Unpredictable computer freezing options?
February 6, 2019 11:07 AM   Subscribe

I have a Dell Inspiron 13 7375 (AMD Ryzen 5) running Windows 10. It works very well in general, but occasionally freezes completely. when I say freeze, I mean it ceases responding to any input, completely and instantly.

The only thing on the computer that responds is the Fn key that changes the keyboard backlight intensity. I have to force restart it by holding the power button. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to when this happens. It can happen while I am in the middle of typing, or when the computer is sitting idle with no programs open.

How can I troubleshoot something so inconsistent? Is there an error log somewhere that might offer some clues? I'd rather not re-install Windows or anything like that, but I will if I have to.
posted by Rock Steady to Technology (8 answers total)
 
Is Dell SupportAssist installed on the computer? If so run it (if it asks to update itself, update it) and run the Hardware Test and the Driver Updates at the very least. Probably some sticky driver that's been updated. Do all updates it tells you about, but if you want to check back in on what they are, comment back in here.

If SupportAssist is not on the computer, download it from here.

If it finds no updates, I'll have you do the low-level hardware test built into the Dell laptops.
posted by deezil at 11:51 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


It installed a BIOS update, which sounds promising... Of course I can't tell if it fixed anything yet. I'll update if it freezes again.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:13 PM on February 6


coming in to add that whatever deezil says should be regarded as holy writ. ;-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:58 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


BIOS updates can do weird voodoo sometimes. Sounds promising that that's a fix.
posted by deezil at 5:10 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


A few other ways of looking at the problem:
1. General steps:
--One place to look would be Windows Event Logs. Here are some instructions if you need them: https://www.dummies.com/computers/operating-systems/windows-10/how-to-use-event-viewer-in-windows-10/ . If you see a consistent error around the time of the freeze, google it for more clues.
--Try Running Windows Update to make sure both windows and drivers are up to date
--Try running the Windows system File checker: https://support.microsoft.com/en-in/help/4026529/windows-10-using-system-file-checker

2. Is this a laptop? Its possible that Windows is OK but the keyboard / mouse connection is busted. A quick troubleshooting step would be to attach an external keyboard or mouse and see if they still work when the laptop stops responding.
posted by nalyd at 5:43 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


coming in to add that whatever deezil says should be regarded as holy writ. ;-)

If I had thought about it for a few minutes before posting the question, I might have just MeMailed deezil.

Is this a laptop? Its possible that Windows is OK but the keyboard / mouse connection is busted. A quick troubleshooting step would be to attach an external keyboard or mouse and see if they still work when the laptop stops responding.

It is a laptop, and that's an interesting theory that I have not tested. I think it has frozen in the past while using a wireless mouse, but I can't say for sure. In any case, the computer always works just fine immediately after a hard reboot, so I don't think it is a loose connection or anything hardware-related, but I will try that next time.

For what it is worth, it did not happen in over 2+ hours of use last night following the BIOS update, but that's not super unusual. It can sometimes be days in between freezes.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:25 AM on February 7


My HP computer crashed every now and then for a year after purchase. Eventually, it was sent back to HP, and they discovered it was the SSD (which they replaced). The tech guys like to blame software and device drivers, but it could just be a hardware error.
posted by SemiSalt at 10:53 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


It's only frozen once since the BIOS update, so I'm calling that a success for now. Thanks deezil!
posted by Rock Steady at 5:13 PM on February 27


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