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Computer sometimes hangs under 100% CPU load


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#1 fp252

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 05:32 PM

Hi everyone,

My computer seems to be having issues with the computer sometimes completely freezing up when an application tries to use up 100% CPU load; for instance, when I use Adobe Flash Player in a browser to play a video on YouTube or comedynetwork.ca, or running the installer for Microsoft Office 2010 Beta. It occurs on Flash Player most often, though. With Flash Player it may freeze immediately upon attempting to load a video (I know for sure the problem occurs on Firefox and Chrome; IE, not sure). When it freezes there is nothing else I can do other than a hard reset. I can tell if it's happening because Process Manager's CPU usage icon in the taskbar tray freezes after the graph spikes to 100%; everything will freeze up except for the mouse cursor, the current window stops responding, no buttons (eg. Start Menu) work, and the computer's clock stops changing. It doesn't happen every time the CPU is maxed out, but it occurs enough to sometimes force a few resets a day.

This occurs with a newly-reformatted Windows XP Pro SP3, from the same day it was installed onwards, so I'm sure it's not a problem with malware. It never happened with my previous installation of XP. The only difference from previous reinstalls of Windows is that I'm using a disc with SP3 already included, rather than my previous disc with only SP1 (I acquired the SP3 license from MSDNAA; that way I don't have to install additional service packs on top of SP1 like before).

I did notice that on the installation with SP3 already on it, the graphics driver (Nvidia GeForce 4 MX, 32MB integrated) were already set up, compared to before, when I had to use a disc that came with the motherboard when I bought the computer to install the default driver, then upgrade to the latest driver version. In attempting to fix this I had installed the latest driver from Nvidia's site, which is the same version as the one automatically installed by XP (ForceWare 81.98, v.6.14.0010.8198). I had some difficulty in doing the install, because when I uninstalled the previous default driver and rebooted, Windows would automatically reinstall the driver again; however, it turned out that I was able to install the latest usable version downloaded from the site. However, the same problems with the computer hanging still occur even with the website driver.

To be honest, I'm not sure what else to try, short of another reformat (which I'm not even sure if it will solve the problem - I'm hoping to not do that). Anyone have any ideas on what to do?

Thanks for reading. Any help would be appreciated, as this is a pretty urgent problem.

Edited by fp252, 06 March 2010 - 05:40 PM.


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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 05:58 PM

What are your specs?

#3 fp252

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 06:43 PM

Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP3 [main OS], Ubuntu Linux 9.10
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2500+
RAM: 1GB DDR400
Motherboard: Soltek SL-75MRN-L with Nvidia Nforce 2 chipset
Storage: Maxtor 80GB
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 4 MX, 32MB integrated (installed drivers: ForceWare 81.98)
Soundcard: Realtek AC97
Internet: Wired cable connection
Optical drives: LiteOn CD writer/DVD reader, LG Super Multi DVD writer

(An outdated computer at 6.5 years old, but I feel it can still last for some time longer until/even after I get my new laptop in possibly a few months.)

#4 cryptodan

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 06:44 PM

Is everything as updated as possible?

#5 fp252

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 07:11 PM

Yes, aside from the newest audio driver, which had some issues. The default system one had always worked fine.

#6 fp252

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:49 PM

[bump]

It turns out it's a even more of a problem than I thought, even with simple tasks. For example, one example that just occurred was when using Audacity to change the speed of a 15 second file. While attempting the action, the computer will hang, but not completely: this time the Process Manager icon refreshes, but at about 1/5 of the speed, and the Audacity window states an estimated completion time of 3 minutes (and growing); normally this action should've taken only a few seconds. Clicking cancel will get the computer fully operable again.




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