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Screen artifacts and computer restart

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 6, 2012 2:10:39 PM

Hello everyone,

My computer has been randomly displaying screen artifacts, after which it will immediately freeze and restart. Just before it restarts, the monitor will shut off as if it is not receiving any data (i.e. the computer is asleep). This occurs both when I am browsing the web and when I am playing a game, although the latter seems to make this problem occur more frequently. Still, I've been able to play up to 30 minutes of a game, but once I loaded a different save file, the artifacts popped up and the computer restarted.

The problem continued to occur after I reinstalled Windows 7 and formatted all my other disk drives. It also happens both before and after I installed the most updated graphics drivers and Windows 7 updates.

I tried running my computer in Safe Mode, and once I logged into my user account, the artifacts came on screen immediately, but the computer did NOT restart, even after I left it idle for over an hour.

The MSI Kombuster app shows both my GPUs idle temp at ~53 Celsius.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4GHz
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 3870 (x2*, see Note below)
RAM: 8GB
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit, Service Pack 1

*Note: Device Manager shows "ATI Radeon HD 3870" in PCI bus 1, but just "ATI Radeon HD 3800 Series" in PCI bus 2. However, MSI Kombuster shows "ATI Radeon HD 3870" for both GPU 1 and GPU 2.

As you can probably tell, I'm not the most computer-literate person. I've tried including as much relevant information as I can.

Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated!
August 6, 2012 2:32:53 PM

Make sure everything is connected as it should be.

1) Download Driver Sweeper here.
2) Download Win7 32bit Catalyst 12.6 drivers HERE. but don't install.
3) Download 12.7 CAP 2 HERE.
4) Custom uninstall all AMD software through Control Panel, select everything and reboot.
5) Run Driver Sweeper and clean AMD drivers and reboot.
6) Re-install CCC and reboot.
7) Install the CAP profile and reboot.

Info HERE
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August 6, 2012 2:34:02 PM

RussK1 said:
Make sure everything is connected as it should be.

1) Download Driver Sweeper here.
2) Download Win7 32bit Catalyst 12.6 drivers HERE. but don't install.
3) Download 12.7 CAP 2 HERE.
4) Custom uninstall all AMD software through Control Panel, select everything and reboot.
5) Run Driver Sweeper and clean AMD drivers and reboot.
6) Re-install CCC and reboot.
7) Install the CAP profile and reboot.

Info HERE

Thanks so much for the advice! I'll follow these steps and will update once I'm done.
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August 6, 2012 2:37:26 PM

throwback24 said:
Thanks so much for the advice! I'll follow these steps and will update once I'm done.


Good deal and good luck.

**PS**

If OC'd, remove and retest. Update drivers though because Windows update sucks as far as updating drivers.
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August 6, 2012 3:41:59 PM

RussK1 said:
Good deal and good luck.

**PS**

If OC'd, remove and retest. Update drivers though because Windows update sucks as far as updating drivers.


Pardon, but what does "OC" stand for? In any case, I've posted the update below:

I followed all the instructions exactly. No problems occurred until I installed the CAP profile .exe (although whether this is because the problem was fixed before installing this program or because of chance, I can't say).

After I installed the CAP profile .exe, I rebooted the computer. However, the monitor switched off (as in it had no display) for an extended period of time (~3 min). The first 5 seconds of the regular startup screen appeared. Then the monitor went blank, a message showing "No video input; check video cable" flashed and the monitor went blank again for another short period of time. Finally, the monitor came back on and the computer made the typical startup sounds. It then went to the screen that stated "Windows was not properly shut down" and with the prompts to start normally or in Safe Mode. I chose the option to start normally.

I logged in and started up the game Metro 2033. Right at the menu screen, the display froze and the computer crashed to the desktop with screen tearing. A brief popup stated, "Display driver has crashed and recovered successfully." The artifacts came on screen again and the computer restarted in the typical manner (blank screen for a few minutes). This time, the artifacts came on screen 10 seconds into the normal computer bootup. Again, the screen went blank for a few min, and the computer restarted for the second time, but successfully. I logged in and here I am typing this post.
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Anonymous
August 6, 2012 4:00:22 PM

i dont think that this is mere driver issue. It may also be a graphic card hardware issue. It seems ur cards r pretty old, i.e more then 1 yrs old. Now a days hardware that old generally develops defects.
Try to run ur system with one card at a time and do everything u do . Try to stress ur card to maximum limit. see what happens. Do not over clock anything during this process. Also try to use older driver with which this kind of problem never occurred.
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August 6, 2012 4:22:31 PM

throwback24 said:
Pardon, but what does "OC" stand for? In any case, I've posted the update below:

I followed all the instructions exactly. No problems occurred until I installed the CAP profile .exe (although whether this is because the problem was fixed before installing this program or because of chance, I can't say).

After I installed the CAP profile .exe, I rebooted the computer. However, the monitor switched off (as in it had no display) for an extended period of time (~3 min). The first 5 seconds of the regular startup screen appeared. Then the monitor went blank, a message showing "No video input; check video cable" flashed and the monitor went blank again for another short period of time. Finally, the monitor came back on and the computer made the typical startup sounds. It then went to the screen that stated "Windows was not properly shut down" and with the prompts to start normally or in Safe Mode. I chose the option to start normally.

I logged in and started up the game Metro 2033. Right at the menu screen, the display froze and the computer crashed to the desktop with screen tearing. A brief popup stated, "Display driver has crashed and recovered successfully." The artifacts came on screen again and the computer restarted in the typical manner (blank screen for a few minutes). This time, the artifacts came on screen 10 seconds into the normal computer bootup. Again, the screen went blank for a few min, and the computer restarted for the second time, but successfully. I logged in and here I am typing this post.


Uninstall the Catalyst Application Profile (CAP) through programs and features. And delete it's entry:

C:\AMD\AMD_Catalyst_12.7_CAP2 ←←DELETE

Retest
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August 6, 2012 7:55:50 PM

RussK1 said:
Uninstall the Catalyst Application Profile (CAP) through programs and features. And delete it's entry:

C:\AMD\AMD_Catalyst_12.7_CAP2 ←←DELETE

Retest

Problem solved! ...Almost. I uninstalled CAP as you said, then reinstalled it and turned off my computer (trying to avoid the dreaded freeze/auto-restart). When it booted up normally, I logged back in, and I haven't had artifacts, screen tearing, freezing or auto-restarts.

I tested out 4 games: Metro 2033, Skyrim, Saints Row: The Third, and Crysis 2. Results:

Metro 2033: Worked perfectly.
Skyrim: MASSIVE fullscreen flickering on the order of multiple flashes per second.
Saints Row: The Third: Mouse pointer is offset from what is actually selected on screen, but no visual problems.
Crysis 2: Random flickering of differently-sized black ovals throughout the screen.

Are these issues related, or do I have to correct them on a per-game basis? For what it's worth, I believe my two Radeon HD 3870 cards are meant to be used via Crossfire. I'm not sure what I can do for my graphics cards since the steps I took involved updating the drivers. My dad built this computer for me a few years ago, but unfortunately, he isn't around any longer for me to ask him how to fix these problems. Sorry if I seem especially ignorant.
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August 6, 2012 8:05:19 PM

throwback24 said:
Problem solved! ...Almost. I uninstalled CAP as you said, then reinstalled it and turned off my computer (trying to avoid the dreaded freeze/auto-restart). When it booted up normally, I logged back in, and I haven't had artifacts, screen tearing, freezing or auto-restarts.

I tested out 4 games: Metro 2033, Skyrim, Saints Row: The Third, and Crysis 2. Results:

Metro 2033: Worked perfectly.
Skyrim: MASSIVE fullscreen flickering on the order of multiple flashes per second.
Saints Row: The Third: Mouse pointer is offset from what is actually selected on screen, but no visual problems.
Crysis 2: Random flickering of differently-sized black ovals throughout the screen.

Are these issues related, or do I have to correct them on a per-game basis? For what it's worth, I believe my two Radeon HD 3870 cards are meant to be used via Crossfire. I'm not sure what I can do for my graphics cards since the steps I took involved updating the drivers. My dad built this computer for me a few years ago, but unfortunately, he isn't around any longer for me to ask him how to fix these problems. Sorry if I seem especially ignorant.


Try removing the CAP altogether and retest.


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August 6, 2012 9:12:42 PM

RussK1 said:
Try removing the CAP altogether and retest.

After uninstalling CAP:

Still no freezing/auto-restarts!

Skyrim: same flickering (although I Googled this and saw that other people had similar problems with their Crossfire setup)
Saints Row 3: mouse pointer still offset
Crysis 2: no more flickering ovals!
Metro 2033: still runs just as smoothly

Systemrequirementslab.com says my computer passes the minimum reqs for Skyrim. For Saints Row 3, the same problem occurred with my Civ 5 game and was fixed when I changed the computer font size back to the default 100% (I have it at 150% currently).

Do you have any other suggestions for steps I can take? If not, thank you for your help throughout today!
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August 6, 2012 11:16:21 PM

Good deal.

Skyrim is weird, so don't worry and you're not alone.

Make sure to check AMD's site from time to time for driver updates. There's also an option in catalyst control center to check for software updates.

Glad everything worked out. And thanks for visiting Toms!
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August 12, 2012 7:46:25 PM

Hi again,

I'm sorry to report that the problem has come back. Although I'm able to play for slightly longer periods of time, whatever game I'm in still freezes, the monitor goes blank and the computer restarts.

Does anyone else of this great community have other suggestions for steps I can take to correct this issue?
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!