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WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

RobDickson
Grafter
Posts: 632
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

OK, it's obviously not for no reason, but I'm having a hard time trying to find out what's causing it. Basically, it completely freezes, and my only solution is to press the reset button, or to turn the power off at the socket.

The weekend before I started having problems, I'd had two flickers on my electricity supply, which both caused my PCs to turn of without warning. I don't think this has anything to do with it, because both my PCs ran fine for a week, and only one is causing problems now.

I have run scans using NIS2006, Spybot, AdAware, and Windows Defender. I have also created a HijackThis log. None of these found anything wrong.

I have replaced the memory, so doubt that memory is a problem.

I have run a ScanDisk, and the drive manufacturer's DOS-based disk-check program. Neither found any problems with the disk.

I haven't installed any new hardware for ages, and it was about 2 weeks before I started having problems that I last installed any new software.

I have been coming to the conclusion that I'll be better off re-installing WinXP, but thought I'd try running CCleaner first. It cleaned up a lot of stuff that SurfSecret didn't find. I haven't got it to clean the registry yet, but there doesn't seem to be anything particularly "dirty" in the registry that needs to be cleaned:

Lots of ActiveX/COM Issues.
A few Application Paths Issues.
A few Font Issues.
A Help File Issue.
Three Installer Reference Issues.
Quite a few Invalid Default Icons.
7 Missing Shared DLLs.
2 Missing Shortcut References (I'm not worried about these).
2 Missing Startup Software problems (one for something that I thought I'd uninstalled, and one blank).
6 Obsolete software keys (I'm not worried about these).
A dozen Old Start Menu keys (I'm not worried about these).
A dozen Open with Application Issues.
Lots of Uninstaller Reference Issues.
Lots of Unused File Extensions.

I haven't decided whether to clean these up, or not yet.

Somebody on another forum suggested cleaning the RAM edge-connectors and the motherboard slots with a lint-free cloth. I haven't done this yet, but will do-so this evening (and, at the same time, but the old memory back in the free slots).

My PC behaved itself yesterday evening, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it freezes again (unless CCleaner has cleaned what was causing the problem, but I'm not holding my breath).

I haven't got the energy to uninstall and reinstall lots of programs to try to find out if there's a software conflict. I think reinstalling WinXP will be an easier, and definitely cleaner, option.

Uninstalling and reinstalling NIS is probably worth trying, but the last thing I want is for the PC to freeze half-way through installing NIS.

Does anybody have any other ideas to avoid me having to reinstall WinXP?
16 REPLIES
fakesnake
Grafter
Posts: 30
Registered: 01-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

hi, did the event viewer show any errors, that would give you a start as where to look.
RobDickson
Grafter
Posts: 632
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

I didn't even know that the Event Viewer existed (although I do vaguely remember my mate mentioning something about it over Christmas).

The last thing to run (or attempt to run, I'm not sure) before my PC froze yesterday morning was Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler:
07:36:59 - Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler
07:36:59 - Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler
07:35:19 - Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler
07:30:19 - Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler
07:26:52 - NSCService
07:26:50 - NSCService
07:25:45 - ServiceLayer
07:25:30 - EAPOL
07:25:30 - EAPOL
07:25:19 - Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler
07:25:19 - Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler

I have noticed a warning, but this didn't cause the PC to freeze:
Quote

Event Type: Warning
Event Source: Userenv
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1517
Date: 27/02/2007
Time: 18:16:37
User: NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM
Computer: ####
Description:
Windows saved user ####\####### registry while an application or service was still using the registry during log off. The memory used by the user's registry has not been freed. The registry will be unloaded when it is no longer in use.

This is often caused by services running as a user account, try configuring the services to run in either the LocalService or NetworkService account.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


It hasn't crashed so far today, so I'll keep an eye on things if it crashes again (which I'm sure it will), and whether Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler is the last thing to run every time.

Looks like NIS might be the culprit, but Automatic LiveUpdate Scheduler does run lots of times without causing a problem, so it's difficult to know for sure.
RobDickson
Grafter
Posts: 632
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

Looks like the UserEnv error isn't a problem:

MS Knowledge Base
GersFans
Grafter
Posts: 191
Registered: 30-07-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

Freezes like this are almost always caused by driver issues, best thing to do is look at automatic update [click history from the left link on WAU website] and see what drivers have been installed in the last few weeks.

If you find a sound/vision/peripheral driver thats been 'updated', simply roll back the driver.

PS.

That error above you quote would have happened because of the crash/freeze, its certainly not the cause.
N/A

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

You need to find out what part of the pc is causing the freeze.
If you leave it does it come back?
To freeze it can be the cpu going to 100% the hard drive being hammered in effect 100% use age or it can be the network 100%

All you may be able to see if it freezes is the hard drive light flashing like made or the network light going mad(on the pc or the router). If its the network card pulling the network cable may unfreeze it.

All you can do is try and note what is happening when it freezes like what progs you are running etc.

The way forward is to go to control panel admin tools then performance. with this tool you can record all sorts of activities Its more than we can explain on the forum but you can add cpu and other activities and record it to to a log file which may then show whats happening when it freezes
shellsong
Grafter
Posts: 2,191
Registered: 03-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

I've been experiencing problems with the computer I'm using at present freezing either during or just after startup or during a screensaver. It normally boots into an old version of the Mepis Linux distro but even freezes sometimes during Memtest without reporting any problems up to the freeze

One thing I noticed last night was that I had left an irssi session running and came back to find it frozen in the middle of a screensaver. I switched off the computer then found on looking at my laptop that was connected to the same irssi session that this computer had still been connected to irssi up until I switched it off

To me this indicates that the freezing was a display/graphics problem rather than a more general freeze of computer functions

I guess my next move should be to try and find another graphics card to swap to so that can be eliminated or not as the main cause
N/A

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

Stupid question, but have you tried updating/re-installing the graphics card drivers to see if that makes a difference?

I assume if you're using Linux you're using Ndiswrapper to install a Windows driver. Have you searched to see if anyone has compiled a Linux specific driver?

Is this a dual-boot machine? If so does it freeze on all operating systems?
RobDickson
Grafter
Posts: 632
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

I'm sorry for not replying earlier, but I don't think I received an e-mail informing me about posts to this thread. Thanks for all your advice.

The error that I noticed seems to happen most times on a normal shutdown, but I'm not sure what program it is affecting.

Strangely, since I ran CCleaner on Monday, the PC has been very well behaved. It froze once, just after booting up, on Thursday evening. Considering my PC is on for about 18 hours a day, that's not too bad. It's not perfect, obviously, but I can live with it.

I didn't install any new drivers just before I started having problems (and have never trusted the Windows Update site to download drivers from anyway). It might be the opposite - I haven't updated my graphics card drivers for a few years.

Most of the time, the PC crashes during the day while I am at work, and it's only running background tasks.

I've now installed a server, so the PC will be making a full back-up to the server daily. I'll be interested to see whether it manages this OK. It managed it OK yesterday, and today.

If I continue to have problems, I think I'll just reinstall Windows. Hopefully that will cure any software problems.

Thanks again for your advice.
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

Have you checked the system temperatures? A few months ago my PC would shut down without warning. Then I realised the CPU fan wasn't working - easily fixed.
shellsong
Grafter
Posts: 2,191
Registered: 03-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

Quote
Stupid question, but have you tried updating/re-installing the graphics card drivers to see if that makes a difference?

I assume if you're using Linux you're using Ndiswrapper to install a Windows driver. Have you searched to see if anyone has compiled a Linux specific driver?

Is this a dual-boot machine? If so does it freeze on all operating systems?


The reason I think it may be the graphics hardware at fault rather than the ATI Linux driver or the rest of the computer is that, as I said, it can freeze on Memtest which doesn't use a graphics driver per se. Of course this doesn't rule out the possibility that more than one thing could be going wrong but that would be a bit of a coincidence even though Finnagle's Law would suggest it's likely!
RobDickson
Grafter
Posts: 632
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

I had considered the CPU fan not working, but I thought that the PC would refuse to boot up if the CPU fan isn't running, and also assumed that the CPU would be completely knackered if the CPU fan had stopped working.

Having said that, when the PC does freeze, it's always fairly soon after booting up. If it's been OK for about 15 minutes, then it's OK for the duration. It crashed this morning after about 5 minutes, but has been on OK this evening since 7PM.

The case fans are definitely running, because I can hear them even when the PC has frozen, but I'm not sure about the CPU fan. I think I'll run it with the sideplate off for a few days, so that I can see the CPU fan when the PC has frozen.

Another thing I've just thought of is checking the fans and heatsink for dust, and checking that the CPU compound is OK. The CPU temperature at the moment is 43.5degC, so I doubt that dust or the compound is a problem.
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

43.5C sounds fine. A faulty fan wouldn't necessarily fry the CPU, though. The motherboard would shut down the power if it thought it was getting hot - at least, mine did.

Actually, now that I think about it, my problem wasn't the fan, but the m/b. The fan would spin for a minute or so on startup, but then then gradually slow to a stop. I solved it by connecting the fan to a spare power power supply socket.
RobDickson
Grafter
Posts: 632
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-08-2007

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

I'm not convinced that it's the fan, but thanks for the suggestion. The fan was running fine yesterday morning when I turned the PC on, but the PC froze at about 7PM. The fan was still running fine when I got back home at about midnight.

I'm going to reinstall WinXP when I get time. That way, if the problem still happens, I can be sure that it's hardware related.

Thanks again for all your help.

PS: I don't seem to be getting e-mails when replies to this topic (or another topic that I am "watching") are made (despite "Notify me when a reply is posted" being ticked). Could a moderator look into this?
N/A

WinXP-SP2 freezing for no reason

Quote
PS: I don't seem to be getting e-mails when replies to this topic (or another topic that I am "watching") are made (despite "Notify me when a reply is posted" being ticked). Could a moderator look into this?


There's a seperate thread running here about this.