A friend of mine gave me a Dell XPS 8930 tower because it was freezing intermittently with no obvious cause; he didn't have time to figure it out himself and was past the point of being able to return it. I figured since I do this sort of thing for a living, I would be able to easily fix this computer and use it as a nice gaming PC. Well, I have now exhausted my usual toolbox and I'm out of ideas on what could be wrong.
The problem: Windows intermittently freezes during tasks without a clear cause. I have been unable to identify anything in particular that will make it freeze. Sometimes it freezes shortly after booting, other times the computer can run for a while without issue. Because of this, I haven't had much success in isolating the issue. For example, I can play GTA (story or online) for a few hours and there might only be a short freezes; I tried Halo 4 today and it was unplayable. Sometimes the computer will lock up just browsing the web.
- 460W power supply
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5 Graphics
- 8th Generation Intel i7-8700 6-Core 3.20 GHz Processor
- Dell stock motherboard (not sure on the model) with Qualcomm WiFi/Bluetooth module
- ADATA 512 GB NVMe SSD
- Toshiba 2 TB 7200RPM HDD
- 32 GB DDR4 Memory
- Windows 10 Pro (64bit)
- When a freeze happens, the computer does not always freeze completely immediately. Often, performance quickly degrades until the computer is completely frozen.
- At the beginning of a freeze, animated buttons will still work, such as a change in gradient when hovering over a button.
- In one scenario: I attempt to navigate to a web page, the browser gets stuck at "waiting for cache", I press the Windows key to open the start menu, the menu opens but is then frozen, the mouse cursor still moves, the mouse cursor eventually freezes.
- Another scenario: I'll be playing a game, the screen freezes and the computer no longer accepts input.
- Once while I was playing a game, the computer froze while an attached controller was vibrating; the vibration continued until the computer unfroze.
- The computer will usually unfreeze after waiting a few minutes, but sometimes it needs to be forcibly powered down. Only once did it blue-screen with the error DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE.
What I've tried:
- Reset Windows twice, once using the built-in fresh start to get Dell's OEM image, and once from a recovery disk to get a completely base install of Windows.
- Made sure all drivers were updated, including BIOS, using Dell Command Update.
- Ran quick and full scans using Dell Support Assist: no issues were reported.
- Ran tests to check SSD and HDD using CrystalDiskInfo: both succeeded with no issues.
- Ran Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool: succeeded with no issues.
- Ran memory check (mdsched.exe): no issues were reported.
- Disabled Windows automatic driver updates and changed power management settings to provided minimum 100% power to CPU, per this answer: Windows 10 Freezing
What am I missing here? At this point I am assuming faulty or incompatible hardware somewhere, given that I've reinstalled Windows several times. I unfortunately do not have extra hardware available to start swapping out different components, and I don't want to be throwing money at the problem without any direction. Any help here or other suggestions on what to try would be greatly appreciated.