Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Windows Random Freezes!

11 Mar 2019   #1
technomann

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 
Windows Random Freezes!

OK, I just did a fresh installation of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit on a brand new ASUS G751 laptop. The build is only a few weeks old, and I am starting to experience RANDOM FREEZES of the OS which necessitates a hard boot.


WTF?


Can anyone provide a clue as to why this is happening?


Thanks for any and all replies.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
11 Mar 2019   #2
Fantail

7 x64 | 7 x64
 
 

Well first make sure it has the correct / latest video drivers. If so see if this occurs in safe mode. While your there get into management and see if you spot any conflicts or driver errors.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2019   #3
Paul Black

Win 7 HP SP1 64-bit Vista HB SP2 32-bit Linux Mint 18.3
 
 

Hi technomann,

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by technomann View Post
OK, I just did a fresh installation of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit on a brand new ASUS G751 laptop. The build is only a few weeks old, and I am starting to experience RANDOM FREEZES of the OS which necessitates a hard boot.
To find out if all your hardware device drivers are working correctly you can check for any yellow triangles in the Device Manage [Start => Control Panel => Device Manager => Expand ALL nodes]?

Another method is to use the Intel auto updater [it is a good general purpose driver updater] which can be found here => Intel(R) Driver & Support Assistant.

Once you have run this you can check for any problems by clicking Start => Run, in the search box type msinfo32 => Enter => Components. If there are still any problem drivers they will be shown on the right-hand side of the Components screen. When it is blank, you are good to go.

If it is a brand new laptop then it probably has USB3 ports. Did you install the USB3 drivers?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

16 Mar 2019   #4
dsperber

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by technomann View Post
OK, I just did a fresh installation of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit on a brand new ASUS G751 laptop. The build is only a few weeks old, and I am starting to experience RANDOM FREEZES of the OS which necessitates a hard boot.


WTF?


Can anyone provide a clue as to why this is happening?


Thanks for any and all replies.
Welcome to the club.

Before adding my own comments, I mention that in addition to this new one from you complaining of "Windows random freezes" there are several other recent similar threads (on just this forum, not counting similar complaints reported elsewhere on the Interweb) complaining about the identical "random freeze" symptom, which you may not have already glanced through:

(a) computer freezing on screen saver exit

(b) random PC freezing - no pattern (this one is the one I've participated in actively)


Since this new thread from you is brand new and clean, I will post here a summary of my own facts and experience with this issue. You may find similarities or differences to your own situation, but sadly the bottom line for me is that I have not yet solved the problem!

(1) This started happening for me and my two ASUS-based homebuilt desktop machines sometime after Summer last year. I say that because I know I reliably recorded (using Windows Media Center on my HTPC machine) the 2018 Winter Olympics which was two straight weeks in February, and the Tour de France which was for three straight weeks in July.

Everything worked perfectly for these day/night 24-7 individual recordings which numbered in the hundreds and dozens respectively. In the case of the Olympics we're talking about recording multiple cable channels with a 6-tuner Ceton cablecard-enabled TV tuner card, and one OTA/ATSC channel recorded with a 4-tuner Hauppauge OTA/ATSC TV tuner card.

This had always been my experience with this ASUS Z170-Deluxe machine since building it back in January 2017. No problems, no freezes, just 24/7 continued steady operation that could go for weeks of uninterrupted continuous error-free behavior between Windows Update Tuesdays.

Hence my feeling that "something happened" after the summer either to my system, or to my LAN, or to my overaall environment, because ever since I've had nothing but instability and random freezes occurting as little as one every day or two to as many as five times in a single day. Sometimes the freezes happen when ZERO (with my involvement) is running (other than my regular background programs which always are running) and the machine is essentially idle. At other times it might freeze while I'm actually working in a program. At other times it might freeze very shortly right after or actually even during the startup and desktop stabilization period of Windows right after a re-boot.

(2) The initial instability/freeze which began on my HTPC (we'll call it Z170) sometime after the summer of 2018 soon "infected" my other older Win7 desktop on my LAN, another ASUS-based homebuilt desktop machine (we'll call it DFW) that I had also been using solidly and problem-free (without needing a Windows reinstall and from-scratch reinstall of all software since March 2014). This machine was based on an ASUS P8Z77-V Pro motherboard.

Remarkably, the symptoms on this second machine were extremely similar to that of Z170. In fact, DFW also contained both a Ceton TV tuner card as well as a Hauppauge OTA/ATSC tuner card, as DFW had previously been used as my HTPC before being replaced in January 2017 by the newer, larger, faster Z170 which became my new HTPC at that time. But DFW still was used to "play" previously recorded copy-protected content out to my Linksys DMA2100 "media center extenders" around my house that I had not yet had a chance to watch prior to January 2017 when I started using Z170 as my HTPC.

So I really had two HTPC machines (one actively in use for new recordings, and the other passively in use for "viewing-down old recordings"), both capable of delivering content (both copy-freely and copy-protected) to the four DMA2100 extenders/HDTV locations around my house through my wired CAT6 LAN. There is no wireless involved with my HTPC setup, although my Netgear R7800 Nighthawk router provides WiFi for phones, etc.

Both machines also had two Eizo 24" monitors attached (one via DVI which is HDCP-capable and therefore can play copy-protected content through WMC, and the other via DP which is not HDCP-capable and therefore cannot plan copy-protected WMC content). Both machines also had double-slot EVGA NVidia GTX 1050ti SC graphics cards in them running the latest retail NVidia drivers.

I say this second DFW machine got "infected" by the freezing symptom from Z170 because there seems to be a very close interaction between stability or instability of both of them. And in fact my research indicates that with multiple Win7 machines on a LAN there is a periodic (every 12 minutes, it seems) handshake done between them, even if there are no "mapped network drives" assigned. I don't know if this comes from just activating printer/folder/data "sharing" for one or more partitions or printer on each networked machine, or just being present on the same network.

But it's definitely seen that if one machine now freezes there's a high likelihood that the other "presumably still active" machine will either (a) have already frozen a while ago, or (b) will itself eventually soon freeze as well. Seems that the expected periodic handshakes between network machines need to be responded to in a proper fashion, and if not then some "unanswered" requests begin to build up until (and this is just my way of expressing it) some "thread queue gets exhausted of all of its entries" and this exhibits itself as a "freeze".

(3) Eventually, my original ASUS P8Z77-V Pro "DFW" machine froze so much, and required hard power-off/on reboot cycles to recover, that I apparently burned out either the PSU or motherboard or CPU or something. But eventually this machine physically dies and had to be physically replaced. I had a choice of doing another homebuild and doing a hardware configuration of my choosing, or "buying retail" and hopefully upgrading acceptably to add additional hardware of my choice.

I ended up deciding NOT to create another homebuilt machine, but instead purchased a Lenovo M910t desktop machine with Win7 Pro x64 pre-installed. Actually, I got a great deal from an online deatiler who happened to have TWO of the identical machines. So I purchased BOTH of them (expecting I might one day need to replace Z170 as well, so why not future-proof myself now given this special opportunity... since Skylake machines with Win7 pre-installed are not common today).

So one of these M910t machines (we'll call it M910t) was un-boxed and installed. Because the Lenovo motherboard in this machine has limited expansion slot capability, I was lucky to discover a single-slot Inno3D GTX 1050ti OC graphics card available from a Dutch retailer, purchased it (actually I bought TWO of them, one for possible future use) and installed it into M910t. I also transferred the two TV tuner cards previously in DFW, one from Ceton and the other from Hauppauge.

I also added a StarTech 2-port eSATA adapter bracket, because M910t doesn't have any available internal 3.5" drive bays for HDD use other than its one primary.bay which arrived already occupied. Since DFW actually had FOUR internal HDD drives in use I needed to expand M910t accordingly. So I replaced the primary 3.5" Windows-based drive with a Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD in M910t for Windows. And I replaced the Lenovo-delivered 3.5" HDD originally holding Windows with the 6TB 3.5" "data" drive previously inside of DFW.

The remaining two 2TB 3.5" HDD drives previously in DFW were replaced with two 4TB 3.5" HDD drives now housed in two OWC Mercury Elite Pro external eSATA enclosures, each connected via eSATA cable to one of the two ports of the StarTech 2-port eSata adapter bracket. Inside the M910t that StarTech bracket connected to two available SATA controllers on the motherboard. So now I had my four original HDD drives on DFW replaced by one M.2 NVMe SSD on the M910t, one internal HDD on the M910t, and two external HDD via eSATA on the M910t.

So... brand new M910t machine (not ASUS-based), brand new Lenovo-installed Win7 system. A few hardware upgrades of my own design, but otherwise should provided flawless performance once again. Right?

Wrong! Shortly after putting it into "production" use (i.e. after my complete software reinstall on M910t for all products previously installed on DFW, including driver/software support for the Ceton and Hauppauge TV tuner cards and WMC thereby accepting the "loss" of all copy-protected content recordings previously made on DFW which could no longer be played on the new machine because of DRM) lo and behold this brand new M910t itself began to "freeze"... same as my other two machines Z170 and DFW were doing!!

How could this be, unless there was something either in the software I'd just installed, or in the LAN environment (including all LAN-based devices, like DMA2100 extenders, smart TVs with wired internet connections, six Netgear GS105 and GS108 switches, smart Oppo BluRay players with smart internet connections, two Roku Ultra streaming devices, two Netgear WNRD4300 routers running as "access points" to provide WiFi to remote locations around the house not reachable from the main R7800 router, etc.), or the mere presence of a second Win7 machine (Z170) on the LAN which itself was still freezing (and then "taking down M910t) which was responsible? Or might the mere presence of two Win7 machines on the LAN itself, and some resulting recent change in handshake protocol be responsible for taking down ANY two Win7 machines? I don't know.

(4) In addition to now having a completely different manufacturer's motherboard involved on a brand new Lenovo M910t machine that obviously is not ASUS-based as Z170 is and DFW WAS, I have tried replacing lots of external hardware. Now remember, all of this hardware had previously been working perfectly and flawlessly for various machines and upgrades in use over the past 10 years. It's only since last summer or thereabouts that something's changed, but nevertheless I was willing to explore the possibility that there might be something in my peripheral hardware devices (also in use on both machines) that could be causing my problems.

For example:

(a) I've tried replacing my old wired IBM PS/2 keyboards (which I still love) going through an Adesso PS/2-to-USB adapter with straightforward Lenovo-provided basic wired USB keyboards. No change, still freezes.

(b) I've swapped out my Logitech MX Revolution and Performance MX wireless mice with straightforward Lenovo-provided basic wired USB mice. No change.

(c) I've replaced my external 2TB Verbatim USB 3.0 drives (SATA3 Toshiba drive inside the enclusure) with my own OWC Mercury Elite Pro USB 3.0 enclosure (with a new WD Black SATA3 drive inside). No change. I have also tried another external enclosure, this time filling one bay of a 2-bay Vantec external USB 3.0 enclosure with that WD Black SATA3 drive. No change.

(D) I've turned off screen saver (I was using Windows "mystify"). No change. I've turned off "turn off display after n minutes" (putting it in power-save mode, so that it then has to come out of power-save mode after the mouse-jiggle. No change.

(e) I've turned off "sleep hard disk after 15 minutes", thereby avoiding any HDD spin-down which would then require spin-up (and short delay) when next required. No change.

(f) I've tried not starting ALL of my optional "auto-start background software" (which had been running perfectly for decades). This includes Aida64, PERFMON.MSC, DUMeter, and Clockwise. No change. I've tried assorted combinations, some active some not. No change. So none of these products appears specifically responsible for the "freeze".

(g) I've tried disconnecting many of the LAN-based objects, as well as Z170 (i.e. letting M910t run all by itself on the network). No change. This was quite astonishing, as it points to something OTHER than that network sharing handshake issue that seemed so promising as a possible culprit. Kind of points to something else in the M910t itself (that I must have added), such as the use of WMC and its related software, hardware and drivers.

(h) I've tried leaving both monitors on as well as powering both monitors off indefinitely. No change. I've tried disconnecting one of the two monitors completely, revering each machine to a 1-monitor desktop. No change.

(i) When DFW was "still alive", I tried reinstalling Windows 7 from scratch and reinstalled all software, suspecting that maybe something had gotten corrupted in my 5-year old Win7 system. I seemed to have stable performance for a few days, but then the "freeze" returned to my amazement! Again, false hope I'd found the culprit.

(j) Initially I had ALL partitions on BOTH machines "shared" with "full use" permissions, and also "mapped as network drives" from the other machine. In other words all partitions of all desktop machines were "lettered" and therefore instantly accessible by drive letter to Windows Explorer etc. functions from the other machine.

I thought that might be contributing to the network handshake issue that I suspected was crucial, so I have now disconnected ALL of these "mapped network drive" assignments on both machines. I can still get to any drive simply by manually specifying \\Z170\ or \\M910t\, but there's no permanent network drive letter mapping on either machine. No change. Furthermore even so, it still seems that there is regular (i.e. every 12 minutes) handshake going on between the two Win7 desktops.

(k) Because I've now returned to letting all of my regular auto-started background programs run again, DUMeter is presenting its ongoing monitoring of network traffic. As such I can see graphically the network traffic (both LAN-based internal IP and internet-based external IP) for the past 5 minutes or so, both for uploads from and downloads to the PC. When the freeze occurs it also affects screen updating of the DUMeter graphical window. So I can see the network traffic for the past 5 minutes just prior to the freeze.

I have repeatedly observed a "spike" (from something) in the "download" graph from DUMeter appearing at a time point about 40 seconds eariler, before the graph then freezes 40 seconds later. I am trying to find out if I can produce some type of logging that will tell me what that "spike" is.

(4)
Assorted other observations include the fact that:

(a) my two Win10 laptops (Lenovo Thinkpad P70 and W530) NEVER FREEZE! Nor do their presence on the wired LAN seem to have any impact on the status of Z170 or M910t. If either one or both Z170/M910t have frozen, the two Win10 laptops nevertheless seem to remain up and perfectly functional. So their network presence seems to be isolated completely from the failing Win7 machines.

Of course the two Win10 laptops have no Windows Media Center hardware or software in them. Clearly I'm VERY SUSPICIOUS of WMC in Win7 being involved.

(b) Also, while one machine had already frozen but the other machine remains totally active, and before when I "disconnected" my mapped network drives configuration so that I still had easy drive-letter access to all partitions of either machine through Windows Explorer, I observed that until the freeze (on the still-active machine) finally took it down as well, or until the failure to respond by the frozen machine to Windows Explorer on the still-active machine finally exhausted all entries in some thread-queue (again, my own characterization), it was still possible to communicate with the seemingly externally frozen other machine via Windows itself.

In other words I could still navigate through the folders/files of the frozen machine using Windows Explorer on the still-active machine, clearly showing that it was NOT the entire Windows system that was frozen on the seemingly frozen machine. It was only the mouse cursor, or mouse clicks, keyboard, or screen display (for selected program screen output but not for all screen output, like "clock", which continued to be displayed and updated normally), which had frozen on the frozen machine. But behind the scenes Windows was still active and running (e.g. clock output still updated on screen) and Windows Explorer still running and providing folder/file output to other machines on the LAN, at least until the effect of the screen-freeze built up to some threshold and all output from the frozen machine finally ceased.

(c) If the freeze occurred on M910t while a WMC recording or playback was in progress, that recording or playback would continue uninterrupted! The scheduled recording would even stop on time, but new recordings scheduled to start while a freeze was already in effect would not start. Playback-in-progress would continue to play, but interactive response to the associated DMA2100 extender would no longer be functional. So I could no longer use the remote to pause or stop a playback-in-progress. In fact this is how I knew a freeze had just occurred on M910t is while watching TV via the DMA2100/HDTV in the kitchen, and suddenly losing remote control over that playback (e.g. to skip forward past a commercial).

(D) I was very suspicious of a large number of USB-connected devices (either directly or via hubs), either USB 2.0 or 3.0, being somehow involved. All USB-related drivers are at latest versions. I've tried disconnecting as many unnecessary non-vital external USB devices as I could live without, but again no change. Still freezes.

(e) The freeze is very definitely mouse/keyboard/screen related. I, too, was supicious that a dropped USB interrupt from a USB mouse when trying to come out of screen-saver mode had caused the cursor to freeze, or other USB input devices to get "blocked out" because of some un-freed "queue entry" (again, my characterization) not getting released, eventually backing the entire Windows system up to its total lockout. For sure during the freeze even if the mouse cursor itself is free to move about, the mouse-click doesn't work. You can't start anything via left-click from the taskbar or Windows Start Button, nor does right-click on the notification area icons do anything. Mouse and keyboard input is blocked.

(f) Often, when re-booting after a freeze it appears that the "network" object is slow to enter its "connected to the Internet" state. This, in turn, delays or impacts the simultaneous startup of other internet-enabled background apps with their own icons in the notification area. These other apps may fail to start, or may start in an "impacted" status. Seems I have to sometimes re-boot twice or even three times in succession in order to "clear out" whatever "harmful" might have been left in some hardware (I am still suspicious of USB connections) that is somehow impacting properly activating the network adapter promptly.

(g) I have looked through the Windows Event Viewer extensively, producing a number of "customized views" of all sorts of entries of all types that I hoped might give me some insight into either patterns of messages or what they indicated, and thus might be helpful. To some degree this has been (I think) a productive effort, resulting in some appropriate corrective tweaks to my environment which have eliminated some of the messages. But others still remain and occurring regularly, some "on predictable schedule" and others more randomly.

(h) I have tried backing out assorted software from the latest versions, to what I presumed were the "stable" versions running in early 2018 or even back in 2017, but to no avail. This includes older NVidia graphics drivers (which is responsible for screen saver), older DUMeter, older Aida64, completely uninstalling Dyn Updater (which I use to support remote connection to my two desktop machines through RealVNC Server running on both machines), letting TeamViewer (also used for remote connection) run always or not start it, all to no avail. Still freezes.

(5) I don't know what else to add. I have been fighting this problem now on three different Win7 machines for the past 7-8 months, still with no success. I've lost one of those machines to "physical death", but the replacement brand new "retail" machine also is subject to the exact same freeze symptom.

If I'm lucky, I can keep one or both of the WMC-enabled Win7 machines up (and un-frozen, and otherwise working perfectly as they always have including for WMC recording/playback on both WMC-enabled PC's) for more than a day (perhaps 24-36 hours). I've even reach a day and a half before getting frozen. More typical on M910t is 5-18 hours before the next freeze, either with me working on it or when "comletely idle" and/or recording/playbing WMC content. I've sometimes had to re-boot repeatedly because a freeze occurred actually during the Windows boot process and desktop presentation, so that it never finished producing a normal stable usable Windows desktop!

I don't have a Win10 desktop to compare, but I do have two Win10 laptops and they both seem to be totally immune to the symptom.

At this very moment, I had to re-boot both my frozen Z170 and M910t yesterday at about 9PM. So they've both now been up and running again for about 20 hours.

As a way of trying something new late last night I was watching TV through one of my DMA extenders/HDTV. When I was done I decided not to power off the extender, but rather just leave it on and power off the attached TV. The Windows Event Viewer reports the power-off of an extender as a an RDP disconnection and "enforcement" event, since the extender is connected to WMC using Remote Desktop Protocol (same as "remoting in" to the HTPC using RDP sessions). In fact each extender IS established in Windows as an RDP "user" (i.e. each extender appearing in C:\Users with a unique name).

Anyway, that extender TV watching session from late last night was ended by my turning off the TV, but leaving the extender still "on". And both machine have now been up for 20 hours, even while M910t has been recording things all day long (including the Players golf match) and has not yet frozen. After 8 months of "false hopes" I am not naive enough to believe yet (or ever) that this might fix something, but it does seem to have been helpful, or it might just be yet another coincidence and before long one or both machines will again just randomly freeze!


Sorry... I have no answers for you, yet. Just my empathy. We are (as are others too, apparently), all experiencing the same symptom.

I had thought perhaps it was coming from the hardware/firmware/BIOS/Windows updates last year which were applied globally and for all Intel-related machines and to Windows itself, due to Sceptre/Meltdown. This was obviously a VERY significant problem and solution update, applied for various manufacturers at around the time this "freeze" started to happen. The fact that (for me, anyway) it seems to affect only my Win7 systems (both old as well as brand new, not only ASUS but also Lenovo) points to some presumed common cause that is outside of at least these two specific manufacturers. Perhaps Win7 (or for me, WMC functionality in Win7) is somehow unintentionally the "victim" of these hardware/software "fixes" for the Intel vulnerability. Perhaps it's something in the BIOS/firmware updates that just was improperly handled by the corresponding Win7 updates, that don't impact Win10 the same way.

I don't know... for now. But I'm still in here fighting for my life, and 24-7 stability for weeks on end once again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2019   #5
johnhoh

Win7 pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
Welcome to the club........But I'm still in here fighting for my life, and 24-7 stability for weeks on end once again.
Just a little friendly input. That's a 4000 word post. I'm betting a tiny percentage of users here will read it thoroughly, which results in a low likelihood of helpful responses.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2019   #6
dsperber

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by johnhoh View Post
Just a little friendly input. That's a 4000 word post. I'm betting a tiny percentage of users here will read it thoroughly, which results in a low likelihood of helpful responses.
I suspect there will be others who WILL read it, because we who are experiencing this recent "freeze" problem for many months now and have failed to get it corrected and disappeared are simply tearing our hair out from frustration.

I am not a rookie. And yet I can't figure out what it is that is responsible for three different desktop Win7 machines I own all failing with the same "freeze" (not BSOD) symptom, with no functionality of mouse cursor or clicks, or keyboard, and with running program output to the screen frozen and yet Windows system clock output continues to progress and display properly.

I remotely (through RealVNC and TeamViewer) maintain 24 other machines for friends and family (Win7, Win8.1 and Win10, both desktop and laptop) and NONE of them has seen the symptom. They're typically up solid and run 24/7 for weeks or more consecutively (before being re-booted on Windows Update Tuesday). Nor have my own two Win10 laptops exhibited the symptom, and they are part of my own home LAN where three different Win7 desktops ALL DO EXHIBIT THE SYMPTOM!

So why is that? I have no idea. There must be some explanation, and it's apparent from my own experience that it started around the middle of 2018. So what have I myself changed on my Win7 desktop machines recently that might have brought this about? Nothing. Why doesn't it affect my own Win10 laptops? Probably the difference between Win7 and Win10 when reacting to what otherwise is pretty much identical software and customization running on ALL FIVE of my machines (and everybody else's machine that I remotely support as well, in fact). Maybe the way MS implemented Win7 changes vs. Win10 changes relating to the Sceptre/Meltdown hardware/BIOS changes which got rolled out by all manufacturers during the first half of 2018... maybe that's the connection here. Don't know.

Bottom line: it's a current problem, for more than just me. Sharing all that I've learned for myself through discovery and trial and error and failed attempts at changing something which I thought might have something to do with the issue, well I think it's useful.

If you don't want to read the 4000 words then don't. But it's my "complete report" of what I've discovered over the past 8 months trying to resolve this problem, and somehow rescue myself from the freeze-and-reboot multiple times each day on my two desktop Win7 machines, which is obviously unacceptable. Sharing what I've already tried and failed with seems like it could be helpful to others, especially those who are actually experiencing the problem and would like to be part of a group-think effort to figure out what's affecting all of us... even if it's apparently not affecting you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Mar 2019   #7
technomann

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Thanks to all who responded. For me, for the moment, the problem seems to have abated! After much research on the internet from other posts, I took a shotgun approach. Here is what I did:

1. Opened msconfig (Start-->Run-->msconfig) and did a Selective Start. Unchecked all startup entries that appeared to be unnecessary.

2. Deleted all items in the Windows Prefetch folder.

3. Deleted all temp files (Start-->Run--> %temp%)

4. Ran SFC (System File Checker) from the command prompt to check for corrupt system files.

5. Cleaned the Registry with 3 different Registry cleaners.

6. Ran a full system scan for viruses.

7. Updated all of my drivers with a program called DriverEasy. At first I was using RadarSync to update my drivers. It found a few but then reported that all of my drivers were up to date! This is why I didn't think that it was a driver issue causing the freezes. But then someone on a post suggested DriverEasy, so I downloaded the program and ran it. DriverEasy found like 27 more driver updates than RadarSync! I guess some driver updating programs are just better than others...

8. You can also run MemTest 86 to check your system memory. Download the program, burn it to CD and run it at boot up. It needs to make several passes so it would be best to run it overnight.

So right now I have been running for a week with NO FREEZES! I'll post an update if the situation changes...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2019   #8
technomann

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
If you don't want to read the 4000 words then don't. But it's my "complete report" of what I've discovered over the past 8 months trying to resolve this problem, and somehow rescue myself from the freeze-and-reboot multiple times each day on my two desktop Win7 machines, which is obviously unacceptable. Sharing what I've already tried and failed with seems like it could be helpful to others, especially those who are actually experiencing the problem and would like to be part of a group-think effort to figure out what's affecting all of us... even if it's apparently not affecting you.
Thank you for taking the time to submit such a detailed report. I am sure that many will find it helpful. However I must agree with Johnhoh here. I am experiencing the freezing problem so I have a vested interest in finding a solution, but you lost me after the 2nd paragraph. Perhaps a more succinct summation would be even more helpful...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2019   #9
dsperber

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by technomann View Post
Thank you for taking the time to submit such a detailed report. I am sure that many will find it helpful. However I must agree with Johnhoh here. I am experiencing the freezing problem so I have a vested interest in finding a solution, but you lost me after the 2nd paragraph. Perhaps a more succinct summation would be even more helpful...
Fair enough. I'll try to be pithy.

(1) In summary, my home network setup (both hardware and software) has pretty much remained unchanged since 2010. Of course there have been evolutionary upgrades and replacements and enhancements over the years, both hardware and software and network. But essentially it's remained the same, and 100% stable and usable 24/7 established on two ASUS-based homebuilt desktop machines... until sometime after last summer 2018.

Something unknown happened around then which gave birth to my "freeze" symptom, on BOIH Win7 desktop machines. I have been chasing this freeze issue ever since, so far (until possibly yesterday) without success. It has continued to occur regularly (if randomly and inexplicably) for the past 8 months, either MANY times each day, or a few times each day, or once every day or two (which seems to be the longest stretch of un-frozen behavior I have been able to achieve). But ALWAYS and forever, for the past 8 months, I have had to re-boot one or both machines due to a freeze on one or the other or both.

(2) It's important to mention that BOTH desktop machines contained Windows Media Center hardware and software in them, including a Ceton TV tuner card as well as a Hauppauge TV tuner card. The older ASUS (P8Z77-V Pro) was my original HTPC from 2010 through early 2017. The newer ASUS (Z170-Deluxe) machine took over in early 2017 and has been my primary HTPC ever since. But I still used P8Z77 to view older previously recorded TV programs made on that machine before it got displaced, along with actively using the Z170 to record/view ongoing new programs.

It's also important to mention that both ASUS machines were "fully shared", so that all internal drives and partitions and folder/files on each one were available (with full use allowed) on the other one through the LAN, via "mapped network drives". Wired ethernet CAT6 home network everywhere. No wireless.

(3) It is important to mention that I also remotely maintain about 20 other machines for friends and family, primarily through RealVNC but sometimes through Team Viewer for those situations where RealVNC cannot be used. This collection of PCs includes Win7, Win8.1 and Win10 situations, both desktop and laptop, both new and old hardware.

Every one of these other remote machines for other people includes just about the exact same mix of installed 3rd-party software products and Windows customizations that I use on my own home machines. And NOT ONE OF THESE OTHER MACHINES FREEZES!! Only my own two Win7 desktop machines outfitted for Windows Media Center and configured on my own home LAN freeze.

(4) As a result of the hard power-off/on re-boot sequence needed to restart from this freeze state condition, my older ASUS P8Z77-V Pro desktop PC physically died (destroyed PSU or motherboard or CPU, but it wouldn't boot) and had to be replaced. Instead of going through the same homebuilt approach again, this time I decided to buy a factory pre-built Lenovo M910t with Win7 pre-installed, and then upgrade as necessary. All of the internals of my now dead ASUS machine were transferred to the M910t, with 100% 24/7 stability expected once again... assuming the cause of the freeze symptom was failing hardware in the now dead P8Z77, which was at least one possible explanation for its freeze.

You can imagine my surprise when the freeze appeared spontaneously and began to appear again on the M910t... on this BRAND NEW WIN7 MACHINE, built by Lenovo. It didn't occur initially as I started the "build out" of the machine to hold all of my do-it-yourself hardware and software upgrades. But at some point in the build-out process it DID OCCUR FOR THE FIRST TIME and has persisted ever since. It's obvious that something I've added myself TO THAT MACHINE, either hardware or software, either by itself or in unique combination with something else either on that machine or on my LAN environment, is responsible for giving birth to the freeze.

(5) Note that the now freezing M910t has a Lenovo motherboard and not an ASUS motherboard. So the freeze doesn't appear to necessarily be tied to using an ASUS board as I originally thought possible.

Also, Win7 on the M910t was pre-installed by Lenovo, not installed me. Yes, I reinstalled all the same software and tweaked the same customizations I'd previously had on the old P8Z77 Win7 machine onto the new Lenovo M910t, and I also used all of the same "human interrace devices (HID)" like mouse, keyboard, two Eizo monitors, network, printers, etc., so it seemed more reasonable to blame something from that set of hardware/software add-ons for the freeze, rather than failing because of the underlying Skylake-based M910t (with i7-6700 CPU) or the Win7 that arrived pre-installed from Lenovo. I point out that the Z170 machine is also Skylake-based and has an i7-6700 CPU.

I also mention that while Z170 and M910t both have Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD drives for their primary Windows partitions, the now-dead P8Z77 used an HDD spinner. And all three exhibited the freeze, so the SSD isn't really a likely culprit.

(6) With that back story, for the past 8 months I have tried all kinds of things to identify the "culprit" and root it out. Because I couldn't keep Z170 up and running dependably enough to serve as my reliable 24/7 DVR HTPC I decided to re-activate the new M910t (with its transplanted Ceton and Hauppauge TV tuner cards from the dead P8Z77) back as my primary active HTPC. I decided to focus on trying to get the M910t "cured" and stabilized, since it was truly brand new and shouldn't be failing for any hardware reason. Clearly it was something in my home LAN software/hardware/network environment which was responsible for the freeze and focusing on just one machine which filed even when the second Z170 machine was taken offline and powered down and thus no longer present on the network, well it should be easier to solve the problem on just one machine by itself.

So that's what I've been doing for the past two months, ever since building out the new M910t in early January. The Z170 has pretty much been shut down to totally take it out of the picture for the moment. The freeze on M910t is obviously occurring with only M910t active on the network.

Note that I do also occasionally fire up my two Win10 laptops, a Lenovo P70 and Lenovo W530. Neither of these Win10 machines freezes, although they both again have the same suite of 3rd-party software products installed and the same basic Windows tweaks and customizations as on my Win7 desktops. But of course the laptops don't have WMC hardware or software running in them.

(7) My troubleshooting over the past 8 months has included just about everything you can think of to try and chase down the culprit, from hardware to software.

I've focused on USB mouse and keyboard, swapping wired Lenovo USB mice for wireless Logitech MX mice (with USB receiver, not Bluetooth), to no avail. I've swapped Lenovo wired USB keyboards for my ancient IBM PS/2 keyboards (going through an Adesso PS/2->USB adapter), to no avail.

I've turned off screensaver on the monitors, as well as turning off "turn off the monitors after 15 minutes" (i.e. power-save mode), all to no avail. Failing to coming out of screensaver mode seemed like a common freeze symptom, so I thought eliminating this might help, but it didn't.

I've gone back to very old versions of NVidia graphics driver (for the GTX 1050ti graphics card I use in each of my ASUS and Lenovo desktop machines), from very early 2018 and even 2017, thinking that perhaps NVidia might have done something now incompatible with my Win7 desktops, but no change.

I've tried disconnecting one monitor from my usual 2-monitor setup, thus now running just a single-wide Windows desktop. No change.

I've gone back to old versions of Aida64 which I use as my hardware monitor software, and which interrogates low-level hardware (e.g. S.M.A.R.T. for drive temps), but no change. I've tried turning off assorted hardware monitoring items that Finalwire describes as recommended if "stability" issues arrive, thus presumably now running with "non-invasive" only high-level reporting active. No change.

I've tried NOT RUNNING much of the set of always-running start-with-Windows background software I've been running for decades, including Clockwise, PERFMON, DUMeter, and Aida64, but no change.

I've replaced ALL of my old internal HDD spinner WD Black 2TB drives (which were maybe 5 years old) with brand new 4TB WD Black drives housed in external eSATA enclosures. I've replaced my external 2TB Verbatim USB 3.0 backup drive with a brand new 4TB WD Black drive in an external USB 3.0 enclosure. No change.

I've tried going to "high performance" power plan options, with everything set to "never" so that no disk spins-down to save power if inactive for 15 minutes, no USB hub gets powered-off ever, etc., trying to avoid something that might fail when coming out of that power-save state. No change.

I've tried running an "always-active" background program, say that does something every few seconds or every few minutes (like regularly checking for new email), in order to "keep the machine and Windows always running" in order to reduce or minimize or eliminate any opportunity to "go idle for an extended period". No change.

(8) Note that the freeze doesn't just occur when the machine is effectively idle. It can actually occur WHILE I'M TYPING SOMETHING!!! It can happen spontaneously when I'm browsing in Firefox and go to open or close a tab, or go "back", or anything.

In other words, it's obviously something else that is responsible... in the Windows or application or hardware, active or not, and not specifically due to going into screensaver or power-save or idle state and not coming out of it.


(9) In summary, nothing I've tried for the past 8 months on both ASUS machines at first, and then on the remaining Z170 as well as the new M910t, and most recently on the M910t (as I've taken the Z170 and put it offline until I can get the M910t stable and "perfect"), has worked. The culprit, somewhere either in my hardware or software or network setup, has continued to elude my detective work.

Until yesterday, when I finally decided to try something radically new. I've always had complete 100% faith in some other software products I have used forever on my own now freezing machines as well as ALL of the other 20 machines I maintain for friends and family which are 100% freeze-free. Until yesterday I didn't really suspect any of those software products, but having pretty much exhausted every other hardware and software substitution or elimination without success, I decided to go radical.

(10) In particular, I have always used Microsoft Security Essentials as my anti-virus. I also use Windows Defender on the Win8.1 and Win10 systems I maintain. While this might not be the world's highest-rated A/V it has a very low profile, is free and supported by MS, and has never let me down.

I also use Malwarebytes (Anti-Malware) Premium. This has not always been so problem-free, and on occasion the software vendor has released a version which was responsible for some harmful or negative effects out in the user world. These have been quickly fixed, but do leave a bad taste in your mouth. Recently (i.e. late last year) there was a reported "freeze" symptom on Win7 systems which drove users crazy. Malwarebytes suggested either reverting to an older version which purportedly was problem-free, or temporarily uninstalling, until they could fix it. Well they eventually claimed to have fixed it, so i reverted to using its latest release, trusting that all was now normal again. But of course the fact that the reported defect was EXACTLY A FREEZE IN WIN7... well, you can imagine my concern here.

I also use Team Viewer as an alternative to RealVNC for my remote connections to friends and family, when RealVNC (which depends on router port-forwarding) cannot be implemented. Team Viewer is "cloud-based" and does not depend on router customization. Anyway, starting last year when Team Viewer Version 14 was released, a new issue arose which was a kind of incompatibility with Windows Media Center extender operation (which is how TV is watched around the house using WMC, through LAN-based ethernet-connected "extenders" connected to each TV via HDMI). The problem was that a WMC extender session is actually a "Remote Desktop Protocol" user session, i.e. the extender "remotes in to the HTPC using RDP", much like a user would connect to an office PC from home using RDP. This new semi-conflict with WMC extender session in Team Viewer 14 was not present in Team Viewer 13, but was a new issue which has been reported by still not (if it ever will be corrected). And of course if you don't use WMC extender sessions (like on my Win10 laptops), there's no problem using Team Viewer 14.

I also use Dyn Updater Client, which supports "symbolic DNS hosting" and symbolic host name resolution to determine IP address. This functionality is needed to symbolically resolve the remote host names assigned to the 20 remote machines of friends and family that I support through RealVNC (which connects to an IP address, resolved symbolically if non-static through this DynDNS service). About a year ago DynDNS upgraded their software from version 4 to version 5, implementing a significant architectural change which theoretically should be invisible to users, but which initially was not problem-free (although it now seems to have had its kinks worked out with recent updates).

So yesterday I decided to go radical, and establish my extreme concern about the stability of all four of these products in my own unique and complex Win7 WMC LAN hardware/software/tweak environment.

==> Yesterday, 3/2/2018, I decided to UNINSTALL ALL FOUR OF THESE PRODUCTS!!!

(11) So, yesterday, on M910t I uninstalled Microsoft Security Essentials, Malwarebytes Premium 3.7.1, Team Viewer 14, and Dyn Updater 5.4.6.

The only functional consequence of removing Team Viewer from M910t is that I would have to use one of my Win10 laptops if I wanted to support a remote friend/family person through Team Viewer.

And the only functional consequence of removing Dyn Updater is that instead of automatically updating the web-based DynDNS-provided symbolic hostname-to-IP DNS resolution (which allows me to remotely connect to my own home PC's via my own laptops through RealVNC when I'm out of town) through Dyn Updater running on my PC's, is to instead manually maintain the current IP address for my home PCs by my actually going to the DynDNS web site and setting the value myself, if it has changed and needs the new value to be set so that RealVNC on the laptop can function properly and connect to my home PC's. In fact my Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) ISP rarely if ever changes the IP assigned to my modem, although technically it can do that whenever it wants to. So in practice not having the Dyn Updater software active and always checking to see if an IP address update is needed, well loss of this automatic functionality is no great loss at all.

Now the loss of MSE and Malwarebytes Premium IS obviously critical, and a replacement is needed. After some research I decided to go with Bitdefender Total Security 2019. In addition to it being the highest rated A/V product out there, they are having a 1/2-price sale so I bought a 5-seat license. This will support my own four machines very economically.

So that's what I did on M910t. I am now running Bitdefender Total Security 2019 as my anti-virus and malware protection. I no longer have MSE and Malwarebytes 3.7.1 (with its own infamous Win7 freeze-causing history last year, supposedly now corrected early in 2019).

And I no longer have Team Viewer 14 installed, and I no longer have Dyn Updater 5.4.6 installed.

I have left Team Viewer installed on my two Win10 laptops, but I have also updated them to eliminate Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium, and Dyn Updater (which supported accessing the laptops through RealVNC, something I NEVER actually do).

(12) Also, I've always hosted my HP 2605dn printer as "shared" from my upstairs PC which is in the "office" and USB-connected to that printer. This allows printing from any desktop or laptop PC on my LAN, through Windows shared printer services. So if I had to print something recently I would have to bring up Z170 (which is the PC in the 'office" which the HP printer is USB-connected to), even if I brought it down again shortly thereafter.

Yesterday I changed the HP printer from being USB-hosted by Z170 to instead simply be a network printer, through its ethernet cable port. I then re-configured M910t and the two Win10 laptops to remove the "shared" printer available through Z170, to instead just be normal network printer objects availble through ethernet cable.

While this has no real consequences pro or con, it at least does eliminate any issues involving shared printer services (on the Z170) and network handshakes. My examination of the Windows Event logs on both Z170 and M910t did indicate that the freeze symptom on one machine was clearly able to eventually bring down the other machine, when network handshakes between all machines ceased (because one machine was frozen and eventually failed to respond and handshake properly).

(13) I know I shouldn't say anything too soon, because I don't want to jinx it. I've been here before, with false hope and optimism that something new I was changing and trying seemed to be helping... until yet again a freeze occurred.

But at least for now, I have been up and running with M910t for one day nine hours... WITHOUT A FREEZE! Though still inconclusive (but promising, one must admit), this is definitely an "outlier" as far as freeze-free performance duration over the past 8 months.

I really won't be foolishly optimistic until I reach three days freeze-free, something I don't believe has ever occurred in the past 8 months, not on the now dead P8Z77, not on the currnetly offline Z170, and not on the recently acquired M910t.

As to why the other 20 machines (at least the Win7 machines in that group) that I maintain for friends and family and which have EXACTLY THE SAME SUSPECT SOFTWARE PRODUCTS INSTALLED... BUT PROBLEM-FREE, themselves can remain up 24/7 for weeks at a time (until I re-boot them on Windows Update Tuesday), well I can only assume it's tied to the WMC hardware/software I run on my own Win7 desktop machines.


I know... I was supposed to keep it pithy. Hopefully bullet points make it easier to follow.

Fingers crossed. I am cautiously optimistic that elimination of Malwarebytes Premium may actually be the key here, of what I have now changed in the past two days that may finally be the silver bullet. Reports of its own "Win7 freeze" symptom began coming in late last year, so maybe that explains things for my own environment. Not sure why it didn't affect my friends/family Win7 systems the same way, but again my WMC-centric home setup on all Win7 machines is unique for both hardware and software.

Eliminating Team Viewer 14 is no real loss, and only eliminates the incompatibility with WMC extender sessions which has been so annoying of late.

The associated discarding of MSE is of no concern to me. According to all reviews Bitdefender is supposed to be the best A/V product out there, and performs the same anti-malware functions as both MSE and Malwarebytes combined... and does it better. It's not intrusive like McAfee or Norton/Symantec, but seems very low-key and lean. So far I'm totally satisfied.

Fingers crossed. I continue to be amazed over the past day and a half that I can continue to work, watch/record TV, browse with Firefox, type long compositions like this one, and yet continue operating perfectly and normally and 100% reliably as we would all expect to be the case... AND NOT FREEZE!

Fingers crossed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Mar 2019   #10
dsperber

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by technomann View Post
T1. Opened msconfig (Start-->Run-->msconfig) and did a Selective Start. Unchecked all startup entries that appeared to be unnecessary.

2. Deleted all items in the Windows Prefetch folder.

3. Deleted all temp files (Start-->Run--> %temp%)

4. Ran SFC (System File Checker) from the command prompt to check for corrupt system files.

5. Cleaned the Registry with 3 different Registry cleaners.

6. Ran a full system scan for viruses.

7. Updated all of my drivers with a program called DriverEasy. At first I was using RadarSync to update my drivers. It found a few but then reported that all of my drivers were up to date! This is why I didn't think that it was a driver issue causing the freezes. But then someone on a post suggested DriverEasy, so I downloaded the program and ran it. DriverEasy found like 27 more driver updates than RadarSync! I guess some driver updating programs are just better than others...

8. You can also run MemTest 86 to check your system memory. Download the program, burn it to CD and run it at boot up. It needs to make several passes so it would be best to run it overnight.

So right now I have been running for a week with NO FREEZES! I'll post an update if the situation changes...
In passing, I've certainly tried many of these items that you enumerate... all to no avail, I'm afraid. And yet you say you've now survived freeze-free for a week, so maybe for you your "recipe" of actions did the trick.

For me, I always prune the "startup" list through MSCONFIG to only run those programs I know should be auto-started with Windows from the total collection of installed software products which might quietly put something here which I feel unnecessary. This is part of my standard Windows build-out process when I finally reach "production" state, not something which should only be done to chase the freeze cause.

Since I run Windows from SSD, I already have applied the recommended "tweak" and turned off pre-fetch.

I regularly clean out both "temp" folders, and occasionally run "disk cleanup".

I have run SFC several times.

I have NEVER run any Registry cleaner products.

With MSE and Malwarebytes previously installed, there was ALWAYS a regularly scheduled nightly and weekly periodic scan taken, always with no results (because I'm not a crazy web browser). Same will now be true with Bitdefender.

All my drivers are up-to-date, manually maintained by me. I regularly look at the ASUS and Lenovo support sites for anything new, and almost always apply anything that gets released. I certainly upgraded both BIOS and Windows last year in response to the universal all-manufacturer all-vendor rollout of fixes for Sceptre/Meltdown. I was initially suspicious that something here might have given birth to the freeze on my particular Win7 WMC-enabled machines, but that's just something I thought of as I was going through everything in my mind that had changed last year and which might have produced the freeze symptom sometime after July.

I have never run a MEMTEST or other hardware stress test. The fact that my freeze occurred on two separate ASUS machines suggested it was not just one machine whose hardware was now failing. And when it also showed up on a totally new and different piece of hardware, my Lenovo M910t, well now I KNEW it couldn't really be hardware.

It had to be something else, almost certainly software-related. It never appeared in the first few days of my M910t build-out which started in early January. But a few days later, when I finally reached the point late in the build-out where I was now installing and activating the WMC-enabling TV tuner cards and related drivers/software, well now I began to see freezes occurring that had simply not happened once in the previous few days. Seemed clear to me that it must be related to WMC and its supporting hardware/software, no matter ASUS or Lenovo motherboard.

Furthermore, it wasn't just on Skylake chipset motherboards or i7-6700 CPU hardware that the freeze occurred. It had even occurred with my older P8Z77 machine, which was pre-Skylake and used an i5-3350p CPU.

Nope... I'm honestly more suspicious of some issue involved with Malwarebytes Premium since sometime late last year when they brought out something that caused hysterical worldwide "Win7 freeze" symptom reports, from many but obviously not all of their millions of users. They reacted promptly as they should, but it took them over a month to finally believe they had found the culprit code and fixed it. I'm not so sure.

Anyway I have no regrets about throwing out Malwarebytes and MSE, and replacing them both with Bitdefender. I'm now at one day 11 hours without a freeze, and still counting. Seems very promising. Also, removing Team Viewer and Dyn Updater from my desktop machines, and re-installing my HP 2605dn printer as "network printer" instead of a "shared Windows printer", well no real impact on my daily life.

We shall see.

Note that everybody's environment and situation is different. What works for me, may not apply to you. What works for you may be irrelevant for me. The list of steps in your "recipe" seems to have helped for the past week. Maybe it was the cure for you, or maybe it's just coincidence... as whatever is really responsible just needs exactly the right triggers and circumstances to make itself visible and trigger the freeze, and may simply have not happened in the past week. Just might take a bit more time. Or, maybe it's truly been "cleansed".

Only some additional time will tell, for both of us.

In my case, I have been suspicious of Malwarebytes since last year
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Windows Random Freezes!




Thread Tools




Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Windows 7 - Random Freezes during browsing
I've experienced random freezing while using firefox and I thought firefox was the problem since it always kept doing it while browsing in firefox. I re-installed my whole computer and now I experienced today the same with Google Chrome. I'm not sure what is going on. I've done a memtest and no...
BSOD Help and Support
Windows 7 random freezes?
I have an Acer Aspire 5737Z laptop, with Windows 7 RTM installed. The system is working good and fast (DVD, video, media center, web etc.) apart from random freezes occuring once almost every day. Most of the time I am not even at the computer, it just freezes while I am at work, with uTorrent the...
Hardware & Devices
Random freezes during Windows 7
I used to have my computer running pretty fine until earlier this week, upon browsing on the interwebs, my computer suddenly restarted by itself without caution. When it rebooted, I got a CMOS checksum error. To go further I continued with the rebooting, and Windows loaded without errors. The...
BSOD Help and Support
Windows 7 Random Freezes
Hi All, Just built new htpc and it keeps freezing, no errors just screen lock cant move mouse nothing. stays like that for 5 seconds then turns off. I currently have windows 7 installed a gskill pro ssd 40gb. Im using the following parts: Corsair VX-450 Power Supply Sony AD7240SGB 24X SATA...
BSOD Help and Support
Windows 7 Random Freezes Fix Available
More - Windows 7 Random Freezes Fix Available - - Softpedia
News


Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 22:59.
Twitter Facebook