Windows XP random hanging / freezing

  orangepants 14:30 11 Jan 2010

Hi everyone,

I would be very grateful for any help on the below as it has been driving me nuts all over Christmas and New Year and I’m just about at the end of my tether now!

I have recently had to re-install Windows XP on an aging desktop – this has caused a recurrence of a problem which I had experienced last time I had to install Windows and although it eventually went away, I cannot for the life of me remember how I managed to solve it (or if it just disappeared!).

The specification of the machine is:

Athlon 64 X2 3800+
AsRock 939 A8X-M motherboard (ULi 1689 Chipset)
ATI Radeon 2600HD Pro AGP card
Samsung Spinpoint F1 750gb SATA HDD
Belkin F5D7000 PCI Wi-fi card

I have tried installing from my original Windows XP Home SP2 CD that shipped with my PC and also a disc slipstreamed with SP3 that I created myself using nLite. Both lead to the same problem.

Installation proceeds without a hitch, when Windows boots I install (allowing a reboot whenever prompted) drivers from the AsRock website and also on the CD-ROM that came with the PC – the IDE driver, SATA driver, AGP driver, onboard LAN driver. I also install the latest driver for the dual-core Athlon and also AMD's 'Dual Core Optimiser'. Afterwards I install the graphics card driver (the latest version of the AGP ‘hotfix’ drivers from ATI’s website) and the drivers for the wireless card.

After activating Windows, Windows Update kicks in and starts downloading all of the latest updates including IE 8, WMP 11 etc. When I have the Internet connection up and running and the graphics drivers installed (so that browsing websites isn’t like swimming through treacle) the random hangs start. Windows simply freezes at random and has done when I have been performing a variety of tasks (using Firefox or Internet Explorer, listening to an audio CD, burning a DVD or browsing files through Windows Explorer). It will also sometimes hang when the PC is idle on the Windows desktop.

Each time Windows hangs the machine freezes and requires a hard reset. There is nothing in the Event Viewer that seems to relate to the freezes and the only errors I had were DCOM errors which I got rid of by disabling the Network Access Protection Agent thinking they were causing this problem, which it would appear was not the case.

Last time I had this problem I was advised to run memtest86, which ran fine without any problems. As I have had this exact problem previously which was eventually solved I doubt it is a hardware problem, such as a faulty PSU.

I have tried disabling the Wi-Fi card and connecting the onboard LAN to my router still had the same issue.

The hanging / freezing seems to be completely random. Sometimes it might hang two or three times in the space of ten minutes – occasionally it hangs on the Windows XP splash screen when botting, but equally I can have several hours of usage from the machine without problems.

Any help would be deeply appreciated!

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:59 11 Jan 2010

FReeezing PC

1. Overheat due to faulty / blocked fans

2. PSU voltages

3. Household power surges fridge etc switching on/off

4. faulty memory stick try memtest click here

5. virus or spyware scan for both especially if shutting down with in a few minutes of switch on or internet use

6. driver conflicts especially grahics cards get the latest drivers for your equipment

  orangepants 15:25 11 Jan 2010


Thanks for the response. As you can see from my post, I have had this problem in the past which was eventually fixed, although I cannot remember how (must keep notes this time!).

I had to re-install Windows XP after trying to 'upgrade' to Windows 7 which I found to be incompatible with my graphics card, despite the Upgrade Advisor not warning me of this.

The fault was not present on the machine before installing Windows 7 and only re-appeared when installing XP.

This rules out all of the potential solutions except household power surges. Unless they happened to occur on several occasions exactly when I installed (or re-installed) Windows XP on several occasions but were not evident in the previous 18 months, I think I can also discount that as a cause.

Thanks again for the response.

As my post said, I have run memtest86 previously and there were no issues. I have cleared the fans on the case and CPU and I think I can rule out PSU voltage problems.

The issue occurs on a clean install on Windows XP from two seperate Windows XP discs. As soon as the Internet connection is up and running I install the latest version of AVast! Anti-Virus. I doubt spyware or a virus is the issue.

  Graphicool1 15:45 11 Jan 2010

How much RAM do you have.

  Deekio 15:54 11 Jan 2010

I think Fruitbat pinned it down in his post with point 1).
Open your case up, get a pair of surgical gloves
and a camel hair paint brush.Remove all cards RAM, Graphics ETC.Brush them off Gently! Same with
motherboard fans and so on. Hoover the case out
and re-assemble.

  orangepants 16:05 11 Jan 2010

Deekio - I shall give this a go but as I said in my post, I had the same problem previously and it was resolved without having to resort to such measures.

I should mention that whilst I had Windows 7 installed when I was tinkering with getting that OS set up it did not crash once.

Graphicool1 - there is 2gb RAM in the machine.

  orangepants 18:17 16 Jan 2010

I've cleaned the PC inside properly, removing dust and fluff from the fans on the PSU, CPU, graphics card etc. and have put everything back together and... it still freezes, seemingly randomly.

If it freezes when I am away from the desk it seems to stay frozen for a few minutes and then resets itself.

I have been through all of the hardware-related issues that could be possibly causing this, given that the PC was working fine prior to reformatting and reinstalling XP.

If anyone else has any suggestions I would be very grateful.

  clock 23:15 16 Jan 2010

Hi orangepants (my favourite colour actually!)

After my similar problems last June/July, I will put forward my suggestion of Motherboard leaking capacitors. Very rare but it happened to me, - worth taking a look???


  orangepants 10:41 17 Jan 2010

clock - thanks for the response. Given that I said in my initial post that I have experienced this problem previously which was eventually resolved somehow (I cannot recollect how!) - is it at all likely that leaking capacitors on the mootherboard would only become a serious issue at EXACTLY the moment I reformatted and reinstalled Windows XP?

I still think this is a conflict between Windows XP and some drivers / hardware I have in my machine, given that the same specification has worked previously. Unfortunately as the machine locks itself up and then needs a hard reset, it does not write anything to Windows dump files and I have no errors in the Event Viewer.

  rdave13 12:35 17 Jan 2010

Freezing on boot-up makes me think of PSU problems but you don't think it's that.
You also mention that sometimes it un-freezes itself.
Could be a process that's using up the CPU.
Don't know if it will help but worth a try. Open task manager and lengthen the window so you see all the processes running. Narrow your browser page so it doesn't cover task manager and see what is showing when the PC freezes.

  Graphicool1 12:50 17 Jan 2010

Download and run this, you may have a heat problem. click here

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