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Games crash, display driver has stopped working and recovered

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 29, 2012 10:34:54 PM

System information:

AMD Phenom II x4 965 3.4 GHz (Standard Clock) CPU
4 GB Mushkin Silverline RAM
Corsair TX 750W PSU
HIS AMD hd 6870 GPU
Windows 7 64-bit
Home-built, approx. 2 years old

Issue:
For about as long as I've had this machine, games (Dragon Age, Crysis, Skyrim, LA Noire, RAGE, Portal, Guild Wars 2) all freeze up and crash to desktop. This can happen fairly often (within 5 minutes of launching a game) or somewhat rarely (hours pass with no issues). The video will hang for a few seconds with audio still playing, and the screen will go black. At this point, the video either rehooks or the game crashes and I receive the error "Display driver amdkmdap stopped responding and has successfully recovered." I recall the same error message, but with an ATI driver when this first started. Very seldom, I'll get the same error while simply watching a YouTube video. I have tried every fix that I can think of, and have read through many similar threads - from what I gather, this error is caused by a number of things and can be difficult to pin down. It should be noted that I have never managed to get a clean install of my Catalyst drivers. I always come up with "Installation successful, but some warnings have occurred..." or something of that ilk. Reading through the installation summary provides no such warnings.

What I have tried:
Uninstalled (driver sweeper) and reinstalled all AMD drivers
Disabled TDR
Disabled flash hardware acceleration
Replaced the GPU
Overclocked and underclocked both GPU and CPU
Updated the BIOS
Reseated all cable connections from PSU
Overnight memtest on RAM
Likely countless other things that escape me
GPU, CPU, board temps all appear stable

I have a strong suspicion that the display driver install must be conflicting with some other driver on my system, but I have no ideas on how I would go about finding this. The only other possible solutions in my mind are a complete reinstall of Windows 7, or RMAing the PSU (I don't really care for either of those ideas).

I'm open to all suggestions. Please let me know if I can provide more information.
a b U Graphics card
December 31, 2012 4:58:35 AM

you can try booting into windows in safe mode and uninstall all the display drivers of amd as well as any other nvidia components that might have installed while installing any game.

lastly you can also try a fresh install of windows as a fool proof method to ensure that there is no software problem
a b U Graphics card
December 31, 2012 6:10:22 AM

I also suspect that the drivers may be the culprit here. What errors you get while installing CCC?
Sometimes this issue is also caused by ram problems. Try resetting the bios settings and try again with proper ram timings, frequency set.
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December 31, 2012 3:35:04 PM

siddharthmukul007 said:
you can try booting into windows in safe mode and uninstall all the display drivers of amd as well as any other nvidia components that might have installed while installing any game.

lastly you can also try a fresh install of windows as a fool proof method to ensure that there is no software problem

I have used safe mode alongside driver sweeper/fusion for uninstalls of both components in the past. I have also tried uninstalling old drivers through the AMD Catalyst application and manual uninstallation via the device manager. I don't have a way of backing up my entire system, so right now a fresh install of windows is a bigger inconvenience than dealing with the game crashes.
December 31, 2012 6:43:53 PM

Xttony said:
I also suspect that the drivers may be the culprit here. What errors you get while installing CCC?
Sometimes this issue is also caused by ram problems. Try resetting the bios settings and try again with proper ram timings, frequency set.

Upon installing CCC, I get the message: "Installation complete (warnings occured during installation). View Log for details." The view log option returns some hardware information, "existing packages: Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable," and "packages for install:" with various drivers and transcoders and the control center software - all reading "final status: success." At the very bottom of the log is an "error messages" heading, with nothing listed beneath. I will try returning the BIOS to its defaults and manually entering the timings.
a b U Graphics card
December 31, 2012 6:52:31 PM

try to update all the components in Windows including a fresh install of both visual c++ as well as .net framework
a b U Graphics card
January 1, 2013 11:18:33 AM

Are you sure that you have not set the game settings too high or if you have increased the clock speeds in CCC decrease then to the default values.
January 1, 2013 5:56:48 PM

Everything in CCC is defaulted, and the games that I play all run at or near max settings with a decent fps rate. I've removed all Microsoft .net, XNA, and C++ packages, and still get the ambiguous "warnings occurred" prompt from a proper CCC installation. The crash has a mind of its own and I can't reproduce it at will, so diagnosing the problem could be slow going.
a b U Graphics card
January 1, 2013 6:04:18 PM

delete the previous driver installer package and download a new one from amd's website,do a complete driver sweep, create a new administrator account on windows and try installing the drivers from that account
!