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Mini Freezes On Laptop, Interesting.

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November 11, 2011 10:36:30 PM

Ok, so I've had this laptop for about two years now.

Every once in a while when I restart, it takes an eternity to start up, and the entire machine locks up for about 2-5 seconds every 1-2 seconds.

I've found a way to fix this... I slowly manage my way and set up to run a chkdsk on the next start up. It goes through the motions, taking around 30 minutes to 1 hour, and once it restarts, everything runs absolutely flawlessly. No hiccups, no problems.

It may last a day, it may last a week, or maybe even 2+ weeks... but at some point, it will do it again, and I'll be forced to run through the same routine with the same results.

How can I permanently fix this? Do I need to format/reinstall Windows? Is the hard drive failing? Memory? Hard Drive? What can I do to eliminate this problem?

Thanks!
a b D Laptop
November 11, 2011 11:36:27 PM

chkdsk has two options: (1) checks for file system errors the other (2) does a scan to check the phisical disk for media failures. Do you know which one you did?

Some PCs come with recovery disks. Most others have you make your own recovery media by burning CDs or DVDs. If you have not made recovery media do so now. If the disk fails it's a pain to buy media from the company that sold you the laptop.

Download 'hdtune' and (oddly) 'speedfan'. Google them. Go to the disk tabs to retrieve SMART data (google smart data). That will give you some indication if your HD is failing.

Assuming the laptop is out of warranty a new hard disk is cheap and will give you better performance. You can also step up to an SSD if you want to for more money and get a big performance boost.
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November 12, 2011 12:06:37 AM

Thanks for the response.

I've downloaded the programs you mentioned and am running a test through both of them now. If the tests come back negative for disk errors, I guess the next step would be a clean install of a possibly corrupt(ing) Windows?

I'll have to scrounge up the disks that came with the computer, but will wait to move onto that step until the tests are done and I get more feedback.
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a b D Laptop
November 12, 2011 4:08:35 AM

Disk errors are usually a result of a failing hard drive. When was the last time you defragged the hard drive? How full is it? How much RAM do you have in your laptop? Do you have any antivirus/spyware software to make sure you aren't infected?

You can always re-install windows and see if your performance improves either way. Sometimes windows will get pretty slow, depending on a variety of things, over time. Not always, but it can.
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November 12, 2011 4:14:37 AM

Probably about a month since I defragged. Drive is partitioned... the C (OS) drive has about 20 gigs left and the other has around 70 gigs.

Laptop has 4 GB RAM and I have Microsoft Security Essentials constantly running and ran a complete scan just today.

I'm not against reinstalling Windows, just have to find the recovery disks that have been unused for two years.
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a b D Laptop
November 12, 2011 4:18:06 AM

Recovery disks = <3. I'd be lost without them, lol.

20 gigs left would certainly impact your performance, but it wouldn't impact it that much. RAM is fine. MSE isn't the best for your PC and misses quite a bit... Still, if its viruses or something, most of the time a re-installation will work. If it really is the HDD, then you'll need a new one. Which, in of itself, is horribly unfortunate due to skyrocketing HDD prices...
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a b D Laptop
November 12, 2011 1:54:56 PM

I was keying on CHDSK fixing the problem for a while. Chkdsk will touch the sectors on a scan causing reallocation of bad or failing sectors. The pauses and gaps could be rereading bad sectors until it reads enough that error correction can fix. I was hoping the SMART data would show the number of reallocated sectors, and that Airek could see that number remaining the same or increasing. SMART might also give a flag that says that the disk should be replaced. I've proactively replaced disks based on smart data before, you are never sure if it was necessary, but...

One of the smart data retrieval programs (i think it was speedfan, but I'm not sure) used to go online and compare your smart data to others results using the same disk. I can't check that now with my PC because I'm using a raid 0 based on intel MB, and the smart data is only avail thru the intel driver, not natively to programs.
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a b D Laptop
November 12, 2011 2:06:00 PM

phyco126 said:
...If it really is the HDD, then you'll need a new one. Which, in of itself, is horribly unfortunate due to skyrocketing HDD prices...


LOL, agree. HDD prices are up with the flooding in Thailand. Maybe now is the time to try an SSD. Maybe check for black fridays sales on SSDs... (I could not get a sandforce corsair 120 to work in an older thinkpad, so ended up with intel 320 120 gb unit. I like it. The premium for SSD over spinning HDDs is lower than ever).

Aside: Airek, if you posted laptop model number, specs, windows version, hdd size etc. some of these thoughts could be fine tuned. For example, typically defrag is set to run automatically in win7 but has to be done manually in winxp.
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November 12, 2011 4:00:46 PM

I put a link to my exact laptop in the original post. O_o

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any way, there it is again. I ran the full tests with both hdtune and speedfan. Both came with saying the hard drive was in perfect health and could not find any problems. I'll be running a defrag again today, just to be sure.

I found the program on my computer to make the recovery disks, so I'm guessing the next step will be a clean Windows install, unless I'm missing something else?
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Best solution

a b D Laptop
November 12, 2011 4:22:19 PM

Sorry I missed the link to your laptop -- it sure was in your original post.

A full wipe/restore is what I'd do. You should create the backup media, then store it someplace safe. For the actual rebuild of your PC you can usually directly use the copy of the restore that's in a hidden partition on your hard disk. It'll load a bit faster.

Do make sure that the network is *not* connected during your recovery, and do test the laptop for stability before you connect to the network. Once you connect to the network all sorts of crazy stuff will happen as software maintenance is applied.

Following is goofy advice you probably know already, but I couldn't resist adding.

I usually manually force windows update, then reboot then repeat. There are many waves of update/reboot before you are current. Win7 should be at Service Pack1 plus fixes when you are done. If you don't have your own anti-virtus, Windows Security Essential is a free download from Microsoft. Get that or your own anti-virus current before you start web surfing. The full recovery loses all your personal data, so back that up to an external drive before you wipe the current internal drive.
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November 12, 2011 4:52:01 PM

Best answer selected by Airek.
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November 12, 2011 4:53:27 PM

Thank you so much for your time.

I'll be spending the day backing up files, making sure I have original install discs/files for programs, etc...

You don't realize how much stuff you have to backup until you're going through, folder by folder, moving it to an external hard drive.
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