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Windows 7: Random 20 second Freezes

29 Sep 2013   #1
Tweakit

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 
Random 20 second Freezes

The Problem:
I have a strange problem with my Windows 7 64 bit system. At random times but most often when I click on a web link within a browser the computer will freeze up for about 20 seconds. All the while the hard drive will be working hard with its light flickering constantly during the freeze. At the end of the freeze, a short ‘beep’ occurs, the hard drive activity settles out, the web page opens and everything restores to normal. This happens randomly, typically not more than twice a day or less than once in 2-3 days. No errors are logged but at the moment the freeze ends, an informational event is logged indicated that ‘Windows Error Reporting Service’ has started.

Other Related Information:
Recently on a completely different computer I did a clean install of Windows 7 32 bit. I did all windows updates but have not loaded any applications except for MSE. The exact same thing has been happening on this computer! The only thing these two computers have in common is they are both Windows 7 systems and both use MSE.

What Debug Have I Done?
I’ve done virus and Malwarebyte scans, SFC scans, overnight memory testing and extended hard drive testing showing all is clean and healthy. I’ve also used Process Explorer to see what is using the hard drive during a freeze but it’s impossible to tell as Process Explorer stops updating for the duration of a freeze. I also tried turning off Error Reporting and disabling the WER service. This did not help though as expected the noted WER informational event stopped occurring after a freeze.

Now What?
It seems to me this problem is related to either Windows 7 or MSE or the combination though I’m surprised that others don’t seem to be complaining about it.
Does anyone have any suggestions?? I would really like to get the help of someone smarter than me on this!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Sep 2013   #2
AmericanPharaoh

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

If both computers are freezing during web browsing then the problems appears to be with your Internet or the router.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2013   #3
Tweakit

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for this suggestion. There are two other computers that share the network that don't experience this problem. Also on occasion the problem occurs when using other applications. Ergo i don't think it has much to do with the router or Internet connection. It may happen more often during browsing simply because that is what I mostly do with the computer.
Also, I should mention that during one of these freezes, the computer will not respond to anything including to mouse clicks. Sometimes the mouse will move briefly after the freeze starts but then stops until the freeze ends.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Sep 2013   #4
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Improbable but possible you have tow failing hard drives. If you have to use Seatools, change you SATA mode to IDE in BIOS first or the Seagate drives won't be recognized.



Hard drive(s)test(s):


Pick one for your HDD brand or use Seatools.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2013   #5
Tweakit

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

Western Digital Data Lifeguard Extended Testing has been done on the windows 7 64 bit machine. The 32 bit machine has a Hitachi Drive but I don't see an ISO version of the Hitachi tester available anymore. The Hitachi tester WinDFT tester must be installed and does not work on the primary system drive so I can't easily test the Hitachi drive on the 32 bit machine. I should also point out that the 64 bit machine has a 2nd hard drive (normally disconnected and also Hitachi) that has an image of the system drive. When I boot on that drive, I also experience the same exact freeze problem described. Therefore, if the hard drive is at fault, there are three hard drives that are all failing with the very same symptom. Very unlikely in this instance.
Does anyone think its possible that MSE is playing a role in this? All three systems that have this problem use MSE.
Any other suggestions?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2013   #6
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

I'm no fan of MSE but I don't think it can cause your issues. You can see if uninstalling it would help. Run disconnected from the web.

Seatools should be able to test the Hitachi drives but not repair them.
You can use this tool to give a quick check of the drives.
CrystalDiskInfo - Software - Crystal Dew World
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2013   #7
gregrocker

 

Work through the other Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7 establishing a Clean Boot, checking Admin log for repeat errors to resolve, utilize System Resources to check for Problems and Generate a System Health Report.

As suggested uninstall MSE after enabling Defender by typing Defender in Start Search box, to test without MSE.

Is this when you are browsing online? If so try Firefox. Only allow Flash in Add-ons. Run SUPERAntiSpyware.com - Downloads to root any sneak spyware out of registry.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2013   #8
Tweakit

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

Gregocker:
You mentioned the “Admin Log.” In the Event Viewer I see: “Custom Views\Administrative Events.” Is this what you mean by “Admin Log?”
The system health report is OK except it shows no Anti-Virus recorded. See the picture for details. I don’t really understand this message since MSE is installed and working properly. Also the Action Center shows “MSE reports that it is up to date and virus scanning is on.”
Also, you suggested testing with Defender after uninstalling MSE. My understanding is that Windows 7 Defender included spyware/adware protection but not virus protection. Isn’t this risky to run with Defender only?
Yes, the problem typically occurs when browsing on line. I have IE10 and Chrome installed. The problem occurs in both browsers. I haven’t tried Firefox yet.
I will work through your other suggestions.
Thanks.


Attached Images
Random 20 second Freezes-pic1.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2013   #9
AmericanPharaoh

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Here's one way to get to Administrative event Logs.

Start Orb>Right-Click Computer>Manage>Event Viewer>Custom Views> Click on, Administrative Events>Wait for the right pane to populate. Expand to full screen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2013   #10
Tweakit

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 
Looks Like an MSE problem

I believe I’ve determined the issue to be caused by MSE or some interaction of MSE with Windows 7. Here are the key debug steps I did which I think are sufficient to draw the above conclusion:
• I did not boot in Safe Mode but did a clean boot to find the problem still existed.
• I did the Microsoft safety scan which showed no malware or virus.
• Note, even though WER service starts at the conclusion of every freeze event, no errors are generated and consequently no error reports can be found.
• I bypassed the router and connected the computer directly to the modem. I was able to repeat the problem. While this test was sufficient to rule out the router, I still tried another router and was able to repeat the problem with the different router.
• In a gallant and risky maneuver, I uninstalled MSE to find that I could NOT repeat the problem. I Re-installed MSE and the freeze problem returned.
Here are a few other notes that also tend to support the above conclusion:
• I also tried a windows 7 computer on the network that uses Norton rather than MSE. I could not repeat the problem on this computer.
• There is also a windows 2000 computer on the network that uses AVG Free. This computer does not have the problem.
• To repeat what I mentioned earlier there are three computers on the network that use either Windows 7 64 or Windows 7 32. These computers have vastly different hardware and software environments though all three use MSE and all three have the freeze problem. One of the computers is a recent clean install of Windows 7-32 and showed the problem before any applications were installed. These are the only computers on the network that use MSE and these are the only computers that have the problem.

While I think the above makes clear that the freeze problem is caused by MSE or the combination of MSE and Windows 7, I would like to know if anyone has a differing view. If not, is there some way of having Microsoft review this thread and address this apparent problem?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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