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Windows 7: programs stop responding-then respond repeatly

I have windows 7 professional. Dell Latitude 5500, hard drive is only 40% full. All programs - including Microsoft Office 2007, Firefox, Windows explorer - stop responding, some times for seconds- other times minutes. This is starting to drive me up a wall. Especially if I am in the middle of burning a CD or DVD. There is no consistency with this. I could go days with no issues, then my computer freezes, starts troubleshooting itself, then fix's the same programs over and over again. any suggestions would be appreciated.

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You haven't given any specification details

for us to base an opinion on but anyway here is my stab in the dark.
More often than not unresponsive applications is caused by shortage of memory, if you are short of memory then only the code for the current task can find room in memory to run and if a new task is started the code for it is most likely held in the swapfile on disk and something has to be rolled out of memory to make room for it to roll in and then to run. If the current task is higher priority than the requested task it will make the new task wait untill it is convenient to suspend and roll out, this gives the impression that the process has frozen. It may only be for a few seconds or it may be for a few minutes. As a general rule of thumb, if you run windows 7 you need a minimum of 2.0GB of memory, if vista, 1.5GB, and if xp, 1.0GB, so, how much have you got?
This situation can also be exacerbated by complex background applications like antivirus apps with all the bells and whistles, which one do you use?

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specs

Thanks for your response. Since posting I did a Google search and it appears that this issue has been making the rounds on some support help sites for the past 9-10 months. No concrete reasons or fixes. I went into my Device manager and checked all drivers and had windows update those that needed to be. I also got a flagged message to update my Intel Video Driver: Vista Crash: System may hang or restart with previous version of Intel Video Driver - Notebooks, I upgraded from XP to Windows 7, Somehow I got a Vista error message from Windows, but figured it is worth a try after I made sure to create a restore point. I did recently change from Mcafee to Norton as it is now offered through Comcast, so it may be a security program issue. I'll try that next, if the other fixes don't do the trick, What a pain... and on top of that my windows media player 12 is corrupted. How that happened or if it's related is beyond me. I did check for viruses first, nothing came up.
Here's are my specs if you have any ideas:
OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Version 6.1.7600 Build 7600
Other OS Description Not Available
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Manufacturer Dell Inc.
System Model Latitude E5500
System Type X86-based PC
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7250 @ 2.00GHz, 2001 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Dell Inc. A13, 8/11/2009
SMBIOS Version 2.4
Windows Directory C:\Windows
System Directory C:\Windows\system32
Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume2
Locale United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.1.7600.16385"
Time Zone Eastern Daylight Time
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 2.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 1.96 GB
Available Physical Memory 949 MB
Total Virtual Memory 3.91 GB
Available Virtual Memory 2.60 GB
Page File Space 1.96 GB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys

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Thanks for the info, memory looks fairly standard

Other causes of the intermittant failures to respond are heavy cpu/disk usage for instance during a virus scan, high rate of repeat disk transfers as part of read error recovery, and an application process that is hogging the cpu not letting other processes run.
Have a look at task manager and get a feel for what is using most resources especially when you are having 'frezeups'.
One of the problems with that suggestion is that when you get frezeups you cant open task manager so when I am trying to diagnose this sort of behaviour, I have task manager open all the time and drag the sides of the window in and the bottom down so the window is a tall thin one and then park it to one side and you can see the results dynamically on the process tab.
One thought, are both cpus actually being used, I have seen systems with dual core cpus where only one was actually working, this would show up in task manager on the performance tab.
There is a suggestion going about on the internet that norton antivirus update process conflicts with windows update process and causes very high cpu usage, both these processes coexist in the process list and wake up from time to time to check for available updates.
It's just coming up to midnight here so I'm going to bed but you should have a few things to check over during the next 12 hours.
Good luck.

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Just sharing.

While a peek at your HIJACKTHIS log would be interesting even my machine that works fine will get this not responding message. Yet it's not a problem here as the app is running and doing just fine. It's Visual Studio doing that daily, dozens of times a day during compiling. To understand what is going on would require a discussion about this OS which I will not do here.

Ok, so the app which is busy compiling doesn't answer the OS's "are you ok" message results in not responding. Not a bug but consumers might think that's a bug.
Bob

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thanks for your responses

I have always liked Norton, used to buy the product before Comcast offered free virus and security programs. I have a feeling that this might be a Norton issue. I do not remember the crashing or freezing before I installed Norton. Some poor guy on a Windows 7 support help site completely refreshed his computer, he was so frustrated. I wonder if he had Norton. thanks again for your responses.

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No such item here.

The not responding during compile with Visual Studio seems to be on all our machines. Yet we don't consider it a bug. The app (visual studio) is just busy doing what it is doing and does not answer the question from the OS "Are you ok?".

I can see where consumers might call this a bug and demand a fix. Maybe someday there will be a perfect OS with perfect but these are not.
Bob

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