Question PC Ocassionally Freezes for ~5 Seconds then Recovers

Jul 29, 2021
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So I've been experiencing rare but disruptive pc freezes. During these freezes, my entire system stops: audio cuts out completely, can't move mouse, etc. However, after 5-10 seconds the system recovers as if nothing had happened. Once or twice these freezes have lasted longer (~30 seconds), and my monitor has gone black, but it always recovers.

The freezes are usually fairly rare (~1 per week) but sometimes I will have multiple freezes within an hour or so. I'm unable to pinpoint anything specific that triggers the freezes - they usually occor when the system is at idle or low-load, such as during browsing or video calls. In fact, I don't recall them ever occurring during gaming or other high-load tasks.

Here is a screenshot of resource manager after a freeze:

And task manager at a different one:

You can see a spike in SSD and CPU usage when the freeze occured. Not sure if this is just the system trying to recover or indicates a hardware issue. I can also hear my system clicking away more than usual (HDD?).

I have been monitoring CPU and GPU temps and found no anomalies - typcially under 50 degrees. I wasn't able to identify any single program using significant resources at these times either.

These freezes have been happening randomly for about 6 months. I built my pc 2 years ago from new components and have had no issues before this. There were no changes to hardware or anything before the freezes started.

System specs:
  • OS: Win 10
  • Motherboard: Asus TUF B360M-E
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 8700 Processor
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX CMK16GX4M2A2400C16 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4
  • PSU: Corsair CX550M 550W Power Supply
  • SSD: Samsung 860 EVO 2.5in SATA SSD 500GB
  • HDD: 2x Seagate Barracuda 2TB ST2000DM008 3.5in Hard Drive
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
What I have tried:
  • Various scans using Windows Defender and Malwarebytes
  • Cleaned and checked each drive for issues + sfc /scannow
  • Ran memory diagnostic mdsched.exe
  • Updated as many drivers as I can find (only using device manager and GeForce Experience)
  • Installed a new CPU cooler
  • Dusting/cleaning case
  • Checking cables
  • Checked motherboard for damage (though I haven't checked the back, maybe a loose screw or something is bridging a circuit?)
  • Changed power cable + outlet
Any ideas of what else to try would be highly appreciated. I'm not prepared to reinstall my OS or replace hardware at the moment, as these freezes are frustrating but not critical.

Some ideas:
  • Faulty PSU causing power surges?
  • Motherboard isn't able to supply enough power to CPU?
  • Dodgy/loose cable somewhere in my build?
  • Driver issues?
 

JWNoctis

Upstanding
Jun 9, 2021
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Anything showing up on event viewer? (Cannot see posted images, but that's a problem with my connection, on my end.)

I could remember one of my laptop freezing like that due to a faulty GPU, though that would be accompanied by a message indicating graphic driver reset.

LatencyMon might be helpful if no other clues are available or useful. Freezes are, after all, prolonged drop-outs and stutters.
 
Jul 29, 2021
4
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10
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Anything showing up on event viewer? (Cannot see posted images, but that's a problem with my connection, on my end.)

I could remember one of my laptop freezing like that due to a faulty GPU, though that would be accompanied by a message indicating graphic driver reset.

LatencyMon might be helpful if no other clues are available or useful. Freezes are, after all, prolonged drop-outs and stutters.
Had a few days without freezes but suddenly had several today. I checked the event viewer, couldn't find any errors around the time of a freeze. Perhaps the GPU is causing problems as you mentioned, though these freezes usually happen when browsing rather than playing games.

Another observation: I can hear a sound from my pc following a freeze - a kind of clicking/buzzing. Could just be one of my HDD recovering from the freeze (this would match the high disk usage), rather than the cause, but figured I'd mention it. I figured it was possible that my HDD was damaged, so I ran some tests with seagates diagnosis tool, but nothing found.

I'm kind of at a loss at this point, I could basically start replacing each part individually until the freezes stop - but it would take a while to be sure as the freezes only happen every few days. Perhaps I could plug my monitor directly into my motherboard to see if the GPU is to blame? Unplug my secondary HDDs? Test each stick of RAM individually?
 
Jul 29, 2021
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Another thing I noticed: since the freezing typically happens when browsing (I use Chrome which is heavy on memory usage), perhaps the issue is with RAM. I attempted to open a ton of tabs at once and sure enough, it triggered a freeze. Seems promising.

Edit: ran memory diagnostic tests with no issues found. Maybe I should look into virtual ram?
 
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JWNoctis

Upstanding
Jun 9, 2021
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For any suspected drive problem, it's time to check if your backup is available and up to date. Actually, always keep them up to date.

Otherwise, LatencyMon is the only idea I had which might show something. Others should know more.

Good luck finding out what it is.
 
Reactions: TimJ9800
Jul 29, 2021
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For any suspected drive problem, it's time to check if your backup is available and up to date. Actually, always keep them up to date.

Otherwise, LatencyMon is the only idea I had which might show something. Others should know more.

Good luck finding out what it is.
Thanks for the advice. I have yet to catch a freeze while monitoring with LatencyMon, but I will post when I do. Also my files are backed up so no worries there.
 

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