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