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Windows 7: Periodic freezes in my system

04 Oct 2009   #21

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
 
 

Oh no i completly forgot one thing... now i remember that i did NOT test the midnight freeze when i did the clean install of windows 7, because at the time i did the install it was morning and i didn't want to wait all day until midnight without the usual programs i use. BUT i did tried the clock changing trick, and it never worked... I also did test the 1 hour freezes, that's what i tested for SURE in a clean install, and it behaved exactly like it's doing now. Tomorrow maybe i will try doing the clean install again to see if this really happens, but i will use instead the image i did at the time i installed windows seven, i still have the system partition image i did with acronis true image when i did the clean install here in a file. But first i have to make one of my current partition, which takes about 1 hour.

hum... power fluctuation ? Well this doesn't happen in the first few days when i install windows xp, it's only only after a few days it starts happening i have no idea why...

Regarding internet issues, those 1 hour freezes DO happen even without the internet connected at all (i mean with the lan cable removed, since i have a router that connects via lan cable). The problem is, windows vista and seven already install the ethernet adapter drivers by default so i can't see if this is the cause of the freezes. In fact in windows xp when i install it i don't have the ethernet drivers installed right away.

It must be something related to hardware indeed, i see no other explanation.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Oct 2009   #22

Win7x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dave76 View Post
Could it be a power fluctuation?

Do you use a UPS?

Internet source? Resetting their server? Or internet provider caused?
What Dave76 said. There's a possibility that the "midnight freeze" is somehow caused by external factors which are not reliant on either the motherboard's clock ("RTC") or the Windows clock. Have rep Dave

Cesm23, if I understand correctly, there are two distinctly different types of periodic freezing on your machine:

A) At midnight according to the wall clock, the machine pauses noticeably for a second or so. The RTC and Windows time have no effect on this issue - only the wall clock matters. If that's correct, I have two questions for you regarding this specific freeze:
1. Can you clarify whether this has always occurred under all operating systems? I'm not clear on that, despite having read your posts.

2. Does it happen if you (say) boot into Knoppix with a CD?

3. What are you actually using to time this freeze - how do you know it's precisely at midnight?
B) For every hour of uptime, there is a smaller freeze which may be hard to detect from the console but it sometimes shows up as dropped video frames (not always). This freeze did not occur under XP.

Again, if I understand correctly, the Windows clock can be absolutely anything for both issues "A" and "B". Hence, it is very important when doing that Xperf capture if you can note down - as precisely as possible - what time the Windows clock was registering at the point of the freeze. I may be looking for something very tiny or even invisible in the log, and it helps if I know when it occurred according to the log timer.

Interesting issue
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2009   #23

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
 
 

Quote:
A) At midnight according to the wall clock, the machine pauses noticeably for a second or so. The RTC and Windows time have no effect on this issue - only the wall clock matters. If that's correct, I have two questions for you regarding this specific freeze:
I am sorry maybe i used bad wording... no it's not according to the wall clock, it's really when the computer's clock changes from 23:59:59 to 00:00:00 or when changes to 00:00:00 to 00:00:01 (i am unable to see for sure which of these two happens). I just said it happened when it was midnight here in my country because obviously i keep the computer's clock to match the wall clock, that's what i meant

You tought that the freeze happened when it was exactly midnight according to my country's official clock time ? No no of course not

What i also mean is that it's when the computer's clock reach midnight without any manipulations in the time, that the freeze happens.

Quote:
1. Can you clarify whether this has always occurred under all operating systems? I'm not clear on that, despite having read your posts.
Yeah i understand this is confusing. It's like this, when i am using windows vista or windows 7, it ALWAYS did the midnight freezing, even in the same day i installed it. The only time i remember that the midnight freeze doesn't happen, is when i install windows xp, but it's only in the first days, i notice that often about a few days later it starts doing it again...

Quote:
2. Does it happen if you (say) boot into Knoppix with a CD?
I never used this before... i didn't even knew what this was until i just googled for it now.

Quote:
3. What are you actually using to time this freeze - how do you know it's precisely at midnight?
Lol by looking at the windows clock at the bottom in the task tray. I even double click it to see the seconds pointer in the "analog" clock, and it's exactly when it strikes 00:00:00.

Quote:
B) For every hour of uptime, there is a smaller freeze which may be hard to detect from the console but it sometimes shows up as dropped video frames (not always). This freeze did not occur under XP.
Yes, for example, when in uptime it shows 01:00:00, 02:00:00, etc. What you mean "from the console? You mean, windows desktop ? Yes most of the times it shows up as dropped frames in video capture, and believe me usually i only get dropped frames when there is a serious freeze on the computer itself i even notice the freeze in the overlay surface of the video capture. Altough it's quite rare to not do anything at all in these hourly freezes, but since it always happens at the exact time that the system.

Ok for now i am doing important tv captures, soon i will finally that thing you suggested.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Oct 2009   #24

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
 
 

finally i caught another hourly freeze. I was capturing tv and then i did the xperf thing 15 seconds before the uptime reached 04:00:00 (at 03:00:00 i just forgot about doing this, and in 02:00:00 it didn't happened). Then at 04:00:01 the freeze did happened, here's the log i send in attachment. I stopped the log about 5-10 seconds after the freeze happened (i only stopped the tv capture after stopping the log).

I hope it's possible to notice something in here, i have no idea if these hourly freezes are related to the one that uses to happen at midnight, but it's possible.


Attached Files
File Type: rar hourly_freeze.rar (2.60 MB, 15 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2009   #25

Win7x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cesm23 View Post
I hope it's possible to notice something in here, i have no idea if these hourly freezes are related to the one that uses to happen at midnight, but it's possible.
Sorry, nothing obvious. You can see that the processor rate, DPC rate, and Interrupt rates are all fairly consistent throughout the 40sec of log. While perfmon is limited to a 1sec resolution by default, Xperf does one sample roughly every 3ms on most machines, so it's vastly more granular.

It's still possible that there are other software reasons which are not obvious, so you might want to do another capture with these verbose settings:

xperf -on PROC_THREAD+LOADER+INTERRUPT+DPC+PROFILE+DISK_IO+ALL_FAULTS+DISPATCHER+DRIVERS+POWER+CSWITCH+MEMINFO

It's probably best if you log the "midnight" freeze since that one is longer and presumably a bigger target. It would also be useful if you could try to stop the trace say exactly 10sec after the start of the freeze, so that it's as obvious as possible where to look in the log.


Attached Thumbnails
Periodic freezes in my system-kernel.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2009   #26

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
 
 

Ok i got it, the next hourly freeze should happen in about 40 minutes from now on so i will then post it after it's done.

Regarding the midnight freeze yes i know i should trace it too, it's just a matter of waiting 9 more hours (jeez it's really BAD that i can't change the clock to before midnight to test this)

update : damn there is always some problem, like remembering to do this only at the last minute, or the previous logs i did getting mixed with the new ones, i didn't know it actually merged the previous logs i did, so now i always delete them first. Now it's another 55 minutes of waiting, jeez...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2009   #27

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
 
 

Here's another log, i started it exact 10 seconds before the freeze time, and stopped after 10 seconds after freeze time, as always 1 dropped frame.

here's the archive : http://********************/?d=8U2A6KAQ
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2009   #28

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
 
 

Now here's the "important" one, it's now 00:08 here and i started the log exactly 10 seconds before midnight and stopped 10 seconds after midnight and i used the new settings you told me to use. Just ignore the filename i used (hourly_freeze.etl) i forgot to change it, this is really the one from midnight.

By the way this time i choosed NOT to have a tv capture going, maybe that's why i noticed that the freeze was a bit shorter than last night... it was kinda like a half second instead of a entire second.

Now tell me if you notice anything strange in there? Even tough the freeze was shorter than last night i clearly noticed the freeze since i was hearing a music in winamp as well.

One last thing, the freeze happens EXACTLY when the clock goes to 23:59:59 to 00:00:00 and NOT from 00:00:00 to 00:00:01 (i used the analog clock of windows 7 to check this).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2009   #29

Win7x64
 
 

Good news: the nature of the "midnight" freeze is easy to see in the logs.
Bad news: Insufficient info (in Xperf) to tell which driver is responsible

Suggestion: do the "midnight" capture once more please, but this time crash the box on purpose afterwards so that a BSOD minidump is generated (once you've saved your data). Here's how...

1) Add the "CrashOnCtrlScroll" registry value as per this MSDN article: Forcing a System Crash from the Keyboard
2) Reboot at least once. Test that your machine then bugchecks (BSODs) whenever you press ctrl+ScrLk+ScrLk, and that it produces a minidump in \Windows\Minidump. (The minidump is the important part.)
3) For the next "midnight run", use: xperf -on PROC_THREAD+LOADER+INTERRUPT+DPC+PROFILE+DISPATCHER+DRIVERS+CSWITCH -stackwalk profile
4) A few minutes after you finish and save the Xperf logging, use ctrl+ScrLk+ScrLk to crash the machine and produce a minidump.

It's *vital* that the Xperf log and minidump be from the same boot. In other words, the crash has to occur after you run Xperf, but before you reboot. The combination of Xperf log and minidump may reveal more.

=================
Longer version: you can see in the attached graph, which is a composite of several overlaid quantities, that everything else seems to cease during that phallic-looking "DPC" spike (in red). Think of a DPC as a very primitive and high-priority task that temporarily suspends everything else on the system. They normally occur somewhere between 200 and 500 times per second on your machine, but during the 1sec interval around that spike there are in excess of 98 thousand DPCs. Their combined effect is the temporary lockup that you experience - the system is so busy servicing DPCs that all other activity is basically suspended.

The table I attached shows the address of the function responsible as 0x8e4536c0. That's outside of the kernel range, and very probably a driver. The problem is that I can't tell which driver because of a randomisation feature that moves those addresses around on each boot (partially for security reasons). That's why the combination of Xperf log plus minidump may reveal which driver is involved - the minidump can be used to correlate the address to a particular driver name.

I have no idea whether this will lead to a practical solution, but hell, it's fun (at least for me ), and it may even pinpoint the hardware/driver combo that's doing weird stuff at midnight.


Attached Thumbnails
Periodic freezes in my system-dpcspike.png   Periodic freezes in my system-dpctiming.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2009   #30

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
 
 

wow.... before that, i almost tought there was no solution for this Another problem, you see, is that even if we can fix this problem of the midnight freeze, it's the hourly small freeze that is the most important to me, since i almost never capture anything at midnight, i just hope if we solve this one at midnight, that it might also solve the hourly ones.

By the way can you download the log i uploaded in megaupload ? can you see if you are able to notice something similar to this too in that log ? As i told in the description, i did it exactly 10 seconds before and finished 10 seconds after.
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