Friday, July 19, 2013

Windows 7 hang has a "hot fix"; Windows 8 may have a small glitch with Toshiba

I have experienced an intermittent problem on a Dell XPS laptop purchased in 2009, converted from Vista to Windows 7 at the beginning of 2011. 

Occasionally, but only once in a boot cycle, the PC freezes on going to certain commercial websites tending to have lots of ads.  These particularly include Salon, Slate, and sometimes CNN.  Sometimes Google searches hang if they try to return previews of these sites.  Hitting the left click pad (underneath the tracking pad) on the laptop repeatedly for about thirty seconds releases it, but causes one or more programs to execute repeatedly (often Windows Media Player), opening windows that need to be closed manually.  Even if a wireless keyboard and mouse is in use, the computer can be unlocked only with the laptop click pad itself. 

Then the computer works normally until it has to be restarted again.

The problem can happen in at least IE, Firefox, and Chrome. 

I wrote about this problem also on the Internet Safety blog today (q.v.)

PC World reports that Microsoft has a “Hotfix” for a memory deadlock problem that can occur in Windows 7 (but not Vista) on some models.  The article by Rick Broad (Aug. 31, 2010) is here

I just got this back from Geek Squad, and the problem just happened again!
If anyone has fixed this problem at home with the Hotfix and can comment, please do so/  Why doesmt' Microsoft fix this with automatic updates?
I also had an issue on Windows 8 (a Toshiba Satellite) where, when checking the Geek Squad repair status (which can sometimes give an error when the status is in the process of being changed), the site hung for about thirty seconds and the Windows 8 machine seemed frozen.  But then it released itself with no programing.  This happened only in Internet Explorer 10.  I get automatic updates from both Microsoft and Toshiba on this computer (a Toshiba service pack update can take 40 minutes or so and be rather disruptive, but you probably have to do it/)  I have a feeling that this glitch is Toshiba-specific and would require research by G.S. with Toshiba to find the proper fix.  
A machine should never hang if all software works properly.  Unfortunately, there's too much "unsafe code" out there -- not malicious, just incorrect.   Programmers (like I used to be) are human and make mistakes.

Picture: That piano is in the Bethel Church (historic) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.    

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