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Why does Windows lock up sometimes?

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  • User profile image
    Doctor Who

    Tonight I was working on my finances (MS Money - yeah, I know it's old and needs to be replaced.  Well, that will have to wait for another day).  I also had my Zune HD connected and was syncing it.  After I while I finished up with MS Money and closed it.  Man, did it close slow.  After it was done I closed the Zune software - for 5 minutes or so.  That ain't right, that it would take so long.  And from that point onward it was worthless to do anything at all with my PC, because nothing was responding at all.  The only thing that would respond was the mouse when I moved it.  So I thought I would reboot it.

     

    30 minutes later, nothing was happening.

     

    What's going on here??????  This PC is less than a year old, its got 4 processors and 8 GB of RAM.  Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit.  When nothing is running because I've shut it all down, I expect some sort of response.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    When the whole system becomes unresponsive, it's often indicative of something blocking the kernel or some kernel-level component. Windows 7 is multi-threaded in lots of things now, so it only uses blocking when something isn't expected to take long. In my experience system lock-ups like this are often caused by faulty IO devices, for example Windows works on the assumption that the HDD controller will respond straight away, but if it doesn't (e.g. because of HDD failure) then it locks whilst it waits a reply which never comes.

     

    Case in point: one of my servers kept locking up whenever I launched a program, but there wasn't anything in the Event Log. Someone recommended that I run chkdisk (with a full surface scan) and it found a number of bad sectors, after fixing numerous other issues the system was back to performing acceptably.

  • User profile image
    Doctor Who

    W3bbo said:

    When the whole system becomes unresponsive, it's often indicative of something blocking the kernel or some kernel-level component. Windows 7 is multi-threaded in lots of things now, so it only uses blocking when something isn't expected to take long. In my experience system lock-ups like this are often caused by faulty IO devices, for example Windows works on the assumption that the HDD controller will respond straight away, but if it doesn't (e.g. because of HDD failure) then it locks whilst it waits a reply which never comes.

     

    Case in point: one of my servers kept locking up whenever I launched a program, but there wasn't anything in the Event Log. Someone recommended that I run chkdisk (with a full surface scan) and it found a number of bad sectors, after fixing numerous other issues the system was back to performing acceptably.

    Presumably my system's hard drive is less than a year old as well.  Probably it's older than that, as I'm sure it sat on a shelf for a while, but even so I doubt it was in use while sitting there.  Nevertheless, you've got a good point.

     

    So, you're suggesting that I run chkdisk, correct?

     

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    Doctor Who said:
    W3bbo said:
    *snip*

    Presumably my system's hard drive is less than a year old as well.  Probably it's older than that, as I'm sure it sat on a shelf for a while, but even so I doubt it was in use while sitting there.  Nevertheless, you've got a good point.

     

    So, you're suggesting that I run chkdisk, correct?

     

    It's probably a good place to start. As is making sure you have updated drivers for everything.

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