Dell XPS laptop Freezes on using Skype,Logmein,Youtube video

February 9, 2013 at 10:05:54
Specs: Windows 7, i7 2640M 2.8ghz/ 8gb ram
When i use, skype video call, youtube or any type of video file after a few mins my computer completely freezes up. I believe flash is used in all of those, i tried updating to the latest flash and even rolling back to Flash 9, doesnt make a difference.

If i'm talking on Skype i have no issues even for an hour, if i turn on video chat within 5-10 mins it will freeze. Also have issues with Photoshop and Dreamweaver, using them for a while seems to eventually cause these freezes, the longer i leave it on the worse it gets, in particular when using the Photoshop CS6 menus it seems to lag and it doesnt do this when i load it for the first while. When it happens when im on a skype call or sometimes a video its like the speed of people talking or music slows down, the whole computer will be completely unresponsive for 5 mins and then it will come back and start working fine again. I cant check whats using the most CPU as its starting to die off by the time it comes back but usually when it happens, Chrome,Firefox,Dreamweaver,Photoshop,vsmon,dwm.exe all seem to be the main ones but i dont think its them specifically just seems to affect my whole PC and they are probably the main ones that use graphics card.

I also tried a complete windows reinstall, clean wipe of the hard drive. Im using Windows 7 and its a legit copy of windows. The computer is a XPS 15z i7 8gb Ram and the Graphics card is an Nvidia Geforce GT525M and i downloaded the latest driver from their support site, it was dated Jan 2013 so quite new.

I also noticed it gets very hot, more than i would expect for this laptop and if for example i have it lying on the bed it will be super hot quickly and it will freeze up also especially if its already been running a while, a lot of times i dont turn off the laptop at all and leave it running overnight.

I stripped down the whole Laptop, i have a feeling its the graphics card because the intense heat is roughly where the graphics card is, that spans probably the whole left side of the laptop, its under the motherboard and it was difficult to get at it, i couldnt see a fan, it just looked like a black slab, but everything seems in order, the fan doesn't look like its dirthy or full of fluff or anything.

Now maybe its actually the sound card, a while back many months ago i spilled some beer on the laptop, not really sure if much got on it, but it wasnt too much and was wiped off within a minute, it would have penetrated through the keyboard and speaker holes.

Initially it wouldnt start and then eventually it did, had some trouble with the sound working for a day or two and it was crackling a lot on the left side where the sound card is but now it works perfect and no crackling or issues for months.

I would be happy to replace the graphics card if people think its quite likely to be the issue, what would cause the intense heat, i think it must at least be related, is the fan not cooling it down enough or could it be the sound card.

Ideally i dont want to lose 2-3 days leaving this into a technician as i need this for work so i would rather take the risk and get replacement part IF the experts think its very likely to be the graphics card. Anotherwords im looking for the quickest way to fix it without much downtime and dont mind if that costs a few hundred its better than being offline for a few days which i cant afford.

Also when it happens it shows 100% CPU usage, i know it wont solve the problem but would sticking in another 8gb of ram at least help the issue, no harm having extra ram anyway and i know the CPU usage is the problem not ram but though that if there was more ram it might ease things when it happens and maybe it wont be as severe.

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February 9, 2013 at 11:33:50
First, do not use the laptop directly on the bed or other soft surfaces unless you put a cooling pad between the laptop and the soft surface so that the vents on the bottom and sides are not blocked.

Second, Run msconfig, go to the Start Tab, and uncheck all except Microsoft, your antivirus program, and things that are absolutely needed (battery monitor, graphics driver, etc), Apply and restart the machine.

Third, Run Malwarenytes to double check for malware that might have slipped past your antivirus program.

Fourth, If you are running a system hogging antivirus program like Norton or McAfee, remove it and replace it with something better. I recommend Avast (free version) and Webroot (free trial only).

Fifth, Install HWMonitor or SpeedFan to monitor your internal temperatures real time, report the results (in degrees C). In fact, if you install it first, you can compare the results of the changes you are making.

The extra memory will not effect CPU usage, but Photoshop will definitely run better.
Spilling liquid on a laptop is never a good thing. If any got in circuit boards, then it is possible for components to burn out. This does not appear to be the case this time, but if you want to take the time, wiping down the surfaces of the boards with a quality rubbing alcohol and Q-Tips may be a good idea.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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February 9, 2013 at 13:04:34
1 - Good advice on 1 but just to point out this is extreme that it would cause a freeze, i don't it often but in the past ive often spent a couple of hours working from my lap or bed and it never caused an issue, this basically freezes every 10 mins consistently. I actually do have a fan assisted one

2 - msconfig i do regularly, hate programs slowing down my startup

3 - Will run it now, just to point out i done a clean hard drive wipe and clean reinstall of windows 7 and it happened right away, so giving the information i think we can rule out viruses as the cause.

4 - Agree with your choice for Avast, Microsoft security essentials also seems good, i use Zone Alarm for my firewall.

5 - Find attached Monitor Info Screenshot and here is the full file

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February 9, 2013 at 14:01:01
Kinda cosy temperatures. Did you manage to see the CPU heatsink - they can often get chogged up with dust?

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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Related Solutions

February 9, 2013 at 20:42:05
Temps are on the hot side. If the heat sink and fan are free of dust and the fan is running as well as being free of background programs, then I would say that you should look in your BIOS, you probably should reset defaults, and definitely make sure that CPU voltage is correct (if available), Speed Step is enabled, and all power saving features are normally set.
If these do not help. you may need to reset your CPU heat sink with a cleaned surface and new thermal compound.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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February 10, 2013 at 01:12:11
Ok when i put a fan under it i am seeing a difference,it doesnt freeze anywhere near as much. I got some thermal paste and canned air and im going to clean out the fan and also redo the paste.

Im not sure because i never done it before but it looks like dell done a crappy job on the paste, see the images, the paste spilled over the sides of the square sink and onto the part below it.

Here is the heatsink and here is the fan

I have 2 questions, i dont have special tools for removing the paste nor alchohol wipes, whats the best household items i should use to clean it, can i use babywipes and a piece of hard plastic to scrape it off, is the areas with paste sensitive? Also see the area around the sink where the paste spilled onto, looks like there is metal strips, is that bad the paste spilled over them? Also should i avoid cleaning that area in case i damaged them?

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February 10, 2013 at 06:09:04
I do not usually work on laptops, but it looks about right. Read the link to show you how and how much paste to apply. Use a common bottle of quality rubbing alcohol (90% or better IsoPropel) and use a combination of Q-Tips and the corner of a paper towel. Use an old plastic credit card to help, but do not push too hard and do not use too much of the rubbing alcohol at a time. Make sure that you do not leave behind bits of the cotton or paper or of the old compound and clean the heat sink as well. The most important part is the surface to make contact, but too much compound on the surrounding surfaces may make the contact with the heat sink a poor one by not letting it lay flat.
Others who regularly work on laptops may have more to add to this so do not rush into it too fast.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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