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(Windows 7) Computer locks up/freezes intermittently


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#1 Siddharth Prabhu

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:26

OK, this one is a doozy. I have never encountered a problem like this before and it's hard to describe so I will provide as many details as I can.

For the past two weeks or so, I have been faced with intermittent lock-ups in Windows 7. The computer seems to freeze completely; no mouse movement, no CPU activity, no response to keystrokes...nothing. Equally randomly, the computer seems to recover after several seconds. This is not always the case though. Sometimes the computer never recovers and I need to hard reboot the machine.

Now, the curious thing is that most of the time this occurs when I'm watching Flash video in my browser (Firefox). It also happened a couple of times when using Internet Explorer as well. I thought it was a Flash-related issue, so I uninstalled it. After rebooting, I encountered the problem less frequently but it still occurred once or twice. So I ruled out Flash as the root cause of the lock ups and decided to check my system hardware. I checked the memory with Memtest86+. No problems. Moving on to the hard disk, I ran Western Digital's diagnostic tool as well as SpinRite. Both gave the hard disk a clean bill of health.

I still think Flash is triggering the problem in some way because Windows freezes more often when viewing Flash video. When it happens in the middle of a video, the video and audio lock up creating a "buzzing" noise until the computer recovers. Sometimes it never recovers and I have to hard reset.

I'm fresh out of ideas. I am open to formatting and reinstalling Windows but I'd like to be certain that this is not a hardware problem (in which case formatting wouldn't help). Can anyone help?


#2 TEX4S

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:38

Howdy Neighbor ? (Southlake)

Hmmm - ya you might have a doozy there -

I guess the 1st thing is to re-install the latest drivers for sound and video.

But, when did this start, has ANYTHING changed on the computer about the time or just before this happened ?

What happens when watching a video not in flash ?

What software is running in the background ?

Have you checked to see what programs are loading @ startup and are there incompatibilities ?

Also, what are your system specs ? So when I run out of ideas I can blame it on some crappy hardware :D

#3 auto-logic

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 04:49

I had this problem after upgrading to Windows 7 SP1. I am running the 64 bit version.
RAM tested fine, HDD tested fine...

I was running a Thinkpad W510. As the problem started, it would recover frequently from the frozen state. As time went on, it would recover less, and then I would be forced to do a hard reboot.

I have since downgraded from SP1 to SP0 (build 7600) and it has been fine.

#4 OP Siddharth Prabhu

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 05:19

Howdy Neighbor ? (Southlake)


Howdy! :)

I guess the 1st thing is to re-install the latest drivers for sound and video.

But, when did this start, has ANYTHING changed on the computer about the time or just before this happened ?


The laptop I'm running is an Acer Timeline 5810TZ. It's about 2 years old. Acer are actually pretty stingy about updating drivers. Most of them haven't been updated in ages. I recently updated the video driver to a generic one provided by Intel because the Acer-specific driver is so old that Firefox 4 disables DirectWrite as unsupported! This could not be the cause of the problem though because I updated the video driver after this problem started occurring.

What happens when watching a video not in flash ?


Generally, the computer works fine. I have plenty of AVIs and MP4 files on my computer and watch movies all the time. I almost never run into this problem while watching those. If it does occur, it's usually because Firefox is open and I have YouTube loaded or something.

What software is running in the background ?

Have you checked to see what programs are loading @ startup and are there incompatibilities ?


Nothing out of the ordinary. Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Firewall, F.lux, Dropbox, μTorrent, Adobe Launcher, OneNote Launcher and driver-related programs.

My install has been pretty stable. The programs loaded at startup haven't changed in months.

Also, what are your system specs ? So when I run out of ideas I can blame it on some crappy hardware :D


Haha, you may have me on that one! The computer is a budget laptop and is therefore rather underpowered. I bought it because I needed a laptop with excellent battery life (for long college hours).

Acer Timeline 5810TZ (15.6")
Intel Pentium SU2700 (1.3 GHz)
3 GB system RAM
320 GB HDD
Intel GMA video accelerator (Mobile Intel 4 Series I think)
Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit)

#5 OP Siddharth Prabhu

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 05:25

I had this problem after upgrading to Windows 7 SP1. I am running the 64 bit version.
RAM tested fine, HDD tested fine...

I was running a Thinkpad W510. As the problem started, it would recover frequently from the frozen state. As time went on, it would recover less, and then I would be forced to do a hard reboot.

I have since downgraded from SP1 to SP0 (build 7600) and it has been fine.


That's very interesting indeed. I upgraded to Windows 7 SP1 when it was released a couple of months ago. I didn't notice any problems then but maybe this is worth a shot. I'm running the 32-bit version but who knows! I'm nearly at my wit's end and am willing to try anything. :yes:

I'll try uninstalling the service pack tomorrow and report back on what happens. Thanks!

#6 auto-logic

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 07:23

I'll try uninstalling the service pack tomorrow and report back on what happens. Thanks!



I hope it does the trick for you too... let us know!

#7 OP Siddharth Prabhu

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 07:36

OK, here's a quick update. About an hour ago, my computer froze again. This time I did not have any Flash video playing. Firefox was open though and I had Gmail loaded. Not sure what to make of this.

I will try uninstalling Service Pack 1 next and report back soon. Appreciate the help y'all! :yes:

#8 Soulsiphon

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 07:51

what's showing up in event viewer?

#9 OP Siddharth Prabhu

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 03:34

what's showing up in event viewer?


Soulsiphon, there are no errors in the Event Viewer System or Application Logs around the time of the lock ups.

#10 OP Siddharth Prabhu

Siddharth Prabhu

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 03:45

I hope it does the trick for you too... let us know!


auto-logic, it's now been nearly 24 hours since I uninstalled Windows 7 SP 1. It's hard to believe but I haven't encountered a single computer freeze since then! I tested playing many videos on YouTube all day and they worked just fine. I thank you for your incredibly counter-intuitive workaround. :p

I'll monitor the situation for a few days and post here if I face another lock up. If it works fine all week, I think we can safely state that SP1 was at least aggravating (if not causing) the problem. I have installed Microsoft's SP1 blocker tool to prevent Windows Update from automatically downloading it again. And with the blocker tool effective until February 2012 I should be good! I hope to buy a new laptop before then. ;)

#11 TEX4S

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 03:55

good deal -

gotta love neowin !

#12 OP Siddharth Prabhu

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 04:48

OK, it has been a week since I uninstalled SP1 and I'd like to report that I haven't encountered a single system freeze since. This is certainly a satisfactory workaround.

Thank you auto-logic and TEX4S for your help in troubleshooting this problem. Cheers! :)

#13 DerkPY

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 10:49

I've encountered the same problem (I installed SP1 a long time ago now), but lately it has become a lot more intrusive when I'm working, rather than just a 30 second lockup once an hour its more like every 10 minutes.

Is the only workaround to uninstall SP1?

#14 +warwagon

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:40

OK, it has been a week since I uninstalled SP1 and I'd like to report that I haven't encountered a single system freeze since. This is certainly a satisfactory workaround.

Thank you auto-logic and TEX4S for your help in troubleshooting this problem. Cheers! Posted Image


One thing you might want to do is get a hold of a slipstreamed copy of Sp1 WIndows 7 Disc. Sometimes Slipstreamed discs have no issue on a clean install where other issues accure after upgrading to sp1. So I would get the disc and then reinstall windows. Or you can just stay at a Non Sp version.

#15 alexalex

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 07:50

There is a hotfix




Computer randomly stops responding because of a deadlock situation in Windows Server 2008 R2 or in Windows 7 SP1

A computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7 randomly stops responding. The issue typically occurs when the memory usage is high and when the memory manager performs frequent paging in and paging out actions.

The issue occurs because of a deadlock situation in the Microsoft Filesystem Filter Manager (Fltmgr.sys).

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article

http://support.micro....com/kb/2575077



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