is disabled in windows . If we want to enable the complete memory dump for a diagnostic purpose, we have a solution for it. here we are using the registry method to enable this.
There are many software programs on offer that will claim to magically speed up your computer. The best advice I can give you is to avoid them like the plague, because they will often cause far more problems than they solve. Try some of these "do it…
This Micro Tutorial will teach you the basics of configuring your computer to improve its speed. It will also teach you how to disable programs that are running in the background simultaneously. This will be demonstrated using Windows 7 operating…
The viewer will learn how to successfully download and install the SARDU utility on Windows 7, without downloading adware.
Suggested Courses

618 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question