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Random freezes

Last response: in Windows 7
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November 22, 2012 7:23:26 AM

Hello community!

I'm new here, I've chosen Tom's Hardware forums to get help from.

My problem is regarding my PC freezing at random, mostly when downloading. It starts to drive me mad, and I can't seem to find the root cause. Could you guys help me finding it?

It happened in the following scenarios:

- browsing photos on a friend's Dropbox
- updating World of Tanks game client (around 1 GB data, PC froze during download)
- downloading Diablo III trial version (PC froze during download)
- running the Deluge torrent client

My tips were the HDD and the RAM.

Win 7 Event viewer reports some "The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk1\DR1" errors that not really relate to the time of freezes.

I've downloaded Hard Disk Sentinel, it reports my HDD's health is 100%, there are no bad sectors, HDD test reported no errors. Then I've tested my memory with MEMTEST86+ 2.1. The test has passed without any errors. I've swapped the SATA cables of my HDD and ODD on the mobo SATA connectors. Could it be the network card or the router? I seriously have no clue what causes these freezes lately.

My system specs:

- ASUS P5KC mobo
- intel C2D E8400 @ 3 GHz (factory default)
- 2x 2 GB GeiL Value kit DDR2 RAM
- Sapphire Radeon HD6850
- Corsair HX650 PSU
- SAMSUNG 500 GB SATA2 HDD
- Pioneer DVD-ROM

OS: Windows 7 Pro N

Any tips/help would be greatly appreciated! :) 

More about : random freezes

November 22, 2012 8:23:22 AM

"The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk1\DR1"
I would suggest downloading new chipset drivers (download from another computer if it freezes during download)
I can see how this would freeze your computer but try reseting the router (turn off for 20 seconds and turn on)

if these dont cure the problem, come back.
November 22, 2012 8:57:28 AM

silverliquicity said:
"The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk1\DR1"
I would suggest downloading new chipset drivers (download from another computer if it freezes during download)
I can see how this would freeze your computer but try reseting the router (turn off for 20 seconds and turn on)

if these dont cure the problem, come back.


Thanks for the tip! Although I'm not sure if a new motherboard chipset driver solves it, as the HDD is the same age as the mobo (both 4,5 years old, quite old by now), and it worked without any compatibility issues so far. Anyway I'll install a fresh copy of Win 7 today and get the latest drivers for everything and reset the router. But I have a bad feeling the freezes will not go away. :( 
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November 22, 2012 10:07:23 AM

What is your wifi /NIC card?

you using the onboard or a external usb dongle?

I would work from the network hardware back.
November 22, 2012 10:47:43 AM

americanbrian said:
What is your wifi /NIC card?

you using the onboard or a external usb dongle?

I would work from the network hardware back.



I'm using a Linksys WRT120N router connected to the mobo's integrated onboard LAN. I think that is a Realtek one, not 100% sure though. My mother's PC is connected to the router as well, and it works fine.
November 22, 2012 10:53:52 AM

it could just be a dodgy network card...

if you are in wifi range you could get a cheap wireless usb dongle and see if it fixes the problem.

If you are in the uk here is one for £5 (not including shipping)

http://www.ebuyer.com/271392-tenda-wireless-n150-mini-u...

it is wireless "n" so should be pretty fast. (your router is "n" too)

it would be a cheap fix if it works, and even if it doesn't you can get rid of the cable so it has that as a bonus...
November 22, 2012 11:47:30 AM

Nope, I live in Hungary, the worst country in Europe. Problem is, I can't buy this and that and that just to try out then throw away, I'm kinda poor for that. I would need a way to identify the root cause, then buy the faulty hardware, not vice versa. I know £5 is not much, but merely for testing purposes I won't buy new hardware. :) 
November 22, 2012 12:15:33 PM

Do you have a friend that has lots of computery stuff? maybe they can loan you one for a day to see if it removes the problem.

Also if you check your temperatures on the GPU and CPU. I am guessing the ambient in Hungary is warmer than here...

The reason I say check the network card first is that you have stated that it happens always when the network is being actively used...

And for me getting rid of the cable for the internet is worth £5 alone, but that's just me.
November 22, 2012 12:28:52 PM

I have cleaned my PC two days ago, also applied new heat paste on the CPU, and used condensed air to clean the dust out of the whole computer. However, the problem is not that new, and has a very frustrating nature. In the last two months it happened like once, before that 4-5 times, and yesterday twice, though I was torrenting heavily yesterday. When I've downloaded the Diablo III trial client, it froze at around 10% download, then I reset my PC and started over, then it finished without any problem. So it's pretty random, I haven't figured out a method to trigger the freeze yet.

I for myself don't like wireless stuff at all. :)  I use wired keyboard/mouse/internet for 100% stability and batteryfree operation, cables are not a concern for me, but it's really up to personal preference. :)  Anyway, if the problem persists after a killdisk - clean install combo, I'll try to borrow a network card from someone, but it's kinda rare in these "onboard" times.
November 22, 2012 12:51:25 PM

USB dongle doesn't need batteries.

I also use wired mouse and keyboard, but not network... In fact "n" is faster than your cable connection (unless you have a gigabit router/NIC...)

And failure rates of components onboard are the same as on a card in the mobo. They are in fact identical components often.
November 22, 2012 3:10:09 PM

Getting closer!

I could finally trigger the freeze. When we spoke about the network cards, I've came up with an idea to somehow "stress test" the LAN card. Then I navigated to speedtest.net. The downstream went perfectly, then, when the progress bar finished and the "speedometer arm" started to head back to 0, my PC froze.

Hard reset, second run: exact same freeze at the exact same moment.

Then I've updated the "Atheros L1 Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000Base-T Controller" driver with the automatic Windows driver-updater and run a speedtest again. Now, the PC didn't froze, but when it came to the Upload test, it didn't upload a single bit and speedtest reported an Upload error. Then my whole internet connection was lost, nothing came in in the browser. Then I've rebooted my PC and now I'm here.

So now what I'm trying to figure out is if this is a simple driver or a hardware error.

Problem is, I don't know exactly what kind of LAN card is integrated on my P5KC motherboard, but I'll try to find a corresponding driver.

Now that I think of it, uploading was always a bit fishy, almost always 0,0 ratio on all my torrents (very minimal uploaded data, if any) my facebook messages couldn't be delivered (yellow triangle), etc.

Edit: I've updated the driver to the latest, now the PC won't freeze, but when it comes to speedtest.net upload test, it won't upload a single bit, speedtest throws me an "Upload error" message, also, a bit after that my Internet connection is lost. When I run the network troubleshooter, it fixes "The default gateway is not available" problem, and I'm able to browse the web again.

Any ideas what should I do now?
November 22, 2012 6:46:57 PM

get a cheap wifi dongle???
!