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Why do programs keep crashing on me?

Last response: in Windows 7
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September 20, 2012 8:09:48 PM

I dont know why but programs are always crashing on my desktop. It's really frustrating. Games will also freeze or crash on me abruptly as well. Is there a way to know what's failing? Graphics or ram or something else?

This is my first computer I've built and everything is working great but I think when I switched from 1 monitor to a 3-monitor setup I've been having more problems. I'm not 100% sure but that's all I can think of. A hardware diagnostics test of some sort would help give me an objective answer though.


My desktop is a z68 mobo, i5-2500k stock, 8gb ram, and a GTX460 (768mb). I'm connected to 3 displays. The first is 1920X1080 and connected to the GTX460's microHDMI. The 2nd is 1920X1200 connected to the GTX460's DVI. The 3rd is connected to the onboard HD3000 DVI port. There's no visual lag or stutter when moving windows or anything. I can play 3 concurrent 1080p youtube videos on all 3 monitors without any lag. But when I'm gaming on HIGH settings such as Borderlands 2, it will just crash on me. It's not consistent enough to know what's causing it but my habits are to game on the 2nd monitor with Windows Media Center playing live cable tv on the 3rd monitor AND browsing and chatting on the 1st monitor.


Is it crashing because I'm doing too many things that my graphics card can't handle? If so, why is it crashing instead of stuttering?
I also have a problem where if I'm gaming and then press Alt+tab to minimize or switch windows, the graphics card will get messed up or downclock or something and the game's FPS will drop drastically to like 5-10 FPS until I reboot the computer.

I also get the BSOD sometimes where it says something about Physical memory dump. This is all greek to me so any beginner pointers on how to troubleshoot and test would be very helpful!


Help!

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September 20, 2012 8:23:10 PM

What PSU do you have (brand and model, not just wattage)? What are your temps, especially of the GTX460?
Disconnect one of the monitors. Any improvement? You may not have enough video RAM to run three 1920x1080 monitors on that card.
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September 21, 2012 12:55:56 AM

Onus said:
What PSU do you have (brand and model, not just wattage)? What are your temps, especially of the GTX460?
Disconnect one of the monitors. Any improvement? You may not have enough video RAM to run three 1920x1080 monitors on that card.



It's the Thermaltake TR2, 500w. Just running 1 gtx460. It's given me no problems thus far. The temps are around 55 C and maybe higher around 70 C when gaming, nothing crazy. I used MSI Afterburner to overclock it to 850 mhz cause these cards go real high and thought it was that that was giving me trouble but I down clocked everything back to near stock and not much as changed that much. Also I would think if it was a problem with that, it would crash the computer or the graphics itself would look funny, distorted, etc. But everything is silky smooth.


Actually I dont know if the issue of gaming and programs crashing are related to this but I had a BSOD problem with physical memory problems. I decided to run the Microsoft memory diagnostics tool and restarted my computer. It found a hardware problem!

Could that be it? Perhaps one of my sticks of ram (4gbX2 = 8gb) are bad and whenever the memory goes over 4gb capacity it crashes programs? The more I think about it the more I think that may be it. It seems like it crashes when I'm doing a lot of things at once. It would be awesome if I didnt have to buy another higher W PSU and another GTX460 to correct a video card issue.


Does this sound like the problem?


Also, I have 8gb of ram at 1333mhz. I'm looking to send this back to microcenter for replacements under warranty and also looking to add 8gb more. Can I have 8gb @ 1333mhz and 8gb @ 1600mhz (2 different manufacturers)?

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September 21, 2012 1:23:57 AM

You should run all of your RAM with the same speed and timings.
Bad RAM could cause all kinds of crashes.
Your PSU is not a "better" one. It is probably good for 430W-450W max. That's enough for now, but as capacitor aging lowers its capacity, it will become more stressed (lowering its capacity further and faster) until it is no longer sufficient. When you are able, I would highly recommend replacing it with a quality 500W unit such as anything made by Seasonic. Antec at that wattage and above are also good; most Corsair are too (many are made by Seasonic).
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September 21, 2012 1:27:38 AM

The Thermaltake TR2 is one of the worst power supplies on the market and can be so far out of spec as to actually damage your other components.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-TR2-...

That being said what you are experiencing sounds like RAM errors to me. Run memtest for 10 to 12 hours. Any errors at all means either a bad stick or it's not configured properly.

http://www.memtest.org/

You will need to download the Iso fle and mount it to a disk. Then change your boot order in BIOS to allow the computer to boot from the DVD/CD drive. This allows all the RAMto be checked.

If you need a program to mount the Iso to a disk this is a great free tool.

http://www.imgburn.com/
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September 21, 2012 4:29:10 AM

anort3 said:
The Thermaltake TR2 is one of the worst power supplies on the market and can be so far out of spec as to actually damage your other components.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-TR2-...

That being said what you are experiencing sounds like RAM errors to me. Run memtest for 10 to 12 hours. Any errors at all means either a bad stick or it's not configured properly.

http://www.memtest.org/

You will need to download the Iso fle and mount it to a disk. Then change your boot order in BIOS to allow the computer to boot from the DVD/CD drive. This allows all the RAMto be checked.

If you need a program to mount the Iso to a disk this is a great free tool.

http://www.imgburn.com/


Thanks. Yeah I built the computer with the TR2 cause of the debates I didnt know it wasn't a great PSU.
I ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic and it came up as hardware failure. I also THINK (just observing a little more) that when my "used" RAM goes up to 4gb or near it, that's when programs lag and I get the spinning wheel. It just happened and I'm able to observe it by leaving my 1st monitor open with the CPU/Ram meter desktop gadget. Right now everything is around 3500mb of used but when it hits around 4gb, it SEEMS like that's when things crash. Which would indicate to me that one of the 2 (4gb) sticks of RAM are bad. I could just try to take one of those out and see if either boot on their own. And if one is faulty and won't boot, then I can just send that one back for replacement.


But you're right, I'm def going to upgrade the PSU and video card next. I think figuring out this RAM issue is probably priority and then getting a small CPU cooler or re-doing the thermal paste cause my i5-2500k is running up to 60-65 C at load sometimes.
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September 21, 2012 5:08:58 AM

Run memtest. The Windows memory tool is no where near as comprehensive. Memtest runs outside of Windows no there is no system reserved RAM not getting tested. It's the gold standard.

You want matched RAM sticks. If one is bad you want a new kit unless you can get the identical same one. Newegg will send you the new part before you send the old one back if you give them a credit card number as collateral. You will not be charged as long as you send the old part back within like a week of receiving the new one.

As far as power supplies go a quality 550w unit will allow you to run any single graphics card on the market including the $500 GTX 680. You can count on Corsair, Seasonic, PC Power and Cooling, XFX, Silverstone, Enermax, OCZ and Antec for quality units across their entire lineup. Thermaltake and CoolerMaster should be avoided.

A handy list of power supplies based on what graphics card you have ( or are thinking of upgrading to). The list is, of course for your whole computer.

http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm
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September 21, 2012 7:26:47 AM

pancakeplease said:
I dont know why but programs are always crashing on my desktop. It's really frustrating. Games will also freeze or crash on me abruptly as well. Is there a way to know what's failing? Graphics or ram or something else?

This is my first computer I've built and everything is working great but I think when I switched from 1 monitor to a 3-monitor setup I've been having more problems. I'm not 100% sure but that's all I can think of. A hardware diagnostics test of some sort would help give me an objective answer though.


My desktop is a z68 mobo, i5-2500k stock, 8gb ram, and a GTX460 (768mb). I'm connected to 3 displays. The first is 1920X1080 and connected to the GTX460's microHDMI. The 2nd is 1920X1200 connected to the GTX460's DVI. The 3rd is connected to the onboard HD3000 DVI port. There's no visual lag or stutter when moving windows or anything. I can play 3 concurrent 1080p youtube videos on all 3 monitors without any lag. But when I'm gaming on HIGH settings such as Borderlands 2, it will just crash on me. It's not consistent enough to know what's causing it but my habits are to game on the 2nd monitor with Windows Media Center playing live cable tv on the 3rd monitor AND browsing and chatting on the 1st monitor.


Is it crashing because I'm doing too many things that my graphics card can't handle? If so, why is it crashing instead of stuttering?
I also have a problem where if I'm gaming and then press Alt+tab to minimize or switch windows, the graphics card will get messed up or downclock or something and the game's FPS will drop drastically to like 5-10 FPS until I reboot the computer.

I also get the BSOD sometimes where it says something about Physical memory dump. This is all greek to me so any beginner pointers on how to troubleshoot and test would be very helpful!


Help!


The reason could be your PC in infected from viruses. You need to install a good antivirus program viz. MSE or Avast! Pro. You can also go for Kaspersky Antivirus but that is required as the full version.
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September 26, 2012 2:32:29 AM

Best answer selected by pancakeplease.
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September 26, 2012 2:33:34 AM

Thanks, I ordered some Crucial Ram last week and it arrived today. Did memtest and it passed no errors. I'm going to leave it running for a few hours when I go to sleep. But I also tested my old pair of 8gb ram that was giving me potential trouble and yep... 1 stick had something like 400 errors. So that was what was causing my games to crash, programs to crash, BSOD, etc.
I just opened up a bunch of programs and ran games on all HIGH settings and no crashes.
Can say it was most definitely the ram. I also bought an aftermarket cooler though for my CPU :) 
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September 26, 2012 2:37:22 AM

Sweet. Glad you got it fixed. Enjoy. :) 
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