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Edit: I have solved this issue. Unsurprisingly, the issue was fundamentally different from my original hypotheses - a bug in my SSD's firmware was causing it to shut down after precisely an hour of use. Programs would then lock up, one at a time, as they attempted and failed to access their data. A simple firmware upgrade resolved the issue entirely. Thanks for the help!

Windows 8 has recently (since this past weekend or so) started to freeze up every once in a while. Symptomatically, it appears very similar to this issue - I even have the Sandy Bridge processor and SSD that most victims of that issue had.

Notable things:

  • I've been using Windows 8 for weeks with few issues until now.
  • I rebooted into safe mode (with networking) and browsed on Chrome for a while. The computer did lock up.
  • I used Windows 8's 'Refresh' functionality. I began reconfiguring my OS, getting as far as reinstalling Nvidia graphics drivers, Steam and VS2012 (none of which were ever launched during the safe mode excursion) before a freeze occurred. No updates had been installed to Windows yet (but I did download a new image from DreamSpark...) and I hadn't yet installed Chrome.
  • Not certain this will be helpful, but - it's frozen a couple of times while playing a game with (I believe) GPU-accelerated physics. Every time, the game has frozen and become unresponsive - but the physics objects (my character's cape, the tails of horses, etc.) keep moving.

Is a system reset a worthwhile thing to attempt? Should I contact my laptop's manufacturer?

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Most laptop manufacturers don't really seem too keen on supporting systems with OSes other than what they came with - it might even void the warranty. That said, working out what's causing trouble when user input is frozen sounds.. interesting to say the least. – Journeyman Geek Oct 31 '12 at 8:41

I've personally tested and had the following configurations work with Quadro 1000M

1) Enable integrated graphics in BIOS

2) Enable discrete graphics, but also enable the Hyper-V feature in Windows 8. I'm assuming your BIOS has a VT-x option and it's turned on by default

PS! If you already have NVidia drivers installed, you might first have to disable the discrete graphics or enable Nvidia optimus (Which should default to integrated graphics instead of freezing) in BIOS to get into the "No freeze zone" to be able to activate the Hyper-V feature.

3) Uninstall NVidia drivers. Enable discrete graphics in BIOS.

I'm guessing the option no. 2 might be the most appropriate for you.

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Would solutions 1 and/or 3 be covered by booting into Safe Mode, where the graphics drivers are never loaded? I'm trying out 2 now. – Knexer Nov 1 '12 at 5:09
Solution 2 didn't work for me - still got a lockup. I'm going to try a full reset with the original image (I found the USB drive in a drawer) next. If that doesn't work, I'll dive into the bios graphics settings. Thanks for the tips! – Knexer Nov 1 '12 at 5:31

You can try this: From an cmd prompt run

bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes

and reboot.

Note that this workaround may increase battery usage due to disabling CPU ticking scan. In that case your Win 8 will work with ticks as Win 7

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