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?

    • The entire sys­tem just stopped. Neither the mouse nor the key­board respon­ded. The sys­tem was appar­ently still alive, but not respond­ing at all.

  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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