Alienware m15x freezes...even after factory restore
Ok, so I bought my Alienware m15x laptop back in February of 2010. Within the first 3 weeks of owning it, somehow, I managed to fry the motherboard. They sent me a new one in 2 weeks, everything was fine. Unfortunately, near the end of 2010, it started freezing every now and then. The glitchy little (Not Responding) freezes every now and then, no big deal. Then, around March of 2011, it had progressed to total system crashes, lockups, and the much-feared BSoD (Blue Screen of Death). The cause? Display driver failed to recover. Sadly, I wasn't even playing resource-heavy games at the time. Usually it was caused by a simple Facebook game or just Windows Aero (or the occasional video file or youtube video). Sometimes I would get a black screen, usually it would just totally freeze then go to the BSoD screen, but every now and then it would give me a screen of scrambled pixels and a loud buzzing sound as if the sound card had locked down as well. I realize that apparently there is some fundamental flaw in the display drivers, but I think that is only one part of the problem, since my system was apparently using 3.99GB of RAM out of its available 5.99....even when idling. So, finally, one day it REALLY starts flipping out: startup repair cannot fix the errors, please hit finish to restart, call technical support, etc. Realizing that it was failing badly, I backed up everything I could, shut it down, and did a restore to factory image. I assumed that this would completely restore it to the speedy computer I had when they first replaced it.....somehow, I was wrong.
So, factory restored, configured various standard settings and Alien FX, no major system changes beyond standard Windows Updates...
Installed: Yahoo Messenger, Oovoo, Norton 360 Premier, Spybot: Search & Destroy (anti-spyware), ccleaner, Zune software, AVG PC Tuneup 2011, Graboid Video, Steam, Mozilla Firefox and Maxtor Manager for my wireless external hdd...no games installed, no sketchy software, and installed Norton FIRST.
Now, my computer no longer locks down from video driver failure....but it freezes every 20-30 seconds, sometimes lasting for up to an hour, depending on what action I tried to perform before it froze. The alien head's eyes (which normally light up and flicker based on resource usage) STAYS lit up now and even just opening a file folder can make it lock up for 2-3 minutes, sometimes longer. The longest freezes usually happen when trying to do something within Windows 7. It's as if my laptop is constantly trying to figure out a PC version of a Rubik's Cube in the background ON TOP OF whatever I tell it to do! And yes, I've run ccleaner, Norton, and AVG Tuneup, none of which has helped in any noticeable way.