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Vista Freezing Repeatedly - Any Advice?


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#1 elgizowiv

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:00 AM

Hi,

I've got a PC running Vista Home Basic 2007, Service Pack 2.

Starting a week or so ago, it's been freezing repeatedly. When it first began, it took a REALLY long time to load. When it finally did load, I ran some scans and since then it loads at normal speed, but still freezes occaisonally. This has happened a couple times while the computer was in 'sleep' or 'hibernate' mode - when this happens I can't get it to turn back on except by holding down the power button for manual turn-off and then starting over.
It has also freezed several times while the computer is on - when this happens, the cursor still moves around, but I can't click on anything, and no buttons do anything, including ctrl/alt/delete. I have to hold down the power button to get anything to happen.
This happens at seemingly random times - it worked for about 12 hours straight yesterday, then froze twice within an hour.

I don't know what could have caused it. Only 2 things that come to mind are that I downloaded some "True Blood" episodes via torrent a few weeks back and played one of them (but they were the new eps from "trusted sources" so if they contained malware, many folks would have it) and one day it was in my bag on hibernate, but was very hot, as if it had been running hard for a while.

I've tried the following things, and have pretty much reached the end of my limited skills, so any tips would be helpful.

- have run Advanced System Care twice. Both times it found about 25 registry errors, most of which said things like currentuser/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/explorer/Co.../CIDsizeMRU. I don't remember getting these registry errors before, so perhaps it's related to the freezing?
- have run CC Cleaner, but it only found one registry problem
- have run AVG free but it found nothing
- have run windows defender but it found nothing
- have run spybot scan/destroy and it found a few things, but I don't remember what and it's been freezing since then anyway
- have downloaded and run hijack this, but I don't know what to do with the results and see that I'm not supposed to post them here. If people think it's worthwhile I could start a thread with those in the appropriate forum.

Thanks so much for any advice you might have.
Steve

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#2 Allan

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:12 AM

If this started after you downloaded torrents I suggest you post in the Am I Infected forum.

#3 Required Field

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:46 AM

You very well may be infected...however, I've seen this kind of behavior in cases where the hard drive is failing. Depending on who the manufacturer of your PC is, there may be some diagnostic tools that you can access when the system POSTs (Some Dell computers have this, for example). Otherwise, you can download diagnostic tools from the hard drive manufacturer (Western Digital, Seagate, etc.) If you're not getting any results with virus/malware/rootkit removal, you might try that. Just a thought. Also, I would strongly advise against using any 3rd party application that claims to find/fix errors in your registry, especially if you're using Vista or Windows 7. They tend to do more harm than good, in my experience.

Edited by Required Field, 08 August 2011 - 08:53 AM.

"Most quotes attributed to famous people on the internet are fake." -Abraham Lincoln

#4 elgizowiv

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:07 AM

Thanks for your responses. I was beginning to wonder if the registry fixes were perhaps not helping, so I'll cut them out. It's a Dell computer, so I'll try the hard drive diagnostic - looking up now how to do this. My totally uneducated guess was that it was some sort of hardware problem, not a virus, but again, I'm totally uneducated about such things ...

#5 Allan

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:56 AM

fyi - registry cleaners and utilities CAUSE problems, they do not fix them.

#6 Required Field

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:59 AM

Let us know what comes of the diagnostics. If it is a bad hard drive, you can get a new 1TB drive for about $100 retail (I'm assuming your PC is out of warranty because it has Vista, but look up your warranty status at http://support.dell.com/ by entering your service tag). If the drive is not physically bad, then you may just have file corruption. This can be caused by Windows not being shut down properly, such as an unexpected power outtage, or by pushing in the power button to force a shutdown when Windows is hibernating or unresponsive. In either case you should make sure you have a backup of all of your documents and such, but repair will be easy since Dell will have provided you with disks for your operating system, factory-installed applications, and drivers. As for the registry cleaners, I think they are unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst. I always thought that if the registry needed a maintanence kit, Microsoft would have one...and they don't. Anyway, best of Luck!
"Most quotes attributed to famous people on the internet are fake." -Abraham Lincoln

#7 elgizowiv

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:23 AM

I ran the full diagnostics and it didn't turn up anything. So when I get back home, I'll try to dig up my Dell disks. Are there particular disks I'm looking for, or is the idea to reinstall windows, drivers, etc.? I believe I've got just about everything backed up, but I'll be sure there isn't anything important I'd lose if it crashes for good.

... I'll also uninstall the registry fix programs I've got.

Thanks so much for your help,
Steve

#8 Required Field

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:35 AM

You'll be looking for a set of disks that you got when you bought your computer. They will say "Dell" on them, and they will be labeled Windows Vista (and what version, like home premium, Business, etc.), "Drivers and Applications," maybe a few other odds and ends- usually in white sleeves sealed with a Dell barcoded sticker. There are some things you can do to try to correct errors by booting from your Vista disk, but if you're pretty sure you have everything backed up, then a reinstall of Vista may be the best thing, especially if the registry is damaged. Just reinstall Windows and your drivers from the disks, make sure you get all available updates for Vista including service packs 1 and 2, install a good Antivirus (there are some decent free ones out there), and then restore your files from the backup. If you're using an e-mail client, such as Outlook, IncrediMail, or Windows Mail, there will be some extra things to do to restore your e-mail, but if you just use webmail (like yahoo or hotmail), you'll be in good shape! :)
"Most quotes attributed to famous people on the internet are fake." -Abraham Lincoln




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