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WTF just happened?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
July 22, 2012 8:48:36 AM

I was playing GTA4 when the game suddenly froze. Now I wouldn't be posting here if this were a normal crash. A few seconds after the game froze, the screen went black and a sound came from my speakers as if they blew out and died. It then said the program was not responding and I had to force it closed. When I got to the desktop both Steam and Google Chrome also became unresponsive. Whenever I moved my mouse cursor over anything in Steam/Chrome it would black things out. I then had to force close those then restart my PC.

Everything is fine now but what exactly happened? As soon as I closed out GTA4 I viewed both my CPU and GPU temps and they were perfectly fine. My speakers are fine too btw.

I have a GTX 560 TI, Phenom 2 x4, 8GB RAM.

More about : wtf happened

a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2012 8:51:35 AM

probably a lot of dust in your system clogged your fans and caused a blowout
clean out your case and come back to us
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2012 11:22:56 AM


list your full system specs, sounds like a failing psu perhaps...
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2012 11:26:13 AM

also has everything been fine since then? driver version?
July 22, 2012 11:53:55 AM

things like that happen for no reason, pray for it not happening again and have fun!
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2012 12:44:10 PM

It happens sometimes and there can be a few reasons.
-your system is overloaded at that point of time
-unstable current from PSU
-Bug from game
-Memory error

Anyway, if it doesn't happen frequently, i won't be worried.
July 22, 2012 6:01:34 PM

I'm using the 301.42 drivers for my 560 TI. And this is my PSU

This is the first time I've had a crash like this and I played some more GTA4 last night and ran into zero issues. GTA4 on PC is known as a fairly buggy/broken game so it could have been the games fault.

I don't know if it's worth mentioning but months ago I OCed my CPU from 3.2 to 3.8 Ghz. The OC was stable and the temps were good and I've been playing daily since then so I really doubt that could be the problem.
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2012 6:47:37 PM

crappermaster psus are garbage I would think its your psu
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2012 6:50:37 PM

^that too, +1 Urbz
July 22, 2012 8:01:02 PM

Well it just happened again. After GTA4 crashed my other programs became unresponsive just like last time. It also too significantly longer to reboot this time.

I've never heard anything bad about Coolermaster PSUs. Actually I've heard mainly good.

I will try a clean sweep and reinstall drivers, but I honestly think it could just be GTA4. GTA4 is infamously known as an abysmal port. It's a pretty odd coincidence that I'm now just experiencing this while playing the game.
a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2012 8:02:11 PM

^really? Ive only heard bad things except for the high end silent pro models, personally I wouldnt touch em

try reinstallation and some other games, if problems persist you already know what the culprit is...
July 22, 2012 8:47:12 PM

I just did a clean uninstall/install for my drivers. So I'll play the game and report back. Also dusted my case.
July 23, 2012 12:23:48 AM

Well it happened again earlier minutes after launching the game but I didn't have a program open to see the temps in game when it happened.

So I played for the past 2 hours with all of my monitoring programs open and not a single crash. Temps were good the whole time like usual.
July 23, 2012 6:29:11 PM

Amd Phenom 2 x4 955 Black Edition 3.8Ghz (Stable OC)
CoolerMaster GX 750W PSU
G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB RAM (2x2GB) DDR3 1600
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus
CoolerMaster HAF 912 with 4 fans installed.

Honestly I think it's the game. GTA4 is known to be a broken game on PC. I just find it odd that my other programs would be affected by the crash.
July 25, 2012 3:58:48 AM

I've been playing quite a bit recently and haven't rant into the problems until now. This time it was different though. Instead of just crashing, the game starting getting some really bad graphical artifacts. It happened right after a big explosion in multiplayer. After 10 or so seconds of artifacts the game then crashed. Whenever I restarted the game the artifacts were still there. Even in another game "Mount and Blade Warband" I couldn't get past the first couple screens without it crashing.

As always though restarting my PC fixed all of the issues. Right before this happened I checked my temps out of curiosity and they were fine, but I closed the programs before the crash so I dont know what they were then.
July 25, 2012 4:13:18 AM

I really don't know what to think. I've had this PC for a year and a month and have never had any issues with it. And now all of a sudden when playing GTA4, a game that I've read sooo much bad about, I run into a lot of issues.

When you think about it it very much seems like the problem is the game. But the way the crashes effect the rest of my games and system doesn't seem right.
a c 190 U Graphics card
July 25, 2012 4:17:55 AM

This is an odd situation. It could be a couple of things. I would make sure to wipe the drivers and reinstall them. It could be the power supply, it could be the drivers, its a mystery at this point.

Try and run a memory test if you can. That could be the issue.

Also urban legend, may I ask where you got a Nvidia GT340? I thought those were OEM?
July 25, 2012 5:53:23 AM

I've done a clean uninstall and reinstall of my drivers and it still occurs. Very randomly too. Since that last crash I played for too hours in a full multiplayer game in GTA4 with over a dozen Police cars on the screen and no issues. Not even any FPS drops.

July 25, 2012 9:07:40 PM

Happened twice today but the second time it happened, when I opened Google Chrome I got a message saying "your preferences file is corrupt". All of my bookmarks, settings, etc in Chrome were gone. They are all back now though.

I had my Temp monitoring programs out during the second crahs and my CPUs high was 53C and my GPUs high was 56
July 25, 2012 9:22:14 PM

Well this sucks. I need to get an external before I even think of Reinstalling Windows though because I have a lot of stuff I need to back up.

Are you positive this could be a corrupt Windows? I looked up "Google Chrome your preferences file is corrupt" and quite a few people have encountered this with Chrome. It could just be on Chromes end. I get a lot of flash errors with Chrome too so Chrome might just have a tendency to mess up.

And I still think it could be the game. It's no coincidence that the only time I encounter issues with my PC is when playing an infamously buggy and broken game.
July 25, 2012 9:40:30 PM

I don't see how Chrome could be causing this though. I've had Chrome since I built this PC a year ago and it's never happened with any other games.

Could it possibly be Games For Windows Live? I've heard nothing but bad about it. I was determined to never go near it but GTA4 made me cave.

And thinking back, there was a time I was considering reinstalling windows because of DX11 issues I've had in games. In Metro 2033 DX11 I get stuttering in certain places of the game. I was able to conclude that it is in fact apart of the engine though by having other people test it and confirm it happens.

I also had an issue with Crysis 2 DX11 patch. It only occurs in DX11. DX9 works fine though. I assumed this was just due to poor DX11 support and Crysis 2 being a port which I still stand by. Here's a video.

I just don't want to reinstall Windows unless I know for a fact it isn't a game bug.
July 25, 2012 10:08:45 PM

I think for now I will uninstall GTA4 and GFWL and just play other games and see how things go. Steam Sale gave me 20 new games so I'll have plenty to play. :p 

If I don't encounter the issues then it was either the game or the client. I'll report back in maybe a day or two. Sooner obviously if the issue returns. Thanks for the help btw. I really appreciate it.
a c 190 U Graphics card
July 26, 2012 6:17:31 AM

Yea I would try the other games and see what happens.
July 27, 2012 3:49:41 AM

Well I've been playing some Witcher 2, Skyrim, and Mount and Blade Warband and have not encountered the issue once. Skyrim is heavily modded too so if anything were wrong with my system I don't see how it could run Skyrim maxed with graphical mods. I'm also playing on 100 player servers in Warband. Warband stopped working once but that was because I kept alt tabbing so it was on my behalf.

With GTA 4 I've put in 27 hours and have had maybe 7 of these crashes so it's very random. I remember it took about 6 or 7 hours of gameplay before I first encountered the issue. In GTA4 it could happen minutes or hours after the launching the game to occur.

Honestly I really do believe it's either the game or Games For Windows Live. Both have infamously bad reputations which makes it more believable.
a b U Graphics card
July 27, 2012 4:01:21 AM

Have you tried defaulting clocks? First line of troubleshooting is eliminating the most obvious and that's an OC. What may be "stable" yesterday may not be "stable" today.

Easy enough, save the OC profile in bios and reset to default - retest.

Also - I've never had a problem with GFWL nor it's games.
July 27, 2012 4:10:55 AM

Well my CPU was OCed from 3.2 to 3.8 and I've had this OC for about 2 months and play games daily. I don't see why I'd have stability issues now especially when I've played CPU dependent games like a modded Skyrim for 80 hours with no stability issues.

I'll definitely go back to the default clocks soon though and see if that helps.

And I don't think its GFWL as much as I think it's GTA4.
a b U Graphics card
July 27, 2012 4:38:52 AM

True enough but it's a simple thing to do just to eliminate "it" from the equation and save you a new install of Windows, games and programs.

If you do find it to be the clocks; you can back off a little or bump the voltage a little (debating on where you're currently at and cooling).
a c 190 U Graphics card
July 27, 2012 7:14:05 AM

I would recommend backing some of your important stuff up at this point.
July 27, 2012 11:54:04 AM

I still don't see how a reinstall is necessary at all. The reason Chrome had corrupt preferences was because it didn't close properly and I'm not encountering the issues in other games.

Reinstalling Windows will be the absolute last resort. If anything my next steps will be resetting my Bios settings or updating my Bios. Someone on another forum stated they fixed something similar with game crashes affecting open programs by updating the Bios.

Can you explain why a Windows reinstall would be needed?
a b U Graphics card
July 27, 2012 12:04:33 PM

Just clear CMOS and see what it gets you. Easy enough...

I've had OC's I thought were stable in stress tests but unstable in certain games (particularly Crysis 2) and backing off on clocks fixed the issue.

Also you can use "WhoCrashed" to read BSOD dump file (if you're getting them) and it'll give you a good idea of what may be causing the crashes.
July 30, 2012 12:52:02 AM

Before I update my Bios I am reverting back to the 295.73 drivers which seem to be the best. My last GTA4 crash had something pop up saying "display driver crashed and recovered"
a c 190 U Graphics card
July 30, 2012 2:55:40 AM

It might not actually be the drivers.

I had the same problem with my 6950 awhile back, and it would say "display driver crashed and recovered"

I had tried every known driver in existence.

Turns out, it was the RAM.

Moral of the story: It could be something else as well, such as power (prolly not) and maybe even the memory.

July 30, 2012 3:57:09 AM

drivers 296 is better..

Many people including myself, have experienced problems with 296.10 when watching videos. The screen would be covered in a pink and green pixel like checker pattern and the driver would crash and then recover. Only when watching videos though.

And what is the best program for testing RAM? Might as well try that out.
July 30, 2012 11:44:13 PM

Hmm well it just happened again with the different drivers. Next step will be testing RAM. I should use a program to test them right? Which is best?
August 3, 2012 10:02:51 AM

Well I was almost positive I fixed the problem. I updated my Bios and for the past couple days played GTA4 extensively. I played for maybe 10 hours with no issues until just now where I got that weird crash.

Next step will be putting my CPU back to default clocks. If it happens again then testing my RAM and making sure they are working properly. What is the best program for testing RAM?
August 4, 2012 4:01:55 AM

Surprised you didn't say what?

Also I might try installing 304.79 drivers but this time use Driver Fusion instead of Driver Sweeper to clean up. Driver Fusion is the new Driver Sweeper and maybe my version of Driver Sweeper wasn't up to date and didn't clean everything.

Also with the most recent GTA4 crash, It's not like it crashed when a lot was going on. For the 10 hours without any crash, I played in full multi games with cops, helicopters, and players everywhere with no issue. It actually crashed when trying to change clothes in a hotel...and like always Chrome and Steam became unresponsive.