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Windows 7: Windows hits invisible resource limit, grinds to a halt and freaks out


05 Feb 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Windows hits invisible resource limit, grinds to a halt and freaks out

I stuck with Windows XP until just a few months ago because I knew Vista was a disaster and that Windows 7 had a lot of BS design changes. But I'd had it up to here with being stuck with < 4 GB RAM (especially since I already had 16 GB in my machine) and my computer grinding to a halt as a result, so when I saw a good deal on Windows 7 Home Premium I bought it and installed the x64 version (on an AMD Phenom II x4 custom build). I knew I'd have to put up with a lot of BS in the design (just ran into another one yesterday), but the bargain would be that in exchange I'd get to use all 16 GB of my RAM and be freed from arbitrarily small desktop heap and other limits, I thought.

Well now Windows 7 is constantly grinding to a halt because of some invisible resource limit way before my RAM is exhausted. The computer will run fine up to a point, then it will start showing symptoms of flakiness such as Google Chrome windows giving me the "Aw, Snap!" blue screen, and pieces of the taskbar / system tray / quick launch not being rendered -- black squares that will sometimes be repainted if I mouseover them. Once Windows enters this flaky state of operation, it's only a matter of time before it really wigs out and practically any action I take -- opening one more browser / file explorer / whatever window, searching a web page with CTRL+F, opening a save file dialog (just happened while trying to prepare my example images), practically anything -- can suddenly trigger it to go totally haywire, displaying the taskbar and system tray at the top left of the screen and becoming unresponsive to normal interaction, with all kinds of blinking of UI elements. When this happens, I can't interact with those UI elements where they're rendered, but if I mouseover their normal locations at the bottom of the screen, I can see it rendering the rollover effects on them at the top.

Things that seem like they'd be helpful in regaining control of the computer just exacerbate the problem, such as trying to open Task Manager, ALT+TAB to change to a different window, etc. I've found that if I act quickly once this happens and don't try those other things I've just mentioned, I can usually get Windows to regain its composure long enough to start closing windows by dragging to change the height of the taskbar. That usually gets it to repaint the taskbar at the bottom and let me interact with it.

I've attached some images showing what it looks like when this happens and showing that I still have 7-8 GB of RAM free. The first image shows it in the flaky stage (8.21 GB / 51% used) and the second one shows it in full on freak out mode (8.67 GB / 54% used). In that one it's actually rendering the system tray both at the top left and bottom right at the same time, and the taskbar is nowhere in sight.

What is up with this? What resource limit is responsible for this and how can it be fixed? I want to use all of my RAM. If this is the kind of BS I'm going to have to deal with in Windows, I might be done with it and just switch to Ubuntu.



Attached Thumbnails
Windows hits invisible resource limit, grinds to a halt and freaks out-flaky.jpg   Windows hits invisible resource limit, grinds to a halt and freaks out-freakout.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Feb 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Tri-Boot
 
 

Some this sounds more like a video display problem. Update your system info so we can have a look. Are all the drivers updated?

System Info - See Your System Specs
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2014   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Thanks for your reply. I don't know if they're all up to date -- they were as of October. I just checked and there's a newer Catalyst driver. I'll try installing that. I updated my system info.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Feb 2014   #4

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

184 Processes you are running...what are you running?!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2014   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
184 Processes you are running...what are you running?!
Stuff that consumes only about half of my RAM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2014   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Tri-Boot
 
 

Its likely the bottleneck lies elsewhere, and not with your RAM.....perhaps disk IO.

Use Resource Monitor to see if you can pinpoint the bottleneck:
Resource Monitor - Troubleshoot Unresponsive Program
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Feb 2014   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden View Post
Its likely the bottleneck lies elsewhere, and not with your RAM.....perhaps disk IO.

Use Resource Monitor to see if you can pinpoint the bottleneck:
Resource Monitor - Troubleshoot Unresponsive Program
I'll see if I can spot anything interesting in Resource Monitor before Windows goes haywire, but once it really freaks out I can't even open Resource Monitor, and it seems like one of the earlier things to become unusable. The issue here does not seem to be about unresponsive programs though. I get the feeling that it's hitting an invisible limit on some resource allocated from RAM -- heap, GDI handles, something like that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows hits invisible resource limit, grinds to a halt and freaks out




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