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Computer randomly freezing

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Computer randomly freezing 16/07/2018 at 09:57 #110269
postal
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My entry-level laptop normally run 24/7. At random intervals it will totally freeze - the seconds counter on the clock stops ticking over, cursor won't move, Ctrl - Alt - Del does nothing etc. etc. The only way out is to power down the machine (the power button normally works but IIRC I've had to disconnect the power and remove the battery at least once). This is totally random and I sometimes get a number of weeks without a freeze then four or five in the same week.

According to the Lenovo Driver update service all drivers are up to date on the machine. It is running Windows 10 fully up to date and only the standard Windows Defender AV and Firewall.

Things like the event viewer are not showing anything relevant, presumably because the freeze is happening before the event log has had time to record the problem. Are there any steps I can take to try and identify what is causing the freeze?

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
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Computer randomly freezing 16/07/2018 at 10:26 #110270
Sacro
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Keep an eye on temperatures perhaps, though usually a CPU will throttle back rather than freeze.

Could be a memory issue too. Might be worth running Memtest86 off a USB drive for an hour or two.

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Computer randomly freezing 16/07/2018 at 14:38 #110275
postal
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Sacro in post 110270 said:
Keep an eye on temperatures perhaps, though usually a CPU will throttle back rather than freeze.

Could be a memory issue too. Might be worth running Memtest86 off a USB drive for an hour or two.
Ben

Thanks for the tips but so far no joy there. The machine is not feeling over-warm to the touch and sits on a gel mat so I don't think the temperature is a factor. Ran Memtest86 and the first full pass recorded no errors. I'll run it overnight to see if that changes at all.

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
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Computer randomly freezing 17/07/2018 at 02:49 #110279
VInce
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I agree that it sounds like a heat issue - possibly memory getting too warm.

I would have thought that placing your laptop on a gel mat would not do it much good. I would suggest that ideally it should be on a hard surface, so as there is an adequate gap underneath it as well as to the sides.

I suspect a gel pad would mould itself around any vents in the base or sides.

I principally use a fairly elderly desktop, heavily self-modified from a server and it has successfully coped with this hot weather in a room where the ambient temperature has reached 30C on occasions. I had a series of lockups last year, so I did a complete strip-down of the machine, cleaned all fans and heat sinks thoroughly and cleaned off and reapplied the thermal paste between the CPUs and its heat-sinks. I also replaced three conventional hard drives with SSDs and removed the DVD/CD player bay blanking plates on the front of the case to create a better air flow and this significantly reduced the internal temperatures. I have had no more lock-ups since.

Try using something like Speccy https://filehippo.com/download_speccy/ which, in my experience will give you an accurate guide to the temperature of your key components (CPU, motherboard, memory) - see attached screenshot.

I've used it for years on most of my home built machines and I would guarantee its usefulness.

Vince

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Last edited: 17/07/2018 at 03:26 by VInce
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Computer randomly freezing 17/07/2018 at 09:37 #110283
postal
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Vince

Thanks for that - forgotten about Speccy which I've used before on previous machines. I'll download it again and set it away. Over-heating could be a possibility as Lenovo have built the machine to a low spec and there is no cooling fan installed. The machine sits on 4 small rubber feet so it is proud of the gel pad but the gel pad helps shift radiant heat away. I'll rest it on the desktop instead and we'll see how we go.

In regard to Ben's tips and a possible memory problem, I ran Memtest86 overnight. It went through 6 iterations without reporting any errors so that is probably ruled out.

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
Last edited: 17/07/2018 at 09:39 by postal
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Computer randomly freezing 17/07/2018 at 10:21 #110284
Sacro
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postal in post 110283 said:

In regard to Ben's tips and a possible memory problem, I ran Memtest86 overnight. It went through 6 iterations without reporting any errors so that is probably ruled out.
Yeah, I'd be back looking at heat dissipation issues then. Or perhaps voltages not being right, Speccy might shed more light on the goings on.

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Computer randomly freezing 17/07/2018 at 10:52 #110286
postal
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Found a utility called RealTemp which displays the CPU temp in the notification area and also creates a csv log file with readings every 5 seconds (or a longer interval if you prefer) so that when we next have a freeze, the temperature from no more than 5 seconds before the freeze will remain on display and there will be a log file showing whether it was a spike or a gradual build-up. Windows Defender is currently doing one of its scans so using about 30% of CPU and I've also been backing up to NAS during which time the temperatures of the 4 cores have ranged between 51 and 65.

Thanks both for the help.

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
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Computer randomly freezing 17/07/2018 at 13:27 #110289
Sacro
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postal in post 110286 said:
I've also been backing up to NAS ...
Have you been having freezes during periods of high network usage?

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Computer randomly freezing 17/07/2018 at 13:34 #110290
postal
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Sacro in post 110289 said:
postal in post 110286 said:
I've also been backing up to NAS ...
Have you been having freezes during periods of high network usage?
Not that I've consciously noticed. It's never frozen that I can recall while streaming video either.

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
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Computer randomly freezing 17/07/2018 at 21:42 #110298
postal
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Just run it for about 2 hours creating a big 7-zip file. CPU was at or just short of 100% during that time. CPU temperature got up to 68 degrees but no further. As that is probably a lot harder work-out than the CPU normally gets, I'm not sure that over-heating is the root cause. I've also had the machine to bits today and there was no trace of fluff or dust inside; all of the grilles and vents were also clear.

There is possibly a bit of rogue freeware like a wallpaper changer or something that is hitting an unexpected file type or something equally bizarre. It's just how to track it down.

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
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Computer randomly freezing 24/07/2018 at 03:02 #110380
adrian
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There is a known bug in Windows 10 were 'explorer' freezes.
I've endured this problem many times when I was running Windows 10.
Are you running the latest build?
Adrian

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Computer randomly freezing 24/07/2018 at 09:14 #110381
postal
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adrian in post 110380 said:
There is a known bug in Windows 10 were 'explorer' freezes.
I've endured this problem many times when I was running Windows 10.
Are you running the latest build?
Adrian
Currently running Windows 10 Home Version 1803 (OS Build 17134.165). If it's not the latest build, the Windows updater has fallen over.

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
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Computer randomly freezing 24/07/2018 at 20:58 #110386
postal
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Adrian

Thanks for that. It's another thing I've now learnt to disable to try and retain some minor control over what the various behemoths of the internet world know about me.

However, the freezing has been going on since before the 1803 update so I don't think we can point to anything in that update as the root cause. I haven't kept a diary but my instinct is that the freezes have been happening for at least 12 months now (not enough to be disabling, just enough to be aggravating and just enough to make me worry about losing an hour or two's work when I'm trying to solve a ticklish problem).

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
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Computer randomly freezing 30/08/2018 at 23:06 #111662
SamTDS
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Im having a similar issue, after having my laptop running for a week i had 2 occurrences of this. The first one was while i was in the north Wales coast multiplayer yesterday lasting up to 5 minutes while i was in control of 8 pannels and then today when i came to do some work. Both times the taskbar would break, task manager would break requiring refresh now to be clicked to see changes, hwinfo would break and stop updating the information shown such as temperatures and fan speed and the command prompt would fail to load. Today's occurrence required a forced reboot with holding the power button down for 10 seconds. Normally i would experience explorer.exe to crash and not be able to recover and restart once a week.

You may have seen me complaining in the shout box when it happened in an attempt to tell the host that mine froze. During that time when I sent that it was still frozen

Last edited: 30/08/2018 at 23:07 by SamTDS
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Computer randomly freezing 10/10/2018 at 00:36 #112561
postal
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A quick update to my freezing problem in case anyone else gets the same symptoms.

Trawling round the net and clutching at straws I found that some HP machines were suffering the same ailment and that was cured by disabling Windows fast start. You can do that through Control Panel > Power Options > Choose what the power button does > Change settings that are currently unavailable. Although my machine is a Lenovo desperation drove me to try it. I cannot think of any reason why that might stop a random freezing problem but in the three months since I disabled it I have only had two freezes (one within minutes of a Windows update) as opposed to the half a dozen freezes a month I was getting previously.

"I drink to make other people seem more interesting." - George Jean Nathan, (14/02/1882 - 08/04/1958), American author, editor, and drama critic
Last edited: 10/10/2018 at 09:58 by postal
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Computer randomly freezing 12/10/2018 at 10:06 #112594
BarryM
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John,

Belarc Advisor may throw some light on your problem?

Barry

Barry, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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