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Explorer (?) Randomly Freezes


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#1 danjpete

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 08:53 AM

I'm a technician at a student helpdesk at a small university. I've been working on this one, and for the first time, I'm stumped right off the bat...

A student brought her laptop up saying that after running for awhile, the computer will freeze and need to be shut down by holding the power button. Ctrl+Alt+Del doesn't work. So I fired it up and pretty quickly found a corrupt (and expired) Norton installation. I wrestled with that a bit, then disabled everything but drivers in msconfig. Already it was running 200% better. I then pulled the hard drive out and plugged it into an external bay in a computer we use for virus scans. I scanned it with avast, trend micro, malwarebytes, and a2. All of them came up clean. So I put the had drive back, and not having seen any lockups, I decided it was a job well done and proceed to start windows update. After some time I noticed the download had stopped at 92%. I moved the cursor to make sure it wasn't locked up. The cursor moved, so I just blamed an internet hiccup and moved on. Later, I realized that explorer seemed to be frozen and all I could do was hold the power button. The cursor moved, the progress bar was still glowing, but everything was totally unresponsive. Today, after leaving the laptop running for a period of time, no programs running, it did the same thing. Everything looked normal until I moved the cursor over the taskbar. No response and the cursor changed to the loading circle. What's worse, she doesn't want us to reinstall Vista. I'm pretty well stumped...

Incedentally, as I was tying this, I reset the laptop. It decided to run chkdisk. Possible failing hard drive?

Technical stuff:
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 x64
Dell Inspiron 1545
Core2Duo T6400 (2.0ghz)
4 GB RAM
250 GB HDD
Avast! Antivirus Free 5

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#2 danjpete

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 09:19 AM

Well, this is a new one. It just froze while shutting down.

#3 Broni

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 07:16 PM

Possible hardware failure (hard drive, RAM?)....

Run hard drive diagnostics: http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287 (or http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...ive+diagnostic)
Make sure, you select tool, which is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive.
Depending on the program, it'll create bootable floppy, or bootable CD.
If downloaded file is of .iso type, use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn .iso file to a CD (select "Write image file to disc" option), and make the CD bootable.
For Toshiba hard drives, see here: http://sdd.toshiba.com/main.aspx?Path=Serv...ties#diagnostic

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#4 danjpete

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:09 AM

Ran memtest yesterday and spinrite overnight. No errors. I'm beginning to suspect corrupted windows files...

#5 Broni

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 02:12 PM

How operable the computer is at this moment?

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#6 danjpete

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 03:09 PM

Well, I spent a bit more time tinkering with it and shut off a few services. That seemed to do the trick, it's gone all day without locking. I'm not sure which service was causing the problem, there were a number of Yahoo, Google, and Apple related services, one of those may have been the culprit.

Thanks for the help.

#7 Broni

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 03:10 PM

Good news :huh:

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