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Windows 7: Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7

Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7

Published by gregrocker
19 Mar 2012
Published by

information   Information
This list compiles useful Troubleshooting Steps for performance issues with Windows 7. It will show you how to test hardware, utilize built-in System resources to find solutions to problems, access and interpret the logs, use various tools and fixes.

While General Troubleshooting is useful for serious problems, when a Blue Screen occurs it is best to also post for analysis in our Crashes forum using this tool:
Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) Posting Instructions - Windows 7 Forums.

When Windows 7 fails to boot then start with the steps given here: Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Boot - Windows 7 Forums

To find a location (e.g. Event Viewer, msconfig) type it in Start Search box.


The steps begin with checking over the hardware. If you own an HP, Dell or some other PC brands you can reboot into the BIOS Boot Menu to run Diagnostics (on Dells also from the Utility partition) to test the hardware. If you know your hardware is good you can skip to Step 4.


1. Test the hard drive using maker's HD Diagnostics diagnostics/repair extended CD scan. Burn ISO to CD using Windows Image Burner then boot the disk to run extended Scan. Then run a full Disk Check on all partitions, if necessary from System Recovery Options Command Line.

2. Test your RAM - Test with Memtest86+ CD for 7 or more passes, or overnight.. The tutorial will show you how to test individual RAM sticks and slots. Check the slots for debris.

3. Check all cabling is securely connected and in good condition, try reinstalling suspect hardware, swap RAM sticks, unplug extra HD's, peripherals, CD/DVD drive to see if problems disappear. Unplug or remove any floppy drive.

4. Check temps for overheating by installing Core Temp which will allow monitoring temps from System Tray. If running hot blow dust out of the case using canned air or clean out laptop dust, check all connections carefully avoiding static discharge to components by touching case first, upgrade or reseat RAM checking for debris in slot.

5. Check for infection by installing Malwarebytes, update, run a Full Scan - in Safe Mode with Networking if necessary.

6. Many issues can be solved by running a free lightweight AV like Microsoft Security Essentials with the Windows 7 Firewall for best performance. You can uninstall your AV to run this as a test to be sure. Yours may also need an Uninstaller (removal tools) for common antivirus software - ESET Knowledgebase

7.Establish a Clean Boot by un-checking everything in msconfig>Startup except AV: Startup Programs - Change. After reboot enter msconfig>Services, check the box to "Hide All MS Services," repeat above steps.

Check back periodically that nothing has written itself into either list, if so turn it off in its Program Preferences or Uninstall it. A program can wait to start until you click on it. Freeloaders slow startup, can be a drag on CPU/RAM, cause issues and spy on you.

If you have a question about an item Google its name to find out what it does.


8. Type "Solutions" in Start Search box to see if any have been queued for Problems reported or not. Look at the Troubleshooters available on that page to see if one might help. Always report problems when asked as Windows 7 is interactive this way.

9. You can try System Restore to a point before the problem occurred, if necessary running it from System Recovery Options.

This step offers a chance to restore to a previous configuration, but System Restore limitations should be noted as in the first four boxes of System Restore Point - Create.

Always make sure you have as much space apportioned for restore points as you can afford at System Protection - Change Disk Space Usage

10. Enable hardware auto-updating to make sure you're getting the latest drivers via Windows Updates - which should also be set to Automatic - then Check for Updates. Install all Important and Optional Updates, after reboot Check for Updates again until there are no more.

Any missing drivers can be found on the Support Downloads webpage for your computer or device model.
Driver Install - Device Manager

11. Check for newer display driver, or roll back to the previous version or try another Windows 7 or Vista driver. Turn off or uninstall the accompanying software package. Driver Install - Device Manager

12. Use Process Monitor for Application Failures, File System issues, Registry issues, Boot logging, Memory Stack issues, and misleading Error messages which is demonstrated in this Process Monitor Demo - YouTube. Type Resource Monitor in Start Search box to narrow down resource hogs.

13. Run SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker to repair any damaged or corrupt OS files. If it won't run in Windows 7 then try from DVD or System Repair Disk Command Line using SFC /SCANNOW Run in Command Prompt at Boot .

14. Some of these steps suggested to Clean Up Factory Bloatware might help. On weaker hardware you can improve performance by editing Visual Effects of Sliding, Fading, Animation, Dragging Intact and Selection Rectangle as shown in Optimize Windows 7 - Windows 7 Forums

15. Study the Event Viewer>Custom>Admin view for repeat errors to google text and ID# to find out how others have resolved them. Event Viewer - Open and Use in Windows 7

For example for the repeat errors highlighted below, googling the text will auto-complete showing others have searched for it, then take you to discussion threads which point to a MS Fixit for the problem.


Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7-capture.png

16. Check also the Performance log on Advanced Tools page accessed by clicking your WEI score link at Computer>Properties. Check for queued issues at top of Tools page, Generate A System Health Report.

17. Look for issues cued in Action Center in bottom-right System Tray.

18. As a last resort before reinstall try a Repair Install which can fix most problems, as it re-installs the OS while keeping all programs, files and settings in place.

19. Consider a Clean Reinstall which is actually better than getting a new computer with today's bloated factory pre-install's. The steps given are Best Practices based on countless thousands of re-install's helped with here and the same for both OEM and retail.

Special thanks to Steve (Anak) for suggesting sequencing Edits that prioritize hardware testing.


Related Tutorials

20 Mar 2012   #1
lehnerus2000

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 

Nice list and aggregation of links.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Mar 2012   #2
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 

Thanks. I'd been linking this from a post of mine for years because I thought it more a compendium of tutorials than one itself. But Shawn thought differently so it's official now. Please feel free to suggest any additions. I came just short of putting in IE9 and IP resets to keep it more general.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2012   #3
DavidW7ncus

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1, Win 7 Ult x86 SP1
 
 

I ran across a thread for Sysinternals Process Monitor that looks useful for troubleshooting.
Take a look and see if this might be added as a troubleshooting tool/note.

Troubleshooting with Process Monitor - Ask the Performance Team - Site Home - TechNet Blogs
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


24 Apr 2012   #4
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 

Hi David -

Can you come up with a single sentence that illustrates Process Monitor's various uses for troubleshooting which I could add?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2012   #5
DavidW7ncus

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1, Win 7 Ult x86 SP1
 
 

Hi Greg,
WOW - single sentence, you're making me think and that is painful...... Anyway, how is this?

Use Process Monitor for Application Failures, File System issues, Registry issues, Boot logging, Memory Stack issues, and misleading Error messages following the instructions at Troubleshooting with Process Monitor - Ask the Performance Team - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

Thanks for considering
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2012   #6
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 

Done. Thanks, David.

You should consider writing a tutorial for various uses of Process Monitor in which case I'd replace the link with yours.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2012   #7
Slartybart

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem
 
 

Here's a good reference for all of Windows Sysinternals: Documentation, downloads and additional resources
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SysInternals
Sysinternals Live
Sysinternals Live is a service that enables you to execute Sysinternals tools directly from the Web without hunting for and manually downloading them. Simply enter a tool's Sysinternals Live path into Windows Explorer or a command prompt as http://live.sysinternals.com/<toolname> or \\live.sysinternals.com\tools\<toolname>.

You can view the entire Sysinternals Live tools directory in a browser at http://live.sysinternals.com.




What's New (October 3, 2012)
  • Mark Talks Sysinternals History on Defrag Tools
    Defrag Tools, a Channel 9 series that features diagnostic and troubleshooting utilities including Sysinternals tools, invited Mark on to talk about how Sysinternals started, the evolution of the tools and how Mark decides when to add features and write new tools.


  • Windows Internals 6th Edition, Part 2 Published
    Part 2 of Windows Internals 6th Edition, is now available. The 6th edition covers kernel and system changes in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and adds 250 pages of expanded feature coverage and hand-on experiments.


  • PsPing v1.0
    PsPing is a new Sysinternals PsTools command-line utility for measuring network performance. In addition to standard ICMP ping functionality, it can report the latency of connecting to TCP ports, the latency of TCP round-trip communication between systems, and the TCP bandwidth available to a connection between systems. Besides obtaining min, max, and average values in 0.01ms resolution, you can also use PsPing to generate histograms of the results that are easy to import into spreadsheets.

    ...more
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2013   #8
Anak

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Home Premium 64bit Ver 6.1.7600 Build 7601 - SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
I ran across a thread for Sysinternals Process Monitor that looks useful for troubleshooting.
Take a look and see if this might be added as a troubleshooting tool/note.

Troubleshooting with Process Monitor - Ask the Performance Team - Site Home - TechNet Blogs
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Done. Thanks, David.

You should consider writing a tutorial for various uses of Process Monitor in which case I'd replace the link with yours.
Hi Greg, ran into a problem with Dave's link.

The site opens okay, but when I go to the download link to "Download Process Monitor", well, just click on it, you'll see, at least I do:
Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7-pmerror.jpg

The process monitor link works okay here:
Basic Troubleshooting Toolkit - Ask the Performance Team - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

I expanded the http to stop the 7F link process.

This is the first link:
h t t p://download.sysinternals.com/Files/ProcessMonitor.zip

This is the toolkit's link:
h t t p://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/ProcessesAndThreads/processmonitor.mspx

Maybe its the .zip at the end?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2013   #9
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 

Thanks Anak. I see the Process Monitor Download link within the MS Tool Kit list is not working at the corrected link Basic Troubleshooting Toolkit - Ask the Performance Team - Site Home - TechNet Blogs.

I am trying to find a good tutorial that details how to use Process Monitor to troubleshoot those issues, so if you find one that also includes the downloads link please let us know here.

Users really like videos, so what do you think about this one?



I've added it to the tutorial for now along with this download link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/s.../bb896645.aspx
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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