I've been having a problem with one of my Win7 64b rigs (Vostro 360 All-in-One) periodically (every couple of weeks or so) running out of resources (I get a message to that effect) &/or simply crashing with the screen going black, at which point the system will be very unstable/unresponsive to mouse/keyboard input if it will respond or not come back up at all. Usually I have no choice but to power the machine off & restart. Sometimes I can get to TaskManager and initiate a shut down but it never completes & I have to power off anyway. Sometimes on restart I'll get the "Windows did not shut down properly..." dialog, but most of the time it just boots back into Windows normally.
This is a new machine purchased in April & the problem started within 2 weeks of coming out of the box. Went through all the hardware Dx stuff on my own & with Dell, everything checked out fine. Updated the video drivers through Intel's site with Dell's blessing but that hasn't resolved the behavior.
I have another Win7 64b machine (laptop) that is set up nearly identically, with all the same software (ODNT included, of course) although the 360 has Trend Micro AV/firewall and the laptop has Kaspersky, and the 360 has a wireless keyboard/mouse. The laptop has 6Gb of RAM while the 360 has 4Gb. Those are pretty much the only differences.
I tax the laptop very heavily every day. The 360 is used for nothing but intermittent browsing and email (Thunderbird) and the occasional Word document. Facebook & Farmville are its most common tasks (not by me, thank you).
In troubleshooting why the laptop never even burps let alone crashes or runs out of resources while the 360 has been doing so regularly if unpredictably, I happened upon a process running on the 360 which was using ~250,000 handles (yes, that is 250 thousand) at the time and incrementing up by 1 handle virtually every second. It is a process which resides in a folder named 'Dell KM632 Wireless Keyboard Caps Lock Indicator' so I suspect, logically enough, it has something to do with the wireless keyboard (which is OEM - more on that later).
After a fresh reboot, the process initially grabs ~150 handles and immediately begins incrementing by 1 handle roughly every second. Every other process seems to hover around the number of handles it grabs initially. A few system processes get into the low 3,000's, nothing but this one process gets higher and no other process manifests this inexorable increase. Baseline physical memory use is about 1.5Gb at boot and when the machine gets into trouble I've been able to see it at about 3.2Gb (85-88%) on those occasions I've been able to get to TaskManager. I don't think memory is the resource which is running out, but perhaps I'm wrong.
I recalled a post Brad had done a few years ago about handles being important to system performance in XP, that if a process got over about 2,000 handles it could cause system instability. This led me to think perhaps there was a 'handle-leak' with this .exe, analogous to a memory-leak.
So I called Dell again and found out that any 'software' support requires a 'software warranty' (an .exe is software, dontchaknow) and I only had a hardware warranty. I tried, in vain of course, to explain that this was OEM Dell software, apparently necessary for the function of the hardware keyboard without which the brand new computer was useless, that if the keyboard were connected by USB cable we'd be talking a 'hardware issue' but no, there was no love in India. So I purchased the software warranty (under vigorous protest for the record) and the tech proceeded to do a bunch of routine silliness such as deleting temp and prefetch files, uninstalling CCleaner & MalwareBytes, checking a couple of reg entries and rebooting, at which time he announced that the problem was fixed, that I would have no more trouble with my computer. He insisted that the number of handles used by that process had nothing to do with the problem I had reported. He could not explain why the machine was crashing no matter how many times I asked him. Neither could his supervisor. Neither would answer the question, 'Is the number of system handles infinite?' Neither would (or could) answer the question, 'What is the maximum number of handles available in Win7?' He just insisted that all the hardware and software were now just fine and if I had any more problems I could call Dell again. Tellingly, when I first asked the tech if he knew what handles were, he said 'No'. Later he said that his supervisor had reassured him that they had nothing to do with the problem of running out of system resources.
So, now that my rant is more or less complete, DO handles matter in Win7 64b?