I have a Dell N5050 laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate 64. All at once, it
started freezing up and I had to force a shut down. I ran Norton 360 and it
found nothing. I downloaded Norton Power Eraser; it found nothing. I ran every
spyware and malware I could find and they found very little and I still have
the problem. I’ve a 1 TB hard drive that is half full. I can run the computer
in Safe Mode with networking and it works fine. It has to be a program, so I
deleted all the programs that I installed over the last 30 days. No help. I
tried to wipe the drive and start over but when I try it freezes in mid-stream.
I’ve tried to let it alone; six to seven hours, but it still does not recover. It just
stays frozen. Very puzzling.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #67, I look at a computer displaying odd symptoms that seem to be
relieved by Safe Mode.
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Indeed – very puzzling!
So, the things that come to mind right away are some kind of a hardware
Now, I’m assuming that since it runs in Safe Mode… you’re able to run it
for a length of time in Safe Mode and not have any problems. That
typically would rule out something as simple as overheating: as long as you’re
doing more or less the same kinds of things in Safe Mode that you were doing in
Video driver or hardware
What it does make me think of though (of all things) would be the video
hardware or the video driver.
One of the distinctions of Safe Mode is that it actually runs with a default
video driver. It doesn’t use all of the fancy features and higher resolutions
that your actual video card may have. One of the ways that Safe Mode stays safe
is to avoid those kinds of advanced technologies. The net result is that if
there is a hardware issue with your video card that only kicks in in those
higher resolution or advanced modes, it won’t kick in in Safe Mode.
Similarly, if there’s a problem with a driver that is dependent on something
that’s being done in those advanced modes, or heck, if there’s a problem with
the driver at all, then that’s not going to show up in Safe Mode; because Safe
Mode, of course, is using a stock standard driver, not the driver specifically
for your card.
So that’s one of the very first things that comes to mind. The same kind of
applies to networking even though Safe Mode with networking has to do some
networking. It is very possible that portions of either the driver set or the
hardware are not being exercised in the same way.
So those are the things that come to mind.
This really does still (even if things are working in Safe Mode) feel like a
hardware problem, especially if it’s freezing when you’re trying to reinstall
Reinstalling the system at some point is going to try and install the
correct driver for your video card (as an example). And it could be at that time
when that driver suddenly starts to have a problem because the hardware that
it’s expecting to work maybe isn’t.
So in a case like this, one of the things I would suggest you do (if you
have the resources) might be to quickly change the video driver or change out
the video card and see if that makes a difference.
If not, I do think you’re looking at having a technician have a look at the
hardware, because all of the indicators are that this is a hardware-related
Next from Answercast #67 – How do I get rid of this old Hotmail message that keeps coming up?