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I experience occasional 'freezes' on my desktop machine (Windows XP SP3). I've tried the normal debugging methods I know (watching Process Explorer, running ProcMon (hard to get a good trace because the hangups are so intermittent).

Are there any additional system debugging methods that might be useful in discovering what would cause these hang ups?

While this question is more about debugging methods than the actual issue itself (which is probably more of a superuser question), the symptoms of the hangup are:

  • All windows become non-responding. Can be brought the foreground, but do not repaint.
  • Taskbar/explorer windows are non-responsive
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del, Ctrl+Shift+Esc, Win+L, do not do anything (though the actions are queued up, and when the system unhangs, they are performed)
  • Oddly enough, usually I can still scroll through the current page I have open in Google Chrome, but I cannot change tabs.
  • Hangup can happen when I have tons of apps open, but also when I only have Outlook, Chrome, and MS Communicator (plus all the corporate spyware).
  • Usually the hang lasts between 30sec and 3 minutes or so. After which I can continue working as usual.
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migrated from Jan 12 '10 at 9:27

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

You could try to run Performance Monitor (perfmon.exe) and try a few different counters until you see something revealing.

I see symptoms like this when the paging file gets large thanks to long-running processes consuming large amounts of virtual memory.

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See the general post on how to create a manual memory dump and then how to analyze it to determine what crashed. I would recommend trying to manually create a dump the next time your computer freezes up, then analyzing the information, to get an idea of what application or driver may be causing the crashes.

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