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Windows 7 freezes up randomly, no BSOD

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Last response: in Windows 7
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January 8, 2013 5:10:43 AM

WARNING: Computer idiot on board... please be extremely patient with this fool that has no idea what he's dealing with.
Also, I've no idea where to post this to since I don't know if it's a problem with windows or my hardware, so bear with me:


I bought my PC two and a half years ago, a Dell Studio XPS 435T. Everything ran fine for the first year and a half to two years(except for the occasional video driver crash and restart while gaming) , and so I never considered cleaning out the dust in it until about a week ago. But about half a year (or longer?) ago, I started up the computer, only to have it freeze up on me. I couldn't move my mouse, my keyboard didn't do anything, so I simply restarted it manually. It worked fine then, but as time went by the freezing up became more frequent and could occur anytime. It got to a point whereby it would freeze many times for days in a row and work perfectly fine for the next couple of days, before freezing up again.

It was about that time that I would get rundll errors when I start up and my network access went (kind of) haywire, showing that there was no network access on the icon whilst I was connected to the internet.

Somewhere in the past few weeks, the freezing got really bad and on some days I could barely boot it at all, and so I decided to clean it out. I took out the cover, to find the interior really dusty, and got help from my brother ( who blew the dust out with a hairdryer) to clean it out. The only parts we removed were three small rectangular chips (bear with me, I don't know what it is.) and the fan above the heat sink. We reattached the parts and everything after we cleaned it out. It worked fine for the rest of the day after that, but the next day, it completely refused to boot.

I tried doing a system restore, resetting BIOS, going into safe mode and msconfig, updating my NVIDIA driver, booting with the last good config, uninstalling things, checking my device manager (I have many icons with a yellow triangle, but all that's stated is "Unidentified device")... nothing seems to work, and I still freeze up randomly (Even as I type I fear for the freeze demon). I already had trouble trying to get it to start up earlier on, and it's getting frustrating. One thing as well is that after I tried all that, my computer ran even slower than before.

I'm not too sure what my specs are, what I do know is that I've an NVIDIA GeForce GTX260 video card (which I updated), Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU (920 @ 2.67GHz 2.67 GHz ?) , running on Windows 7 x64, have 6.0GB RAM installed (but only 1.99GB usable.)

These are all the errored out drivers that I saw on my device manager...

And I found out a way to find out my specs:


Help and thanks in advance!
a b $ Windows 7
January 8, 2013 3:41:18 PM

I would boot up from the memtest86 (freeware CD) and test the memory. First you should have a lot more available memory and second you should not have "freezes," which can be from defective memory. Get it here in either the zipped bootable iso to burn a CD image or the USB key version (middle of page): http://www.memtest.org/
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January 9, 2013 4:31:12 AM

RealBeast said:
I would boot up from the memtest86 (freeware CD) and test the memory. First you should have a lot more available memory and second you should not have "freezes," which can be from defective memory. Get it here in either the zipped bootable iso to burn a CD image or the USB key version (middle of page): http://www.memtest.org/


Alright, so I downloaded it and extracted it, but I'm not too sure how to go about it. Do I burn a CD image? And what do I do from there?

Bear with me, I'm simply clueless.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 9, 2013 12:50:01 PM

Burn it to a CD image, you can use the freeware IMGBurn if you need software to make a CD from an image, then boot from the disk, it will automatically start the memory test. If you see a lot of errors that indicates a memory problem.
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January 10, 2013 10:09:21 AM

RealBeast said:
Burn it to a CD image, you can use the freeware IMGBurn if you need software to make a CD from an image, then boot from the disk, it will automatically start the memory test. If you see a lot of errors that indicates a memory problem.


Looks like you'll have to handhold me through this one:

I tried to burn it to a CD image, but this happens.
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January 10, 2013 10:09:25 AM

RealBeast said:
Burn it to a CD image, you can use the freeware IMGBurn if you need software to make a CD from an image, then boot from the disk, it will automatically start the memory test. If you see a lot of errors that indicates a memory problem.


Looks like you'll have to handhold me through this one:

I tried to burn it to a CD image, but this happens.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 10, 2013 1:00:29 PM

You need to put a CD in the burner -- not a DVD, it is a CD image, they are different.
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January 11, 2013 7:29:27 AM

Alright, if it's a memory issue then what should I do next?
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a b $ Windows 7
January 11, 2013 1:09:25 PM

Reseat the memory just to be sure that is not the issue and go into your bios and insure that the timings are not too aggressive and re-run memtest.

If it fails and you have 4 sticks, remove two and test each pair apart.

RMA the memory that fails if you are still under warranty. I don't know how Dell handles memory, as even if I buy a Dell laptop I buy the minimal version and then upgrade the memory myself to a brand (usually G.Skill) that has a lifetime warranty.
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January 12, 2013 2:49:03 AM

RealBeast said:
Reseat the memory just to be sure that is not the issue and go into your bios and insure that the timings are not too aggressive and re-run memtest.

If it fails and you have 4 sticks, remove two and test each pair apart.

RMA the memory that fails if you are still under warranty. I don't know how Dell handles memory, as even if I buy a Dell laptop I buy the minimal version and then upgrade the memory myself to a brand (usually G.Skill) that has a lifetime warranty.


Okay, we tested the memory sticks one at a time. (All ran fine, although one slower than the others.)
Then we re-positioned the sticks and tried booting up again. Right now, what it shows is this :


It runs a lot faster now, but problem is that I still freeze up a bit. It froze up once yesterday night, and I couldn't move my mouse and use the keyboard like before.
But when I tried to start up earlier on, what happened was that the screen simply flashed a major color on the page that I'm on - for example, on this site, it would show a completely blank, white screen, without the taskbar or anything, and it simply stops there until I restart it manually. After two or three manual restarts I get the six beep code, so I have a feeling it's something to do with my video card driver or something, but I'm not sure.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 12, 2013 2:59:41 AM

Be certain that you are using the latest nVidia drivers for your video card. There has always been issues (I worked for DELL for almost 4 years)with DELL formatted drivers for nVidia graphics cards. They just don't behave very well for some reason. I noticed that you changed out the graphics card yourself (no harm there) just be sure that you're running the latest drivers regardless. I would also make sure they are not beta drivers or anything.

It's time you take a look at everything running and starting up when your computer does.

I would recommend using Autoruns.

Not sure what all those things are? Go to HERE for help with identifying those pesky startup items.

I know you mentioned that one of the memory modules was a bit slower at testing than the others. Did it ever lock up during the testing or anything? Worse comes to worse, pull all the modules out of the computer except for that one module, mark it somehow (fingernail polish works well and doesn't take much), put it back into the computer (again as the only module) and run several passes of memtest86 on it again. Run a deep scan if need be to really task the module and see if it hiccups. If it does, then there is your culprit.
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January 12, 2013 4:05:32 AM

hedwar2011 said:
Be certain that you are using the latest nVidia drivers for your video card. There has always been issues (I worked for DELL for almost 4 years)with DELL formatted drivers for nVidia graphics cards. They just don't behave very well for some reason. I noticed that you changed out the graphics card yourself (no harm there) just be sure that you're running the latest drivers regardless. I would also make sure they are not beta drivers or anything.

It's time you take a look at everything running and starting up when your computer does.

I would recommend using Autoruns.

Not sure what all those things are? Go to HERE for help with identifying those pesky startup items.

I know you mentioned that one of the memory modules was a bit slower at testing than the others. Did it ever lock up during the testing or anything? Worse comes to worse, pull all the modules out of the computer except for that one module, mark it somehow (fingernail polish works well and doesn't take much), put it back into the computer (again as the only module) and run several passes of memtest86 on it again. Run a deep scan if need be to really task the module and see if it hiccups. If it does, then there is your culprit.


I updated the nVidia driver a week ago, and I'm pretty sure it's the latest version.

There aren't exactly a lot of things on the list of startup items, either. I disabled quite a couple of startup items after I cleaned it out.

When we tested the module, I don't think it locked up - it was just slightly slower at starting up. But if the chip is really the issue then the solution is to get another chip and replace it?
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a b $ Windows 7
January 12, 2013 12:44:52 PM

Run all four memory sticks at once with memtest86 to insure that they pass as a group.
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January 15, 2013 10:22:32 AM

so the next step if there's a problem with it is to replace the memory stick?
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a b $ Windows 7
January 16, 2013 12:46:16 PM

The next step is to leave that stick out for a while and insure that the machine has no more freezes, after you are convinced that is the cause replace it with a stick of the same size and speed.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 17, 2013 12:21:19 AM

computerdumbo said:
so the next step if there's a problem with it is to replace the memory stick?


Sorry for the delay....

Yes that would be the next option...

And don't bump the thread....we are working hard to help everyone as quickly as possible.
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January 17, 2013 5:09:12 AM

hedwar2011 said:
Sorry for the delay....

Yes that would be the next option...

And don't bump the thread....we are working hard to help everyone as quickly as possible.


Alright, thanks, will see how it goes.
Sorry about the bump.

This would account for the freezing, right?
Because I'm wondering why I get the six beep code (video card issue?) after I manually restart sometimes.
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