Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Recently I have had a problem where my computer will freeze completely but if I happen to be streaming Pandora in a tab that will continue playing. If I wait about 2-5 minutes it will eventually come back and start working normally. I also noticed that during the period that it is unresponsive that the HDD activity light stays lit the whole time, not flashing.

I've ran memtest86+ and a diagnostic from Western Digital for my HDD model and none of them reported any errors. The specs for my computer are

1 x ASRock H55M/USB3 R2.0 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
1 x CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
1 x Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80616I3540
1 x G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ
1 x ASUS PCE-N13 PCI Express 150/300Mbps Transfer/Receive Rate Wireless Adapter
1 x EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

I can't imagine what would be causing these problems.

share|improve this question
Is there a pattern? time? when music plays? Try running Process Monitor and what the file-system's up to after it resumes from freezing. My money's on the HD – jay May 15 '12 at 5:10
@jay No pattern, doesn't matter if music is playing or not; happens about once a week. If I reset the computer while it is frozen the computer will say "Error: disk read error" while trying to start up again. However, if I wait a few seconds and restart again it will boot up fine. I was guessing it was probably the HDD too, but not sure if I want to invest the money and time to buy a new HDD and migrate all my files over if I am not 100% sure. – Danny May 15 '12 at 13:00
@jay Ran eventvwr and in my system logs at the time of freezing I have a bunch of The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort0. Source: atapi messages. From google it kind of looks like this is a problem with the mobo :-( – Danny May 19 '12 at 12:11
IDE, ATAPI, Disk Read Errors are all HDD issues. But like you said the motherboard could be at fault here. It just depends on how much your data is worth to you. I've had similar issues and either/both mobos and HDDs have failed in each event. Have you run CHKDSK? – jay May 19 '12 at 21:09
@Linger haha no. But since switching the SATA cable I have not had any problems. – Danny Jun 6 '12 at 20:12

As this was solved by a cable switch, to anyone else experiencing this behaviour, you should also check this:

Your disk might have sectors, which are in a bad state, therefore your PC hangs, while trying to extract them.

Checkout this tool, because it is the best I know to exclude/proof this scenario.

also you might want to check your S.M.A.R.T data for critical attributes:

by the way, the ongoing stream does not suprise that much, because it is an ongoing task, your system however hangs, because now your bus is blocked with streaming/working and trying to retrieve the damaged section.

Ans of course - a quick cable replace is always a good idea too - SMART might point you to this too ;)

share|improve this answer

Get the latest drivers for your motherboard. If the disk works normal just by switching the cable either the cable has problems, or the drivers are faulty.

Also, make sure you enable SMART, just in case (so you have enough time to make a last minute backup and don't lose work, in an extreme case).

share|improve this answer
Thanks. I'll look into downloading the newest drivers. This problem seems to keep disappearing for awhile and then coming back. Since I first had this problem I have upgraded to an SSD so I can confirm that the HDD does not seem to be the problem. (Since I experience the problem with both HDDs) – Danny Jan 10 '13 at 13:52
have you ever had a blue screen with error "IRQL not less or equal" ? – Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Jan 10 '13 at 14:13
No. I have had a few BSODs, but they very rarely happen. I don't recall the error message when it does BSOD but I am 90% sure it is not "IRQL not less or equal" – Danny Jan 11 '13 at 1:52
Updated drivers and still having problems :(. Still seem to have The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort0. Source: atapi error messages in the eventvwr logs. This is happening on both HDDs; IdePort0 and IdePort1. – Danny Jan 16 '13 at 13:07
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I finally gave in and bought a new motherboard. It seems there must of been something wrong with the SATA ports on the old motherboard, because the issue have finally gone away. The new motherboard is using all of the same parts and cables as the last motherboard and I haven't had any issues in the few months I have had it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.