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Frustrating issue. Need help identifying faulty driver.

Last response: in Windows 7
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September 24, 2012 10:21:33 PM

Alright, I have recently bought a new PC and right from the start I have been having a strange issue with it. I'll try my best to describe the problem in as much detail and to recount as best I can what I have already tried and it's results.

First the components:
MSI GTX 670
MSI B75A-G43 Motherboard
Intel I7 3770
8GB Corsair XMS 1333 memory
240GB OCZ Vertex3 SSD
Asus Xonar DGX soundcard
Corsair HX850 PSU

Now the problem:
It is hard to describe the problem exactly as it is not recreatable and happens at seemingly random times. First of all when I am playing a graphic intensive game my screen will sometimes turn black for a moment and then turn back on, after which some games are frozen and need to be restarted while others I can just continue playing as if nothing happened.
A similar thing happens on startup, for a short moment my monitor will display a black screen with the message indicating that it is receiving no input, like it does when the PC is turned off. It does so only for a moment and then boots normally.
The most obvious one are the BSOD's that it gives me. These are PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA, SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION and MEMORY_MANAGEMENT.

There is no rhyme or reason to the BSOD's. Sometimes they are while playing a game, sometimes they are just randomly while on my desktop, doing barely anything. Sometimes I can use my PC for hours at time with no problem, at other times it happens multiple times in an hour.
As far as I can tell it happened more or less from the first day I got it.

Oh one more thing I just remembered is that my NVidia driver will sometimes tell me that it encountered an error and had to restart after one of the freezes which initially made me think it was an issue with the Nvidia drivers, but several different versions have yielded no result, including the newest. (306.23 at time of writing)

What I have tried:
My first suspicion judging from the nature of the BSOD's was that it was DoA memory so I ran Memtest86 for about 20 hours straight which turned up perfectly.
I then continued to check some of the other common problems. Temperature is fine. (CPU doesn't go above 50. GPU stays below 80. The rest barely touched 30.) MSE comes doesn't come up with any virus. Drivers are up to date.
I then tried WhoCrashed to see if it would shed some light on the BSOD's, but all it could tell me was that they happened in the Windows Kernel and were most likely caused by a driver that could not be identified at this time.

So I focussed on trying to identify what driver might be faulty and I got a suggestion to use Windows Driver Verifier. Now keep in mind that my knowledge of Verifier is limited but I used it to test most combinations of drivers. Started off doing them all at once which led to the PC hanging in a BSOD right at the start. So I tested Microsoft drivers and other drivers separately. Microsoft drivers worked fine, no BSOD.

Eventually I narrowed it down to ndisrd.sys, windows packet filter kit. This is the only driver that causes a BSOD in driver verifier on it's own, and if I remove it from a test it will work fine.
I have tried, for testing purposes, to simply remove this driver. However this causes my network to stop working.

At the same time I kept in mind that it could be the NVidia driver, but like mentioned, several different clean installs of various versions did nothing. Though on one or two occasions it would hang in the middle of the driver install, after a reboot I tried again and it installed without any problems. This didn't happen with the newest driver btw.

So...this is the first time I have caved and posted on a forum like this for help. So far most problems I have been able to solve myself. But this time I am just stumped. I am working under the assumption that it's a faulty driver, but I have no idea which one it could be. Hell I don't even know if it IS a driver.

I could really use some professional help (well, my computer does.) and I would be eternally grateful if someone could help me out. Nothing worse then spending your hard earned money on a PC that then doesn't function optimally.

Thanks in advance!
a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
September 25, 2012 1:34:33 AM

make sure your mb bios is up to date. the new x77 chipset have cpu and ram code upgrades. make sure your mb ram dram speed set to xmp profile and that the ram on the mb qal list for tested ram. use cpu-z and se that the ram is running at it rated speed and timing. also look at the ram info in the spd tab. also check that the video card read right. (2@16x pci 2.0) if it the older 2x video card and 2@16 x 3.0 mode for the newer mb and chipsets. use gpu-z to read the gpu info make sure it reading right. last things make sure the video card in the right pci slot and the power supply if it modular one not all the power is coming for one leg of the power supply.
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September 25, 2012 9:02:49 AM

Hey, thanks for the reply! I have already flashed my MB bios to the latest available version in my attempt to fix this, didn't make a difference. Also my GFX card is in a PCI 16 3.0 slot and is connected to the designated GFX card power cables.

I've used CPUz and, while I am not sure exactly what I am looking for, it looks fine. RAM is running at expected frequencies and timings, I can see nothing wrong here.

The only even remotely odd thing is that CPU-z doesn't show my GFX card ram.
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September 25, 2012 9:18:25 AM

Do you have a friend that can test the graphics card? what are the temp's of the card, do the fans spin freely? are the power connectors good on the card. clean the edge connectors with electronics cleaner.
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a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
September 25, 2012 9:53:30 AM

Lithandrill said:
Alright, I have recently bought a new PC and right from the start I have been having a strange issue with it. I'll try my best to describe the problem in as much detail and to recount as best I can what I have already tried and it's results.

First the components:
MSI GTX 670
MSI B75A-G43 Motherboard
Intel I7 3770
8GB Corsair XMS 1333 memory
240GB OCZ Vertex3 SSD
Asus Xonar DGX soundcard
Corsair HX850 PSU

Now the problem:
It is hard to describe the problem exactly as it is not recreatable and happens at seemingly random times. First of all when I am playing a graphic intensive game my screen will sometimes turn black for a moment and then turn back on, after which some games are frozen and need to be restarted while others I can just continue playing as if nothing happened.
A similar thing happens on startup, for a short moment my monitor will display a black screen with the message indicating that it is receiving no input, like it does when the PC is turned off. It does so only for a moment and then boots normally.
The most obvious one are the BSOD's that it gives me. These are PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA, SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION and MEMORY_MANAGEMENT.

There is no rhyme or reason to the BSOD's. Sometimes they are while playing a game, sometimes they are just randomly while on my desktop, doing barely anything. Sometimes I can use my PC for hours at time with no problem, at other times it happens multiple times in an hour.
As far as I can tell it happened more or less from the first day I got it.

Oh one more thing I just remembered is that my NVidia driver will sometimes tell me that it encountered an error and had to restart after one of the freezes which initially made me think it was an issue with the Nvidia drivers, but several different versions have yielded no result, including the newest. (306.23 at time of writing)

What I have tried:
My first suspicion judging from the nature of the BSOD's was that it was DoA memory so I ran Memtest86 for about 20 hours straight which turned up perfectly.
I then continued to check some of the other common problems. Temperature is fine. (CPU doesn't go above 50. GPU stays below 80. The rest barely touched 30.) MSE comes doesn't come up with any virus. Drivers are up to date.
I then tried WhoCrashed to see if it would shed some light on the BSOD's, but all it could tell me was that they happened in the Windows Kernel and were most likely caused by a driver that could not be identified at this time.

So I focussed on trying to identify what driver might be faulty and I got a suggestion to use Windows Driver Verifier. Now keep in mind that my knowledge of Verifier is limited but I used it to test most combinations of drivers. Started off doing them all at once which led to the PC hanging in a BSOD right at the start. So I tested Microsoft drivers and other drivers separately. Microsoft drivers worked fine, no BSOD.

Eventually I narrowed it down to ndisrd.sys, windows packet filter kit. This is the only driver that causes a BSOD in driver verifier on it's own, and if I remove it from a test it will work fine.
I have tried, for testing purposes, to simply remove this driver. However this causes my network to stop working.

At the same time I kept in mind that it could be the NVidia driver, but like mentioned, several different clean installs of various versions did nothing. Though on one or two occasions it would hang in the middle of the driver install, after a reboot I tried again and it installed without any problems. This didn't happen with the newest driver btw.

So...this is the first time I have caved and posted on a forum like this for help. So far most problems I have been able to solve myself. But this time I am just stumped. I am working under the assumption that it's a faulty driver, but I have no idea which one it could be. Hell I don't even know if it IS a driver.

I could really use some professional help (well, my computer does.) and I would be eternally grateful if someone could help me out. Nothing worse then spending your hard earned money on a PC that then doesn't function optimally.

Thanks in advance!




One thing is to make sure that the priority of the game is highest, there maybe other processes running that have priority over the game.
Including for instance security programs and antivirus. The latest of which have gaming modes.
If there is not a gaming mode on the security try turning it OFF.

There is such thing as windows process monitor, downloaded from microsoft.
This allows selectively turning off a process, one at a time.

Another good thing is to eliminate as many unused / junk / UN-needed applications.
Applications will sometimes connect themselves or update themselves , right at the critical moment and hog your memory or processor...
Therefore, I suggest you try turning off all automatic updates, to prevent interruptions in priority, and test again.

turn off the screen saver
Go into the power profiles,
set standby, hibernate and sleep to OFF
leave the monitor standby ON, that's OK (maybe not, try OFF)
Set the Hard Drive standby to NEVER
Set system Performance to MAXIMUM, not "quiet mode."

Open the bios set up and make sure "cool and quiet" is OFF. (AMD)
There may be a performance setting in the bios setup you have...make sure it's cranked up to max.
in the bios, see that the allocation for video, if available, is maxed.

Now open the hardware manager profiles...
click start
click computer
click system properties
click device manager
double click on mice and other pointing devices
right click on HID compliant mouse
left click on properties
click on the power management tab
UN-check the box that says: "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power." (there is now NO check mark in this box)
click OK

Now repeat this procedure for all mice, monitors, keyboards, and ALL USB ports on the device manager list.

You must open ALL the devices one at a time, as above, and turn off the power saver, for each device.
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a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
September 25, 2012 10:26:00 AM

sound, too many sound drivers installed. you have the onboard enabled, the sound through HDMI from the install of the nvidia drivers and you have the sound card.

for this to work right system cannot auto install drivers. disable Windows automatic updates and then disable auto driver updates.

pull the sound card. uninstall \divers for it. reboot, plug speakers into board. test system.

still not working right ? next to uninstall nvidia drivers. reboot. do a reinstall of nvidia drivers but do custom install. only install the graphics driver and the physx driver. NOTHING else. reboot and test games.

how's it working now ?

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October 3, 2012 8:39:22 PM

Hey everyone and thanks again for the help. Sorry for the slow reply time but I have been trying out your suggestions one by one. Not dead yet! Still trying to fix this, everytime I seem to think I get somewhere the same errors pop up. Very irritating.

So far from your suggestions I have tried the following:

DavidGermain: I don't have anyone whom I could easily ask to test the graphics card sadly so I am forced to work under the assumption that it is functioning properly. Also, I have found other posts on the internet with other people having a problem almost identical to mine. (Without a solution, of course.) So a non-faulty hardware problem seems more likely. As for temps, that was the first thing I checked. GFX temp doesn't go above 80 celcius, which should be fine.

Soundguruman: I tried all of your suggestions, including the power savings ones. (Had most of them configured that way already. Just turned off HDD standby. )
None of the USB deviced had the box ticked in the first place. Also: on suggestion someone else got with a similar problem to mine, I turned the power settings in Nvidia Control panel to "Prefer Maximum performance".
So far, no change. Sometimes it feels like it happens less often, but this is very hard to test imperically. At any rate, the problem still occurs.

Swifty_morgan: I have no yet gotten around to trying all of your suggestions. I have however turned off my onboard sound in BIOS as well as cleaned all it's drivers. When I have some time next I will try the complete GFX driver clean and the custom install, that sounds promising. The HDMI audio sounds like it could be a culprit.



I really wish I had a way to force this problem though. Right now I am just trying things one by one and then use my PC until it pops up again which can take as much as a day sometimes.

It feels like we're getting closer, but no luck yet. I'm afraid I must ask for your continued help! :) 
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a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
October 3, 2012 9:24:57 PM

all auto updates are off and auto driver updates are off---------------- after uninstalling the video card(sound driver)and unistalling the sound card/and driver ( from device manager ) ......... shutdown. pull sound card/make sure on board sound is enabled. reboot.

windows will find video card probably. after that you can install the graphics driver only ( custom or advanced install )..........

should have on board sound, yes ?

then you can shut down. put sound card back in. reboot. install sound drivers for card........ sound work through card now ?
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October 3, 2012 10:57:49 PM

Alright, I did everything exactly like you said except that I am not putting my soundcard in just yet. Just leaving it out for testing purposes.

Only got the onboard realtek drivers installed. No Nvidia and no Asus. We'll see how it goes. If it works I'll put the Asus card back in. I'll let you know how it goes!
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October 21, 2012 6:31:56 PM

Alright. All this time I had no BSOD's. Everything was fine, though I didn't use my PC extensively. Now, since two days they are back with a vengeance. They now happen while not even running graphical games (Dwarf Fortress) and quite frequently. However now it is a "KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED" error. *Sigh*

Again, I implore all of you for your help! Any idea is appreciated.
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