The first few times it occurred (July, October, and mid-November) a System Restore from Safe Mode solved the issue. The fourth and fifth times it happened (late November and early December) I had to try restoring to multiple different restore points before it would work again. The sixth time (mid-December) no amount of System Restores did anything. I ended up running the "sfc scannow" command and that seemed to solve it. The seventh time (late December) neither System Restore nor "sfc scannow" did anything. I ended up reformatting and doing a clean install of Windows. That solved the problem for about a week, then last night it started happening again.
I'm a little lost at this point. I've run tests on both the memory and hard drive and they came out fine. I looked through the event logs each time the issue occurred and didn't see anything that seemed likely to cause this. The fact that it keeps reoccurring, even after a clean install, makes me think it's some kind of hardware issue. But the fact that the computer works completely fine between these occurrences makes me think it's a software problem. I'm by no means an expert when it comes to computer issues and I'm at the end of my rope. These occurrences keep happening closer and closer to each other and I'm really hoping someone can shed some light on the issue.
I'm running Windows 7 Professional with Service Pack 1. The laptop is a Compaq 8710w.
Edit: Just wanted to add that at this point I haven't tried restarting my laptop yet, because I don't want to get stuck having to do a bunch of system restores/possible reinstall if there's some easier fix I'm unaware of.
Edited by Black87, 02 January 2012 - 11:53 AM.