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I have a Windows XP machine that randomly freezes.

I can't take a memory dump with manual BSOD even using PS2 keyboard (seems that the machine is so freezed that I can't even provoke a manual BSOD).

In event viewer logs I don't see any errors, just normal activity until the freeze time, and then usual boot-logs when I force an hardware reboot.

The issue might be related to Sygate Personal Firewall (SPF) (tucows.com/preview/213160). I don't know if it's only a coincidence, but freezes started after the installation of this software, and removing it seems that no more freezes are happening.

Any idea on how to identify the software / driver freezing the machine or conflicting with SPF would be appreciated!

Cheers,

LuKe

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closed as off topic by sysadmin1138 Sep 29 '11 at 22:25

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4 Answers 4

If you haven't run something like MemTest86+ on the machine I'd do that first. It sounds, to me, like you have a hardware issue and not a drive problem (since you're not getting kernel STOP screens, event log entries, etc).

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Thanks for the tip! I will try it, but I forgot to mention, that the issue seems started after installing Sygate Personal Firewall (tucows.com/preview/213160). I don't know if it's only a coincidence, but removing it seems that no more freezes are happening. Now I'm trying other software firewalls, but I was used to the Sygate one and would like to check if it's the culprit. –  LuKe Jul 29 '09 at 11:21
    
You should try wipfw, it works great on Windows XP and is free. –  Anonymous Jul 29 '09 at 12:01
    
I wouldn't be surprised if Sygate Personal Firewall had something to do with it. After my experiences with Symantec Endpoint Protection (which was based on a Sygate product) I wouldn't recommend a Sygate product to anyone. We had massive stability issues with server and client computers after installing initial release of Symantec Endpoint Protection. In particular, the "Teefer.sys" network driver, which provides the firewall functionality, caused us endless headaches. –  Evan Anderson Jul 29 '09 at 12:05
    
I know Sygate / Symantec are not the best firewall for stability, but I used it on very similar machines before, without any issues. Maybe it's really only hardware failures (that would explain why I can't invoke a BSOD from keyboard). I'll try MemTest86+ and update the question ASAP! Thanks, Cheers. –  LuKe Jul 29 '09 at 12:27

You may have already have tried these, but -

  • Have you installed anything new lately
  • added any new hardware
  • check your running services. Are there any 3rd party services running hot?
  • does this lockup occur in safe mode
  • have you tested your ram?
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Check your RAM like Evan said, also make sure your motherboard chipset and NIC drivers are up to date.

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In my experience, a hardware problem is the only thing that produces a complete freeze, with no error report or diagnostic trace of what went wrong.

If you have added new hardware recently then check that first. It could also be the temperature inside the case, a USB-connected device failing, spikes in your power supply, too much dust, etc.

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