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Windows 7: Computer freezes randomly with external HDD plugged in


14 Jun 2012   #1

Windows 7 Premium x64
 
 
Computer freezes randomly with external HDD plugged in

My computer is an Alienware M11x R1 (yes yes, gripe all you want, I like them!) running Windows 7 Premium 64 bit.

Okay so since the day I got my M11x it has been freezing randomly. No one could find the source of this problem, though I seem to have located it recently...

Whenever I have an external HDD plugged in my system will completely lock up randomly. Can't move the mouse or do anything, the last sound that was playing hangs (Ie. if a song was playing the song would go kind of "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-" continuously), and I have to shut it off by holding the power button. It can go for a week without locking up or it can lock up two times in a single day. It also does this with some random programs that it just doesn't seem to like very much.

Can anyone help with this? I just went out and bought a new HDD to see if it was a compatibility problem (the old external I was using was fairly old) and it just froze up again while using the new one...

My warranty is out and now it seems I'm out 120$ from this new HDD...

Please help!

Thanks,
Alex

EDIT - I also forgot to mention that the programs that make it freeze tend to be things like antivirus such as "Avast!"


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Jun 2012   #2

Windows 7 Premium x64
 
 

Anyone?...

I looked for errors and found something about the Dell DataSafe thing so I disabled it on startup... Haven't had any freezes yet but, like I said, it's always completely random (seemingly).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Go through the Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7

warning   Warning
Some of the steps require that you open up your system, so before doing any of the re-seating and connection checking steps, answer these two questions: Are you still under warranty? Does your warranty allow you to open up the machine to check hardware? If you are unsure of the answers to these questions, contact your system manufacturer. WARNING: Some steps in that tutorial involve removing the system case or system panels and can void your warranty!!!


The steps specifically related to the warning are steps 8, 10, and 11.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Jun 2012   #4

Windows 7 Premium x64
 
 

I have Malwarebytes and use it on a regular basis, though I'm not extremely computer savvy. I've looked at the event log and the only thing I seemed to pick up on was that Dell DataSafe thing which was causing some problems, so I disabled it on startup (I think...).

And of course Dell/Alienware support is useless, as usual. It hasn't frozen since 8PM last night, and it's 3PM now. Though like I said it tends to be random, or maybe I just haven't noticed a pattern. If it starts freezing again I'll start recording when it does.

I'm going to try a few things in the Performance Advanced Tools for now I guess.

EDIT - I ran a performance test and the only thing it seems to be complaining about is me disabling my webcam and mic.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Sounds like good steps. May I ask why those devices are disabled?

Disabling devices can cause problems because it prevents the drivers from being updated. The older drivers, even though disabled, can still cause conflicts in some cases. I am not saying you have to enable them; I just want you to be able to make an informed decision.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #6

Windows 7 Premium x64
 
 

No reason really other than I didn't need them. Though it was freezing the day after I pulled it out of the box, before I disabled them. When I had my (old) external HDD plugged in, of course.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Alright, I have some ideas of further troubleshooting if needed. We will wait and see if the DataSafe disabling change resolves it first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #8

Windows 7 Premium x64
 
 

Still going strong, last night it froze close to this time. Any ideas as to why the DataSafe would be causing problems like that? I saw it had some interruption errors in the logs and it was one of the only things in there that seemed logical.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

My guess is that it interferes with the Volume Shadow Copy Service that is used for Windows backups and restore points. That is often the case with 3rd party backup programs; some cause simple problems like system slow downs from time to time while others cause blue screen crashes or freezes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #10

Windows 7 Premium x64
 
 

Makes a lot of sense the way you put it, I was just thinking the backup thing might be interfering with the hard drive's use of things but you took it into a lot more detail, thanks. :P

Still waiting, and crossing my fingers lol.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Computer freezes randomly with external HDD plugged in




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