I've been using this computer for quite a while now with no real problems. A couple of months back I upgraded it from 3GB of RAM to 8GB of RAM, and also from an ATI Radeon graphics card to the NVIDIA GTX 460. Everything was fine until a couple of weeks back when I started getting BSODs. At first I thought it may have been a virus as I couldn't access anything. Software was inaccessible, and even right-clicking made explorer.exe terminate and I had to run it again. I got so frustrated I just didn't use my computer for a couple of weeks, and instead used my laptop.
So here I am on my PC again. I did run an avast! virus scan and everything checked out fine, same with Spybot S&D. The BSODs I suffered were something to do with page files, and perhaps something about a memory error. (The error message.) This led me to the belief that it might be faulty RAM. I searched online and found Memtest86+, installed it onto my USB drive, rebooted and ran it. Unfortunately, it did seem my RAM produced many errors. However, I couldn't find any kind of log file from Memtest86+, so it hasn't proven very useful. I'd like a recommendation for some software I can run within Windows itself, or if I must run at boot-time, one that will record logs so somebody can make sense of these RAM errors. Since I bought the RAM recently, if it is that I should be able to send it back to the manufacturer.
One thing worth mentioning is that it usually switches from Aero to the Basic Windows theme before it BSODs, which makes me worry about whether it could be a GPU problem. I'm sure it isn't overheating as the company I bought the components from (I also got a new PSU) assured me they'd be fine. And it's Christmas for goodness' sake.
I'm about as confused as you might be. Since using it again, I haven't had any of the software errors I had a couple of weeks ago. Everything seems to work. But I did have a BSOD earlier today, and whilst writing this post it switches to Windows Basic (which made me panic and quickly save this post in Notepad), but soon after it switched back to Aero and everything is working... for now.
p.s. Here's the crash report from the last BSOD, though I doubt it will be of much use:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.48
Locale ID: 2057
Additional information about the problem:
OS Version: 6_1_7600
Service Pack: 0_0
Did you manually set the timings, speed and voltage of your new ram in the bios or did you just leave it on auto? I'd check to make sure the bios is set to the exact settings on the sticker that's on the ram. If the voltage is off, it could cause all kinds of issues.
What motherboard and memory are we talking about?
If all the settings are correct for your ram, and the memory won't pass memtest, it's bad, return it.
You could narrow it down to which stick is bad by running memtest on one stick at a time, but if it's a kit, it doesn't matter return the whole kit.
As far as Aero, I don't know, I turn it off and don't use it anyways. You could definitely make sure you have the latest graphics driver for your card or chipset.
Searched the Locale ID (2057) and one thing i found was:
bugcheck 0x116 is "VIDEO_TDR_ERROR", which "indicates that an attempt to reset the display driver and recover from a timeout failed.", the assessment that the video card may be involved would appear to be accurate
It would explain aero going out before it happens. Have you tried different drivers or if you can, a different video card?
Also you said ''it did seem my RAM produced many errors'', so it did at least produce at least some errors?m, cause if so then i'd probably go after the RAM first if Memtest showed any errors with memory. I don't think logs are created after Memtest is finished, but i could be wrong, it might be something like memtest.log. I'm not sure though.
i always recommend a minimum of a repair install when you change something out as important as a gfx card, especially if your changing between the 2 main brands... same for cpu or motherboard.
the H.A.L. the hardware abstraction layer that helps windows decide what hardware drivers to install at boot. b4 any of the 3rd party external drivers. if you install windows it will install a specific set of drivers via H.A.L for specific hardware and disables others. so if you then change that hardware windows will still load up unneeded drivers and not load the needed 1s. end result is the growth of system instability. it will start with the odd b.sod and build to a point where windows wont boot over the next few weeks.
so run your hardware checks as you normaly would. and if all is well then do a repair install. hopefully that will be enough to get the system stable again.