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I have a custom built PC that intermittently hangs when installing, uninstalling, or upgrading applications.

Technical Specs

  • Asus P5E w/ WiFi Motherboard
  • Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 Processor
  • 4x 2GB G.Skill DDR2 800 SDRAM
  • Asus
  • EAH2900XT / Radeon HD 2900XT 512MB Video Card

Under normal operation the machine runs reliably, even under heavy load, such as video transcoding. The temperature never gets anywhere near where I would worry about it. However, the machine regularly hangs (complete lockup, no response to keyboard or mouse, no activity on-screen) when either installing a new application, uninstalling an existing application, or applying patches to existing applications or the OS. This is extremely frustrating as this machine is primarily used as a HTPC. Several apps are configured for automatic updates, and these updates sometimes cause the machine to lockup while we are watching content on the PC.

In previously investigating this issue, I found one likely problem could be my Logitech Webcam. The Logitech software has a bug that leaves an entry in

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\
                          Control\SessionManager\PendingFileRenameOperations

Which references the Temp directory. My registry contained this error, so I uninstalled the webcam software and deleted this registry key value. Unfortunately, the machine will still intermittently hang. I've noticed that the hangs always happen when an install/upgrade/uninstall requires elevated privileges (presumably to modify the registry). I can typically get at least one install/upgrade/uninstall to complete after a reboot, but after that it is a game of Russian roulette to see if the operation will succeed or hang the machine.

The event log is not helpful, as log messages end at the time of the hang, with no record of a warning or error. My only recourse when the machine hangs in this way is to perform a hard reset/power cycle.

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2 Answers

installing a new application, uninstalling an existing application, or applying patches to existing applications or the OS

Failing hard drive? Have you checked the S.M.A.R.T. information and did an error scan?

and deleted this registry key.

I hope that you didn't delete the PendingFileRenameOperations key itself.

My only recourse when the machine hangs in this way is to perform a hard reset/power cycle.

Can you try to see if a manually initiated crash works?

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Yes, I've run a full scan on all drives, and they are coming up roses. Yes, I deleted the PendingFileRenameOperations REG_SZ value. I mis-spoke when I called it a key, as it is not a key, but a value found in the the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager key. I have not attempted to force a manually initiated crash, but I will try that next time this happens. I doubt it will work, however, as the machine does not respond to keyboard input in this state (toggling caps lock or num lock does not change the state of the caps lock or num lock LEDs on the keyboard). –  JadeMason Feb 25 '11 at 15:02
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The solution in my case was the audio driver. The audio drivers that shipped with the motherboard had a handle leak. After a week or so of continuous uptime the handle leak would consume all of the available resources of the machine. An attempt to install / upgrade software would then cause the machine to halt. I found that a new audio driver was available to address this specific issue, and after applying the patch the machine has been running fine.

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