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What causes Vista lockups?

kcnychief

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Political User
#1
I'm having trouble figuring this one out, so hopefully it's something easy I'm missing.

It hasn't been as bad for a bit, but there were a few weeks/months where my Desktop and Laptop (Dell XPS420/D820, both running Vista Ultimate x64 with SP1) would just randomy lockup. To me, I found this weird because before this started happening, I always used to witness Vista recover itself. When I used to see it do this, it would eventually recover and I could end a task or the program would close, etc. What I'm referring to is simply you get what is I can only assume to be the new hourglass, that blue circle going around and around, and then nothing. The mouse moves, but you can't ever click anything because it's always a blue circle round and around.

Now, while it's possible, I would be surprised if it's hardware for both machines. But, I did run the dell diagnostics on both machines (long test), windows memory testing (no memtest though) on both as well, as well as chkdsk. From those standpoints, smooth sailing all along. Minor issues repaired by chkdsk though.

I updated the BIOS on both, got MANUFACTURER drivers for my sound, video and chipset (I'm referring to not the ones from Dell), and such. Before anyone complains - machines were running Dell versions previously. It hasn't been as bad really, but here's my question (finally).

When this occurs - what do you do? Sure, reboot, but that gets old and annoying. I guess I'm wondering if I wait it out long enough, will anything get written somewhere that I can look at? Nothing in the event viewer because the machine poops, no debugging files since it's not a BSOD. No message when I reboot about Windows Problems and Reports, nothing. It's not practical to swap out hardware (such as RAM, etc.) for most home users, so I don't think that's a good approach.

It's not spyware or viruses or anything like that either. Sorry this post is so long - but I'm curious, what are your thoughts and what would you do?

It's calmed down of late, which is weird since it wasn't immediate after my changes above.
 

Mizzle

Oh, now I know...!
#2
My old Fujitsu-Siemens lappy with Vista Business used to do this a lot as well, often up to several times a day. Out of the blue, it'd simply freeze.

I updated the BIOS, and that seemed to help a bit, but the thing that - almost - fixed it, was updating to SP1. After that, it happened a few times in two or three months, which is a lot better.

Anyway, I tried leaving it on when it froze, and if I left it too long, it simply turned off, so you might as well reboot it yourself, as that's quicker.
 
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kcnychief

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Political User
#3
Interesting - so you are saying if this occurs and you leave it long enough - your system will actually shutdown? Do you mean power off or reboot on it's own? If that happened, was there anything logged?

I'm not really comfortable with the reboot solution myself, I'd like to find the root cause.
 

kcnychief

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Political User
#6
Getting that mainly on web browsers. Leave it for about a min and it resumes. No idea why it's happening.
I used to get that - and I would wait it out and be fine. But it's been happening to the PC overall with other stuff such as Windows Explorer, Outlook, Quickbooks, etc. Waiting produces nothing
 

Dark Atheist

Moderator
Staff member
Political User
#7
bad drive, bad mem, buggy apps (check for updates), bad drivers (check for updates), too much pr0n on your drives, malware, virus, corrupted files.

Many reasons
 

kcnychief

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Political User
#8
All applications are up to date - I don't use Quickbooks much but all my MS products (Windows, IE, Office and Outlook) are set to update automatically. As mentioned above, all drivers are up to date. I went through with vendor tools and checked all the hardware and found nothing.

No porn on this PC, but thanks for the constructive comment :)

Also no viruses or spyware.

I'm not saying none of the above are at fault, I just wish Windows would leave some sort of trail or dump behind when it farts as it does.
 

kcnychief

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Political User
#10
From my experience those files are only created when the machine has a BSOD, which I have never experienced myself on Vista.

So, I don't have one of those. Anywhere else I can look when it locks up?
 

Dark Atheist

Moderator
Staff member
Political User
#11
are we talking system hangs where you cant even move the mouse and have to reboot or just where the system hangs and if you move the mouse to the bar at the bottom it doesn't change to a double ended arrow ?
 

kcnychief

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Political User
#12
The system hangs and you just get the Vista hourglass (blue circle thingy). It stays in that state, you can move the mouse but no matter what you try to click or hover over, it doesn't change the state of the mouse pointer.
 

Johnny

.. Commodore ..
Political User
#13
It could be Vista 64 itself. Some incompatibilities with variious sites or programs. I seen a lot of reports where people were saying about having issues with a x64 on vista.
 

Dark Atheist

Moderator
Staff member
Political User
#14
i haven't had any issues with programs, but i am using the latest versions or them, all saying x64 vista compatible.

What you could try KC is chkdsk x: /f - i know sometimes space is marked as free in the MFT (master file table) which can cause a system hang if it trys to write to an area marked as free when its not.

I would also try chkdsk x: /r /f , and get hard drive tools from the hard drive maker and run memtestx86 just to make sure there is no hardware issue
 

kcnychief

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Political User
#15
I have run chkdsk with the switches you mentioned and put my hardware through diagnostic tools - haven't tried memtest though. Not too sure it will turn anything up but worth a shot at some point.
 

Mizzle

Oh, now I know...!
#16
It seems it's not the same problem as I had.

Mine would freeze completely. No sign of freeze, no hourglass cursor, couldn't do a thing.
 

kcnychief

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Political User
#17
It seems it's not the same problem as I had.

Mine would freeze completely. No sign of freeze, no hourglass cursor, couldn't do a thing.
Did you ever get anywhere? It's driving me crazy and back with a vengance over the last few weeks. I have a Desktop PC running Vista Business and a Laptop running Vista Ultimate - both having the same issue.

Me thinks I'm going to open up a technical support case with MS, since I get two free with my TechNet subscription. Just like anything else though it's a pain for time, but I'll give it a shot.

If I find out anything relevant I'll post back, but this is getting VERY annoying.
 
#18
Vista issues generally indicate faulty hardware or faulty drivers.

If you have nvidia graphics see if you can get your hands on an ATI card for a bit and see if the freezing goes away. All 3 of the nvida cards I have cause freezing in vista and crashing in XP.
 

kcnychief

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Political User
#19
Well, interestingly enough I read something earlier today that makes me second guess something....

Due to the poor driver support for Vista, I had always thought that it was best to go to the manufacturer of the hardware instead of the system builder (Intel as opposed to Dell for instance), but it appears in some cases that isn't the best way to go.

What do you guys do that don't build your systems - go to Dell (PC maker), or to the vendor of the hardware?

Read this too -

http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=2180

Maybe I will tinker with some rollbacks after checking Dell's site for driver versions.
 

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