Another Vista failure

24 Comments

Well here we are at the end of the year and my work set up in my home office has been honed to work like a fine machine.  The way I work in my office is I have the MacBook Pro on the desk to the left.  It is hooked up to an external monitor for two screen goodness and everything works flawlessly.  On the desk to the right (in an L shape) is the HP 2710p sitting in its expansion bay, screen open to allow me to switch back and forth between the Mac and the HP as needed.  This system has worked flawlessly for me until three days ago.

Pc_trouble

I have written numerous times that the HP 2710p runs Vista better than any mobile PC I have tried.  I have experienced no issues that plague Vista-running devices like sleep and hibernate problems, disk thrashing problems, and other like issues that make using mobile PCs difficult to do under Vista.  The HP has been immune to those problems and worked flawlessly for me in my mobile workstyle.  Until three days ago when something unexplainedly has changed with Vista.

Each night when I am through working for the night and heading up for bed I simply close the lid of the HP sitting in the dock which puts it to sleep for the night.  The next morning I open the lid and resume from the exact point I was the night before.  I have done this every single day for months with everything working just as intended with no problems.  Then three days ago I awoke and opened the lid.  It was apparent when the machine fired up from sleep mode that the HP had rebooted itself during the night.  Something in Vista had awakened the HP which crashed and rebooted.  Vista pretended innocence in this process of course yet tried to find solutions to this problem which had not existed the day before.  Nothing in the Vista database could identify this problem so no solution was offered.  This has now been repeated every single day since, and in fact over those three days the HP has crashed during sleep mode in the dock two other times during the day.  It either never really makes it into sleep mode or it just crashes while asleep.  This problem has been reported by many mobile device owners running Vista since it was released and it is incredibly annoying to have it happening to me now.

You have to understand that I have used the HP for months with no problems.  This just started to appear all at once on its own and I am at a loss to come up with either a reason for it or a solution for it.  I blame Vista squarely, I believe the primary responsibility of the OS is to prevent behind the scenes changes from creating a consistent problem such as this.  I have reviewed the Windows Update log and it shows no updates were applied anywhere near the time when this problem reared its ugly head.  The HP Update logs show none were applied by the OEM at that time either.  No, something in the background was apparently changed or corrupted to create a problem that never existed before.  This is something that the OS cannot allow to happen, unless the OS itself is the root of the problem.  I believe that to be the case because how can a solidly running system suddenly develop a major flaw, and one that only exhibits itself when the device is asleep? 

I will continue to troubleshoot this problem as it is consistent and fatal and impacts the way I use my machine but so far I am having no luck determining what the problem is, much less a solution.  The problem only shows up when the HP is docked so my daily mobile wonderings with the 2710p have not been impacted which is very good.  But for the life of me I can’t see why the docking behavior would have changed all at once.  The really stupid thing is I can predict that the solution is going to entail reinstalling Vista, something I will have to give a lot of thought to decide if I think is worth that trouble.  Thanks for nothing, Vista.  Meanwhile my Mac rolls on with no problems.

24 Comments

Jim

My girlfriends father was having all kinds of similar problems and they continued to escalate with driver corruptions in all areas.
I uninstalled Norton and some add-aware program used AVAST instead and all is now well.

Mark

Agreeing with the above, I’ve had to reinstall OSX three times in the past year for the same thing. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, it freezes solid when power management tries to do something like put it to sleep, wake it up, etc. I solidly blame OSX because I don’t really feel like looking into it and it’s easier to whine about the OS than try to figure out what’s wrong with it. Meanwhile, my other laptop running WinXP for the past 18 months, the laptop I actually use for a living, hasn’t once had a problem. Thanks for nothing, Apple.

josh einstein

james, you speak so confidently. its almost as if you were a software or hardware developer! glad you are doing your readers such a service by pointing out the obvious problems with vista such as mysterious problems with um… wait what was the problem with again? oh thats right, we dont know yet. better just play it safe and blame vista.

Dave Beauvais

I experienced a number of sleep-related issues with my 2710p, which I eventually traced back to the Intel wireless LAN driver. I downloaded the current version of the 4965AGN from Intel rather than HP, and have had zero problems sleeping or resuming since then. The driver still works with the HP Wireless Assistant if you use that to manage wireless adapter power.

Another thing you might try is opening System properties, clicking the “Performance” link at the bottom of the sidebar, clicking “Advanced Tools” in the next window’s sidebar, and see if there are any issues listed under the “Performance issues” section. This is what finally led me to target the Intel WLAN driver, as there was an issue listed stating the existing driver was causing Vista to enter and exit power saving states slowly.

In that same app is a quick link to event log entries detailing performance problems. There are details about things which cause power management issues, startup and shutdown delays, etc. Very handy info to have when troubleshooting issues such as this.

James Kendrick

OK, I’ve restored the system to my oldest system restore point which was just prior to this problem. We’ll see how it does tonight.

Gary

I had a similar problem with vista on my Fujitsu T2010. To prevent it from happening again I changed the lid behaviour so that the computer does nothing if the lid is opened or closed. Instead, I manually put it into sleep and wake it with the power button. Since then I have had no more problems, albeit at the cost of a little inconvenience.

Woadan

James, I know you said you checked Windows and HP logs. But there could be other culprits behind this. It could be a firewall or anti-virus app. It could be some other app you recently installed or updated. I’d check all of those things just to be sure, if you haven’t already.

Woadan

Tom

Could it be a memory issue? After years of reliable operation my aging dual 1 GHz MDD Mac began crashing upon awakening from sleep if it had been asleep for more that an hour or two. The cause turned out to be a flaky memory module that wasn’t detected by the hardware test disk. The computer never rebooted itself but Macs seem to do that pretty infrequently.

Philip Ferris

I feel for you I really do. while I would not wallow in another’s pain, I have to declare that I have first taken the plunge and now own the most basic of HP 271 Op Notebooks. Fortunately for merit would seem, this one came with XP Tablet Edition 2005. Here’s to your finding an acceptable solution.

Kevin Neel

Is this suspend/sleep or hibernate? Have you tried triggering that mode with lid open and self present? Okay, these are pretty obvious, and I’m silly, but anyway… Good luck…

cr0ft

Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to have the machine go into hibernation mode over night?

It takes not very many seconds to hibernate and the machine actually turns itself off and thus can’t crash.

Booting a hibernated machine is also a matter of seconds.

Daniel P

Yeah, I have this problem frequently with my core 2 duo MBP. I wake it up from sleep to find out it’s rebooted. I also have to re-sleep it often to get it out of black screen. Sleep is notorious as the single hardest hardware feature to properly support because of USB drivers and network drivers that have difficulty saving state, among other subsystems. It’s too bad Vista can’t recover from this common issue however. Good luck.

mark

Could it be some sort of failure in a hardware component in the dock? Software doesn’t “wear out” but hardware could. That hardware failure could’ve triggered the OS to execute something that it had never needed to execute before in this device.

Ozone

I too have a Mac + HP2170p working arrangement. And every now and then, my HP just doesn’t shut down, or it just doesn’t start up. Actually, it worked great for the first month or two, and then one day, I tried to resume, and I got a black screen. Either it failed to resume, or else it did and the screen was missing in action. Restarting it seems to be the only solution. I also now get a “security certificate alert” at work with Lotus Notes and my office’s wireless network. Somehow the Windows based security programs always seem to be more hassle than they’re worth. As with all Windows issues, this mysteriously started about 6 weeks ago as well, and clicking “Yes” on all the dialog boxes to accept the security settings seems to do no damn good.

I will be *SO* happy if and when Apple releases a tablet solution.

Mike Cane

I feel for you, James! Using XP here, I’ve lost the Volume icon in the Taskbar and *nothing* I’ve done can restore it. I’ve tried everydamnthing too! I know it’s minor compared to what you’re going through, but I find it to be maddening!

Jake

Why don’t you try restoring to a system restore point just prior to the day that the problem first appeared? This would reverse any changes you made to Windows that may have caused the problem.

Marco

Have you tried to restore the system state before the initial crash?
Have you tried to delete the system ibernate file or the swap file? (deleting them disabling ibernate and swap file in control panel).
Maybe a corrupt sector could do a strange behavior in the system…maybe not but it is better that a reinstall.
have you scanned vista’s event logs for specific errors?
Sorry for grammar i am italian^^

Anthony

I had this happen to me on my macbook running mac osx. I was typing a paper for class and closed the lid and when I woke up the next morning and opened the lid it rebooted as if I just turned it on. It was the one time I got pissed off at my macbook. Hasn’t happened again since.

dmzack

Very frustrating, but I don’t know that I would categorize this as a “Vista failure” so much as a “Windows failure”. This sort of random system instability is certainly nothing new to the Windows environment. Microsoft has been “upgrading” the same pig of an OS since Windows 95 and I really don’t think we’ll see any major improvements until they bite the bullet and build a whole new OS from scratch and take the beatings over the lack of backwards compatability.

And no, I’m not an anti-Microsoft, Mac fanboy – as a matter of fact I’m typing this on my new Advantage. Of course between my P1610, UX380, Q1, Dell M90, and MacBook, guess which one has to be rebooted the least often… ;)

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