When PC Freezes, Check Your Cables

My Dell 8300 i7 computer with Windows 10 Home began freezing up periodically. It began freezing up once every two or three days, but gradually it began freezing up more frequently, sometimes several times in one day. The only way to turn it off was to hold the power switch down until the power supply turned off. Then, when it rebooted, the various drives would need to be repaired by Windows. After the hard drives were repaired it would work fine until it froze up again. Sometimes as it would start to freeze up, I could close a few open windows, but I could seldom get it to shut down using the Windows software.

I ran every hardware test I could find, and they all said the hardware, including the motherboard, the hard drives, the graphics card, and the memory were fine. I got no errors, but when it started to freeze up, I could not start up the hardware tests. Since the hardware seemed to be okay, I decided it must be the software, probably Windows. I thought maybe Windows had been damaged by some improperly installed update. I rolled Windows back to several restore points. Each time the computer would work fine for a while, maybe several days, but then would freeze up again. I decided that perhaps the problem Windows update was trying to install itself after restoring the older version of the OS and was freezing up the PC again.

After several days or weeks of this, when the computer rebooted after freezing, it would boot in Windows 7 from an old hard drive in the PC. The problem C: drive was connected to the Sata 0 socket on the motherboard. The old drive with Win 7 on it was connected to the Sata 1 socket. Win 7 did not run well and was extremely slow, but it ran.

I thought perhaps if I upgraded from Windows 10 Home to Pro, the new installation would overwrite the damaged part of the OS. When I went to Sam’s for other stuff, I found they had Win 10 Pro. So, I bought it; it was expensive but cheaper than replacing the whole computer. When I tried to upgrade to Pro, the installation said that Windows Home was installed in an incorrect folder. Nothing could be saved; the installation would delete everything on the PC.

Before I allowed Win 10 Pro to erase everything, I made a copy of the Windows 10 Home C: drive with Macrium Reflect. I also backed up all of my data. After I installed Win 10 Pro, I found it was very difficult and time consuming to install all the programs or applications that I had installed in Win 10 Home. Although I had the data, I did not have the programs to run the data. The biggest problem was Microsoft Office 2010, which I had installed as a download years earlier. I couldn’t find an ISO file, if I ever had one, and I did not have the Microsoft key for the software.

After several days of trying to reinstall software, find passwords for web sites that I visited regularly, etc., the computer froze up again running Win 10 Pro. When I tried to repair the C: drive in Win 10 Pro, I got more than the usual errors. So, I decided maybe the drive was bad, although every hardware test said it was good, and I bought a new hard drive. I installed it; it worked for a while, and then froze up again. I decided to swap around some of the hard drive to see if they all behaved the same way. While swapping them, I realized that I had always been using the same Sata cable to connect the C: drive to the Sata 0 socket. I swapped the cables around, and the computer seemed to run fine for several days. So, I bought a new Sata cable to connect the new hard drive, and since then it has not frozen up again.

After a few days, I thought I would try to restore the Macrium Reflect image of my old C: drive to the new hard drive I was using as C. The Macrium Reflect worked perfectly. It took several hours, but the old Windows 10 Home was restored with all the applications, including Office 2010. Macrium Reflect, thank you. The PC has been running well for over a week now. I don’t need Win10 Pro, but since I have it and can’t return it, I will probably try to install it after a few more days, if all goes well. However, if it says that it cannot keep all the apps and data, I will not install it. Perhaps I will just keep it and use it to upgrade a new computer if and when I buy one, before it has as much stuff installed on it as this one does.