Within the last 2-3 days my PC has been completely freezing at both random moments as well as during the running of programs I had hoped would either fix the problem or at least help me diagnose it. The freezes are, as I said, complete. The monitor displays whatever I was doing, but nothing responds. No mouse, keyboard, or anything. I'm reduced to manually powering down by holding down my on/off button on the PC case. Afterwards, I choose to "Start Windows Normally" when that unexpected shutdown screen comes up, and I boot back into Windows fine until the next freeze.
The first freeze happened while the PC was idling in screen-saver mode (never saw a frozen screen saver before). The second time it froze while I was generically surfing the web. After that, I tried googling the problem. Many people suggested defragging the drive. The PC froze about 2 minutes into the defrag. I tried defragging again after restarting and it froze about a minute later than the 1st time.
Then I tried some of the programs recommended for diagnosing if it was a Hard Drive problem, as many people suggested. I tried the SMART utility in SpeedFan. Got the "Current Pending Sector Count" warning result that people said meant I had bad HD sectors, so I tried to run the Extended Test and froze up again. Then I tried HD Tune Pro and ran its Error Scan. That got about 3300mb or so along, detected 2 bad pieces, and my PC froze.
So that's where I'm stuck. Almost everything I've found on the web points toward a hardware problem (most say HD), so that's why I decided to post here first as opposed to Software, but every time I try to run anything to diagnose/fix it, it causes the freeze again. I sure hope somebody can help me figure this out, because I'm stumped.
Let me know what system hardware or any other info you need and I'll post them. Thanks.