I've been having a problem where all programs would stop responding - even Windows Explorer. When this happens, I can still switch between processes, but when I try to do anything in the new process, it stops responding also. This continues for up to 5-10 minutes after which it either starts working again, or restarts. This problem disappears for months at a time, but always comes back seemingly at random, although now it seems to be constant.
When the crashes happen, there are many errors in the event log such as:
"The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort0."
"The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk0\DR0"
Interestingly, it only ever happens within about 20 minutes of the computer being switched on (if at all) - if it does not occur in this period, it will run fine (for days/weeks at a time) until I turn it off. I tried switching the BIOS mode from IDE to ACHI as I was told this could be related to the problem, but now I just get a BSOD instead of the lockups, with the same pattern. The BSOD is KERNEL DATA INPAGE ERROR.
Also, sometimes when I restart the computer after these errors, the BIOS can't find a boot volume until after a few more restarts. This leads me to believe its hardware rather than software, together with the fact that this problem has followed me over many installs of windows (and linux, which had exactly the same problem) over the years. It is wierd that until recently, the computer would be fine for months at a time, and then act like this for a few days.
The hard drive is in good health, with no problems reported on SMART attributes, although after these crashes, sometimes chkdsk automatically runs on the next reboot and repairs quite a lot of files - although this could be due to corruption from the sudden power down? I have even unplugged my secondary hard drive and CD drive which both used IDE, but I still get the problem with only 1 hard drive. My main hard drive is SATA.
I realise its probably hardware, but what sort of hardware problem would give these extremely wierd symptoms. Also if it was hardware, I wouldn't expect it to run for days/weeks at a time if there is no error in the first 20 minutes or so since boot. I have had to deal with this on and off throughout the last 3 years (since I built the thing), and now its getting more and more frequent, so I can no longer ignore it.
Does anyone have any ideas?