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Random Freezes And Lockups


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#1 Kathryn Loch

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:04 PM

Hi everyone,

Okay, here goes, this is gonna be a long one but I read to post as much detail as possible...so...I apologize in advance.

First, I have a pretty good working knowledge of computers. For the most part I can rip 'em apart and put them back together. At work, we have a contracted IT person, so when it comes to computer problems, folks call me first. If I can't figure out how to fix it, or simply don't have the time, then we call the IT guy. :flowers:

This has me absolutely stumped and I've been that way for about a year. Normally, I'll keep digging and figure it out eventually.

My computer, a few months ago started experiencing random freezes which will eventually lead to a complete lockup. Also, after about fifteen minutes of powering on, the CD/DVD RW will vanish from the Device Manager and it will not open when the button is pressed. Only a reboot will bring it back.

Okay onto specifics, first, the freezes are characterized by a rapid bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrr sound while the mouse freezes and any program I am using locks for a few seconds. This is not an "error" sound as when a key is depressed for some length of time but the noise is coming through the soundcard. I wear headphones a lot and the sound is not always the same, most often very different in pitch and volume (I've also heard sounds similiar to this when watching TV and getting interference on a digital level.) The freeze usually does not result in a lockup, only when I'm playing a computer game will it eventually lead to a lockup. The CD/DVD RW disappearance does not seem to be related to this as in timing (although I think these events are related as a whole). The CD/DVD RW dissappears a few minutes after I power on the computer, it doesn't matter if the freeze happens or not. If I'm using it, playing a game, it will stay on. If I leave the game and jump on the internet or go to another program, it will vanish.

Of course, I've done the usual stuff....

First I checked for viruses - found some suspicious cookies but this didn't solve the problem.

Then I checked for spyware/malware - found some suspicious programs (gamespy for my online gaming) but didn't solve the problem.

Then I ran my registry cleaner - cleaned up a few items but didn't solve the problem.

Then I checked if I needed to defrag - don't need to defrag.

The system still does it.

Okay, let's check the drivers/firmware updates.

I was able to update everything EXCEPT that pesky CD/DVD it's a PHILLIPS 8421 (note, I have a second drive DVD player but haven't had a single problem with it). I can only find the firmware upgrade on the HP website, where it says to burn a copy of it to a CD and reboot with the CD in the drive and follow the instructions when it fires up on the reboot. WRONG, it doesn't do a damn thing even when I force the system to look at that drive when it's booting. I tried the standard update drivers through the Device Manager but that doesn't work either. Just out of curiosity, I ISO-busted the stupid thing. It's a BIN file, not an executable or INF. So that's why I can't do anything with it.

After updating all the drivers/firmware except for the PHILLIPS, the computer still has random freezes and lockups.

So, I call HP Tech support, they had me re-seating the PHILLIPS, running this and running that, having me copy the upgrade file to a diskette (a problem there since it's 2.8 mg and won't fit on one floppy - not to mention I don't have a floppy drive on this computer and have to use a computer on my home network) I gave up talking to them because every time I try something, I have to call back or go back to live chat and start all over again with a different person. But I've attempted to solve the problem through them at least 10 times. No luck there.

So, I'm still looking for answers when I discover a program called Process Explorer. I LOVE this thing!!! It's like the Task Manager on steriods!!!! It gives you tons more info and I highly recommend it - I found it through PC Mag.

These freezes and lockups are so sporadic I can't define when or how they will happen. So I started running Process Explorer, watching and waiting for the problem. When it happened again...I thought AH HA!!! GOTCHA!

Wrong again. Process Explorer didn't even twitch when the freeze happened. At least the first couple of times. It did it again later and I noticed the Interrupts maxing out and spiking the memory. So, I checked my IRQ's. Nothing shows as a problem or conflicting, a check of the actual IRQ's looks completely normal and I've dealt with those extensively in the past on different computers.

Okay...hrm...let's try SAFE MODE.

It took a lot longer for the freeze to happen but it finally did in Safe Mode as well. Am I wrong in thinking it's gotta be a base driver or hardware problem????

I've even uninstalled McAfee and my spyware programs and installed different ones. Ran everything again and it STILL happens.

I don't know what else to check.

Okay...onto the nitty gritty details....

I have an HP Pavillion a775c
550 Intel Pentium 4 HT
512 DDR SDRAM
250 GB hard drive
DVD+RW (Phillips 8421)
DVD-ROM
ATI Radeon X300
Processor speed 3.4 ghz
REALTEK High Definition Audio

Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2

Oh and a wireless Logitech keyboard and mouse but the problems started a long time before I got these.

Any other info y'all need? I am absolutely stumped!!!! So, now I will type what I didn't put in the subject line. HELP ME PLEASE!!! :thumbsup:

hehehehe

Thanks in advance and thanks also for simply reading this far.

Cheers,
Kat

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#2 Walkman

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:56 PM

Hi Kat,

Your post was very thorough and descriptive. I wish everyone would post like that.

But while I was still reading it, hints started coming out from your post, and when I was finished... I believe it hit me hard.

The one, and most obvious thing we never look for as the culprit is... the hard drive. You have all the signs that your hard drive is going to fail you, and probably sooner than you think.... if that's the cause. But from what I've read, that is the main suspect at hand. I guess you know you should back up the hard drive while you can.

If you do backup your hard drive, repartition it, reformat it, and reinstall your OS and see if the problem happens again... if it does, it's definitely your hard drive, if it doesn't, then you probably had something on your computer that was infected. And if that's the case, then you should run a scan on the backup data, (if backed up on another hard drive) and see what comes up before transferring it back to your new OS.

At this point, the problems you're having , redoing your hard drive and all of that is the 100% guaranteed way to know where your problem is or isn't. Most other methods will still have you guessing, causing you to have to do the reformat anyway. It may be a pain in the rear, but think of it like this.... your data is irreplaceable.

Hope that helps!

#3 Kathryn Loch

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 10:03 PM

Hey Walkman,

Thank you so much for your swift reply, I really appreciate it. On this end, while I hear what you're saying, I hope you understand that dumping everything and reinstalling is something I'm holding as a last resort. Since I don't have the OS disks, I'm *really* holding that as a last resort...ya know????

More and more companies, I'm discovering, are with-holding OS disks upon purchase of a computer. I'm running into it more often than I'd like both at home and at work. Therefore, re-installing...well, now you understand why that's a HUGE last resort for me.

I am curious about the HD failure tho...I've had some really crap out on me, as in a sudden catastrophic failure. Others gave me warning signs here and there, different glitches and corrupted files. Consistent with a program or file but not so much consistent behavior.

You've given me lots to think about, thank you. But I'm sure you will understand why I want to ask for "mulitple opinions." :flowers:

And yes, I do back up my data.

Of course, there is also the possibility of catastrophic disk failure due to me taking a shot-gun to the damn thing. :thumbsup:

Cheers,
Kat

#4 Walkman

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 10:40 PM

I understand the position you're in. I've been there before. Here are some more options:

Option 1. starting with your last known not need program, uninstall it, and do as many as you can, then reboot. Then after rebooting, run a registry cleaner to clean out their references, then reboot again. do that until you've uninstalled every single program that you can do without and the one in which you can reinstall from disc or such.

Option 2. Install and run numerous virus, malware, spyware, trojanware softwares you can get your hands on. Remember, each type of program targets and identifies different variants of suspected type files. In all, you will need to run a minimum of 5+ programs.. maybe more.

Option 3. Obtain a copy of your OS, and reinstall it. (should have been option no#1)

Option 4. Make a HiJackThis log and post it here in the HJT section.

Option 5. Have your tech guy look at it.

Option 6. Make sure your B.I.O.S. is updated, if needed, and check all your firmware and such.

Option 7. Uninstall the programs that trigger the problems, then reboot.

Option 8. Unplug any and all hardware that you can do without, like scanners, printers, web cams, etc.... reboot, and see what happens.

Option 9. Check your R.A.M. Certain programs take up a certain amount of resources, and those particular programs could cause your R.A.M. to trigger a chain reaction, if the R.A.M. is at fault.

Option 10. Download and install the motherboard drivers. That might be the fix to your issue. If not, at least you'll have it so if you have to reformat it, you'll have all you need.

Not an option...... but make it an option... advise your tech guy that you need a copy of your OS. I'm sure he can get you one, or at least you go and obtain one yourself. either way,, you need it, and you're going to need it down the road.

#5 Grinler

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 01:22 AM

Hmm...im not sure sure its a hard drive problem. It could be a problematic cd rom drive causing problems on the ide channel. These problems can cause slowdowns and freezes while the OS repolls the IDE channel.

Have you tried unplugging the problematic cdrom drives to see if the problem goes away? If it does then you know its either the cdrom drive or the ide channel its plugged into. If there is another device hooked up on the same channel, and its working fine, then it is probably not the channel.

#6 Grinler

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 01:27 AM

On another note, my computer was consistently freezing when playing high end shooter type games like Fear. It turned out to be bad memory. Running a memory tester may help as well.

#7 usasma

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 08:25 AM

Can you boot from a CD in the drive? If so....

1) Try a hard drive diagnostic (usually free) from the manufacturer of the hard drive. Download the ISO and burn it to a CD on another computer.

2) Try this free memory tester: http://www.memtest86.com/ Download the ISO and burn it to a CD on another computer.

Also, try this:

1) Run the freeware version of SiSoft Sandra to test various components in the system.

2) Disconnect the CD drive and see if the problems go away.

3) Check the Event Viewer for errors relating to this: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/40108/how-to-use-event-viewer/
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#8 GrouchoMarx

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 04:03 PM

I am sorry to bear the bad news:
When I read your post, I was reminded of how my last hd died on me...
pretty much exactly the same symptoms occured!

After about a two and a half months of freezing I rebooted my pc only to find one hd as dead as fox at a hunting party....
luckely I had interpreted the noise correctly and saved the most important data...
... determine whether the sounds actually do come from your hd, when your pc freezes... and if they do... I don't know what else you can do, but say aurevoir and llok for a new hd!

Edited by GrouchoMarx, 10 March 2007 - 04:05 PM.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

#9 Kathryn Loch

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 09:10 AM

Thanks to all for the great advice!!! I will try testing out the CD and the memory as suggested, in the meantime I will make sure I backup my data regularly. Luckily my b-day is in two weeks and I'm planning to upgrade the ram and video card. I'll hopefully be able to get a new CD or HD then along with it. Thanks again guys for the help!

Cheers,
Kat

#10 id10tbryan

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:23 PM

Hey Kat,

I GOOGLE'd my problem again, and recently and found this discussion thread. I'm so glad to finally meet someone with the exact problem I have with the exact computer. :thumbsup:

I too have been dealing with this problem for about a year now. I'm convinced that HP has some type of internal hardware conflict with this model that freezes our computer at random intervals. I've wiped out the hard drive on more than one occasion and nothing. I've upgraded the RAM to 2G, swapping sticks out to see if that was the issue (bad memory), and nothing. I've tried "disk integrety checks"on the HD and that seems good. I've also tried just about everyhting you have, except that Process Explorer, and still nothing. And Tech Support? Forget about it, they're useless.

I'm left with, what I think is 2 final solutions. One is another re-install. My previous format and re-installs were with my own software, installing the drivers and updates manually. I've purchased the restore disks from HP, because I never had them before, (bought the computer a few months used and they were already created and never given) and I'll try that clean install.

The second possible soultion, if that doesn't work, is may be the power supply. I've ran into some techs who have said their power supply has been the issue with freezing.

To tell you the truth though, I think it's just HP and the components they used to build this computer. If the new reinstall doesnt work, I'll probably try and sale this thing and buy a new system. Never an HP again. :flowers:

Let me know if you come up with any other solutions in the meantime Kat. And I'll do the same!

-Bryan

Edited by id10tbryan, 26 March 2007 - 04:24 PM.


#11 usasma

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:36 PM

It's my opinion that there isn't any "random" problem that occurs with a PC - it's just a pattern that we haven't discovered yet. Discover the pattern and you're on the path to discovering the cause.

I'd run MemTest and a hardware diagnostic from the manufacturer of your hard drive (just to confirm that your tests were correct). You may want to try SiSoft Sandra Lite to check a bit about your mobo also.

Check your Event Viewer for errors related to these freezeups.
Disconnect and uninstall all non-essential hardware - the further you strip the system down, the less you'll have to troubleshoot.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#12 BenjaminJ

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 04:14 AM

Hello, let me begin by saying that i have the exact same computer as you all except for the phillips drive.
Mine happens to be a liteon, when i first started using this pavillion a775c it was such a piece of junk...
It had major problems and spyware and viruses, i tried everything to get it working right.
I downloaded every spyware cleaner and antivirus I could find...nothing helped it only got worse to the point where win xp wouldnt load.
This pc was running so slow and it would barely run anything.Then i couldnt boot windows except in safe mode.
Finally i was fed up so i got ahold of a copy of xp pro and i formatted the pc and clean installed windows again.....
This pc works great now! A few weeks after i reloaded it i bought an additional stick of 512 mb pc3200 ram.
This really showed a major improvement, but to be very honest i think it was the hp software that was screwing up everything.
Almost every problem this pc was having disappeared over night, and believe me it had MANY, sometimes it would blue screen or just reboot for no reason, and then it would magically close programs, heh it was very odd. The performance was the biggest issue of all......so terrible, i wanted to kick the pc at times...
So if you are having major problems with your pavillion a775c with a 550 intel pentium 4, 3.4ghz, ati radeon x300 se, pci-e video card, western digital 250 gb hard drive, mine has 1gb of pc3200 ddrram because i bought 512 mb more and it isnt even the same brand but it works fine.
My BEST suggestion is to get ahold of a copy of win xp pro..and reload the thing from scratch and to avoid the hp software and drivers like the plague!
Also when you format delete all partitions and repartition the thing, I just use one giant partition, this seems to work best, seeing as hp likes to use 2..
Then once you start clean get a good antivirus/antispyware like eset's NOD32, it works really good to prevent any infections.
If you have any more problems with your hp pavillion let me know @ benjaminjuniper@hotmail.com




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