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Reinstalled Windows Vista and now get random freezing


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#1 doodlekid

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 05:01 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping for help with my laptop, which has started freezing at seemingly random intervals.

I recently did a clean install of Vista because although it was working, it was rather slow and Firefox kept stopping responding every couple of minutes whenever I was browsing the internet.

I've previously done a clean install of Vista on the same machine without problem so felt confident to do it again.

My laptop originally shipped with Windows XP and I got sent a Vista Upgrade disk as I'd bought it within a few months of Vista being rolled out.


Anyway, a week or so ago, I did the clean install of Vista and downloaded/installed all the other programs I use.

But since then, my laptop has started completely freezing - seemingly randomly. Sometimes it runs fine for hours on end before freezing, but other times it doesn't last as long. When it freezes up, everything stops. The hard drive light goes out, the mouse pointer won't move using either the track pad or the USB mouse, the CAPS lock button on the keyboard doesn't turn the CAPS Lock light on, the Avast icon in the system tray stops mid-animation and basically I can't do anything apart from switch the machine off completely by holding in the power button until it powers down.

I've tried using CCleaner to get rid of junk and clean the registry, I've run Malwarebytes (which found nothing), I've used Defraggler and got it down to 1% defragmented, I've checked the hard drive using chkdisk and  found instructions to use the System File Checker, which seemed to fix a bunch of things but then, after a while, the computer still froze up.

I downloaded HD Tune Pro and checked the hard drive but it reported that there were no damaged blocks.

I've now used CCleaner to stop some of the startup programs but that hasn't fixed anything either.

Can anyone help me fix this annoying problem? I'm not sure what to try next and am getting really frustrated with it.
 



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#2 a.h.h.10

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 07:29 PM

You said your laptop originally had XP installed on it?

 

How long have you had Windows Vista installed on it?



#3 doodlekid

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 09:04 PM

I've had Vista on it for almost as long as I've had the laptop - it's had Vista on it for years now (much longer than it had XP on, which must have only been a few months at most).

 

I did a clean reinstall of Vista about a year ago and everything went well so I was confident to repeat it again this time.  But I don't know what's gone wrong this time as I've never had this freezing problem before.

 

I've been trying it in safe mode with networking for the last few hours as it had frozen about 3 times tonight in about 3 hours (so more frequently than usual) and so far, it hasn't frozen once.  Although I haven't had as many Firefox browser tabs open I normally do because it's so hard to use the laptop at 800x600 screen resolution (which I can't alter in safe mode) so I'm not sure if this a fair test.  And also, on other nights, I've been running the laptop in normal mode and it's lasted hours before freezing up.



#4 a.h.h.10

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 04:47 PM

I've had Vista on it for almost as long as I've had the laptop - it's had Vista on it for years now (much longer than it had XP on, which must have only been a few months at most).

 

I did a clean reinstall of Vista about a year ago and everything went well so I was confident to repeat it again this time.  But I don't know what's gone wrong this time as I've never had this freezing problem before.

 

I've been trying it in safe mode with networking for the last few hours as it had frozen about 3 times tonight in about 3 hours (so more frequently than usual) and so far, it hasn't frozen once.  Although I haven't had as many Firefox browser tabs open I normally do because it's so hard to use the laptop at 800x600 screen resolution (which I can't alter in safe mode) so I'm not sure if this a fair test.  And also, on other nights, I've been running the laptop in normal mode and it's lasted hours before freezing up.

 

It sounds like it has something loaded in normal mode that is causing the freezing.

 

When did you notice the freezing?



#5 doodlekid

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 06:42 PM

 

I've had Vista on it for almost as long as I've had the laptop - it's had Vista on it for years now (much longer than it had XP on, which must have only been a few months at most).

 

I did a clean reinstall of Vista about a year ago and everything went well so I was confident to repeat it again this time.  But I don't know what's gone wrong this time as I've never had this freezing problem before.

 

I've been trying it in safe mode with networking for the last few hours as it had frozen about 3 times tonight in about 3 hours (so more frequently than usual) and so far, it hasn't frozen once.  Although I haven't had as many Firefox browser tabs open I normally do because it's so hard to use the laptop at 800x600 screen resolution (which I can't alter in safe mode) so I'm not sure if this a fair test.  And also, on other nights, I've been running the laptop in normal mode and it's lasted hours before freezing up.

 

It sounds like it has something loaded in normal mode that is causing the freezing.

 

When did you notice the freezing?

 

 

Well, I did the clean reinstall about a fortnight ago and it started happening after I'd loaded my programs back on it and started using it again.

 

It generally happens when I'm browsing the internet and at first I thought Firefox was causing the problem.  But I uninstalled Firefox and started using Chrome instead and still experienced the freezing problem.

 

And then although I thought it only happened when I was browsing the internet, it happened a couple of times after I'd closed my browser too.



#6 a.h.h.10

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 08:34 PM

Chrome can be hard on the computer. I wouldn't use Chrome.

 

How much RAM do you have?



#7 doodlekid

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 10:28 PM

Yeah, I'd used Chrome before on my laptop (before I reinstalled everything this time) and it seemed ok but I was only using it when I needed separate browsers and most of my stuff was done in Firefox.

 

But the other day when I used it after uninstalling Firefox, it was so slow as to be nearly unusable - everytime I switched tabs, they were blank and seemed like they needed to load the content again, which was very frustrating.  But I hadn't experienced that before.

 

Speccy says I have 2.00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 266MHz (4-4-4-12).



#8 a.h.h.10

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 02:21 PM

Yeah, I'd used Chrome before on my laptop (before I reinstalled everything this time) and it seemed ok but I was only using it when I needed separate browsers and most of my stuff was done in Firefox.

 

But the other day when I used it after uninstalling Firefox, it was so slow as to be nearly unusable - everytime I switched tabs, they were blank and seemed like they needed to load the content again, which was very frustrating.  But I hadn't experienced that before.

 

Speccy says I have 2.00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 266MHz (4-4-4-12).

 

You may need more RAM. My laptop has Vista on it; it originally had 2 GB of RAM but I had to upgrade it to 4 GB.

 

I've bought mine from crucial https://www.crucial.com/ they have a program that can tell you what you need to buy.

 

The browsers are getting harder on the computer depending on some specifications. Whenever I have to run Chrome on the Windows XP desktop I have it grumbles horribly (it only has 2.5 GB of RAM). Firefox is also hard on that computer; if I didn't have CCleaner to clean up all the files, it would be unusable!



#9 doodlekid

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 10:07 PM

 

Yeah, I'd used Chrome before on my laptop (before I reinstalled everything this time) and it seemed ok but I was only using it when I needed separate browsers and most of my stuff was done in Firefox.

 

But the other day when I used it after uninstalling Firefox, it was so slow as to be nearly unusable - everytime I switched tabs, they were blank and seemed like they needed to load the content again, which was very frustrating.  But I hadn't experienced that before.

 

Speccy says I have 2.00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 266MHz (4-4-4-12).

 

You may need more RAM. My laptop has Vista on it; it originally had 2 GB of RAM but I had to upgrade it to 4 GB.

 

I've bought mine from crucial https://www.crucial.com/ they have a program that can tell you what you need to buy.

 

The browsers are getting harder on the computer depending on some specifications. Whenever I have to run Chrome on the Windows XP desktop I have it grumbles horribly (it only has 2.5 GB of RAM). Firefox is also hard on that computer; if I didn't have CCleaner to clean up all the files, it would be unusable!

 

 

So it's taken me a while to reply but in that time I decided to try starting again from the beginning with another clean Vista install in case I'd done something wrong the first time.

 

I've done all of the following:

 

  • installed all the Windows updates
  • scanned using Avast
  • scanned using Malwarebytes
  • used Disk Cleaner
  • defragged the C drive using Defraggler
  • used CCleaner to get rid of the rubbish files and also clean the registry
  • downloaded Slim Drivers and updated the drivers it said were outdated (it found 23 but after installing some, it then said they were all ok - I didn't have to update 23)

 

Unfortunately, I then noticed that the Windows Experience Score said it needed updating as there was new hardware but it wouldn't complete properly.  The error said something about it could be down to drivers so I thought it was maybe because I'd used Slim Drivers to update the drivers.  So I restored the laptop to a point before I installed Slim Drivers and checked that the Windows Experience Score worked (which it did) and then:

  • repeated all of the above scanning with Avast, Malwarebytes, CCleaner, disk cleaner
  • defragged with Defragglert and got it to 0% fragmented
  • used sfc /verifyonly (which found some problems)
  • used sfc /scannow (which said it fixed the problems)
  • used chkdsk (which didn't seem to find anything wrong)

This time I didn't touch the drivers.  After all that, I made another full backup on my external hard drive and tried the WES again just to make sure it was still working - IT DOESN'T :(

 

I have no idea why.

 

And it also turns out I still have the same freezing problem as I had originally :(  I could cry!

 

I've installed Process Piglet to give some warning if things are using lots of memory and Process Tamer to automatically reduce the priority of things when needs be.  I've added the UnloadTab add-on to Firefox to help it use less memory and still I'm getting random freezing.

 

I just don't understand it because before I did the clean install, I had more programs installed on my laptop and could use Firsfox for hours on end, running around 15 tabs at a time and other than some points when it stopped responded for a while and had some script errors, it worked ok.  It certainly never caused the whole laptop to freeze up so that the only option is to do a hard reset with the power button.

 

So why am I now getting those problems?

 

I've tried googling for other people with similar problems and have found suggestions to change the power settings - I now opted for best performance and set the hard drive to never turn off.  I've disabled some things in Vista that apparently make it work harder but I don't need (tablet settings and some other stuff that I can't remember off the top of my head but could esily look up again).

 

But it hasn't made a difference - Vista still freezes randomly when I'm browsing the internet (it doesn't seem to happen any other time - it never froze at all through any of the clean install process, I can copy massive files to and from my external hard drive etc - it only seems to be when I'm browsing the web that it freezes up).  And there doesn't seem to be a particular page that causes the freeze either - it can be anything and it happens without warning.

 

I just don't know what's going on and I don't know what to try next because it didn't freeze up a few weeks ago :(



#10 a.h.h.10

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 09:09 AM

:(

 

Do you monitor the memory and CPU in task manager to see what all's going on? What is hogging up memory and what is hogging up the CPU?

 

I'm assuming you don't have a disc with the drivers from the manufacturer since you used Slim Drivers?



#11 doodlekid

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 03:45 PM

I did try keeping Task Manager open at the side of the Firefox browser window so I could see the processes tab to maybe get some idea of what was happening but I don't have the knowledge to understand what everything listed in there does.

 

Firefox does seem to quickly become the biggest user of memory but this was always the case even before the freezing problem started.

 

I do have the original disks from Acer that came with the Vista upgrade disk.  I used this disk in the first clean install to update the Acer programs and drivers but when I was googling for ideas of how to fix the freezing problem, a lot of suggestions related to the drivers needing updating - hence why I tried Slim Drivers when the freezing problem was still there after the second clean install attempt.

 

But when that didn't fix anything, I restored the laptop to a time before I used Slim Drivers and tried to update the display adaptor driver through Device Manager (telling Vista to search online for a better driver) but it said the one that was installed was the best one so I left them alone after that.



#12 a.h.h.10

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 05:33 PM

Wow.

 

I would leave the driver alone since Vista is an older OS.

 

How old is your laptop?



#13 doodlekid

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 05:38 PM

Off the top of my head, I'm not exactly sure how old it is but I googled the model number and found a review dated 1 Jan 2007 so I reckon it must be about 7-8 years old now but I've not really had any major problems with it and apart from this new freezing problem, it still can do everything I need it to do.



#14 lordofcode

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 02:28 PM

Hi,

I don't know if you have already found where the problem was, but in case somebody is still interested...

I encountered the very same problem. It took me a long time to discover the source but 2 days ago I found that the problem is in Avast - versions 2015.10.3.2225 and above have some bug which causes this random freezing.

See this article on official forums:

https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=175249.0

I switched back to version 2015.10.2.2218 mentioned in the article and since then I had no freeze.

Hope this helps someone :-)



#15 doodlekid

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 04:01 PM

Hi,

I don't know if you have already found where the problem was, but in case somebody is still interested...

I encountered the very same problem. It took me a long time to discover the source but 2 days ago I found that the problem is in Avast - versions 2015.10.3.2225 and above have some bug which causes this random freezing.

See this article on official forums:

https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=175249.0

I switched back to version 2015.10.2.2218 mentioned in the article and since then I had no freeze.

Hope this helps someone :-)

 

Hi lordofcode,

 

Thanks for your reply.  I've recently been away so haven't had much time to do anything with the laptop and had packed it all away out of frustration!

 

Your post made me very hopeful that Avast might turn out to be my problem too.  I first tried updating it but after the required restart, when I opened Firefox, it just froze again.

 

So I uninstalled Avast, waited for the required restart again and then opened Firefox again to look for a new antivirus program but it all just froze up again.  It didn't even stay working for an hour - it was probably more like 10mins :(

 

Would there still be Avast files causing the problem even after uninstalling it?  I'm wondering if there's any point in starting again from scratch with a complete reformat and avoiding Avast altogether.

 

Interestingly, my family member's laptop running Vista had a pop-up message from Avast a couple of days ago and without thinking, I upgraded it to the latest version but after restarting it, Firefox ran fine for quite a while but then all of a sudden, the computer froze up completely.  No-one used the laptop yesterday but it froze up again today (after running for quite a while) so I used system restore to restore it to point when I updated Avast.  Had a few problems getting Avast to start again after that but it seems to be ok again now (fingers firmly crossed).  It's running version 2015.10.0.2208.


Edited by doodlekid, 20 October 2015 - 04:13 PM.





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