Why is my computer freezing?
August 18, 2006 5:53 AM   Subscribe

Why does my laptop computer keep freezing up at seemingly random times?

I can't find any really consistant cause, and it's one of those things where I can't even ctrl+alt+delete to restart it or close a program. All I can do is hold down the power button to shut it down manually.

It's a relatively old computer, a Toshiba Satellite 1115-S103. Is my computer just slowly dying or is there something that can be done to fix the problem?
posted by superbird to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dunno about that model specifically, but a few of the Satellite models had problems with RAM sockets going crook after a while (HR joints where they were soldered to the m'board, I believe). Symptoms were either straight hard lockups like you're experiencing, or the normal BSOD.

If you've only got 1 RAM stick installed, try swapping it to the other slot.
posted by Pinback at 6:14 AM on August 18, 2006

Could be heat related.
I had a laptop that would heat up too much and then freeze.
it happened a few years after it was purchased. Probably a fan or something was wearing out.
posted by Iax at 7:30 AM on August 18, 2006

Random freezes/crashes can often be the result of bad memory (your memory could be going bad, that is an old box) or graphics issues (which can sometimes be fixed by upgrading your graphics card driver to the most recent version).

Once it happens, is it more likely to happen again that same day? If the laptop is off for a full day, and you turn it on, does it take longer for the first crash to occur? If that's the case, I'd agree with lax and say that it's heat related.
posted by Merdryn at 7:47 AM on August 18, 2006

I have a Toshiba as well, and that sucker can heat up the whole room! When it does, it needs about 10min or so of cool-down time, then it can start-up again...
posted by strangelove at 8:20 AM on August 18, 2006

Run memtest86 on it for a few hours, to determine if it is a memory issue.
posted by kableh at 8:39 AM on August 18, 2006

if the laptop has a cooling fan, that fan may not be running anymore, which would cause the thermal shutdown everyone is positing here.

If you can find a utility that will monitor the system temperature, keeping an eye on that would be useful.
posted by baylink at 9:06 AM on August 18, 2006

I second the overheating hunch. There are a wide variety of utilities out there that let you monitor your CPU and hard drive temps. (Unfortunately their names escape me at the moment...)
posted by chrisamiller at 3:52 PM on August 18, 2006

My Gateway 600YGR laptop does the same thing. Only with mine, it's *usually* shortly after I bring it out of standby, often when I try to check my e-mail.

I have a cooling pad (USB-powered, with fans) underneath it, and it doesn't seem to matter.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:06 PM on August 18, 2006

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