Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

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Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 5:49 pm

Hello,

My computer recently started freezing for a few seconds to a few minutes, after which it continues working like nothing happened.
When it freezes absolutely nothing is happening, the hard-drive access lights are not going off. When resuming anything that was using network was dced and otherwise nothing out of the ordinary.
I was watching a show a few times that it happened, and I could hear really distorted really slow noise from the show still playing, and when I hit my mouse button the noise stopped (I think it successfully paused the show).
The freezing seems to be fairly random it seems to occur relatively rarely, like maybe once every 20 minutes, but I have had them happen back to back a few times.

I recently relocated, and took my computer on a car trip for an hour or two so there might have been some bumps, and maybe the wiring at the new place is weird.

I am thinking of taking out my network adapter next as I was using internet every single time this happened (but this could just be a coincidence).

Any ideas what could be the cause of this?

Stuff I tried:

Dedusting the computer.
I have run the windows ram test and that came back clean.
I did a scan of the ssd with the intel utility that came with it.
I have an ssd + 2 relatively old hdds in raid, and I took the hdds out thinking maybe they are dying but still froze.
I ran gpu stress testing for a while and that didn't really do anything, in-fact temperatures all around seem normal.
I checked the windows-system logs nothing there.
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 6:15 pm

Typically when stuff like that happens it's due to problems with I/O that are causing the temporary "hang".

Likely Hardware causes:
1. You have a hard drive/SSD that is in the process of dying and it is randomly freezing on read/write operations.
2. This is much rarer but under the right circumstances you can get freezes when network I/O is blocking other operations. Are you using a network file share?
3. If a cooler got knocked loose and your CPU/GPU is overheating occasionally and dropping into a very-low clockspeed mode. This should be easy to test by ramping up CPU/GPU and checking temperatures.

There are a few software things that might cause an issue, most of these are based on software that rails your disks so the end results are similar to when the disk itself is going bad (the disk is so backed up with I/O requests that your normal operations get queued and you are stuck waiting).
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 6:18 pm

could be a number of things, malware, bad driver, failing harddrive/ssd, bad power supply, etc... definitely check all your wiring and maybe re-seat your ram plus videocard just to be sure.

then run MBAM to eliminate any malware plus any other spyware/malware utilities you want like spybot, etc...

next use some ssd benchmarking tool like as ssd to see if your ssd has any spikes or dropouts when running the test. maybe there is a firmware update for your ssd?

last try process explorer to see what is using ram when the spikes occur.. should be able to pinpoint it from there.

if you still can't find anything, you can always get a digital multi-meter and check your voltages from a spare molex/power connector while the system is running. can also check your wall outlet with the dmm just be careful. good luck.

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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 7:05 pm

chuckula wrote:Typically when stuff like that happens it's due to problems with I/O that are causing the temporary "hang".

Likely Hardware causes:
1. You have a hard drive/SSD that is in the process of dying and it is randomly freezing on read/write operations.
2. This is much rarer but under the right circumstances you can get freezes when network I/O is blocking other operations. Are you using a network file share?
3. If a cooler got knocked loose and your CPU/GPU is overheating occasionally and dropping into a very-low clockspeed mode. This should be easy to test by ramping up CPU/GPU and checking temperatures.

There are a few software things that might cause an issue, most of these are based on software that rails your disks so the end results are similar to when the disk itself is going bad (the disk is so backed up with I/O requests that your normal operations get queued and you are stuck waiting).


No I am not using a network file share, and I stress tested the CPU too now and seem fine.

Anyway to better test the first two? Ever since taking out the hdds I have only gotten the hang once, but I was basically not using the network.
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 11:32 pm

Have a look at Windows event viewer (eventvwr.msc). I've computers entirely freeze because the AMD SATA driver was causing issues, and it showed as something like "Reset issued to AMD SATA port". That said, if your hard drive light isn't pegged, this might not be the issue.
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 2:19 am

i've mentioned this before, could be a USB port

i've had it happen when i used my mouse with USB beside the Ethernet Port
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 4:23 am

I've had similar problems and the cause was the ssd. Updating its firmware resolved the issue. Worth a try ;)
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 8:12 am

I'd look at the system eventlog.
If the freezes are IO timeouts (that's what it sounds like to me) there should be events for that listed to confirm your problem.
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 9:02 am

Is this happening while in outlook or firefox?

My wife's laptop started doing this and compact the outlook pst file and then cleaning a nd compacting the databases in ccleaner for firefox fixed it for her.
The hd did not appear to be pegged in her case either.

I've also seen this on my own desktop machine and wiping and reinstalling windows with the latest drivers fixed it. I later found out there was an issue with the driver for onboard sound causing a memory leak and the pause was the machine swapping to virtual memory. Since I had 8gig of ram and 12gig swap file I never got the out of memory error that other people were complaining about, just a pause of a minute or so with the HD's pegged.
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 9:18 am

Chrispy_ wrote:I'd look at the system eventlog.
If the freezes are IO timeouts (that's what it sounds like to me) there should be events for that listed to confirm your problem.

If the freezes were due to I/O timeouts I would expect the hard drive activity light to be lit. But yeah, this does sound a lot like an I/O problem.

To the OP: Have you tried replacing the SATA cable to the SSD? I'd start with that before flashing the firmware or replacing the SSD.

Aranarth wrote:I've also seen this on my own desktop machine and wiping and reinstalling windows with the latest drivers fixed it. I later found out there was an issue with the driver for onboard sound causing a memory leak and the pause was the machine swapping to virtual memory. Since I had 8gig of ram and 12gig swap file I never got the out of memory error that other people were complaining about, just a pause of a minute or so with the HD's pegged.

Yes, I had a similar issue on my Ubuntu Linux box recently. System would freeze up for about 30 seconds and hammer the swap partition. I never did figure out exactly what the culprit was, but I suspect I had a buggy X Windows installation with a memory leak somewhere. Upgrading to a newer kernel and X Windows stack seems to have cured it...
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 10:51 am

just brew it! wrote:If the freezes were due to I/O timeouts I would expect the hard drive activity light to be lit. But yeah, this does sound a lot like an I/O problem.


I've seen it both ways. I guess if the motherboard sends a read/write request and the disk doesn't respond, the light is on until timeout. If it's an AHCI-related error, it never gets to the actual IO part of the transaction and so the light remains off for the hang. I think the events are categorised seperately in the eventlog as "disk" or "AHCI" too, depending on the exact nature of the problem....

Back the OP, if you can't find anything obvious in the eventlog, checkout Process Explorer. Mark Russinovich is a genius and everything he does makes most of the Microsoft coders look like baboons.
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 11:32 am

I had a problem with Chrome causing periodic freezes with my GeForce 560. The whole computer locks up for say 10 seconds and then unfreezes. Turning off Chrome's hardware acceleration fixed it. I think this was a fairly common problem with NV GPUs and Chrome for awhile but either recent drivers or a Chrome update remedied it.

Flash video can also cause problems, I think because of the hardware video decode being flaky with some drivers. I've had BSOD problems on some machines because of Flash.

So I would check for video driver updates.
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Re: Computer freezing randomly for durations of time

Postposted on Thu May 08, 2014 6:42 pm

Looks like the issue was with my internet adapter (dwa-542), upgraded that and everything seems to be working fine now.
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