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Windows 7 x64 freezes when any web browser is opened

    Question

  • This issue just randomly started a few days ago, and I haven't found anyone on the internet that's having the same problem. Anytime I open a web browser and try to open a webpage, the page starts to load but then the entire computer immediately freezes. It's not the BSOD, it just freezes the screen and becomes completely unresponsive. I tried leaving it for a while but it just continues to be frozen. 

    The interesting thing about this problem is that it occurs the same way no matter which web browser I use. I've tried and the same thing happens with Firefox 3.5, IE8, and Chrome. However, Windows Update runs just fine and successfully downloads its updates. 

    If I don't open a browser, the computer is 100% functional in all other programs. I originally thought this was a problem with the cheap USB network adapter I was using, but the issue still occurs when running on ethernet cable. I tried booting up into XP (dual boot) and XP runs just fine, all browsers working flawlessly (both with the USB adapter and on ethernet). I'm inclined to believe that this must be a software problem, because I haven't made any changes to the hardware at all. 

    There are no viruses or malware on the computer. I had AVG and it passed a full scan with no issues found, and I recently switched to Security Essentials and it found no issues. 

    If I boot up in Safe Mode with Networking, all browsers function and use the internet as they should. The problem is not present if I boot up with "Load System Services" unchecked in msconfig, but this also prevents internet access. If I disable the connection, the browsers work fine; no freezing, I just can't access webpages (duh). 

    So the problem is occurring only when a browser gets information from the internet. It doesn't occur when other programs access the internet (Windows Update, anyway). I tried cleaning the registry with "Free Window Registry" but this didn't seem to make any difference. 

    My question for you all is this: what is the connection difference between Windows Update and a browser? What could cause one to work and the other to crash? Also, has anyone heard of this issue happening to others?

    I'd very much appreciate any help.


    UPDATE: I use virtualbox with XP to run a few programs that aren't compatible with 7 x64. I opened up the virtual XP machine while booted up in Windows 7, and the exact same issue happens. I can use the virtual machine with no problems, everything works fine until I open a web browser. Then it freezes the exact same way. Also, I tried booting up with only Microsoft services enabled (no 3rd party services or startup program) and the problem still persists.

    So:
    NOT a hardware problem (since booting up in XP works fine, and memtest passes)
    NOT a problem with 3rd party programs I've installed 
    Maybe a driver issue? (safe mode works perfectly)
    Maybe a bug in the OS?

    It's also worth noting that I'm using an ATI Radeon HD4870, so the problem is not related to the problems some others were having with nVidia cards. It's also pretty obvious that the graphics card isn't responsible because everything works until a browser is opened.

    I'm getting desperate here.

    UPDATE 2: It also freezes if I try to access the iTunes store. It behaves much like a browser (within iTunes) so this isn't really surprising. It probably uses the same process to connect to the internet. So the big question that will probably help me solve this issue more than anything: what do browsers/iTunes do when connecting the internet that Windows Update doesn't? 
    Saturday, December 26, 2009 7:59 AM

Answers

  •  Hi,

     

    I would like to suggest you update the BIOS and the motherboard drivers.

     

    Since it works fine in Safe Mode with Networking but not work in Clean Boot, the possible cause should be a hardware driver. In Safe Mode, only the basic drivers will be loaded.

     

    You may test the issue in Device Clean Boot to check if there is any hardware conflict.

     

    At this point, let's focus our troubleshooting on the hardware. Please understand that most blue screen and crash problems are caused by incompatible or unstable hardware devices.

     

    Please unplug all unnecessary devices to test the issue. In this situation, your system will only have the basic hardware devices and it should be more stable.

     

    If it is inconvenient to unplug the devices, we can disable them in Device Manager. Please refer to the following steps:

     

    1. Click "Start", type "DEVMGMT.MSC" in the Search textbox and press Enter. Please click “Allow” if the User Account Control window is prompted.

    2. Expand "Sound, video and game controllers".

    3. Right click on your Sound Card, select "Properties"

    4. Click "Driver" tab, click Disable (Disable the selected device). Click OK

    5. Please use the same method to disable other hardware such as: Modem, CD-R drive. Please note some devices such as video adapter are not available to be disabled.

     

    Then, restart your computer. What’s the result?

     

    If the system is stable, we can re-enable the devices one by one to narrow down the root cause.

     


    Arthur Li - MSFT
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 6:43 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi Treythomas09,

     

    I would like to confirm that have you updated the network card drivers for Windows 7?

     

    I would like to suggest you test the issue in Clean Boot. If you cannot connect to the Internet in Clean Boot, you may manually start the network card related software and service.

     

    If it works, you may narrow down and find out the root cause by performing the steps the article provided.

     

    Good luck!


    Arthur Li - MSFT
    Tuesday, December 29, 2009 8:23 AM
    Moderator
  • Arthur_Li,

    Thanks for your reply. Yes I have the updated network card drivers for Windows 7. Except for this issue, the machine has been running without problems since the day Windows 7 was released. 

    I already tried a clean boot - the problem still persists when booting up with only Microsoft services (no startup programs, and no 3rd party services). 

    Any other ideas?
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 1:46 AM
  •  Hi,

     

    I would like to suggest you update the BIOS and the motherboard drivers.

     

    Since it works fine in Safe Mode with Networking but not work in Clean Boot, the possible cause should be a hardware driver. In Safe Mode, only the basic drivers will be loaded.

     

    You may test the issue in Device Clean Boot to check if there is any hardware conflict.

     

    At this point, let's focus our troubleshooting on the hardware. Please understand that most blue screen and crash problems are caused by incompatible or unstable hardware devices.

     

    Please unplug all unnecessary devices to test the issue. In this situation, your system will only have the basic hardware devices and it should be more stable.

     

    If it is inconvenient to unplug the devices, we can disable them in Device Manager. Please refer to the following steps:

     

    1. Click "Start", type "DEVMGMT.MSC" in the Search textbox and press Enter. Please click “Allow” if the User Account Control window is prompted.

    2. Expand "Sound, video and game controllers".

    3. Right click on your Sound Card, select "Properties"

    4. Click "Driver" tab, click Disable (Disable the selected device). Click OK

    5. Please use the same method to disable other hardware such as: Modem, CD-R drive. Please note some devices such as video adapter are not available to be disabled.

     

    Then, restart your computer. What’s the result?

     

    If the system is stable, we can re-enable the devices one by one to narrow down the root cause.

     


    Arthur Li - MSFT
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 6:43 AM
    Moderator
  • I have the same problem. New Dell Studio 17 Windows 7, x64 bit.  Randomly feezes when opening web pages. I have to manually powerdown and boot up again. Very annoying.
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 6:06 PM
  • Also, can you provide some more info on the computer?:

    Start > type msinfo32 in the "Search programs and files" box and press "Enter" > File > Save > then save as an .nfo file

    Then make the resulting .nfo file available via Windows Live SkyDrive.

    The following link has more info on using Windows Live SkyDrive:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itproui/thread/4fc10639-02db-4665-993a-08d865088d65

    Thursday, December 31, 2009 12:54 AM
  • Hi, are you using Internet Download Manager? If so, I'm 100% conviced it's the cause of your problem. Internet Download Manager has a problem {Bug}, that still needs to be fixed, and it still exists even in the latest version. If you are using this application, then I suggest you Disable the Advanced Browser Integration or Uninstall it. Let us know if it works or not...
    Saturday, January 02, 2010 5:05 AM
  • I've been having this issue since installing Windows 7, and aside from being able to run browsers with Flash off, I have yet to find a satisfactory response (and running with Flash off is ridiculous - it means I can't do most of what I'd like to do online). I've seen dozens of threads with similar issues, yet nobody has found a solution. I've talked to Microsoft a number of times, and they've tried redoing the DLLs, reinstalling the upgrade to Windows 7, etc. etc. on top of the countless attempts I've made myself based on the attempts others have done online - all to no avail. This has been extremely frustrating and I've been stuck for well over a month now.

    It seems to primarily affect people with 64-bit computers.
    Sunday, January 03, 2010 2:09 AM
  • I have this same isuue as well, I can be searching the net turn away for a minute and my whole system has locked up and I have to reboot my computer.  Any help with this would be appreciated.

    System Specs

    Intel E4600 @ 2.4ghz
    4 gig DDR2 Ram
    Ati Radeon HD 3850
    Foxconn 975 MB

    Sunday, January 03, 2010 6:49 AM
  • I've been having a nearly identical issue too, and now I'm stumped. I installed Windows 7 recently so a clean install is not a problem, but I'm worried the problem may come back. Below I've included everything I've tried in case it might help someone else (it might read like a story because I was making notes as I was trying things).



    I installed Windows 7 and after some issues had it up and running in a stable condition. After 4 days, it started freezing after running for a few minutes. (Right now I'm running in safe mode with networking.) I pinpointed that is freezes when it tries to access the internet. I've been looking the event logger but it doesn't log what processes/services/etc. are called when an application tries to access the internet.

    To describe the problem: In regular mode after getting into windows and running for a few mins everything freezes. All animations stop (the screen doesn't change at all) and the keyboard and touchpad become useless. Also if I have a mouse plugged in, it will stay lit but if i unplug and replug it, the light doesn't come back on.

    The things that I installed the day that the problem started were the Combined Community Codec Pack and the K-lite Codec pack, so they may be possible sources of the problem. I tried a couple system restores to uninstall them, but the problem continued.

    Because I've been using safe mode (with networking) w/o problem, I don't think it's a hardware issue. Here's a rundown of what I've done so far.

    While in safe mode, I went into msconfig and selected diagnostic startup and booted into windows normally. Normally my computer would freeze within a minute or two of loading the desktop, but it ran (for about 8 minutes) until I restarted it after re-enabled some of the windows services. I enabled groups of services to see if any of them were causing the problem (I only have one startup item "ZoneAlarm Client"). After thinking that the services weren't the cause of the problem, I enabled most of them and went into normal windows fine for about 7 minutes until I opened the reliability monitor and the computer froze. I reasoned I must've triggered something and restarted the computer. I went into normal windows again, was running fine for a few minutes, but as soon as I clicked check for updates in the Action Center, the computer froze. Additionally, when I open the reliability monitor in safe mode, it does not freeze but there is no data where the chart should be.

    I booted into normal windows again, still with most services enabled, and left my computer alone for 25 minutes and it was running fine. Then I opened Firefox and the computer froze.

    I'm once again in safe mode w/networking and in msconfig i changed it to a diagnostic startup so I can test what I can do in a 'limited' normal mode.

    I compared the processes and services running in safe mode(with networking) against a normal mode in which I only allowed the services and processes running in the safe mode to be enabled through msconfig. First time around, I had to attempt to stop some services and processes that had opened themselves to attempt to be identical to those running in safe mode. I could open task manager, the services info, resource monitor, and msconfig. I could take actions in those, such as look at process properties. When I opened Firefox, it froze again.

    Second time around, I ran internet explorer as soon as windows loaded and I got it open but the wifi wasn't connected yet so I got a work offline page. As soon as the wifi connected, I pressed f5 and as the page started the attempt to load, the computer froze. The problem may be related to internet access, or specifically wifi, though I'm using it fine in safe mode.

    Third time, I opened paint as soon as windows started and it opened fine. I opened the control panel and poked around in there. I opened another program and things were working. This makes it seem like using the internet is the cause of the problem.

    I enabled the 3 services necessary to play audio in msconfig, restarted the computer, and upon loading windows got task manager open but then the computer froze. Now I'm in safe mode again.

    I've been looking through the event log looking for possible causes of the problem but haven't seen anything.

    I attempted to disable all fire walls, and I booted into normal windows mode, let it run for a few minutes and then opened up an mp3 so audio was working. I disabled the wifi and opened firefox successfully. Then I plugged in ethernet, and it was still ok. As soon as I entered google.com into the address bar and pressed enter, the system froze. It seems the problem has to do with networking.

    I restarted into normal windows again, as quickly as I could I opened task manger and winamp and when winamp loaded the computer froze. I'm thinking it might've tried to access the internet. The last event in the event log was from TCP to IP NetBIOS or something like that so I disabled that. I'm going to put an internet lock on using ZoneAlarm firewall so nothing can access the internet and see if that corroborates that it's some kind of internet problem.

    I booted into normal mode and blocked all internet access using ZoneAlarm. I used the computer for a few hours without problem. I think this proves it's an internet access issue. The weird thing is that I can access the internet in safe mode so a driver may be the problem, but I was using the internet fine in normal a few days ago and didn't change any drivers when the problem started. To be safe, I reinstalled some drivers and will test to see if that works.

    Reinstalling the drivers didn't work. I can do whatever I want on my laptop when the internet lock is engaged, but as soon as I take it off and something tries to access the internet it freezes.


    Sorry for the extremely long post. It might help MSFT diagnose the problem or give people an idea for a solution.

    Cheers
    Monday, January 04, 2010 2:07 AM
  • This may not apply to everyone here, but there are multiple folks reporting similar problems.

    If you haven't already, try this:

    1.  Click the Start orb and type the word Add into the search box.

    2.  Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) should be displayed after a few seconds.  Click it.

    3.  Note whether the system freezes.

    -Noel
    Monday, January 04, 2010 2:32 AM
  • Since I last posted I have removed adobe Flash Player from my system and have not had one lockup since, I found info that a lot of Win X64 users are having this problem.  If you decide to do this you need to download Adobe's Flash removal tool from their website and use it as the Add/Remove utility in Win 7 does not remove it fully.

    Monday, January 04, 2010 6:07 AM
  • SteveW11, Did the freezing problem occur if you were surfing the net in safe mode (with networking enabled)? I ask this because I'm in safe mode (with networking enabled) and I've been using flash w/o problem.
    Monday, January 04, 2010 6:24 AM
  • Update: I have fixed the freezing problem! Hopefully it will work for you too. I, in safe mode, chose normal start up in msconfig and booted into normal windows. I engaged the internet lock to make sure I could do some work, and then I opened the reliability monitor and it didn't freeze and generated a report. Looking over the info therein, I noticed that a driver for shadow copy kept installing itself. I decided to type "shadow copy" in the start menu and up popped System Properties{System Protection} I turned protection off on my hard drive and it deleted the restore points. I turned off the internet lock and tried the internet, and it worked!

    Let me know if this works for you.

    Edit: Figured out touchpad problem (made a stupid mistake, easily fixed).

    PS: I didn't uninstall flash and Idk what would happen if I turned protection back on.
    • Proposed as answer by Euthyphro Monday, January 04, 2010 8:12 AM
    Monday, January 04, 2010 8:12 AM
  • Euthyphro, I don't see "System properties{system protection}" when I type "shadow copy" in the start menu. I see the following three entries...

    1. create a restore point
    2. back up your computer
    3. restore data, files or computer from backup

    Flash is not working in any of the browsers. It starts to load and then freezes. I have to force down the browser. Also I can't play any media files. I really don't want to reinstall windows 7 as I have a lot of data on my computer.

    Thanks for your time.

    Here is the problem report from the reliability monitor...


    Description
    A problem caused this program to stop interacting with Windows.
    Faulting Application Path: C:\Users\ULIDDER\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe

    Problem signature
    Problem Event Name: AppHangXProcB1
    Application Name: chrome.exe
    Application Version: 0.0.0.0
    Application Timestamp: 4b27ee4f
    Hang Signature: 23a3
    Hang Type: 32
    Waiting on Application Name: chrome.exe
    Waiting on Application Version: 0.0.0.0
    OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.768.3
    Locale ID: 4105
    Additional Hang Signature 1: 23a390936c64873db3ff7d74241f89b9
    Additional Hang Signature 2: 6e82
    Additional Hang Signature 3: 6e8277b4174702218634160e540e9c72
    Additional Hang Signature 4: 23a3
    Additional Hang Signature 5: 23a390936c64873db3ff7d74241f89b9
    Additional Hang Signature 6: 6e82
    Additional Hang Signature 7: 6e8277b4174702218634160e540e9c72


    Description
    A problem caused this program to stop interacting with Windows.
    Faulting Application Path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe

    Problem signature
    Problem Event Name: AppHangB1
    Application Name: firefox.exe
    Application Version: 1.9.1.3622
    Application Timestamp: 4b16159b
    Hang Signature: fda3
    Hang Type: 0
    OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.768.3
    Locale ID: 4105
    Additional Hang Signature 1: fda335c871dfc4d08f24ded32100e21d
    Additional Hang Signature 2: 4c35
    Additional Hang Signature 3: 4c350312b451c012cf11a171521a91ab
    Additional Hang Signature 4: fda3
    Additional Hang Signature 5: fda335c871dfc4d08f24ded32100e21d
    Additional Hang Signature 6: 4c35
    Additional Hang Signature 7: 4c350312b451c012cf11a171521a91ab

    Wednesday, January 06, 2010 5:30 PM
  • Canadabc, sorry for skipping a step.

    It seems that you're having a different problem than I did. Flash worked for me and I could play media files. Accessing the internet completely froze my laptop. You might want to try completely uninstalling flash first. Using Windows uninstall doesn't do that, you have to use adobe's flash remover (http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/141/tn_14157.html). Using my fix disables system restore and deletes any previous restore points so you should make sure you're not going to want to do a system restore any time soon.

    If you'd like to try my fix:
    When you type in "shadow copy" select "Create a restore point". The "System Properties" dialog will pop-up and be on the "System Protection" tab. Your harddrive should be selected and to the right, "Protection" should be "On". Click "Configure" and another dialog will popup. Select the "Turn off system protection" radio button and click ok. Confirm any dialogs that popup.

    I've had no problems with Flash or Firefox and don't use Chrome so I don't know how much more I can help you. Let me know how it goes though. Good luck!
    Thursday, January 07, 2010 6:45 AM
  • Thanks for the response Euthyphro. I ended up using the restore feature and restored the whole system to a previous point in time (a week ago). I didn't even know windows 7 was creating restore points all along. This feature saved me a lot of work and I think it rocks !!. I noticed I have a different flash now in the restored system and the windows media player is also working.

    Thanks for your help..
    Thursday, January 07, 2010 7:17 PM
  • Canadabc, I'm glad you used the system restore and it worked before you chose to delete the points. Interesting that apparently a week ago everything in the system was fine, maybe an update caused the problem? If so, hopefully it won't occur again (but at least you know how to 'fix' it).

    No Problem :)
    Friday, January 08, 2010 1:12 AM
  • Hi, are you using Internet Download Manager? If so, I'm 100% conviced it's the cause of your problem. Internet Download Manager has a problem {Bug}, that still needs to be fixed, and it still exists even in the latest version. If you are using this application, then I suggest you Disable the Advanced Browser Integration or Uninstall it. Let us know if it works or not...

    You are exactly right mate. Thanks and well done.

     

    Rich.

    Friday, April 09, 2010 6:44 PM
  • Had the same issue here.

    Random freezes but always while trying to access the internet. I tried updating the drivers, using wireless only then ethernet cable only with no solution. Finally, I decided to uninstall zonealarm free ... problem solved.

    • Proposed as answer by hussaain Wednesday, July 07, 2010 6:32 AM
    Monday, June 21, 2010 11:00 AM
  • dear all

    i have recently faced this problem,i have internet download manager and i use advanced browser integration the problem began when i disable ("launch internet download manager at start up"),so just enable this option and make it run on start up and i think every thing will be solved :)

    best regard

    Eng.hussain sharif

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010 6:39 AM