Hello. I could really use some help, so thanks for reading. I know it's not short, but any input is greatly appreciated.
I will try to be very clear and keep this to just the facts (because there are a decent number):
1. Newly homebuilt Win 7 64 system.
2. OS on new 120GB SSD (Mushkin Chronos Deluxe in AHCI mode).
3. Boots fine, Internet fine, downloads and installs fine.
4. After install, connected older Western Digital Caviar 250 GB drive containing data files (documents, zip files, etc.) from old Win XP 32 system.
5. Copying from the WD drive to SSD, no problem. Installing/extracting to WD drive (system back-up, etc.) caused a few, inconsistent instances where the drive experienced an error, "disappeared" from Windows Explorer and I had to shut down and restart to get back. This was the only error I experienced other than the BSODs described below.
6. Once the system seemed somewhat stable (other than above issue), I downloaded newest drivers of those installed by the motherboard DVD (slightly out of date) or Win 7. This is one place I could have gone wrong, as I installed drivers from latest I could find on the Internet, rather than from ASUS site (mobo is ASUS P8Z68-V).
7. The reason for my using my older WD drive at all (beyond preserving key data files from old PC) was that the SSD is only 120 GB and supposed to be reserved for OS and applications (e.g., games) where speed is meaningful.
8. So, in part to preserve the SSD space I have, I made some tweaks to Win 7. Shrunk the page/swap file, shrunk system restore points (and also moved them to WD 250 GB drive), turned off hibernate mode, etc. Those three were eating a lot of space. I also disabled start-up applications and services I determined (through experience and Internet research) to be unnecessary, like Bluetooth support (note: I did not alter any Windows apps or services). This is another area where I suppose I could have gone wrong.
9. What little I was doing with the system at that point seemed fine (booting, web surfing, downloading, etc.). So, I installed the one game I wanted to try with this system that I've been playing lately, Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO).
10. I installed LOTRO a bit unconventionally. I simply copied my old game folder over that I'd had on my just-retired XP system, and preserved on the WD 250 GB drive, to my new SSD. Once there, I ran the launcher, which found the game, installed a few critical set-up files, detected DX 11 (new for this Win 7 64 OS) and ran the game. No issues, but this could also be where I went wrong. 11 (ISSUE!). The game ran quite well (better than on XP — no surprise with the new hardware and OS). But after playing for a time (30 minutes to an hour), it would Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), always with the message: "Page Fault in Non-Page Area." The PC would then auto-restart without issue.
Additional note: The game often makes a distinct, short "crackly" sound shortly before BSOD, which often (always?) occurred when transitioning areas. If I was to base a guess on instinct, it feels like I've reached the end of my memory (RAM, video GPU RAM, hard drive cache...no idea) and the game/my PC can't manage it, so BSOD.
12. Given the irregular issues I'd had earlier with the WD drive (though the game was now running off of SSD), the non-ASUS drivers I'd installed, the alterations I'd made to Win 7, and the unorthodox way I'd installed the game (though others on the forum had done this, moved OSs like I did, and it worked fine), I had no idea where to begin. From what little research I could understand, it could be the game, my drivers, or my hardware. 13. It would be one thing if I'd had the system up and stable and running similarly demanding applications — then I could better determine the source of the issue. But since the system is new and the game is far and away the most demanding application it has run, I've no idea.
The steps I've taken so far:
1. I tried reading the Win 7 diagnostics of the issue, but since I have almost no experience with this, it meant little to me. I did switch off the "auto-restart on BSOD"
2. I returned to the option to have Win 7 manage my swap/page file (virtual memory).
3. I disconnected my WD 250 GB drive, so only the SSD is running.
4. Concerned that the issue may be with my new hardware or heat (though this should be a very cool rig — many fans, good case), I did the following:
- Ran MSI Kombuster stress test on my video card (never heated above 50C).
- Ran Win 7 diagnostic memory test (no issues found)
- Ran Prime95 "Torture" test (CPU and RAM intensive) for 12 minutes. CPU temp never exceeded 49C. No errors.
While it could still be hardware, I'm hoping that the above indicates it's not.
Finally, the LOTRO forums did report BSODs for some people with similar systems (Win 7 64) and Creative Labs sound cards to mine (an Audigy 4), apparently having to do with the X-Fi driver. These were sometimes resolved by running audio off the motherboard. My ASUS mobo has this, and I've installed the driver, but I'm unsure how to activate it over my sound card. A few also had issues with DX11, but this was not widespread.
In conclusion, I don't know where to start. Try the different audio option in the game. Reinstall the game. Resume all my services and start-up programs. Replace all of my drivers with ones (even older ones) from the ASUS site. Wipe my SSD and reinstall Win 7 altogether. Try using just one 4GB stick of my RAM (G.Skill Ripjaws 4GBx2, 8GB total). I'm out of my depth.
Again, I really appreciate your taking the time to read this. Any clue or place to start would be great. I can also follow up with Win 7 diagnostic-error logs if someone can direct me to how to preserve and present them.
Though I didn't receive a reply (no surprise, given the length of my tale)...I did resolve my issue. It turned out to be my Creative Labs SoundBlaster drivers and a conflict with the game. I haven't yet updated or found a fix for them, but disabling the card and running on-board sound solved my issue.