Apr 212012

My Windows 7 PC has been subject to random freezes, once every couple of days, where the entire PC freezes to the extent that a reboot is necessary. Since most of my phone calls are VOIP, when my PC freezes it cuts me off, which isn’t great for business or my peace of mind. So I set about trying to find the cause.

One potential cause of these sorts of crashes is old drivers. So I updated the sound card drivers, the mouse driver, the video card driver, and most others I could find. Net effect on freezes: zero.

Some web site suggested old versions of Java might be a problem. I uninstalled Java completely, and reinstalled the latest. Net effect: zero, except for mucking up my installation of Eclipse and costing me time playing around with environment settings to get the right combination of Java versions set up again.

The famous (infamous?) Windows chkdsk program found no errors.

Checking whether any important kernel files had been corrupted, using system32/sfc.exe, showed no problems.

Microsoft has a Memory Diagnostic Tool, worth a try. Result: no apparent memory issues.

At this stage I was running out of good ideas, so I tried something more random and moved the USB cables for the mouse and keyboard to different USB slots on the back of the PC. I did this two weeks ago, and the system hasn’t frozen since. Coincidence? Maybe moving to a different slot made Windows reinstall the USB drivers?

  6 Responses to “Random Windows Crashes”

  1. I can often cure random Windows slowdowns and freezeups by unplugging any one USB device and replugging it somewhere else. (Of course, if all slots are full you have to unplug two devices.)

    Damn BillG anyway for creating an OS so buggy and undocumented that people have come to believe that there is simply no reason at all why things go wrong, and so people acquire all kinds of superstitions about the cause and cure of problems.

  2. If I have my 4G dongle plugged into one USB it ALWAYS crashes my PC. Can I remember not to plug it into that one? Of course not! And it’s only the 4G dongle that does it (so far, anyway).

  3. One possible reason for freezes (as opposed to blue screens or other kernel crashes) is overheating. Does the laptop seem quieter than you remember? If so maybe there is a fan that has quit or is failing and running at a low RPM.

  4. i’m probably a bit late to the party, but out of interest, what type of crash was this? did Windows just BSOD; or did it stop one window responding, and then all of windows stop?

  5. I had the same type of crashes. No BSOD just frozen solid requiring cold boot. Since I had been using XP for some time, I decided to go to 7. Same issue. Since I like to be at the front end and update my machine every six months or so, I did it. Changed the MoBo, processor (Sandy field core i7), RAM, graphic card, sound card, and all peripherical (Not much choice there since I could not get updated drivers for what I had…). Things looked good for a week or so and then it just froze again. Sometime it would happen simply while browzing the web and other times while running a game. Anyway, long story short, I finally solved the problem by going to less RAM ! I found a note somewhere in the ASUS documentation about a possible issue with 32 bytes Windows system. Win32 only recognized up to 3Gb of RAM even if you have more and this could cause crashes and even MoBo damage. I was running 6Gb RAM (3 x 2Gb DDR3 DIMM) so I removed 2 and went down to 2Gb RAM. No problem since and, as a matter of fact, I find everything runs smoother although loading up some RAM intensive games takes a bit longer. I’ll probaly get a 1Gb DIMM to go up to 3Gb RAM just for the sake of it but I’m not in a rush….

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