If you can, I'd recommend booting into a live Linux enviroment and through the package manager of your choice installing gsmartcontrol. Through gsmart check the SMART attributes and perform a short test. After all is said and done post the results here.
I am burning Ubuntu onto a USB drive right now. I will install that program and post the results
Ubuntu is a good option, won't require 10 sets of updates & reboots, you'll update the first time & fairly much be done with the install. Generally speaking, a Linux install, including configuration, takes 10-15% of the time it would a Windows one. Especially Windows 7, with the 200+ updates after SP1 was released in 2011.
What could have been making that Windows 7 install freeze & I don't see any reference to it, so I'll ask. Where the drivers installed prior to updating? The chipset driver Must be installed before anything, then the ACHI driver, graphics, sound, Ethernet/wireless, USB & whatever else may be needed. The Device Manager is the place to look to determine missing drivers.
The cool thing about Linux, is that most of these will automatically load during the install process, one reason why it's suggested to be actively connected to the Internet at this time. Speaking of which, some of these drivers are included in the LInux ISO, otherwise one wouldn't be able to have Internet access as soon as booted into.
Though I prefer Linux MInt over Ubuntu.
If for whatever reason your computer freezes after the Ubuntu install, then there's a good chance of a hardware issue. Oftentimes the HDD if very slow.
Do you have the recovery media for this computer, which would consist of around three DVD's? I ask because if you use these, everything should load factory fresh & the drivers will be installed. You can order these from HP if needed, last time I had to obtain a set for someone else, the cost was around $17, including tax & shipping. There is normally a link on the model's page where the specs, drivers & optional software are, near the bottom of the page. This may say "Looking for Recovery Media?".
In order to obtain these, follow the instructions, your model & serial numbers will be needed. The ones I ordered arrived in less than a week & these were for a Windows 7 computer.
EDIT: Have requested Moderator to move to the appropriate section of the Forum. Not a Windows 8 Topic.
Edited by cat1092, 03 August 2014 - 12:25 PM.