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Using windows 7 64 bit on my dell studio 1555 laptop

I became to hate this system, but this is not the point now.

Recently, from time to time, my system freezes, i.e. I see the screen as it was before the freeze, but the mouse cursor doesn't move, and no reaction to ctrl+alt+del.

Any ideas how can I debug (or even better, solve) this?

Thanks

Gidi

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1 Answer

System freezes can be the fault of hardware just as much as software. If you're not sure what program is causing it (if any) then my advice would be to try a process of elimination.

First, see if you can borrow or purchase another hard drive for your laptop. Install a fresh copy of Windows and load only the system drivers. If the system is stable, it may well be that some program or service on your installation is faulty. However, if you continue to have system freezes, you could be dealing with a hardware issue (which includes but is not limited to bad RAM, overheating components, faulty connections, etc.).

Also don't rule out your hard drive. A failing hard drive can cause any operating system to become unstable and unable to load things when needed. If you have been having slow performance issues in addition to the freezes, then consider swapping in a new hard drive temporarily to test. (Or, more advanced technique, plug your hard drive into another computer via eSata or a USB->Sata adapter and run the manufacturer recommended diagnostic software.)

An alternative suggestion is to boot in safe mode and check for stability. Safe mode won't load a lot of programs and drivers, enabling you to run with minimal software in order to test the hardware.

Of course, it can be more complicated: perhaps a driver is loaded that is incompatible with W7x64 and causes the system to freeze when it tries to access the hardware it is intended for. In that case, you may have to remove any hardware drivers that you can (i.e. graphics driver, CD/DVD/BluRay drive, bluetooth, wireless LAN, etc.), but this can be time consuming.

Hopefully by using a "divide and conquer" approach, you'll be able to narrow down whether it is a program, driver, or some hardware issue.

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Thanks, the point about possible hardware problem is a good one. The problem with most of the offers here, is that they are too resources consuming time or money. Also the problem doesn't happen frequently enough to really allow me eliminate possible causes –  shealtiel Dec 30 '10 at 22:18
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