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I'm using Dell xps 1530 laptop and everything worked fine until last week. Compleatly out of the blue Vista started to freeze. But it doesn't freeze while it's used but only if it's idle. Really nothing special happed last week (or perhaps two weeks ago) only a couple of automatic window updates, so it difficult for me to find the source of the problem.
Vista freezes after computer goes to sleep so I turned that off, screensaver doesn't seem to affect the issue and freezeing still occures. THe freeze itself is strange because mouse cursor is not freezed, and I am allowed to change screens for a couple of seconds but after that (when I realize that the software is no responding) the only solution is to hard reset. Is there any way to pin the source of the problem? I know that it will be difficult for you to find the cause of freezing but perhaps a copule of guides where to start serching for it will allow me to solve it by myself.

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I've found source of my problem (most propably), it turns out that some time ago a disk defragmenter was installed and it turned on while computer was idle, additional one of the files on my drive (created by tomtom software) was a huge problem to every single defragmenter (even windows built in one), removing the "background" defragmenter solved the issue of idle freeze, removing the bad file (chkdsk didn't see any problems with it) allow to defragment my drive without further freezes – groblus Sep 16 '09 at 20:20

Maybe you could restore your system to its state before the problem began ?

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A good source of diagnostics problems is always in the system logs, which are available in the Event Viewer.

To launch the event viewer, just type "Event Viewer" into the each box in the Start menu, and double-click "Event Viewer" in the list of results.

Here, the "System Events" and "Application (Program) Events" logs would be where I would look first. Just browse down the list, and take a look if there are any errors occurring around the time that your computer crashes.

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that's the place I'm going to start, thx – groblus Sep 13 '09 at 7:50

Make sure you do not have scheduled tasks, disable screen savers and power saver modes.

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