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I've had some really strange, but until now, rare problems with my Windows 7 PC. A few minutes after startup, the computer froze, as in the displayed frame stayed the same and the computer did not respond to any keyboard and mouse inputs; no bluescreen (typically, but sometimes I've had bluescreen scrashes).

The pattern is pretty consistent:

  • the computer freezes after a somewhat random amount of time after booting
  • it never freezes a few hours into being booted
  • one time it even seemed to freeze on the Windows loading screen
  • one time the motherboard output a constant, loud beeping noise after booting and login (might be unrelated)

Lately, after startup, I couldn't even get the computer to boot at all. No screen output, no motherboard-beeping signals, simply nothing. One time my computer froze on the Windows loading screen.

Here's a short summary of all the problems:

  • seemingly random computer freezes, always shortly after booting
  • after turning power off and rebooting, computer starts and either:
    • the computer is stuck on a black screen with nothing happening
    • the computer starts and no problems occur
    • the computer starts but it freezes again shorty after booting

I am fairly certain that this must be a hardware related issue, I just can't nail it down to a specific component. My PC is really old (6-7?), except for a new GTX 960 which I have purchased 2 years ago.

Any help would be appreciated a lot. Thanks in advance!

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I see this troubleshoot from time to time. Most likely, there isn't a big issue like you might think. Your computer is most likely checking all the programs that are installed, referring to your startup programs, going through the registry and all the old stuff that takes time and yes it freezes your PC; or at least doesn't process your input because it's still processing startup diagnostics. So many things. Think of your computer as if it were a muscle hot rod race car, but you have to warm it up and do a systems check every time before you drive it or even better how long do you sit on the tarmac before the airplane actually moves. And depending on how many programs you've installed, how many installs and uninstalls will fluctuate that boot time also. Not all uninstalls are true uninstalls, they tend to leave things lying around, especially old Registry things that your PC has to run and take a peek at. And what startup programs are there.

What to do then knowing all that?

  1. Recommended for your computer: it's been around the block for a while like you said
    Backup your computer files (I'd guess your personal files) and do a fresh install.

I highly recommend #1 option because a) it's the cheapest and you can do it yourself and b) there are a two dozen ways you can "pimp" your machine to make it boot faster and sometimes it needs to be really techy or software involved and it takes a lot of work.

Really, nothing beats a fresh install. Your PC will hum like it's new again. Clean it! Be sure to air out the insides as well and get the dust out of there, clean the vents and the fan and take necessary precautions like unplugging your PC first and wearing the proper anti-static gear. Heat is the most intrusive thing that the PC faces and it causes lag and slows everything down; hence the cleaning lecture.

Don't want to do a fresh install? Poor PC. Okay then. I put a link for startup troubleshooting below. And a big cut/paste because links are very temporary. Almost every link I've clicked on from a post that is at least a years is gone. That's why when I find really good information I not only bookmark it, but I save it as PDF in my information folder.

Other things to consider if you don't opt for option #1:

  1. Search for registry cleaners online.

  2. Uninstall old programs that you don't use anymore. This slows your boot time which makes you think it's frozen, but it's really still booting and taking extra time.

  3. Run the defrag. A fragmented hard drive means that there are sufficiently many files that are non-contiguously saved and can cause a noticeable difference in performance; which can cause lags if your pc is accessing a large enough non-contiguous install or file.

  4. Remove old startup files (link below). What processes are running at startup? Do I need or want all of them?

  5. Antivirus software can cause your PC to do funny things like simulate a freeze when it's running in the background. Or, you may be infected and your PC is running a routine unbeknownst to you.

  6. Paste this in a Google search, "how to get my pc to work like new again", which is what most people do when answering questions here.

Honestly, the way to find information about a problem is to know how and what questions to ask and that comes with experience and training. So, glad to help out.

Note: People will chime in with Opinions. And well, opinions on solutions are all but too abundant. So, best of luck and hopefully this will work out with no money involved. And this problem could actually be just bad hardware like you said. Something that took a beating, be it heat or otherwise.

Lastly:

  1. Take your PC to a shop and tell them what's happening and they have the professional tools to run proper diagnostics and it shouldn't cost too much for the initial diagnostic. Sometimes it's not something you can fix. And, the first thing a tech will ask you when dropping it off is, "Can we do a fresh install if we have to?". Which means that's the first thing they do FYI (cost effective for business).



https://kb.iu.edu/d/adlf

In Windows, how can I prevent a program from starting automatically?
Often, a program starts automatically in Windows because of a shortcut in the Startup folder in the Start menu. The program may also run automatically from a registry entry. Following are three sets of directions you can follow to remove programs from automatic startup. After you have gone through each set of steps, reboot your computer to see if the problem is fixed. If necessary, you can then continue to the next set of instructions.

On this page:

Removing a shortcut
Disabling items not in the Startup folder
Task Manager (Windows 10 and 8.x)
System Configuration Utility (Windows 7)
Removing a registry entry

Removing a shortcut
Note:
In all Windows operating systems, the shortcut will remain in the Recycle Bin until you empty it.
To remove a shortcut from the Startup folder:

Windows 10 and 8.x
Press Win-r. In the "Open:" field, type:
  %AppData%\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup 
Press Enter.

Right-click the program you don't want to open at startup and click Delete.
Windows 7
From the Start menu, click All Programs, and then click Startup.
Right-click the program you don't want to open at startup and click Delete.
Correcting a shortcut path
If a shortcut you want in the Startup folder is pointing to the wrong program, correct it as follows:

In the Startup folder, right-click the appropriate icon and select Properties.
Click the Shortcut tab. In the "Target:" field, verify that the path statement points to the filename of the correct program. If it does not, enter the accurate path to the program.

Disabling items not in the Startup folder
Some startup items have no shortcut in the Startup folder. You can disable these with either the Task Manager in Windows 10 and 8.x, or the System Configuration Utility (msconfig.exe) in Windows 7. Otherwise, they are only accessible through the registry. If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with registry editing, use these utilities.


Task Manager (Windows 10 and 8.x)
Navigate to the Task Manager.
Note:
For help navigating, see Getting around in Windows.
If necessary, click More details to see all of the tabs; select the Startup tab.
Select the item not to launch at startup, and click Disable.

System Configuration Utility (Windows 7)
Press Win-r. In the "Open:" field, type msconfig and press Enter.
Click the Startup tab.
Uncheck the items you do not want to launch on startup.
Note:
It may take some time to identify which items to check and which to uncheck. Some items will be easy to identify (e.g., Microsoft Office), some may be slightly confusing (e.g., realsched), and some will be cryptic (e.g., 000StTHK or QFSSCHD110). If you cannot determine what an entry is (and therefore whether you should uncheck it or not), you may want to use a search engine to research the individual entry. Keep in mind there are some entries that you should avoid unchecking (e.g., virus scanners).
When you have finished making your selections, click OK.
In the box that appears, click Restart to restart your computer.

Removing a registry entry
Warning:
This contains instructions for editing the registry. If you make any error while editing the registry, you can potentially cause Windows to fail or be unable to boot, requiring you to reinstall Windows. Edit the registry at your own risk. Always back up the registry before making any changes. If you do not feel comfortable editing the registry, do not attempt these instructions. Instead, seek the help of a computing support provider.
To remove a startup entry from the registry:

Press Win-r. In the "Open:" field, type regedit and press Enter.
To save a backup copy of the registry, from the File menu, select Export....
Make sure to note the file's destination; by default, it will be saved on the desktop.
Give the file an obvious name, such as registry or regback, so that you'll remember this file is your registry backup.
In the "Export Range" field, make sure All is selected, and then click Save. This will make a backup of a working registry.
To expand HKEY LOCAL MACHINE, click the + (plus sign) to the left.
Expand the SOFTWARE tree. Then expand Microsoft, then Windows, and then CurrentVersion.
Highlight the Run folder. On the right side of the screen, you will see programs that are set to run on startup that might not be included in the Startup folder. Some of these may be important programs, such as antivirus programs or firewalls. There also may be undesirable or unnecessary programs, such as spyware and advertisement software. You'll need to ascertain what is needed and what is not.
Highlight any program(s) you want to prevent from starting automatically, and then press the Del key. Remember that deleting programs here does not remove them from your computer; it only stops them from running automatically.
Changes to the registry are implemented immediately, so you do not need to save your changes. At this point, you may simply close the Registry Editor.
This is document adlf in the Knowledge Base. 
Last modified on 2015-08-14 00:00:00.

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  • "Nothing is wrong with your computer" clearly not true. Random freezes are caused by something ... – DavidPostill Nov 25 '16 at 12:21
  • 1
    @DavidPostill Okay, I'll reword that. But it's most likely true, unless it's been abused by dust or something else. But thanks for the corrections, I should reword that. – ejbytes Nov 25 '16 at 12:23

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