Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2 / Windows 7

Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2 / Windows 7

Summary: Seeing some odd behavior with your Windows Server 2008 R2 installation? There might well be a good reason for it.


It isn't often that attempting to diagnose a problem with my desktop computer leads me to what is potentially a serious problem in the datacenter. I recently moved to Windows 7 x64 as my primary desktop. I had been running the operating system on various machines since relatively early in the beta process, but migrating my main working computer to a new OS is always a chore I tend to put off for a bit.

But I finally bit the bullet, lined up Windows 7 and 64-bit versions of all of my key applications, and did a clean installation on a new hard drive.  I've gradually been reinstalling my regularly used applications as I moved my workload on to the new OS, but about a week ago I started experiencing random freezes where I would lose access to the computer for anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, with the occasional reboot required.

The issue manifested in a really bad way when I tried to move data from multiple DVD drives to different hard drives.  The system locked up hard and required rebooting each time I tried the same process.  This was enough to motivate me to look for a fix to the problem.

I was open-minded about it; the computer is a couple years old and I was open to the possibility that I was having a hardware failure, not an OS failure, but as my warranty is still in effect I wasn't too concerned if that turned out to be the case (Dell support for their XPS systems has been pretty good in my experience).

But while searching for a possible root cause it turned out that there was a hotfix for the problem of random freezes, not just with Windows 7, but also Windows server 2008 R2. The hotfix was released on August 12th.

Microsoft describes the symptoms as:

A computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7 stops responding randomly. Applications or services that are running on the computer stop working correctly. Additionally, you cannot log on to the computer by using the remote desktop connection utility.

And the cause as:

This issue occurs because of a deadlock condition between the Lsass.exe process, the Redirected Drive Buffering Subsystem (Rdbss.sys) driver, and the Winsock kernel.

The hotfix is part of what will eventually (early 2011) be released as SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Hard to think of a bigger nightmare for datacenter IT than an OS bug which causes a random server freeze, but if you are running Windows server 2008 R2 and have experienced this phenomenon, here's a possible fix for you.  As for me; I've applied it, and the desktop hasn't locked up today.

Topics: CXO, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2

    This is the EPITOME of a thing that should have been released during the regular patch cycle, if not immediately.

    Why the heck would Microsoft want people to go and download a hotfix for an issue that a lot of people are having and WHICH THEY KNOW ABOUT?
    • More to it than that

      @Lerianis10<br><br>Hotfixes are targeted first and foremost for mission-critical systems at the enterprise level. Quick Fix engineers at Microsoft produce code patches for such customers only when they experience what are deemed "critical" issues and other workarounds are not available. Thus the lack of public fanfare re their availability.

      Since Hotfixes do not undergo rigorous beta testing when they're developed, they are not earmarked for general consumption. Being very specific in nature and without regression testing, MS has always advised that clients request and apply these only if one experiences the EXACT problem they're cited to address (this presupposes you're up to date with the latest service pack and security patches).

      Some of these HF patches are later incorporated into service packs for general release, but only after they undergo more comprehensive testing. Service packs by design are more planned and tested, which assures the fixes they incorporate are suitable for use on ANY customer's system. Patches OTOH are developed on an as-needed basis, and only to remedy very specific performance issues (bugs).
      • In other words...

        ...download this hotfix and then pray it doesn't hose your system...<br><br>Wow, great confidence here...<br><br>lol... :D
        ahh so
      • @Nicholas...

        You just confirmed to me that you don't inspire any confidence. None, whatsoever.<br><br>I hope they don't send you their broken machines to fix.
        ahh so
      • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2

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  • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2

    I've had random freezes with Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, so I wonder if the problem extends that far.
    Rick lite
  • Lsass.exe is a pain in the behind

    Frequent disk access and lock-up are all caused by it. Don't know why they design a program like that.
  • Yes and

    for those of you trying to network XP to Vista/Win7 you will find more disasters in the shadows. Random file handle and share disconnects as well as the inability to copy large files across shares. It's compounded if the server is XP based and the clients Vista/W7. Still bad if it's the other way around. Disabling Samba 2.0 seems to help but you lose the benefits of fast large block transfers. What good are they if they aren't reliable huh?
  • Microsoft are dragging their heels on SP1.

    There are plenty of bugs and vulnerabilities, and things such as Search that need improving anyway. I'm sick of the idiots that say "It doesn't need a service pack".
  • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2

    Thank God!!!<br>I first thought I had an overheat issue with the cpu<br>Then I thought I had a faulty power supply<br>Then I thought I had a bad hard drive or perhaps video driver.<br>Then I thought, virus or malware.<br>I downloaded and ran the fix. We will see<br>Windows 7 Pro, 32 bit.
    • take a troubleshooting class dude


      LOL.... Wow... Those are some serously random conclusions to jump to George... Way too random... A troublshooting class along with a PC fundamentals class might give you a chance...
      • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2

        @i8thecat <br>Look at the symptoms:<br>1-Computer freezes randomly<br>2-Computer re-boots randomly<br>Look at possible things that could cause that<br>1-A cpu that overheats<br>2-VCC that drops too far below 5VDC<br>3-A Bad or faulty C drive<br>4-Bad Video card that drops the output of the power supply too low.<br>5-Granted, the video card driver was a shot in the dark.<br>6-Malware.<br><br>All do respect, everything I suspected is capable to causing my symptoms. I did not think Windows 7, after a very successful Beta, would be the cause.<br>I am very happy to say that after loading the fix, everything has been stable.
      • take an etiquette class


        Everything he mentioned above are possible symptoms. What would you suggest, anything? Or is it simply easier to bash someone rather than offer a hand?
      • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2

        Also, faulty RAM or memory controller have been known to cause lock-ups in the past. Less of a problem these days with the quality control on the integrated memory controllers but still not impossible.
    • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2


      And I added an extensive memory check to that list as well. I have been experiencing this problem for 5-6 months now! I spent 4-5 hours on the phone with Microsoft and they weren't able to solve it (last try was about one month ago.)
      The action center keeps telling me that the problem is with IE8 add-ons, but I disabled all and still have the problem. I sure hope the patch (which I just requested) does the trick this time!
  • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2

    We've been running Windows Server 2008 and R2 since they were released (50+ servers) and have 20+ Windows 7x64 clients and we have yet to experience this.
    Nice to know there is a fix for it though if it does become a problem
    • Thats windows dude...


      You can take identical hardware and load the same windows disk or image on each one and you will experience different issues on each one... It's always been that way... Multiple duplicate files can cause the same issue? 5 winsocks on a system, and everything is fine until one day windows decides to try a different one and craps out until you remove/rename the offending winsock? The registry farts and all hell breaks loose? We call it the Windows Factor? Microsoft should have dumped .DLL files and the registry back in the mid 90s?
      • So is the reverse true?

        [i]You can take identical hardware and load the same windows disk or image on each one and you will experience different issues on each one...[/i]

        If there is an OS X issue that affects even a single Apple model, it will affect every single unit of that model? Hmm... now since we do know that kernel panics exist in OS X, I guess you've just admitted that [b]every single Mac ever made kernel panics[/b].

        Cue the double standards...
      • RE: Random freeze problem chills Windows Server 2008 R2

        "The registry farts and all hell breaks loose?" - Are you teaching that PC fundamental class? Sign me up!
    • Ditto

      @maxhyde: Clearly, this is a real problem--but I question how widespread it is. We have a number of Win7 and Server 2008 machines in our environment, and haven't experienced it. Win7 systems have been selling like hotcakes in the marketplace, and I've not heard of significant numbers of users having this issue. It sounds as though it may impact just very specific combinations of hardware and software.