Question Computer freezing up. Some particularly odd symptoms.


Jul 23, 2014
Before I describe my problem, know that I DID google it and look it up here and nothing included the weird signs that my computer in particular has.

So, as of about a month ago, my computer started to periodically freeze. The display's state remains, but it's otherwise completely unresponsive. Furthermore, two odd things happen - first, my mouse and keyboard's lights die. I assume that it means that the mouse and keyboard drivers turned off. Second, the restart button doesn't work (I checked if it works while the computer isn't frozen - it does). The only way to power it off is to hold down the power button or kill the power outright

Some additional info - the RAM is new. However, recently, I moved it over to this PC from another one, so it might be mis-seated. I'll play around with it in the meanwhile.
The PSU is a little over a year old, and it's a corsair CX550M, and ever since I got it, it has been underloaded most of the time since I mostly study on this PC, and what little gaming I do is mostly indie stuff that doesn't put a heavy load on the CPU or GPU.

Here are the a few of the things I sorta suspect, I'd like to hear if the freezing (given the symptoms) sounds like it might be coming from there.

So, first of all, I got this PC from a friend, so I don't know how old it is, though judging by how clean it was and the fact that thermal paste was applied, I assume that he took good care of it. Everything but the mobo, the CPU and the CPU cooler is mine. None of the stuff there looked corroded or worn out in any way, and I include the case in that, so it couldn't be more than a couple years old. Still, worth mentioning.

Now... I don't remember what possessed me to do this, but I remember removing the CPU, looking at the socket and seeing some clumps of dust there, so I took a toothpick and tried to get it out of there. My stupidity doesn't end there - in the process, I ended up bending some pins, so I un-bent them, and then I bent some other ones by mistake, then I somehow got MORE dust in there, and... it's a miracle that I managed to get it into a functional state, but I've been expecting the PC to choke and die ever since then. Does this freezing sound like it might be due to the CPU periodically losing contact?

The GPU I'm using is pretty old. It's a 750ti. I don't remember how long ago I got it, but I remember that the 950ti was already out at the time, so it's at least that old. However, judging by the mouse going dead, I assume that this isn't GPU failure since it would probably not be accompanied by other driver failures, but I don't know enough about how much drivers interlock to say for certain.

I bought both of the hard drives on this PC last year too. The one that my win7 is on has been in disuse for about a year.

One more thing about hardware - as of a couple months ago, I started to hear what I assume is coil whine - however, unlike most of the coil whine I've heard so far, this occurs in short "notes", without any apparent pattern. I don't recall these coming from the last PC, so it's probably not the PSU, but it's hard to say.

Lastly, the freezing happened twice today in close succession - about half an hour ago, I went into safe mode and used a restore point from about a month ago. The PC has been fine since then, however it might just be coincidence. Will update if freezing keeps happening. I also have a proper backup image, so I'll use that if the freezing keeps happening.

Whew. Sorry for the long post. Would appreciate any insight.

Update 1: No freezes so far. Getting cautiously optimistic that it was software-related.
Update 2: Yep, there it goes again. This time I waited, and it shut down on its own after a couple of minutes.
Update 3: Attempting to switch the 750ti with a 980ti from another PC, in case it happens to be a GPU issue. If this doesn't work, I'll have to finally get around to getting my main PC operational again - I'll then switch the PSU to that one (where it originally was). If it works without a hitch, it will confirm that it's either the CPU or the mobo. Will keep posted, in case someone runs into these issues in the future and finds this thread.
Update 4: A few hours have passed since the last update. So far, no freezing with the 980ti. In addition, I've done some intense stress-testing with both the GPU and CPU to see if the PSU shuts down. Ran without a hitch. Also, the CPU stress test makes me think that the CPU is fine. Lastly, the coil whine is gone. I suspect that the 750ti was what was causing the issues, though I didn't think that GPU failure could lead to a hard freeze. It's odd that the onset was so sudden and subtle. You'd think that it would be slow - a bit of artifacting here, some minor slowdowns there, gradually getting worse. Regardless, will post an update if another freeze happens, or in a few days if everything is fine.
Update 5: It's been freezing for a few days but I've been putting up with it due to study focus, but it started to happen on startup, so I finally fixed my other PC and transferred my GPU, PSU, RAM and HDDs there. So far, no problems. Assuming nothing goes wrong, I assume that it's either the CPU or the mobo. I've heard that CPU failure is quite rare these days if you don't overclock recklessly, and considering that CPU was rarely even at capacity and was never overclocked, I guess that narrows it down to the mobo.
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