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I'm currently diving into C# and wanted to play around with the new Metro-styled-applications introduced with Windows 8, so I updated my Windows 7 to Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

The problem I'm facing right now is, that the system freezes after 3-5 minutes. It does not take any input from the keyboard or mouse and it does not recover (at least not in less then 10 minutes).

Since I have a background in Linux, I'd like to find some information about the cause of the freeze, but I have no idea where to search.

I checked the system-logs (under "System Control" -> "Management") but they only record that the system was shut down unexpectedly (doe to the face that I held down the power-button to reboot the PC). There is no useful crash-information in there.

I don't want to spend hours on randomly reinstalling drivers and doing things that "might help". Isn't there any place I can find some useful information about the freeze?

Before you ask:

  • I installed Windows 8 as an updated on my old Windows 7 installation (which worked fine by the way).
  • My hardware fits the minimum requirements (specs can be found here, the MacMini 3,1 model with 2GHz processor).
  • I have updated the graphics-card drivers to the newest Windows 8 drivers from nVidia.

Edit: I'm now using the final Windows 8 Pro on my machine and it had the same issues as the developer preview.

However, after deactivating the new "dynamic ticks" feature, the system is now stable and works like a charm. I didn't try it with the DP, so I don't know if this might be to fix for it, too.

share|improve this question
system-logs you mean Windows Event viewer? – Diogo Mar 12 '12 at 19:17
@DiogoRocha yes. My system is in German, so I don't know the exact English translation. – Lukas Knuth Mar 12 '12 at 19:34
Sure, no problem, I would suggest you to look on Windows Event Viewer to analyse crash events. This is the most powerfull tool embedded on windows to debug crashes. But if you already did it, for now(on Windows 8 beta) I have no idea how to find an answear unless post on a specialized or the oficial Windows 8 forum. – Diogo Mar 12 '12 at 19:37
I guess you first have to determine at which level the lock up occured. Maybe press the Caps Lock key a few times and see if it's the kernel. If so, there won't be any error log unless you can somehow trigger a bluescreen afterwards. – Mar 12 '12 at 20:24 and by "somehow" you mean? Also, what is supposed to happen when I press the Caps-Lock key? The light on my keyboard flashing up? – Lukas Knuth Mar 12 '12 at 20:42

You need to set up manual generation of a kernel / complete memory dump, open "On This Page" and click on "How to generate a manual memory dump file by using the keyboard".

The CrashOnCtrlScroll trick might allow you to cause a dump to be generated while the system is hung, similar to how the Magic SysRq works on Linux. You can then use WinDBG from the Debugging Tools for Windows to further investigate the crash dump, which comes with a nice help file with a lot of debugging techniques.

If this doesn't work you'll need to set up kernel-mode debugging using some preferred communication method and then start WinDBG (or Visual Studio but I doubt if it is capable of deep analyis of the problem) with connection parameters or make the connection from the File menu.

If you are new to this, you might want to get some background on how Windows works internally as well as make sure you download the Windows Symbol Packages for your OS as otherwise the stack traces and other information regarding functions you'll see could be meaningless.

Good luck, it can be hard at first but it'll be more valuable the more you learn...

Hard freezes are amongst the hardest cases to debug, as they don't give you a point to start from.

share|improve this answer
Nice, in depth answer. But I moved on from this. Since I use the final Windows 8 version and deactivated the "dynamic ticks", the system works like a charm. – Lukas Knuth Oct 11 '12 at 15:13
Oh, I see, a new feature that doesn't go hand in hand with older drivers. Nice find! – Tom Wijsman Oct 11 '12 at 15:25
Classic child-sickness. I'm sure it will be fixed soon. – Lukas Knuth Oct 11 '12 at 21:23

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