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Blue Screen on Previously Stable Build

Last response: in Systems
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January 7, 2013 4:50:04 PM

Let me start by saying that my system had been stable for about 18 months. It only started acting up about a month ago and only got serious a couple of days ago.

System Specs
MB: ASRock P67 Exteme4
CPU: Intel core i5 2500k
GPU: NVIDIA GT220
HDD 0: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB (includes boot partition)
HDD 1: WDC WD2500K-00MJB0 250GB (this one is old, originally used to move data to this PC)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
Everything else is fairly generic but let me know if anything might be relevant and I’ll get that info

Changes made in the last month
1 month ago...
Changed monitor (from Samsung 23” LED to TCL 39” LCD TV)
Changed video cable (from DVI to HDMI)
Added some software including Steam and a few games
1 week ago...
Added new mouse (basic wireless Kensington)
Added Xbox 360 wireless controller

Symptoms
Started with overnight lockups of an odd sort. Basically it didn’t seem like the PC was actually locked up but the monitor/TV wouldn’t pick up the signal when I turned it on (I turn off my monitor manually before going to bed). I played with various techniques to counteract this problem and found that disabling windows power management for the monitor reduced the frequency quite a bit but didn’t actually stop it. This went on for about a month.

Last week I installed the new mouse (plug-n-play) and the Xbox controller (MS drivers). Note that I was able to use the mouse and controller fine after installation. A few days later the blue screens started. The first one was during a low-stress operation (scrolling through a list of movies in XBMC) and I assumed it was random. The second didn’t happen until the next day while playing a game. The third came about 30 seconds after reboot. And the fourth came before I could finish rebooting (blue screen between “starting windows” and the login screen). These continued on every attempt to boot.

Steps taken
First step was to unplug the controller and mouse receivers. No improvement.

Guessing that something had become corrupted, I pulled out my imaging software rescue disk and tried to restore to the last image I had (2 days earlier). My image software happily deleted the current boot partition and THEN told me that the image I wanted to restore was corrupted. (I’m not currently a fan of EASEUS Todo Backup.)

Tried using the Win7 install disk to repair but that proved fruitless.

Reinstalled windows. And did NOT connect/install the mouse or controller. This worked for a few hours then...blue screen.

Next, I dug out my old monitor and moved the HDMI cable from the new monitor/TV to the old monitor. (I couldn’t, and still can’t, imagine how that would change anything but I was getting desperate.) Again, worked for a few hours (about 12) before more blue screens.

Right now I’ve removed the HDMI cable altogether and reattached the old DVI cable...waiting to see if that stabilizes things.

On the assumption that it will not...I’m looking for help. Any ideas?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2013 5:15:59 PM

Blue screens are most likely RAM or driver related... could be PSU or temps as well.
1) run memtest overnight.
2) update all drivers.
3) monitor power and temps with speedfan
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January 7, 2013 5:25:28 PM

Not sure what the blue screens are saying but maybe a stick of RAM dying? Try running memtest86. Run it and if you get errors then run it again with one stick installed at a time, swapping sticks until you find the culprit.
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January 7, 2013 6:58:50 PM

running memtest86 now...will update once it's done
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January 8, 2013 12:32:28 AM

After a bit more than 3 hours of testing memtest86 went weird...not exactly reporting errors but not exactly the way it supposed to look.

see image: http://www.tiikoni.com/tis/view/?id=976cfbe

after that pass ended, the strange string pattern changed but still covered most of the screen.

Is this "normal" for memtest86? (never used it before)

plan to run it again overnight anyway
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2013 12:43:21 AM

legio1 said:

Guessing that something had become corrupted, I pulled out my imaging software rescue disk and tried to restore to the last image I had (2 days earlier). My image software happily deleted the current boot partition and THEN told me that the image I wanted to restore was corrupted. (I’m not currently a fan of EASEUS Todo Backup.)



EASUS failed me as well in a professional setting, but I was testing it at the time ;)  Win 7 backup utility works quite well, and if you have Win 7 Pro you can run updates backups over the network.

That memtest looks pretty strange. Could be a program incompatibility though.
Is it this version?
http://www.memtest.org/
Aha... looks like you have 2.00, which does not support i5
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January 8, 2013 12:46:18 AM

What were the BSOD error codes? They can tell you a lot about the nature of the problem. If you didn't write them down, you can open Event Viewer and look for the "BugCheck" message as an Error-level message. Please paste the message inside the event here. It will look like: "The computer has rebooted from a bugcheck. The bugcheck was: 0x0000009f (0x0000000000000003, 0xfffffa800b9fa7e0, 0xfffff88002e0db30, 0xfffffa800f4f1700). A dump was saved in: C:\Windows\MEMORY.DMP. Report Id: 010113-7000-01."
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January 8, 2013 12:49:59 AM

Proximon said:
Aha... looks like you have 2.00, which does not support i5


Well that's what I get for going with the first offering Google had. I got it from memtest86.com. I'll download the memtest.org version and run it tonight.
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January 8, 2013 1:11:22 AM

aicom said:
What were the BSOD error codes? They can tell you a lot about the nature of the problem. If you didn't write them down, you can open Event Viewer and look for the "BugCheck" message as an Error-level message. Please paste the message inside the event here. It will look like: "The computer has rebooted from a bugcheck. The bugcheck was: 0x0000009f (0x0000000000000003, 0xfffffa800b9fa7e0, 0xfffff88002e0db30, 0xfffffa800f4f1700). A dump was saved in: C:\Windows\MEMORY.DMP. Report Id: 010113-7000-01."


never managed to read it before the system rebooted and didn't know I could find it in event viewer. anyway, here it is:

"The computer has rebooted from a bugcheck. The bugcheck was: 0x00000116 (0xfffffa80076fa010, 0xfffff8800fd51630, 0xffffffffc000009a, 0x0000000000000004). A dump was saved in: C:\Windows\MEMORY.DMP. Report Id: 010713-22588-01."

a quick check of google tells me 0x116 is probably a video card issue. seems there is a minor revision to the driver newer than I have installed so I'm going to try that.

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January 8, 2013 8:24:43 PM

For a while there I thought it was fixed...I'm no longer getting blue screens but it's locking up when idle.

Everything was fine and stable until around noon. Thinking that perhaps the issue was resolved, I switched back from DVI to HDMI cables (see original post) and for a bit it looked ok. Then at some random point not long after that it locked up. I say "some random point" because I wasn't watching it at the time. The screensaver was engaged (Windows Pictures) and after a while I noticed that every time I walked by it was the same picture. A quick check of the mouse confirmed it wasn't responding. I forced a reboot and checked event viewer which told me windows had stopped unexpectedly 3 hours earlier.

As an experiment I logged in and left it alone (no changes). The screensaver duly engaged again and at some random point it locked up again (same scenario as above).

Any ideas?

Right now I've changed the screensaver to "blank" to see if that makes a difference.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2013 8:29:27 PM

What PSU?

Do you have up to date chipset drivers?

What about BIOS updates?
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January 8, 2013 10:43:36 PM

Proximon said:
What PSU?

Do you have up to date chipset drivers?

What about BIOS updates?


PSU = XFX Core Edition PRO650W (P1-650S-NLB9)

can't actually check the drivers very easily since it won't stay booted up (and un-frozen) for more than a minute or two.

Also, now the system hangs but when I check event viewer after reboot the only error reported is that the system was shutdown without going through the shutdown process. I've tried leaving task manager open on the off chance anything spikes in CPU usage as it locks - nothing, of course.

I've even switched back to the DVI cable (no idea why it would make a difference but I thought I'd recreate the EXACT system that was working fine 12 hours ago).

EDIT: went back and booted into safe mode, worked fine (no lockup), checked the drivers there and everything _looked_ ok but for the life of me ASRock's website makes it hard to verify revisions.
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Best solution

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 9, 2013 12:29:51 AM

Try uninstalling the video drivers and booting into normal mode. Just use default windows drivers. IF that completely resolves it then it's video card related, and that would make some sense given the whole sleep mode and screen saver thing.

It really is starting to sound like a defective card, maybe bad memory on the card.... Both UBCD and Hiren's come with a VRAM test tool.
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January 9, 2013 1:56:55 PM

well that's annoying...

I removed the video drivers and rebooted into normal mode. Looks like crap (of course) but it's stable. Had it up for a few hours (1 hour with no screen saver so I could leave a clock up to measure up time then the rest with the screensaver happily rotating thru distorted pictures of my son). Not even a hint of a problem.

And now that I think about it, for some months now I've noticed that occasionally it would take unusually long to disengage the screensaver (i.e. long enough to notice and start to wonder if it had locked, probably 20 seconds). So maybe this has been coming for a while and I just never realized it.

Right now I'm running Hiren's VRAM stress test. We'll see what that does. But I'm tempted to get a new card regardless of the results just as an experiment.
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January 9, 2013 6:22:46 PM

Ran the DOS version of the test for 4 hours (approx 125 passes) with no errors. I tried to run the windows version but it failed to execute (see image: http://www.tiikoni.com/tis/view/?id=bf64025 ).

not sure what else to try

I can get a new video card as that still seems most likely but it'll take a few days...any suggestions in the meantime?
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January 11, 2013 8:04:12 PM

installed a new Radeon 7770 card and all appears well. Thanks for everyone's help.
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January 11, 2013 8:04:27 PM

Best answer selected by legio1.
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