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Windows 7: Random PC Freezing - no pattern

1 Week Ago   #81
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

I didn't want to jinx anything, so I haven't provided an update. But I will now.

Still up and running after 17 hours on the M910t. That means so far it looks like the suggested "high performance" power plan tweak has certainly not been harmful, and if anything seems beneficial. Of course I've been this naively optimistic before, only to be eventually disappointed. So we'll see how much longer this goes. But for now it looks "promising". And as I mentioned I'm back to running full-Aida64 as well as PERFMON, which apparently are both not "culprits" but in fact were simply other "victims" of the underlying cause of the freeze.

If I can see the M910t remain up for at least 5 days I will begin to think I've actually accomplished something, and that maybe I'm finally out of the woods. Note that I have never seen this symptom on a Win10 machine (neither desktop nor laptop, both of which I routinely see up and running for weeks or more consecutively), but I suspect the power management of Win10 is much improved over that of Win7.

And yet, other than my own Win7 high-end desktop machines (running WMC), I have never ever seen the freeze symptom on any other Win7 machines for friends and family. Just like with my Win10 experience, all of these other Win7 machines routinely remain up indefinitely, for days or weeks or even months at a time (until I manually re-boot them for some reason), without any freeze.

So it's not necessarily something inherently problematic about Win7's power management if that does turn out to be the "solution" on my own desktop WMC machines. I suspect it's that my own desktop WMC machines are a bit more "tricked out" and in a much more sophisticated hardware/network environment, which perhaps brings to the surface the unintended consequences of running with the simple standard default power-plan setup which simply may not be adequate for a high-end high-performance desktop machine such as mine.

We shall see.


P.S. - turns out my ASUS machine finally pooped out and froze after 3 days 13 hours. I will re-boot it and make the same high-performance power plan tweaks on it as I've done on the M910t. So I'll have a second data point to draw a conclusion about whether or not this is simply something that might help, or something that will help.

We shall see.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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1 Week Ago   #82
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

M910t is now up 1 day 14 hours.

ASUS is now up 20 hours.

In fact, although I might have had the recommended "balanced" power plan previously selected for ASUS and "Thinkpad Default" previously selected for M910t, in fact I had actually modified a number of the items as previously described. For example I'd already previously disabled screen saver and monitor power-save, disabled all USB devices to prevent power management from putting the device to sleep to save power, disabled SLEEP and HIBERNATION, etc.

So going to "high performance" power plan changed almost nothing. So perhaps the fact that both machines have not frozen yet might just be luck, coincidence, and not proof of anything.

I looked at pretty much the one and only real difference in the prior power plan and current power plan, and it is in the "processor power management" group. With "high performance" the minimum is 100% and maximum is 100%. TomsHardware recommended tweaking the minimum to 7% so that's what I've gone with. The default for "balanced" and "Thinkpad Default" is 5%. Seems like this tiny difference is really too inconsequential to actually be of any real consequence, but I don't know.

Otherwise, I don't think there actually is anything else set with "high performance" that I hadn't already previously had in place. In fact I'm still going with spin-down of hard drive after 15 minutes, rather than disabling this as Toms recommended, and it doesn't seem to have been detrimental.

In other words, I really have to be honest in expecting that this power plan change won't actually return my machines to 100% stability. It's just a matter of time. Makes me crazy to look in on other Win7 machines that have now been up for 27 days and still counting, and I'm lucky to get 3.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Week Ago   #83
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

ASUS is now at 1 day 11 hours, and M910t is at 2 days 5 hours.

This is genuinely unheard of in my recent history of the past few months. It is wonderful (even if it turns out to be short-lived) to be able to sit at either machine and do anything I want without fear, while watching TV via WMC extender wherever I happen to be, and not be shocked back to reality with the effects of a freeze on one machine or the other. I shouldn't be talking about this after only 1-2 days of non-freeze but it does feel like something might be going on here now that is different.

I looked more closely at the true differences between my own customized "balanced" plan previously in effect for ASUS vs. what is now in effect through "high-performance" customized slightly as suggested by TomsHardware. And there really are only two differences: (a) processor power management minimum being set to 7% instead of 5%, and (b) USB selective suspend setting which had been "enabled" and is now "never".

Now I'd already previously disabled all "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" on all USB devices which had a power management tab available, so I'm not sure this "USB selective suspend" setting still has any action possible. But it was set to "enabled" and now it's set to "never".

How these two settings might account for those 6008 "unexpected shutdown" events which corresponded to each and every freeze, well I'm kind of just naturally skeptical.

Nevertheless the current zero-freeze results over the past day or two speak for themselves. There must be some explanation and it's not because of any less usage by me of the two machines. In fact if anything there is more TV usage from the M910t simply because it's actually been operating 100% for over two days now.

I was working today on two remote Win10 laptops (of friends and family) that I support, manually installing the October 1809 update which had not been automatically pushed out to these two machines. One of them had been up for 27 days, and the other had been up for 29 days, and of course this is what I'd always expected of my Win7 desktop machines as well... at least until these past 4 months or so.

The saga continues. Could the weather be improving? Sky clearing?? Sunshine coming?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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1 Week Ago   #84
mastropier0

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hi, I think I found a solution.

I have the same problem, my PC freezes ramdomly. I had updated the Nvidia driver for my 1080Ti. I installed the 418.81 WHQL version. Then I searched for a solution in google and I ended up here.

After reading this thread, I tried to reinstall the nvidia driver with the DDU method suggested by Guru3d

I did the following:
After downloading the program, you need to restart in safe mode and then run as administrator. In the main window I chose "Clean and restart" and once it restarted in normal mode (without any display driver) I installed an older version of the Nvidia driver, the 411.63 WHQL version.

This works just fine, the PC never froze again. I hope that this helps for you.

Regards.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Week Ago   #85
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mastropier0 View Post
Hi, I think I found a solution.

I have the same problem, my PC freezes ramdomly. I had updated the Nvidia driver for my 1080Ti. I installed the 418.81 WHQL version. Then I searched for a solution in google and I ended up here.

I installed an older version of the Nvidia driver, the 411.63 WHQL version.

This works just fine, the PC never froze again. I hope that this helps for you.

Regards.
Actually, suspicious that a more recent NVidia driver for my GTX 1050ti might in some way be responsible for the freeze symptom I've been coping with for the past four months, as I mentioned I was doing a bit earlier in this thread I have already back-leveled my NVidia driver all the way to 391.35 which was released last year back on March 27 2018. I've been running that way for about two weeks now, but still have experienced the freeze. So I now don't think it's a factor.

However...

Not surprisingly, this morning my M910t finally froze again (after 2 days 19 hours), which I noticed at about 11:20AM. Aida64 was frozen at 11:02AM. Strangely, looking at the System Event log there was not the expected 6008 entry which would presumably mention an earlier "unexpected shutdown". When I manually powered down and then backup up and re-booted at around 11:55AM and eventually looked at the log, there was a 6008 entry but it was stamped at 11:55AM but made reference to an "unexpected shutdown" at 11:33AM. This has baffled me, since it seems this doesn't correspond to the Aida64 freeze at 11:02AM.

However looking more closely at the log, it turns out that this morning there was a whole stream of new 2017 "srv" error entries whose detail says "the server was unable to allocate from the system nonpaged pool because the server reached the configured limit for nonpaged pool allocations". Intermixed with these 2017 errors are a whole mess of 11 errors fromn "Disk" whose detail says "The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk2\DR2" as well as "The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk3\DR3". And there were still other 36887 errors from "SChannel" described as "The following fatal alert was received: 40".

These messages have actually been going on FOREVER, i.e. ever since way back in early January when I received my M910t and built it out and put it into production. I believe the references to Harddisk2 and Harddisk3 pertain to the two 3.5" SATA drives I removed from inside my now dead ASUS machine and installed in an external USB/SATA enclosure (connected via USB 3.0 to the M910t) for use with the new M910t. All of these messages suggest to me some kind of problem getting to these two external SATA drives in the USB enclosure I purchased.

But there are other indications that these disk-related errors commonly occur (in a continuing "rash") around 1AM when my nightly NovaBACKUP "incremental data" backup runs, and also at 5AM when my nightly Macrium Reflect "system image" backup runs and writes to a separate external USB backup drive in a second external USB enclosure.

In other words, I think this morning's freeze on the M910t was unrelated to and unaffected by the "high performance" power plan tweak I've been running with for the past 2-3 days. I think it occurred because of an accumulation of serious disk-related errors relating to access to my three external SATA/USB drives.

I don't know how I missed these serious errors on the log before today, but obviously I just never looked for them the right way. Anyway they have been occurring ever since day one. And my "error" log has 4250 entries going back to January 8!

So, I have now taken a new course correction to try and address these problems obviously created when I tried to retain usability on the new M910t of these two SATA "data" drives from my old now-dead ASUS machine through the use of what I thought would be a perfectly functional external SATA/USB enclosure that was highly rated and not cheap. And yet, something is clearly not right here.

My new approach today was to buy some replacement hardware:

(1) two new WD Black 4TB 256MB cache drives, to replace (a) the two old 2TB WD Black "data" drives in the 2-bay SATA/USB enclosure, and (b) the old 2TB Verbatim "backup" drive (actually a Toshiba SATA drive include the Verbatim enclosure). This will give me 2TB of increased capacity as well as much improved performance.

(2) two new external 1-bay enclosures providing both USB 3.0 as well as eSATA interface. Each of the new 4TB WD Black drives will go into one of the two new enclosures.

(3) StarTech ESATAPLATE2 adapter bracket to go into an available expansion slot on the rear of my M910t. This adapter has two internal SATA data cables which will connect to two currently available unused SATA connectors on the M910t motherboard. This will provide two new eSATA connectors on the rear of the M910t, which I will use to connect with two eSATA cables to the two new external USB/eSATA enclosures... which I'm going to be using in eSATA mode instead of USB 3.0 mode. Again, this will provide improved SATA-III max 6Gb/s performance for the new WD drives as compared to 5Gb/s max from the USB 3.0 interface which I'm no longer going to be using.

I'm obviously hoping that this hardware modification going from USB to eSATA for the three current SATA/USB external drives (which will be two eSATA external drives next week) will directly address and eliminate the massive stream of errors which apparently have been occurring ever since day one of my M910t tied to external SATA/USB drives.


In addition...

After seeing that my M910t had frozen at 11:02AM this morning, I went upstairs to check on ASUS. And sure enough it too had frozen. But its Aida64 had shown its freeze at 9:05AM (1 day 23 hours). Again, mysteriously, when I manually power-cycled and re-booted and looked at the system event log, the 6008 entry logged at 11:31AM made reference to an "unexpected shutown" at 11:22AM? Once again I couldn't relate this time to why Aida64 showed a freeze time back at 9:05AM.

Looking at the event log for "errors" there are no "disk" occurrences as there are on the M910t. The new 2-bay enclosure is only on the M910t. There is no similar box on the ASUS. However there is an external Verbtaim "backup" drive on ASUS which is connected via USB, but obviously it's not causing any issues (which might suggest it's due for replacement perhaps through eSATA this time).

Looking at the "SChannel" 36887 errors on ASUS (which also occurred on M910t), I think the time-of-day of these errors (which is around 2-2:30AM each night) suggests this is tied to the nightly MBAM anti-virus scan that occurs regularly around then. Don't know why there are "error" events being logged, but this could be just totally irrelevant to the freeze.


Anyway, for now until the new eSATA-facilitating hardware arrives next week I have taken several hopefully beneficial new actions:

(1) I've stopped running Green Button, which is the software that came with my Verbatim backup drives which spins-down the external Verbatim USB drive after 10 minutes of inactivity. Turns out it was also spinning down the other two "data" drives drives which resided in the new 2-bay external SATA/USB enclosure I was using on the M910t. So all three of these drives were being spun-down after 10 minutes, and thus had to be spun-back up the next time they were needed. If the disk controllers were "unhappy" with the unexpected delay, perhaps that is something that's not good and contributing to the rashes of "error" events being logged, perhaps eventually leading to a freeze.

So by no longer running Green Button presumably these external drives will never be spun-down any longer, thus making it no longer necessary to wait for them to spin back up when next needed

(2) I've gone ahead and changed the power plan for disk drives to show "never" rather than 15 minutes, for when Windows should spin down drives. Same thinking here as with the external USB drives and Green Button.


No idea yet whether these "temporary" measures might have a positive effect, but both machines have now been up again for about 16 hours since yesterday morning's dual-freeze.

We shall see.

At the very least, I believe converting from external USB to eSATA next week should have a positive effect on reducing what's going to the "errors" system event log, which seems like it has to help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Week Ago   #86
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

New eSATA bracket+cables and drives and external enclosures still arriving. Will be here by end-of-week. So I haven't yet gone from all-external USB 3.0 to all-external eSATA on my M910t, but this should be complete in a few moredays.

In the meantime I do report terrific results (again, naive optimism???) from my change two days ago mid-day on 2/9/2019 of no longer running the Green Button software which was supposedly managing the spin-down of my external USB 3.0 drives after 10-minutes of inactivity. And I also changed the "high performance" power plan option to NEVER spin down disks, from the 15-minutes it had been set to.

On ASUS I have one Verbatim external USB 3.0 drive (for backup) so this was the only drive being managed by Green Button. And on M910t I have one Verbatim drive and the new 2-bay Yottamaster USB 3.0 enclosure holding my two "data" drives, so on the M910t Green Button was managing three drives. Apparently it was the Yottamaster enclosure which although presumed acceptable for Green Button to manage, it actually was causing countless "disk error 11" occurrences. So I'm not convinced Green Button and the enclosure were truly compatible.

As you can see from the following screenshot from the system event log, there were about 3600 "disk error 11" occurrences on M910t since installing the machine 30 days ago back on 1/11 up through today. But also notice that between 2/9 (when I stopped running Green Button and set "sleep disk drive after inactivity" to NEVER) there have been ZERO!!! I'd say this issue has been addressed properly.



I'm still going forward with the upgrade from external USB to external eSATA, but for now am at least satisfied I've identified something about the Yottamaster enclosure that doesn't play nice with Green Button.

Interestingly, even though Green Button is no longer running on M910t (thus potentially leaving the Verbatim drive always spinning), I can hear the drives inside the Yottamaster enclosure actually spinning up when accessed after a long period of inactivity (and there is the associated delay from the program accessing that drive, waiting for it to become available). And this is without Green Button active to also theoretically spin down these drives. So I'm suspecting there is already something inside the Yottamaster enclosure SATA/USB interface electronics which is perhaps also doing its own spin-down/up management even without the involvement of Green Button software (which thus may be a software/hardware conflict causing the disk error 11 events I'm seeing). There's no question these two drives in the Yottamaster enclosure are absolutely occasionally spinning back up from a spun-down state, so there must be something causing the spin-down and spin-up and it's no longer Green Button.

Anyway, all these disk errors of the past month on "drive 3" and "drive 4" are now gone.

Also note that there was NEVER any such "disk error 11" on ASUS, which also uses a Verbatim drive and has always run Green Button software to manage it. So I believe the issue on M910t was that Green Button should not have managed the drives in the Yottamaster enclosure which appears to have its own hardware spin-down/up circuitry built into it.


On the second front, of actual "freezes", I was very disappointed two days ago after de-commissioning Green Button and setting "disk sleep" to NEVER on both ASUS and M910t that I still saw one more freeze on ASUS and two more freezes on M910t. But since the latest re-boots on both machines I've seen none (again, naive optimism???). So that's two days for ASUS and almost two days for M910t.

Here's the freeze record for ASUS over the past two weeks:



And here's the freeze record for M910t over the past two weeks:




I'm still going to proceed with the replacement of the Yottamaster USB 3.0 enclosure with two eSATA enclosures from OWC which will be connected to one open SATA connector and the open eSATA connector on the M910t motherboard through the StarTech 2-port eSATA backplane bracket. It will be interesting to listen and see if the SATA drives placed in the new OWC enclosures will also be spun-down automatically by the enclosure, since they will not be managed by Green Button and also I have "disk sleep" set to NEVER.

Haven't decided if I should stay with the Verbatim USB 3.0 drive on M910t, and also re-activate use of Green Button again on both M910t and ASUS (which NEVER had any disk error 11 events, as it never had an attached Yottamaster enclosure).

I'll sort out these decisions later this week after getting the new eSATA installation going.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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