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Basic info:

  • Laptop Dell Studio XPS 13 (Intel P9600, 4GB RAM, NVidia 9400M card, 256G Samsung PM800 SSD)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate, as well as Fedora 14

Here's the deal - Windows would just lock up out of nowhere, no log entries, no dumps, no BSOD, it just freezes. This happens mostly when idle (but it happened when I was using it too) and does not follow a concrete time frame. No input is accepted - only solution is to hold the power button.

Although this sounds like a clean cut hardware issue, the reason I'm willing to rule this out is that my primary OS is Fedora 14. It's been working fine for the past 2 years and I've been stress testing the hardware (intentionally or not) every once in a while with no issues.

I would like to ask if there's any way to get a diagnostic output from Windows in a situation such as this. The next step in my testing is to leave it in Safe Mode overnight and see if it locks up but even if I do that, I still need to figure out what component freezes it up during normal operation.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Try using the keyboard to force a dump. Set up the function and reboot. The next time the system becomes unresponsive, press the hotkey (Ctrl+ScrollLock+ScrollLock by default). It should BSOD and create a dump file which you can then either analyse the dump yourself with something like the Windows Debugging Tools, or submit it for analysis online.

Because this method uses low, level-driver access, it should bypass any high- or even realtime-priority processes locking up the system.

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This sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. Will try it out and see if it manages to force a memory dump in my case. – Delyan Mar 3 '11 at 16:22
+1 My answer was wrong. @Delyan: I misinterpreted it to be a freeze instead of a hang. xD – Tom Wijsman Mar 3 '11 at 19:08
@TomWij, what’s the difference – Synetech Mar 3 '11 at 19:48
Hmm, lockup then. :-) – Tom Wijsman Mar 3 '11 at 20:03

There are a number of problems that you can check for.

First of them is overheating. Check if the temps are okay.

Second, I saw that the initial firmware of your SSD disk does not support the Trim technology. I am not shure what(if any) are the signs of an SSD drive near the end of its life.

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Open Task manager and keep it open and on top of the desktop, sometimes freezes are only input devices like keyboard and mouse etc and you can still see what is happening in task manager, look for processes using too much cpu cycles or the memory use is rising for a particular process.

It can be a driver or driver conflict that causes this also, hopefully you can pinpoint it in the task manager.

If it does not lock up in safe mode use this article to help pinpoint the Startup Software, Service causing it. If this procedure turns up nothing start updating all your Drivers.


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I have exactly the same laptop and it performs the lockup as well. No reporting. I suggest that is probably a video card issue or heat issue.

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