Shutdowns after Windows update signal incompatibility

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Q: I recently started getting a problem with my HP Envy 360 laptop running Windows 10. After a Microsoft update, the laptop started doing random shutdowns on its own. It also restarts suddenly while I’m on the web, freezing the mouse. The shutdowns have occurred with the cover down, and also with it up (when it must have gone into sleep, or energy saver, mode). The power light actually goes out and I have to push it on again.

A Best Buy tech remoted in and said this was a known problem with the display adapter driver due to the recent Microsoft update. He updated the driver but the shutdowns continued. At Best Buy, they saw that the update had “rolled back” or was not complete. They kept the laptop and did tests that should have shown what the cause of the driver rollback was, or maybe another cause, but they could not get any “dump logs” so could not find the problem. Apparently, the software did not consider this problem severe enough to generate the logs. They said Microsoft forces updates even if you decline them, so I can’t check that box. The upshot was that if the problem got worse, it would probably enable them to find logs and the cause and I should bring the laptop back in. We did discuss this having to do with sleep mode but I don’t think they thought much of that.At this point, I am living with the random shutdowns, which right now are not unbearable. I hate the restarts, which happen every few days, once a day. I hope this will not hurt the laptop. Best Buy said it could if it got worse, but it hasn’t

.Any clue as to all this?

— Kevin Feigen, Seattle

A: The tech person at Best Buy was on the right track. If the problem you’re having started right after a Windows update that would indicate an incompatibility between Windows and the computer’s drivers, or possibly an attached device’s software. First, make sure you don’t have any peripherals connected to the computer, such as a printer. If the problem doesn’t go away, the incompatibility is likely either with the computer’s BIOS or drivers. Go to the HP website and make sure all your drivers — not just for the graphics adapter but also for the network card and other devices — and BIOS are up to date. If the problem persists, contact support at HP.

Q: I recently purchased a new Windows 10 laptop (Home edition) and it slows down to a crawl on a fairly regular basis. The Task Manager performance monitor shows disk usage at 100 percent much of the time with the system being the culprit. While this is going on (right now), my browser (Opera) is also very slow and, oddly enough, when I try to type something into the Search bar, I can only type one letter and can’t enter any more letters. I was wondering if these are issues you’re familiar with and if you had any suggestions to resolve them.

 Rick Fague, Olympia

A: Yes, if the Task Manager shows disk usage at or near 100 percent it’s not surprising that your computer’s performance will be at a crawl. You say “the system” is the culprit. I’m not sure what you mean by that, but I’m guessing you clicked on the Processes tab in the Task Manager so you could see what programs are consuming what resources — CPU, memory, disc accesses and network. So far, so good. If the culprit is one of the applications at the top of the list under “Apps,” it’s easy to determine which app to get rid of. But if it’s further down the list under “Background processes” the real culprit can be difficult to determine, since it’s likely that one of the applications on your computer is causing a Windows system applet to use those resources. Determining just which application is doing that requires either examining Windows logs or trial-and-error uninstalling of applications.

First, I’d recommend that you run a full virus and malware scan. If that doesn’t solve the problem, I’d remove any programs that you don’t actually use. If the problem continues, you may need to take the computer to a repair shop for diagnosis.

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