I've got a weird thing going here. I had an Acer AX1700 64bit Vista Home Premium attached to my tv and a dual bay ext hd dock for a year with no problem. Starting on Aug 27 it just started freezing - screen image freezes and mouse/keyboard does nothing. Nothing new installed. I didn't see any updates other than security definitions. The only recent changes to environment were a switch from dsl to cable modem about 3 months ago and plugging in an external hard drive about a week before it started freezing. I've previously attached/detached multiple devices over the year.
It started freezing while I was watching .avi files in VLC. But then that's what I normally do on this machine. Tried a different player, MPC-HC and still freezing. The screen just freezes and audio plays the last .25 sec in a loop. So I tried without watching videos...just let the machine sit idle and it would also freeze. The freezes became more frequent as days went by. I checked event logs and there were no warning/error entries around the freeze time. I checked device manager and there were no warnings. I tried system restore to earlier points with no luck. I detached the dual bay dock. I tried to install stand alone debug but the machine wouldn't allow it and I can't remember why now. So I tried a factory restore from the restore partition. Machine freezes during installation. I figure hardware but can't test. No biggie, I have a spare machine. Here's where it gets weird.
I put an Acer Revo 3600 with a fresh install of Vista Home Premium in the same location plugged into a different power outlet. Install so fresh, it's not even activated. I plug in only the bluetooth keyboard, hdmi and ethernet (to router). I installed VLC and MPC-HC and started watching videos. It starts doing the same thing: freezing! I switch the keyboard to a different bluetooth keyboard and still freeze. I go back to 1st bluetooth keyboard and install the driver for this keyboard from disc thinking maybe the default driver is no good anymore. Still freezing. I put in usb keyboard and mouse and it freezes, but less frequently. Again on this machine, no warning/error events around the freeze time. I installed stand alone debug, but don't know of anything to debug. I ran memory test and it came back clean.
So I was thinking that maybe it's a power issue. However, the Revo is plugged into a different outlet. I've been watching the process/service threads in Process Explorer. While I see 1 thread rack up memory and not release, I kill Windows Update which is in that group, and the resources come down. I saw resources on my frozen screen from the last freeze and there was nothing out of the ordinary that I can see. I'm totally out of ideas. And I have no minidumps or event logs to go by. Any suggestions? I'm a little nervous to put another machine (with different OS) in this location. I did put a linux Acer Revo 1600 in this location but didn't leave it long enough to really test.
I know this was a long post. Hoping it makes sense and someone can help me make sense of all this.