System Locking : Circumstances Point To Firefox (!)^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h Mystery

My system has begun locking up and the circumstantial evidence, much to my surprise, seem to point to Firefox. The lockup is a hard one: the screen freezes with no mouse response, no perfmon counters, no hard drive activity. Have to go to the big red switch. I recently re-installed my display drivers (for an ATI All-In-Wonder 800) using the latest Catalyst drivers and normally I would strongly suspect them. But it seems to me that the hangs are at least often and perhaps always occuring right at the moment of switching pages in Firefox. (It just did it as I checked that I was running Firefox 2.0.0.3.)

Now, opening pages in a browser is a common task, so it’s possible that this is pure coincidence. Too, I’ve had hangs when I wasn’t opening pages, but I very well may have had the browser open and experiencing an auto-refresh (such as happens on my homepage, which is msnbc.com). Nor does this let my display driver entirely off the hook, as the problem may relate to the display-rendering of a just-changed Web page, right?

So, after two days of drastic msconfig work, I am ready to try the ultimate sacrifice — switching to IE. Wish me luck.

Update: Well, the good news is that it’s not Firefox. Fifteen minutes into a Firefox-less session, I got the freeze. I feel it must be the display drivers, but I don’t know what alternatives I have.