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Mouse Periodically Freezes for 1 Second (HD Issue?)

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August 29, 2012 6:09:29 AM

Apologies in advance for the length, but I'm trying to be as informative as possible.

Here is all of the hardware in my current computer in Newegg wishlist format:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...
with the addition of a Maxtor 500GB HDD (3.0) from my previous computer.

As the title says, I'm having an issue where my mouse periodically freezes for 1 second, and this might be related to a HD issue. This only started yesterday. It seems to come in bursts, where it will freeze 2 or 3 times in quick succession, and then not occur for anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 or 2 minutes. When I first experienced it I tried erratically moving my mouse around to reproduce it, and succeeded; however, after reproducing it about 3 more times in quick succession my computer "semi-froze." I say my computer semi-froze because only the input (keyboard & mouse) ceased functioning, but the computer itself was still running and my game was still running. I was forced to do a hard reboot. Those symptoms right there seem to point to faulty drivers perhaps, but first I'm going to enlighten you on an issue I've been experiencing with my system regarding a HDD.

HDD issue; freeze - *click* - all better
I have 3 hard drives, one is a 64GB Crucial M4 SSD which I use as my boot drive. It only contains the OS (Win7x64) and some files (desktop, etc). Shortly after putting my build together I noticed some HDD misbehavior. If I access certain files (through shortcuts on my desktop) my computer will have an initial bout of lag (about 5-10 seconds) after which an audible *click* can be heard, at which point it runs smoothly and allows easy and quick access to that specific file as much as I want. The files I access that cause this lag can be from any destination - my SSD, or either of my 2 HDDs - making the source of this hard to identify. I know the click can't be coming from the SSD because it contains no moving parts. Also, I didn't have this issue in my previous computer (from which the 500GB Maxtor came), and another red flag is the fact that the WD HDD was purchased during the period of time when the flooding was causing issues with many HDDs. The most peculiar detail about this "freeze/click" issue is that it seems to have ceased occurring since the mouse freeze and semi-freeze problems came about today, and that is peculiar indeed because the freeze/click file access issue has been a nagging problem for months now.

Symptoms still don't seem to add up to a HD issue (to me, anyway)
So all of that sort of points to me maybe having a flaw in my WD 250GB HDD. However, should that be the case, it still doesn't make sense to me that there should be any freezing/clicking involved when I'm clicking on a shortcut to a file on my 500GB Maxtor that resides in a folder on my desktop (64GB SSD). It doesn't make sense to me that one hard drive kept entirely out of the information loop can affect the performance of the others if I'm not running RAID. Also, it doesn't make sense to me that a HDD would explicitly cause the input devices to freeze without completely locking the computer up. Like I said, when that freeze occurred my game kept running. There is a chance that my computer was indeed completely frozen, yet the graphics in the game were just continuing to display. I'm not really familiar with all the ways a computer can freeze, but if there is a situation where the graphics can persist even though the rest of the computer has ground to a halt then maybe I was indeed experiencing a full system lockup. I'm not confident with that being a possibility though, so for the remainder of this post I'm just going to report this issue as an input device freeze.

Potential heat issue
One last important detail: my room has heat issues. I have no AC in my house, and no window. My room hits 80+ degrees (Fahrenheit) daily. My computer is air cooled. I have two 120mm intake fans in the front, one 120mm intake fan in the side, two 120mm exhaust fans (one on the top and one on the rear), and two 120mm fans running in push/pull configuration across my 212 evo CPU cooler. My case has a dust filter in the front and I have a dust filter on my 120mm side intake fan. It actually had been a while since I last dusted it out, so after experiencing the issue today I cleaned it out. I also relocated my SSD down a slot in my hard drive mounting cage so that it received better air flow across it (it was way up at the top, I don't even think it had much air flow at all across the top of it). It is important to note that after cleaning out my dust filters and re-positioning my SSD, my mouse would still freeze, but much less frequently; also I was actually unable to reproduce the semi-freeze. However, now that my computer has been running for several hours, I was just now able to reproduce the semi-freeze (the temperature in my room is currently 82.4 degrees F). This illustrates that heat might very well be playing a role here. But this still doesn't seem to explain why it would only be the input devices that get cut off if the problem is stemming from a heat issue with one of my HDDs.

Overclocking
In the past I had overclocked my CPU to run at a constant 4.6GHz @1.350 Vcore. I ran that for 4 months or so until I decided it was really unncessary and was wearing the life out of my CPU for nothing. It is now back to factory settings with a modest bump to 3.5GHz turbo boost. Also, my memory has been running on its XMP profile settings ever since I built this machine.

Miscellaneous OS issues
My computer has had failure to boot issues that would occur completely randomly, maybe once every 6 weeks. It seemed relatively benign in that if I simply rebooted it would work just fine. Running the startup repair always turned up nothing. I also had an issue before where my OS wasn't showing up in the Boot tab of MSConfig. That was an issue simply because I wanted to enable the "No GUI Boot" option and couldn't. I ended up resolving that issue by manually assigning my boot partition a etter in my Disk Manager. This is just supplemental information to inform you that my OS installation on my Crucial SSD did/does have a few hiccups.

Again I apologize for the lengthy read, but I think it's best to give a full profile of my system if I'm hoping for insight to an issue as complicated as the one I'm posting about. I would greatly appreciate any help or even suspicions that any of you can contribute.

Thanks in advance,
Matt

Edit: Clarified that maybe my computer did experience a full lockup at the end of the "Symptoms still..." paragraph.

Best solution

a b G Storage
August 29, 2012 6:43:20 AM

By default, your computer runs on the "Balanced" power scheme.
First, check your advanced power settings. Your issue could be related to power management spinning down the mechanical drives from inactivity.

try running "chkdsk /r" on the drives.

Heat can cause this issue as well. check your sensor data.
Speedfan ( http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php ) Can check sensor data, verify / change clock settings, and run basic disk testing.

If you suspect you are having drive issues, download SeaTools @ http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/ for complete disk diagnostic.
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August 29, 2012 6:36:49 PM

Thanks for the suggestions Dr_JRE. I followed up on all of them, and I'm really liking the first suggestion of changing the power settings. Hopefully that prevents that file access freeze/click that I was experiencing for the last few months from ever occurring again.

Also, I must say that I feel very stupid in regards to the chkdsk. The reason is because I ran the chkdsk, but still had my No GUI Boot option enabled in my MSconfig; so the scan took place but I was viewing a black screen the entire time, so I will never know if it found any bad sectors or made any repairs. That's a little frustrating, but entirely my own fault.

I also downloaded Speedfan and my HDD temps are just fine (24 and 26).

I followed up on your last suggestion as well and downloaded SeaTools. My SDD and WD 250GB HDD both passed the Short DST, but my Maxtor 500GB is taking ages. Tonight I'll run the Short Generic on all 3 drives and report back here with my results.

So far I haven't experienced any mouse freezes or semi-freezes, but the day is young and the morning and nights get pretty cold here. We'll see how performance is during the day when things heat up a bit.

Thanks again for your suggestions, I really appreciate it! I'll keep you posted.
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September 3, 2012 7:15:36 PM

Test results came up negative, but I did manage to solve the issue with the mouse. I think my mouse cord was just worn, as I purchased a new mouse and solved the issue. So as far as the mouse freezing I'm going to go ahead and call this case closed, but I do have some more issues to ponder going ahead, such as why did it also cause my keyboard input to freeze. If it occurs again I think it might be something to do with my motherboard's USB input. Regardless, I corrected my mouse issue and as stated above I am marking my question as answered. Thanks for your input Dr_JRE, I'll use those various softwares on into the future.
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September 3, 2012 7:15:40 PM

Best answer selected by deadl4st.
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