Well, I have a Dell XPS, i5 core 3350. 8GB/1TB, no SSD, XFX Radeon 7750 2GB. Thermaltake 600W PSU, wire tuck & loom, extra case fan. OS is Windows x64 8.1 Home Edition. IBM Model M keyboard, Dell mouse, HP OfficeJet. No other devices.
About three months ago I began having issues where the PC would completely refuse to shut down unless I did a hard power down with the power button. Eventually last month after one such episode it started this routine of hanging/freezing either at the login screen or would let me get to desktop and freeze within 60 seconds of desktop.
When it "freezes" I can still move the mouse around, but nothing is clickable.
Called Dell tech support, was advised to go into safe mode and delete the "prefetch" and "temp" folders' contents. Did so. Also disabled everything in startup under task manager that was not related to Windows.
Restarted PC. It worked! I was able to log in. As an aside, after doing that, it began reliably shutting down every time, and also booted up way faster after shutdowns (was taking 3-4 minutes, now it took less than 30 sec.)
Okay, so 2 nights ago I noticed it froze again on a shutdown. Right before that, I had a "display driver has stopped responding" error. Turned power off at the switch. On restart, the following things happened:
- Windows booted up but said it was installing updates
- It got to 30% and said Restarting...
- It restarted to login screen
Sure enough within 60 seconds the login screen froze. Hard rebooted and got login screen. Logged in...bam. 60 seconds later, desktop freezes again.
Went to safe mode again, once again disabled startup stuff and cleared prefetch. While in safe mode I ran Windows Update troubleshooter and got something along the lines of "errors were found but we were unable to repair them." Ran chkdsk (set to run on restart) then also ran System Restore and restored to a point about 1 week before the crash. Restarted in normal mode after successful system restore, and after chkdsk finished, and was able to log in and everything was running normal again...for now. Shut down and rebooted and it's still working normally.
However, I now have more questions than answers, and am VERY afraid this will happen again in the future.
- What may be causing this issue and is there a fix?
- Why does clearing the prefetch seemingly fix this problem (temporarily?) Is it even related?
- I went to check for more Windows Updates and checked the log and saw that the last 2 updates showed Failed. I tried to reinstall them, but when it rebooted, it said that the updates did not complete, and it would retry them. So on reboot, I got the 30% .. rebooting update thing again, only this time, it let me log in and did not freeze. Now, when I check Windows Update, it shows 2 successful and 1 pending restart.
- If I go to File Explorer and right-click my C drive, and choose scan for errors, it says there is no need to scan the drive, but if I force it to scan anyway it says Windows found errors but was unable to repair them?
- In Device Manager, I had a yellow exclamation point over something related to "HD audio" that said device disabled due to conflict. ? But after 2 restarts, this went away??
This has me freaked out because I've never seen it and I really depend on my PC at home. I've been using MS products since DOS 3.3 on my 286, and Windows 3.0, and used to run a PC repair business so I am fairly comfortable with the hardware aspects, but I do not know nearly as much about modern Windows operating systems. (My last computer was still on XP.) I keep all my important stuff backed up on a USB 250GB hard disk just in case.
**What I've done so far on my end:**
- Installed latest release AMD Catalyst drivers
- Flashed XPS BIOS to latest version from Dell's website
- Ran Windows Update and installed all updates listed
- Ran complete scans using Malwarebytes and Kaspersky 10, both came back negative
- Ran Dell's built-in hardware diagnostics, all systems passed after 30 minute test
- Installed speedfan to check fan speeds and temps, found GPU and CPU temps all well below limits.
- Opened case and dusted the fans and heat sink out with compressed air just in case.
- Cleared prefetch folder
- Ran chkdsk
- Ran Windows Update Troubleshooter
- Only a printer, keyboard, and mouse are plugged in via USB.
I know this is a lot of information but browsing through some of the posts on these forums I was very impressed and am hopeful that one of the wizards can provide me with advice or even a solution before I end up pulling what's left of my hair out and buying a new PC.
-- Edit: got home tonight and fired it up. Started up fine but noted my speaker icon has a red x, the audio service is not running. Checked device manager, found HD Audio under System yellow, "there was a problem with this device". Rebooted. It went back to normal. Ran HWINFO64, everything is ok. Attempted to start Speedfan after closing hwinfo64, and got a BSOD with the page fault in non paged area. Strange. Restarted, and now I have the red X on speaker icon again. Other than that, system appears to be running OK (playing ESO in Ultra graphics w no prob while running 6 Chrome tabs, Ventrilo, and iTunes.) That makes it even more frustrating that I am stuck with a PC that randomly won't reboot or has weird crashes.