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Windows 7: Random freezes with no BSOD

26 Apr 2014   #1
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 
Random freezes with no BSOD

Hi. I hope I'm posting this in the right place.

The problem I'm experiencing is that my computer is randomly freezing. By freezing, I mean that the computer completely locks up. No mouse movement, nothing. I'll try to give as many details as I can but if there is any further information that would help, please let me know.

First off, my machine has the following spec:
Alienware M17x R1
Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile
NVIDIA GTX 260M
8GB DDR3 RAM
2, 1TB SSHDs

The freezing problem seems to occur randomly during usage, and I cannot seemingly force it to occur. It usually happens within about an hour or so of use, but can be as little as a couple of minutes or as long as a couple of hours. However there are a few important points. First, during the diagnostics I have run (e.g. Memtest86) I've not experienced any problems. Further, I've managed to leave the computer on overnight running malware scans without the issue occurring which leads me to believe that my interaction with the computer may be triggering the problem. I've not been able to narrow it down further than this, but it does seem to occur more when I'm making use of the internet (e.g. Google Maps, Apple Updater etc.).

When the computer freezes, I cannot do anything except power it off. I do not get a BSOD. About a second before the freeze happens, I notice massive lag. All music stops playing. However I am still able to switch the track pad on and off using the function keys. I also notice that shortly after the freeze, the fan starts, suggesting some kind of busy wait (deadlock?).

I first noticed the issue a couple of weeks ago. I'm not aware of having made any significant changes, although I did install a small program that claimed to stop Windows from restarting (it didn't really work). However I have since uninstalled this in case it was causing the issue.

In terms of what I've done so far to solve the problem, I started by doing hardware checks. However Memtest86 reported that my memory was fine and Seagate Dos tools reported the same for my SSHDs. I also ran a full virus scan with Malwarebytes but no problems were found. I ran a full disk defrag (Smart Defrag) and cleaned the registry (CCleaner) but neither solved the problem. I installed a Windows hotfix for a deadlock issue but that too did nothing. I read about some potential problems with different memory frequencies and some fixes possible through the BIOS. As my BIOS did not offer these options, I flashed the BIOS and updated to A7 (the latest) but the only result was to break my RAID 1 setup. Following the advice from other threads on these forums, I then switched on Windows Driver Verifier to try and force a BSOD. However whilst it was on, I just got another freeze with no BSOD.

I'm afraid at this stage I'm out of ideas so that why I'm here asking for help. In accordance with the advice in this sub-forum, I ran the DM Log Collector and have attached the results. However as I'm not actually getting a BSOD, I'm not sure if this will be of any help or not.

As I say, if there is any further information that would be of use, or if you have any advice on further diagnostics to try, please let me know.

Many thanks in advance for your help.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
27 Apr 2014   #2
Thedoctor44

 

Well it sounds like a driver issue.
Please run Driver Verifier by following these instructions.

Driver Verifier - Enable and Disable

Please create a restore point before enabling driver verifier as it can make the system unbootable.
Follow these insructions.


System Restore Point - Create
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #3
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Hi Thedoctor. Thanks for your response. Well those were the instructions I followed last time I used driver verifier, and as I said, the computer still just froze without a BSOD. However I've switched it back on again now (it makes my computer incredibly slow - is that normal?) so maybe next time, I might get a BSOD instead of a freeze?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

27 Apr 2014   #4
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Hi Laurie, yes driver verifier will slow your system. If there is some bad driver it should cause a BSOD, if you get one, disable DV.

It sure seems like you're overheating. Have you blown out all the vents, use it on a hard surface?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #5
Thedoctor44

 

Britton is the hardware expert here

If you get any blue screens us know and I'll take a look.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #6
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

@Britton
Thanks for the thoughts. I don't think it's too likely to be an overheating issue though. I've had processor overheating problems before, but in that case, the computer wouldn't so much freeze as power itself off. Anyhow I still thought I'd check so I've been running CoreTemp all afternoon but the temperatures have been staying very stable, although I've still been getting the freezes. I've taken the opportunity to clear out the vents though as it probably needed doing anyway!

Since I switched Driver Verifier back on, I've had two more freezes, neither of which triggered a BSOD. I've also noticed that going on YouTube seems to greatly increase the chance of a freeze (although it has occurred without YouTube being open). I'm not quite sure what to read into that. It certainly seems to increase the chance of an error a lot over other forms of internet use.

I'll leave Driver Verifier running in the hope that it will trigger a BSOD at some point, but is there anything else I can try in the meanwhile? Also I noticed in those instructions that it said specifically not to check any of Microsoft's own drivers for testing. Given that I'm still not getting a BSOD, is it worth checking those drivers too?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #7
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

One of the toughies, MS driver may cause a problem 1 in 500 times maybe, but you can enable them too. I don't know if you done all of these yet:

Some hardware tests to run.


Hard drive(s)test(s):
Pick one for your HDD brand or use Seatools.
7 Free Hard Drive Testing Software Tools

RAM (memory) test:
This will require memtest on a bootable CD or USB stick.
RAM - Test with Memtest86+
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #8
Thedoctor44

 

Just to add, I recommend using SeaTools.

SeaTools for DOS and Windows - How to Use

Make sure you run memtest86 for at least 8 passes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #9
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Ha ha! I finally got a BSOD! It was rather strange actually. I just switched my computer on after I'd powered it off from another freeze, switched it back on, walked out of the room, and came back to see the last couple of seconds of a BSOD. It must have happened during boot up, as I'd only been out of the room for a moment. Anyhow I think this is where I'll have to put upon your expertise and ask for your help in understanding these dump files. I've run the DM Log Collector again and I've attached the resulting zip file to this post. If you could possibly take a look at it for me, it would be greatly appreciated!

I may be wrong, as I only got to see the screen for a moment and didn't have time to photograph it, but I believe the error being displayed was "IRQL Not Less Than or Equal".

On the other tests, I've run all of them except for the Furmark stress test. Also with Memtest86, I wasn't aware of the need to run for more than one pass, so I'll definitely be sure to do that in future.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #10
Thedoctor44

 

The zip folder is empty again, did you run it as admin?
You must run it as admin.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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