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January 10th, 2014

(no subject) @ 09:00 pm

PC Issue Recap

I built the computer in April.  It's a medium-high end gaming rig.  Immediately upon setup, it would freeze randomly.

Go on, Google "Windows 7 randomly freezes" and see how many results you come up with.

* Not a virus, this was a clean install on a newly built computer.
* I updated the drivers and have been consistently keeping them up-to-date on a weekly basis.
* I tweaked the timings in the BIOS.
* I flashed the BIOS.
* I ran MEMtest, BurnIn, and a host of other diagnostic tools.  All my hardware came up clean.
* I reseated the RAM anyway.
* I changed some registry settings.

Also tried:

* asking nicely
* swearing
* begging
* threatening
* rattles and chanting
* blood sacrifice

Eventually, a pattern became clear.  The computer freezes when idle or using bandwidth.  It does NOT freeze when watching videos or gaming (and if I can play Sims 3 with all the custom content at highest settings for hours without issue, it is NOT the video card).  It does not freeze in normal safe mode.  It DOES freeze in safe mode with networking.

* Did some more Googling with this new info as a focus.  My ethernet controller is a Realtek and there have been some issues with Realteks conflicting with wireless cards.
* I played with some device settings that was supposed to resolve the issue.  This did not work.
* I disabled the Realtek.  This seemed to work for close to four weeks, then froze up again today several times in rapid succession.

Despair!  But wait... the issue is definitely internet-related.  That's pretty well established.  And if it's not the ethernet adapter, what about the wireless card?  Back to Google!

So.  Apparently it's a known issue that the Ralink RT61 Wireless card can cause random freezing in computers that have more than 4 GB of RAM.

* Went to Best Buy, bought a Linksys USB wireless adapter.  Disabled the Realtek.  Reinabled the ethernet.  Installed the drivers.

Let's see if that does it.

000 days since last freeze.

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[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 11th, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC)
Here's hoping it's fixed.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 11th, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
We just left a friend in Colorado who had a really weird problem spring up overnight: something started spawning a bazillion help windows. Reinstalls didn't work, finally determined that the F1 key on his hi-tech gaming keyboard had gone nuts.

I'm really glad that I don't mess much with hardware anymore.

Best of luck to ya!
[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 11th, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC)
Awww, I was hoping you had that problem licked.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 12th, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
Good luck!

You probably don't need me to say this, but your reasoning is sound; hard freezes have to be hardware or system issues - anything running in user mode can't lock up a Windows computer (nor, I'm sure, the equivalent to user mode in a Unix computer, I just can't speak authoritatively for them - don't even know if they only have two modes user/kernel, though I guess they do), certainly not in Win7/8 (nor Vista, but who wants to think of Vista? It's such a *nice* morning!). This is a good score, and a damn good shot at being the fix.

If not - honestly, if it were me (keeping in mind I self-build and can afford to to this) I'd probably swap the motherboard next. (CPU could be at fault, but *all* it does is randomly lock up *sometimes* under *certain* conditions? No.)
[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 13th, 2014 07:37 am (UTC)
fingers crossed!!