Sporadic Problem. Help?

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by distorted.freque, Jun 22, 2010.

Jun 22, 2010
  1. distorted.freque
    OP

    Member distorted.freque I'm getting mixed signals here!

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    We've had this laptop for around three years now, and there's a recurring problem with it that started less than a year ago. After a few hours of using the computer, the mouse would suddenly change into the loading icon, and when we tried to switch windows or click on the start menu, it would make the current window "Not Responding" and the computer just freezes up, save for the mouse. With no alternatives, we decided to reformat the computer and reinstall using a recovery disc. Fortunately, the problem disappeared. Unfortunately, it reappeared a couple of months later. Do you guys think it's a hardware problem? >:? Do we have so many programs installed? Even when I'm only using one internet browser window, and I've removed several processes already with the Windows Task Manager, it still happens. Then again, when it's reformatted, it seems to go away... >_< Also, it freezes faster after the first time. (When I've restarted it again.) I think it's somehow connected to the heat as well, because even with a cooling fan, this laptop still heats up a bit. I honestly have no idea what's wrong with it. :wtf:

    Thanks in advance for any kind of help.
     
  2. exangel

    Member exangel executioner angel

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    You didn't even say what version of Windows it is running, or if you've used any (have you? which?) anti-virus, anti-malware, etc type program.

    Reformatting is not going to solve heat problems, generally, if you return to the activities that caused heat problems, but on a laptop most activities outside of 3d gaming won't increase the heat alone. do you use the laptop on a hard surface or with a laptop cooling mat? if you do and usually or always did i doubt heat is the issue unless you've never blown out the exhaust with an air duster.
     
  3. distorted.freque
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    Member distorted.freque I'm getting mixed signals here!

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    Windows Vista. Sorry. >_< And The last two times it crashed, it was using BitDefender. But that's it. :wtf: (I didn't bother the next time we reformatted it, so it just slipped my mind.)

    To be honest, even with a cooling mat it still gets warm. (I need to buy a better one. @_@) And I've only cleaned it recently, but even then, there wasn't really that much to clean. It's just that, the warmer it gets, the faster it seems to freeze when the problem pops up. >_
     
  4. exangel

    Member exangel executioner angel

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    You should get at least Avast! Free Antivirus -.- Oh, bitdefender. Okay. I don't have an opinion on that one.
    Avast! Free is what I use, and it has been top notch but I've only been using it since March. I used Norton 360 for a couple years prior but when I found out how good Avast! Free is I decided not to renew my Norton.

    are you using Internet Explorer or Firefox? Chrome? Something else?

    do you always download Windows updates until you are completely updated after you reformat?

    edit:
    eh, laptops get warm. unless it is actually scorching your palms (i've had 2 laptops that got unbearable during 3d games but never crashed during them) i still doubt that is the reason you are locking up.. it may be contributing but considering you're running Vista..
     
  5. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    How much RAM does it have, and how much is used by idle processes? The pause could be caused by the system increasing the page file if RAM is falling low. It could also be a bottleneck in either the CPU or HDD cache.

    Also, check the SMART readings of your HDD. There's a possibility (albeit a low one) that the HDD may be having stuttering problems.

    One other possibility is that the HDD may be falling asleep (eco settings) after being unused for a while, and the pause is only caused by the HDD having to spin up again. If it is this, you can usually hear it if you listen closely. In fact, you can usually tell a lot of what's happening in the system just by putting your ear next to it.

    If it's not the HDD, there's a remote chance that it's the DVD drive. Yesterday my laptop became really slow and unstable when trying to read a rather old CD that had barely any scratches. In the end, error management in the drive itself managed to correct any bad readings and install the game successfully, but it was annoyingly slow for a CD.

    ...Come to think of it, there are many possible causes for a pause/crash in computers, without even beginning to delve into the realm of virus/anti-virus processes.
     
  6. distorted.freque
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    Member distorted.freque I'm getting mixed signals here!

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    Opera, mostly. And I plan on installing Kaspersky on it.

    Last time I checked, there was a bunch of updates I haven't installed yet.

    Do you think it's a virus problem then? :wtf:?

    3 GB Ram. And I removed a lot of the processes (the safe ones, anyhow), and it still froze. Heck, I only had a Windows Media Player open. *shrugs*

    If the eco settings is the problem, then why does it take a couple of months, for the two times that it happened, before the problem occurs again? It's like it waits for a lot of programs to accumulate or something. >_<

    And we barely use the DVD drive.
     
  7. Am0s

    Member Am0s Mojo Risin

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    to troubleshoot this, check task manager as soon as windows starts, start task manager and click processes, then check the number of processes, when the computer starts to hang, cpu should be 100% with a sharp incline of processes.

    if that is the case note down the name of the process, then you can google the name of it, if you have a virus or malware and then start the removal process.

    worst case scenario you have a MBR virus and that infects the master boot record of the hdd, after every reboot you pc is infected with this virus and can be quite hard to remove.

    programs I recommend nod32 (not free) and malwarebytes (free) use them both and keep them updated that will keep you safe.

    if its not a virus or hdd, then it could be faulty ram or some other hardware issue, I am inclined to think its more of a virus issue as you dont even have an AV scanner installed.

    I just read your updated msg,

    some virus's activate on triggered events they stay dormant otherwise.
     
  8. distorted.freque
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    Member distorted.freque I'm getting mixed signals here!

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    The processes don't end up as 100% last time I remembered. Kept the task manager open and it never really went up. >_< I can't really tell right now because it hasn't happened again. I'm just worried that it's a hardware problem, in which case, it's only inevitable that it will act up again.

    I'll install the malwarebytes tomorrow and see if it ends up with anything.
     
  9. distorted.freque
    OP

    Member distorted.freque I'm getting mixed signals here!

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    Update (sorry for the double post): I've installed both Malware Bytes and Avast, ran a full scan on the computer, and nothing came up.

    Also, don't think Vista is the problem because we have a desktop that's running Vista for around the same number of years, and nothing like that has ever happened to it. :wtf: The specs on it are worse than the laptop, with only 1 GB of ram. Running fine, if a bit slow.
     
  10. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    If it was a RAM error, it would likely BSOD, not pause/crash. CPU errors are more tollerant, so it'll just suspend active processes until it verifies data integrity. There are applications to check that the CPU is working properly, but I can't remember them (haven't used them since trying to get Dark Star One to work on an old PC).

    EDIT: I haven't gone into viruses because there are so many with all different methods to detection and removal. And because exangel is covering that side. And because I've never come across a MBR virus before (even though I used to create a few back in my High School days).

    As another troubleshooting step, you could try subjecting the laptop to a stress test to see if it evokes the problem again. Some stress testing applications let you pick which part of the system to stress (CPU, GPU, RAM or HDD).
     
  11. Am0s

    Member Am0s Mojo Risin

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    in most cases it would BSOD but depending on the severity of the ram issues, it can cause anything from BSOD to random freezing of the computer,down to simple things as internet browsers crashing, winamp or others apps just randomly crashing. RAM issues and hardware issues are never predictable. If the cpu or motherboard was at fault then the laptop would not fire up every time, RAM issue can be checked by memtest, there are alot of free apps out there

    MBR virus's are still out there and you are a lucky person not to come across one. if you get an MBR virus even after a full format the damn thing will be still there.

    as the above poster said it could heat or something causing the issue, to stress the system try using SIS sandra to stress it graphically, or passmark or some other benchmarking app to stress the laptop.

    also this is an intermittent issue and maybe the problem is as simple as windows is trying to update a dirver or something, something like this happened on my son's pc where the wifi card lost its drivers, no doubt my son did something and then the mouse would freeze every couple of seconds, so maybe its got something to do with that, either way I hope the OP fixes it and can enjoy his laptop once again
     
  12. Elritha

    Member Elritha GBAtemp Addict

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    You could also try Prime95 to stress test the ram and cpu. If there's a hardware fault it should quickly discover it. If you're unable to determine any fault, I would try reinstalling Windows. Three years is a long time for any Microsoft OS. They tend to slow down and get bloated with time.
     

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