Friday, July 05, 2013

Windows 8 Action Center Maintenance can hang some laptops in some cases

Today, my Toshiba Satellite Windows 8 machine froze while Windows Maintenance was running/  I had left it idle a while, and had been turning it off at night, so it hadn’t run at 3 AM, so it decided to run today.

The mouse or touchpad pointer left the blue circle spinning when the pointer was moved off the notification bar at the bottom.  The Windows key would not toggle back to the Windows 8 “tablet” screen.
I finally stopped it by hitting the power button.  I restarted.  It took much longer than usual to come back up, but it finally did. 

Through the control panel I got to the Action Center, and next to Security, found Maintenance.  I found that maintenance had tried to run.  About an hour later, I found maintenance had rerun, this time without incident.
I looked at the Reliability History and found that the program “News” had crashed about the time of the hang (and sent a report).  But it shouldn’t have locked the machine. I clicked on the little notification bar icon for details and could not get it to respond (without stopping and restarting).  

It’s interesting that Windows maintenance runs live, and can lock out the machine, in addition to the usual Windows 8 updates, most of which require machine restarts.  Sometimes Microsoft Office runs its own update, and locks out Word and other Office applications for a while.  I don’t like this.

Earlier versions of Windows don’t seem to do this step.


Microsoft has an forum answer on the Windows 8 freeze problem (link) .  It mentions the possibility that some antivirus vendors could freeze the machine (mine is Webroot, and I will check with the company) and also recommends an “SFC scan”. 
   

A couple other little things I have noticed.  Brothers laser printers warn on toner long before it runs out.  The touchpad on a Toshiba satellite is very sensitive but can stop working if any grease (from food on fingertips) gets on it at all.  

Update:

A little more investigation shows that the automatic Webroot daily security scan may have been running at the same time as Windows 8 Maintenance.  I don't know if this is a "no-no".  

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