For the past several months, my XPS 8700 has been freezing solid at totally random times. This happens on average once every day or two, never at the same time. It doesn't matter what software is (or isn't) running.
It is just as likely to freeze up in the middle of the night, with only the screen saver running, as when I'm running several programs at the same time. Event Viewer shows nothing out of the ordinary any time near the freeze. I've run every system and hardware diagnostic I can get my hands on, including the one from Dell, and everything checks out completely clean. The box is running Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit), with every Windows Update Microsoft has made available. I recently updated the BIOS to A08, but that made no discernible difference.
I use the PC for surfing the Web, e-mail (Outlook), and the occasional Photoshop session. I do not run any games (unless Microsoft Solitaire counts as a game).
The video card in this box is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 645.
I've read that a video driver update can sometimes cure these freezes, and that's the reason for this post. I'm seeing conflicting information about which video driver update to apply. Dell's driver support page for the XPS 8700 seems to list two driver packages my video card:
nVIDIA GeForce 5xx/6xx/7xx Series Graphics Driver
Video_Driver_77P69_WN_188.8.131.5285_A00.EXE | Update Package for Microsoft® Windows® (261 MB)
Release date 08 Jan 2014
| Last Updated 08 Jul 2014
nVIDIA Geforce GT 640/G405/GTX 660M/GTX650Ti/GTX645/GT620 Graphics Driver
Video_Driver_NNR7K_WN_311.06_A00.EXE | Update Package for Microsoft® Windows® (236 MB)
Release date 24 Jun 2013
| Last Updated 21 Mar 2014
From reading the descriptions for the package, they both seem to apply to my video card.
To make things more confusing, the NVIDIA support page for the GeForce GTX 645 lists a completely different, and rather intimidatingly-long, selection of video driver packages.
Which video driver update should I download and install? I have no idea whether updating the video drivers will cure the freezing, but I'll try anything at this point.
Run the Diagnostics and test all the hardware. F12 as soon as you reboot to get to the boot menu. Any hardware trouble could cause freezing.
Those drivers you posted are not the same.
As I mentioned in my original post, I've run all those diagnostics, several times over the past few months, and no hardware problems are reported.
I'm also aware that those drivers are not the same. That's why my post is titled "Which video driver update?".
Should I download and install NVIDIA's latest and greatest package? I have to presume that the video card in my XPS 8700 is an OEM version, and drivers offered by the manufacturer might not play nice with the card Dell installed.
Limiting my choices to the two driver packages that Dell lists for my PC, how can I tell the difference between the two packages? They both look pretty much the same to me, but they must be different somehow. Anyone care to explain what's different about the two downloads so I can make an intelligent decision?
That is the basic question I'm asking: Which of those driver packages should I download and install?
I would appreciate it if someone would please read my post and help me figure out which video drivers are appropriate for my system. The PC continues to freeze up at random intervals, and I'm getting desperate.
have you tried using Nvidia's auto detect tool and letting it pick what driver you need? it's one of those tools listed on the geoforce driver link you listed.
what makes you so sure it's the video drivers causing the crash? almost every component in your system can cause a crash like you describe.
if you take out the video card and run off the built in motherboard graphics does the system still crash?
you might try taking out the RAM modules then plugging them back in.
are all the fans in your case running?? ... overheating components can cause crash.
First, thanks for responding, my question seems to be a real stumper.
I don't trust the video card vendor's automated suggestions, because every video card I've seen in every off-the-shelf Dell, for years, has not been quite the same card as the retail version of the card. It's an OEM version, and the differences are difficult (for me, anyway) to determine. At least up until now, the recommendations I've gotten from the Dell support site have worked well.
I have no idea whether the freezes are being caused by video drivers, it's one of many things I'm trying, in desperation. These freezes have been happening for months, on pretty much a daily basis. I've run every hardware diagnostic I can get my hands on, and every one of them reports no hardware problems. Because (from what I've read) hardware drivers are often the source of freezes, I'm trying to update every driver that might need updating in the hope that one of them will make this problem go away.
I haven't tried taking out the video card, and I would only do that as a last resort. I'm not crazy (and not terribly competent) about removing and replacing hardware.
I can try reseating the RAM sticks, that's one thing I haven't attempted. I've run RAM diagnostics routines that went on for hours, and none of them have reported any errors, so I tend to doubt that it's a badly-seated module. Might be worth trying, though.
All of the fans are running, and I've vacuumed out the inside of the box, thinking it could be a heat problem. Unfortunately, the freezes keep on happening.
Yesterday, I once again had the Dell support page recommend a video driver update, and this time it provided only one suggestion. Go figure. I've updated the video drivers, and now I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Thanks again for the suggestions, I'll be following up on some of them.
Boot Live UBUNTU and see if it freezes. If It does not then the hard drive is likely dying. A new hard drive won't help because of
"Error 0x4001100200001005 if problem persists contact Dell support".
The reason you get Error 0x4001100200001005 is because the OEM hard drive was replaced with a retail hard drive. OEM drives are "tattooed" or branded and the DELL recovery media will search for it before installing. This is also why you cannot clone Dell Drives to new blank hard drives.
The 3 vendors will not warranty an OEM Drive vs Retail Drive.
In the old days you could clone the drive and get the factory reinstall image as well.
Speedstep, was your post intended for a different thread? I've never seen the error message you described, and the PC still has the original hard drive that came with it.
If you're thinking the freezes I'm experiencing are caused by a dying hard drive, I really don't think that's the case. Repeated hard drive diagnostics haven't shown any problems at all.
I just thought of another problem with the Ubuntu test you suggested: The PC freezes up at totally random intervals. The average is about once a day, but it once went a full five weeks between freezes. How long would I have to run Ubuntu waiting for it to "not freeze"? emoticon.Huh?.title