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Frequent blue screens from alt-tabbing into/out of games

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December 22, 2011 5:13:22 AM

Hi there,

I just built my first computer and I'm encountering a lot of blue screens, mainly from alt-tabbing from a fullscreen game. I'm not sure what to do as I'm not super knowledgeable with tech, but here are my specs.

i5 2500k with Hyper 212 EVO cpu cooler
2x Sapphire Toxic 6950 Crossfire (both unlocked to 6970).
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R
Corsair Force 3 Series 120GB SSD
Samsung 1TB 7200 RPM HDD

I don't think the issue lies with the graphics cards because the drivers are up to date, and I dont think it's my SSD either (although I haven't flashed the firmware I am stable- so its recommended not to flash it) because this only happens when I alt-tab. I believe it to be something with my RAM modules.

Have any of you guys dealt with something like this before? Please help!

a b } Memory
December 22, 2011 12:38:19 PM

Yeah, but luckily we never had BSODs..... and we usually don't ALT TAB out of games..... it doesn't make much sense to be doing that.
If you are that fond of ALT TABBING you ought to play in Windowed Mode and avoid the full screen mode altogether.
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December 22, 2011 3:37:43 PM

alyoshka said:
Yeah, but luckily we never had BSODs..... and we usually don't ALT TAB out of games..... it doesn't make much sense to be doing that.
If you are that fond of ALT TABBING you ought to play in Windowed Mode and avoid the full screen mode altogether.



I had no idea alt-tabbing was so dangerous. I usually out tab out of mmo's because I find myself looking up things often.
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a b } Memory
December 22, 2011 3:50:07 PM

Personally I play at 1920 x 1080 windowed mode on a 1920 x 1200 screen, that leaves me 120 pixels worth of access to other programs .... mainly cause some games just refuse to alt tab at all.

Still, this activity should not be causing BSOD's..... be hard to get TS to jump in tho w/ the GFX BIOS flash.

have you googled the BSOS exception error or looked at Event Viewer for possible causes
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a b } Memory
December 23, 2011 1:26:07 AM

Actually, let me ask you a question, what happens when we ALT TAB?
And then let me answer it for you, When we ALT TAB , the particular program that was running at high priority is now laid back and another program is given a higher priority, this , in turn causes the first program to loose resources that were allocated to it when it was on the higher priority.
And as we all know, when you pull resources from a program running absolutely fine with all the resources at it's service, it usually crashes, freezes or quits.
Your BSODs may come up from resources that were used by the program and were not flushed when the program crashed or quit. This leaves certain parts of the memory , either Video or Systems, reserved and deemed unusable since the bits have no idea what to do and where to go because the program using those bits of information is no longer available.
So in all this confusion, this is one possibility the systems might be facing.
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December 23, 2011 5:07:38 AM

Yeah, but alt-tabbing should at worst kill the game, not BSOD.
Can you see the details of the blue screen? It ususally sais something. You can even find these details in the event viewer (right-click computer/my computer and select manage).

And just because the drivers are latest version does not mean they are bug-free.
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December 25, 2011 5:33:01 PM

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December 25, 2011 5:40:52 PM

OK GUYS I KNOW THE PROBLEM!!

I should've known it was this. I was forcing 16x AA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, and High Textruing Filtering Quality through 3d Application Settings in my Catalyst Control Center. When I turned it off I can alt-tab all I want and it doesn't crash.

SWOTR doesn't support anti aliasing and I wanted to have better graphics, so I forced it through there. Why it crashes when I alt-tab through that, I'm not sure.

Another thing I forgot about is when I try to change anti aliasing in BF3 with it being forced through CCC it also crashes, but that I knew.

So is this to be expected? Is it normal to crash like that if I'm forcing it through CCC?
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a b } Memory
December 26, 2011 4:34:54 AM

Actually even if you force AA onto anything it shouldn't effect the program since if it doesn't support AA modes, it's not going to effect it, but, on the other hand since you're forcing AA onto a GPU through it's own software, that leaves the hardware under heavier load without actually doing anything, it's going to process the graphics just more but resulting in nothing but the same graphics again, thus, there could be a possibility that the cause or the solution you found for the problem has hit the exact spot.
Try using AA in BF3 through the Game Video Settings, I don't think it should crash, unless you ALT TAB it then. Forget using the CCC altogether when it comes to gaming, just the the program decide what to use and what not to.
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December 31, 2011 1:52:55 PM

AA is incompatible with some GPU features. If the game uses those features, even the driver cannot force AA. But if the game does not use those features, the AA can be forced even if the game does not support it.
Now, what you found out, it seems either the driver does not clean-up as it should, or it makes the game do some strange things. But the idea is that if both are working according to spec, BSOD should not happen. In workst case the game should close, but not take the whole system.
So it appears the problem is in SW (driver of game) and not in HW.
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