I have been experiencing the subject-mentioned problem with my laptop since yesterday, along with a few other issues most likely stemming from it. There have already been a few attempts to resolve it, ones I will explain in a bit, but a lot of my searches yield final solutions recommending reinstallation of Windows 7. As that solution is certainly a last resort for me, I decided to seek help on here, especially since my computer has done something unexpected in the past hour. Anyway, to begin with:
HP Pavilion m6-1045dx (I've had it since August 2012)
Windows edition: Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1
64-bit Operating System
Processor: i5-3210M CPU @ 2.50GHz
Ram: 8.00 GB
Summary of past day, with problems bolded:
My computer was last working properly about 23 hours ago when I was using it to browse the internet and study. Both Chrome [open with about 11 tabs] and Firefox remained open from start to finish of that usage. However, they were mainly in the background as I was studying more and, therefore, switching between folders, Microsoft Word, and Adobe Reader. I would also like to note my internet connection was provided by using my university's campus network. This specific network does require a campus login unlike another campus network, but I still believe it to be a factor in the events to follow. Anyway, before putting my laptop away, I last recall putting it to sleep by pressing the power button. I am a bit worried about this memory as, for some reason, my laptop had started up when I turned it back on (obviously through the start button since pressing the keys didn't wake it from its sleep) a few hours later. It had a full battery, so that couldn't have been the reason for it somehow shutting down. Aside to something sketchy happening while it was asleep, the only other logical explanation could be that I pressed the button a bit too long earlier. But I doubt that as putting it to sleep was my intention, since I wanted to keep my tabs open with their time-sensitive data, and I remember there still being a blinking light signaling the laptop was asleep and not off.
Once it started up, I noticed it was slowly running and none of my startup programs were showing up. I didn't mind that as much as I had also noticed my wireless connection was having trouble connecting. The bars were there in the icon, but the circle over it looked frozen. Eventually, a different icon popped up: this one with something red. I restarted, in case something was wrong, but it was still the same situation. As I was unfamiliar with that icon, I thought that maybe it was because I was in a random spot on campus where the internet wasn't accessible. It would make sense since I was outside, but it would be odd as it's generally accessible everywhere there and, in the past, I've sat feet away with access to the internet. I also thought maybe it was weather related, which would also be odd as that has never been a problem before and certainly not during the nice weather like in that moment. Nonetheless, I ended up going inside, hoping that would fix everything.
My hopes ended up unfulfilled as my laptop's odd behavior persisted inside. Whenever I tried to connect to the internet by clicking on the network icon, nothing would pop up. At least by right clicking, "Troubleshoot Problems" and "Network and Sharing Center" did show up; however, each had their own problems. When clicking "Network and Sharing Center," the window looked like it was just loading slowly, when in fact, it just never loaded. When I would click to troubleshoot the problem, it said it was not possible and the explanation for this was "Error 0x80070426," I think the path was the same as other reports: C:\Windows\diagnostics\system\networking. I even tried to open Chrome up and when it didn't open, I noticed that there were two processes stalling in Task Manager. "Google Updater" was also one of the few processes I saw listed, so I ended it and Chrome finally opened with the tabs I needed, granted that was all useless since I still had no internet. I tried to see if going through Safe Mode with Networking would work, but I still had no luck accessing the internet even then. At that point, while using the computer in its normal mode, I decided to do a System Restore to two days ago. I knew there were a few recent files in my download folder I'd need to move/back up, so I went to my "Downloads" folder. I noticed that a lot of files there were also slowly loading; you could see their names, but several icons (specifically for pdf files) weren't showing up. By the time I'd copied the files, the icons still hadn't shown up, so I went on to performing the System Restore.
The System Restore went by normally, but when I went to access my account, the whole screen was black except for my arrow. I accessed Task Manager and saw that a few programs were definitely running, including explorer.exe. I shut off the computer and started it back up again hoping that would work, but there was still a black screen. I ended up going into a second account to see how that was going, and its desktop was showing up. But back at my account, it was still black. I turned off my computer again, went into safe mode with networking, and the desktop appeared there. That made me hope my desktop was back on my account in normal mode, so after a restart into normal mode, I finally had my desktop back, but it was still experiencing the same problem from earlier with networking.
By this time, I was out of ideas, but because of various reasons, someone working for my school's Tech Support was there to help me. She took my laptop and connected it to the internet by an ethernet cable for the timing being. The icon still showed that there was no connection, both when in normal mode and safe mode. But either after a restart or few clicks, there was internet connection through Safe Mode. Unfortunately, the computer was not letting certain windows in normal mode load in order for her to do changes there, so many things were instead done in safe mode. A lot of the changes were applied to checking the status of certain network & hosting services on my laptop, yet nothing worked. During all of this, she also advised the "real-time protection" on Microsoft Security Essentials should be changed to being on. I agreed but explained how I was confused since it's always on, but it somehow had been off only during this problem.
As no changes to the networking were working, nor the few other attempts I can't recall exactly, Malwarebytes had to be downloaded while in safe mode, and then it was successfully booted in normal mode. After a quick scan, it detected a virus in my downloads folder: mplayer_Setup.exe/PUP.Bundle.Installer.OI. I still don't know where/when that download happened, but it was successfully quarantined and deleted by Malwarebytes. After that restart, everything was back. The internet was able to be connected to wirelessly, startup programs started, and it was running much more smoothly like usual; Microsoft Security Essentials was also on like it normally was. I assumed everything was resolved, but then I got home and tried to use my laptop.
Once again, I was not able to connect to the internet in normal mode [including an inaccessible Network and Sharing center]. I thought maybe the virus was back, but Malwarebytes said my downloads folder was fine. As I had to use the internet urgently, I was thankfully able to go on it through safe mode, in which I also performed a full scan by Malwarebytes. That scan revealed nothing too. I restarted my computer to access it in normal mode, but I still had no ability to connect to anything. At this time, I was already looking for solutions on another computer. One site recommended to turn off your WiFi during these problems, and so I did that. I continued to search, and then all of a sudden, one of my startup programs [finally] popped up. I turned my WiFi back on and the icon was back to a normal wireless icon [instead of an ethernet-related icon, or whatever it's specifically called], one signaling I was not connected to any networks. As that previously mentioned program was Skype, I noticed it signed me on and when clicking on the still disconnected wireless icon, it said I was connected to my normal network. I was less bothered by the state of the wireless icon, so I decided I could go see if I can go on a site on Chrome. Chrome opened up, granted a bit more slowly than usual, but it did not go anywhere when directing it to a site; it just kept appearing like it was loading. With this being the case, I decided to disconnect and reconnect my internet signal. After doing this, the icon changed to its normal icon, Skype signed back on too, but Chrome still was not going anywhere. I was able to access the internet on Firefox, so I decided to restart Chrome, and that worked.
While everything is now working, there's still a certain lagging I've noticed that I know was not there before. I'm also very fearful about what will happen when I next turn off my computer. So while everything is working, could someone help me in making sure I'm not falling for a trap right now or can use the laptop in its working state to find out what's wrong when it doesn't work? I'm not even sure if this will be the process every day: starting up the computer and having to wait around 30 minutes for internet access.
I'd be grateful for any help. Thank you so much ahead of time!