Laptop freezes after plugged in

This is a followup to the following topic:

The gadget problem no longer occurs, but the general problem is the same: On my sister's laptop (an Inspiron 14), everything boots up fine but after a while of use, one program will lock up, then another will, and the rest will follow one by one until even most keyboard shortcuts are broken and pretty much the only things you can do are move the mouse and shut it off.

But we discovered something recently: This only happens when it's plugged in! On battery it's fine, but if we plug it in, it will progressively lock up usually in less than 3 minutes. IIRC, this does not occur in Safe Mode.

By the way, it doesn't matter which charger we use; both mine and hers will make it crash.
Also, her laptop does not have a problem with heat. She does like to use it on her lap (as well as put it on full brightness, which tends to make my own laptop hot), but ironically hers tends to be much cooler than mine, even while charging.

I tried looking into drivers for her power-related components, but it isn't looking good. I've yet to be able to download any without everything crashing (we're letting it charge right now so we can do it on battery), but the latest drivers I found are old anyways (the first one I looked up is circa 2001), so she probably already has the latest.

Still crashed under each of those circumstances. I also did a few other things: For one, I checked Safe Mode again to make sure, and it does not crash in Safe Mode. I also disabled charging in BIOS and was going to check whether or not it still crashed when plugged in, but I was interrupted when my sister needed her laptop back. Oh well; I didn't get a chance to turn charging back on, so she'll surely be coming back to me later today when she discovers her laptop isn't charging.

Last but not least, I tried to check her temp (just in case), but... it seems her laptop doesn't have a thermal sensor, and therefore there isn't a program in existence that can check it. Which I find disappointing, because mine does have a thermal sensor and my laptop is literally just one model up from hers. :/

To recap:
Still freezes in the most conservative power plan.
Still freezes in the Performance power plan.
Still freezes with all services disabled that can possibly be disabled. (among those I could not disable were two McAfee-related services)
Still freezes with all startup programs disabled.
Does not freeze in Safe Mode (with Networking).

I should also point out that earlier today, I checked the event logs again to see if I could find any event associated with the crashes, because last time I did that I don't think I really knew what I should be looking for. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that any events are related to the crashes.

Captain Jack

Extraordinary Member

Try uninstalling McAfee because of 3rd party firewall blocks local NETBIOS ports used by system services - those services that use "NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK" as user name like sysmain. The services all run under "svchost" and too often the 3rd party Firewall's block some/all network svchost activity or severly interfere with them. Make sure you use using the Uninstaller Tool from McAfee How to uninstall or reinstall supported McAfee consumer products using the McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR.exe)

Good Luck,


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Dell is normally very good about helping solve problems and they also have a large community. Have you called them, and is the laptop still under warranty?

Have you installed the software on both computers and done it the same?

Have you tried opening an administrative command window and typing the following and enter after:

SFC /scannow

Does it freeze if the computer is booted with the power plugged in?

There was a suggestion about updating the Bios, so you might think about that. Check if there are updates available then see if they mention anything about power problems.

McAfee isn't disabled by Safe Mode either, so I don't think that's it.
Being plugged in does not prevent it from booting.
Saltgrass, I'm not sure what software you're referring to being on both computers.

I went on online chat with a Dell representative. After discussing the problem, he came to what I would agree is a logical conclusion: The OS is likely corrupt.
He told me to run a set of diagnostic tests that I would never have thought existed: Dell laptops - or, at least, Inspiron 1440s - run a very large list of hardware-related tests if you hold Fn when powering on the unit.

But it passed all the tests, and so Dell recommends reinstalling Windows 7 on her laptop. Which means it's backup time!
...darn. Backing up is not fun when external power is not an option.

sfc /scannow says there's no integrity violations, which I assume means all system files are in proper condition. It's a shame, because given the circumstances, I'd think any errors detected/fixed by scannow probably would've been it.


Essential Member
Have you check your advanced power settings to see if your processor is being throttled when unplugged? You may want to disable throttling.

Also going to assume you have the latest chipset drivers. :)

Mitchell:The closest thing I could find to CPU throttling was "Maximum Processor State", which was 100% for both battery and mains.

Windows 7 has been reinstalled. All things considered, I now see that reinstalling Windows really isn't that painful of a process after all. All your files are kept, even those not in your user folder. It doesn't take too long, either.
Disappointingly, we lost most of her preinstalled applications. I was at least able to get back the Dell Dock, since that one's available for public download as freeware. But it turns out we didn't need most of those programs anyways. Her webcam still works even without Webcam Central, and she can still burn files to DVD even without Roxio (I actually had thought the burn wizard integrated into Explorer was just a clever frontend for third party burning software).

Oh, and I've had it plugged in for the last 5 hours as I've been reinstalling all her programs, and it hasn't frozen once, so I'm going to mark this thread as solved...for now. Thanks for all your help.

Er... or maybe I won't mark it solved, since it seems I can no longer edit the first post.

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Essential Member
Glad you've fixed the problem.
I've lost my moderator status for now, so I also can't mark it as solved.
No worries, there's thousands of solved threads that have no "solved" prefix.
Thanks for using the Windows 7 Forums, see you around :)

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