Need help with HP xw4600 workstation freezing up

Hewlett-packard Xw4600 workstation
October 8, 2015 at 10:10:28
Specs: Windows Vista, Intel Core 2 2K / 4Gb RAM
Could use a little assistance troubleshooting a freeze-up problem with my computer.

The box: HP xw4600 workstation, Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4Gb RAM, NVIDIA Quadro NVS 440 video card, Logitech wireless kybd & mouse, Windows Vista.

Problem is that the system intermittently freezes, requiring a cold boot to get started again. When this happens it is locked up solid- no cursor movement via mouse, no kybd input, no HD activity, and it doesn't unfreeze if left alone (I walked away for 30+ minutes, no change), the clock in the system tray doesn't increment. When I'm listening to streaming audio the sound freezes as well, repeating the last note rapidly like a stuck CD player.

Some days this won't occur at all, other days it will freeze a handful of times. Doesn't seem to matter if earlier or later in the day. There is no new equipment on or near the box, and nothing has been recently moved or removed. The only pattern I've been able to identify is that this always happens when I'm in a browser, never when I'm working in a program like Photoshop or running a virus scan, etc. Occurs in Firefox and Chrome browsers (both are current versions). Virus and malware scans are coming back repeatedly clean. I ran MemTest86+ overnight and after 7-1/2 complete passes it found 0 errors. Additionally, I ran Video Memory stress Test and it came back with 0 errors.

At this point I presume it's a hardware error- CPU or system board or maybe even a power supply hiccup, but I don't know how to narrow it down further. I don't have extra components to swap in/out and can't afford to start buying parts in an attempt to fix it shotgun style. Is there anything Windows is logging where that data would help point to a particular component, or is there some diagnostic program I can load that might capture useful data when it freezes? Thanks for your advice.

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October 8, 2015 at 16:48:50
You could look at the clock then go to Event Viewer (type it in Search). Look under the Windows sub-headings. Most computers show many, so concentrate only on those which coincide with the time and date. of these failures.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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October 10, 2015 at 10:12:13
It's frozen a few times more since I posted initially. When I look at event viewer there are no errors at or immediately preceding the time of failure, and there is no pattern of other recorded events that would suggest a consistent, target-able problem.

Any recommendations for some sort of hardware diagnostics that I can have running in the background that might lead me to identify the failing component?

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October 10, 2015 at 15:36:56
As it appears to be browsers related have you run these two on it?

(blue Download button near top - not anything else on the page).
Download and "Save" the file somewhere. Go to the saved file then double click it to run the program. Use the "Scan" button, followed by the "Cleaning" button.

Junkware Removal Tool (JRT)
(blue Download button near top - not anything else on the page).
Download and "Save" the file somewhere. Go to the saved file then double click it to run JRT. It might appear to have stopped at times or flash the screen but sit tight until it has finished.

If you haven't already run this one too:
Download the free version.
Install and Run the program but before doing its Scan go to "Settings > Detection and Protection" and put a checkmark in "Scan for rootkits". Quarantine anything it finds.

Let us know the outcome for all three and keep all logs if they find anything.

If it's a hardware fault it is hard to see why it only affects browsers. I assume it sometimes happens even when you are not streaming audio.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek

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Related Solutions

October 10, 2015 at 17:19:04
I had a problem with some of the latest "recommended" windows 7 updates. The system would freeze or become unstable. Removed updates and returned to normal.

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October 13, 2015 at 10:04:03
It's such a random occurrence it's been difficult to detect any sort of pattern, however it does seem to be getting more frequent. In the beginning it was once or twice a day but lately it's more like 4-5 times. 80-90% of the time this machine is in use it's for Internet access, so that may be why it only freezes when in a browser.

Derek, I've run the three utilities you recommended and the system has frozen a few times since. I've had streaming audio on only a couple times when this has happened.

I did recently install updates on the OS but that didn't coincide with this problem starting.

Is there a diagnostic that records fluctuations in power supply output, for example? That would help me rule that component in or out. And no, these freezes are not corresponding with notable fluctuations in the line voltage (ie lights flickering).

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October 13, 2015 at 10:28:30
Try updating your graphics drivers. I'm assuming you're running a 32 bit version of Vista? If so, go here -

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