Win7 freezes after graphics driver update debacle - tried everything!

I run Windows 7 64-bit and I tried updating my graphics drivers today. I have a Sapphire Radeon HD 6870.
I think the driver version I had installed was 12.4, and the driver I tried updating to is 12.8.

I had been using Ray Adams' ATI Tray Tools for a long time, for clock speed and fan speed control. Since my last update to a version of it that supported my HD6870 it lost fan control, so I used MSI Afterburner for that purpose. I hadn't been using Catalyst Control Center because of troubles in the past, but decided to give it a go with this driver update.

What first happened was that during the computer's restart after the new driver install, is that its first attempt to power itself back on failed. It turned on, turned off again after two seconds, then turned back on and tried to boot. It wouldn't boot. Having had troubles with Catalyst Control Center before I suspected it might be because I chose to install that along with the drivers. I went into safe mode, but after a minute, Windows froze while in safe mode.

I hard rebooted and went into system restore, thankfully I had a restore point only a few hours old from installing a Java update. I restored and booted back up normally, but after a short time it froze again. I booted to safe mode with networking (to seek help over IRC) and did a rollback of the graphics driver. Booted up normally again and tried to download and install my previous driver version. It froze again.

I went back into safe mode and removed ATI Tray Tools. I went back into normal mode and successfully reinstalled my version 12.4 drivers. It seemed to work for many minutes. Then it froze again.

That was 20 minutes ago. Since then it hasn't frozen, but since it froze last time with the exact same configuration I have now I'm rather worried it will continue. In my Event Viewer I have 6 instances of "Critical" events with "Source: power-kernel". No other information except timestamps.

EDIT: Yep. It froze again. I'm not in the clear.

EDIT 2: I removed every part of the AMD driver software thing and used guru3D's driver sweeper, and tried to install another older AMD driver, this time 12.6. Windows keeps freezing. I can report that it seems to crash faster when in a videogame.
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  1. U will need to unplug the card, try restart without it and the pc will and had expected crash, replug the card and restart again...

    It usually reset the card config. try and see if it helps,

    also give a memtest a couple of runs..

    btw 12.8 also bad for my rig so i stick to 12.7...........
  2. Okay, I will have to try this when I get time. It's my last resort before backing up C: (hoping Windows doesn't freeze in the middle of copying files) and format.
  3. I will repeat what has been said before try running memtest86 for at least three passes.
  4. Specs:
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 clocked to 3.7GHz (originally 3.16)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X48-DS4 motherboard, X48-chipset
    Graphics: Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB
    RAM: Corsair TWIN2X 6400-C4-DHX 2x2GB DDR2
    PSU: Corsair 750 TX
    OS is on a Samsung SpinPoint F1 750GB HDD

    If it wasn't clear in my first post, Windows at least once froze after I had removed the drivers. I was even in safe mode at the time.

    I don't know anything about memtest. I found an ISO for burning a bootable CD. I have to do that?
  5. Quote:
    I don't know anything about memtest. I found an ISO for burning a bootable CD. I have to do that?

    Yes you have to do that, it is very easy simply burn the disc as a image file. See the memtest86 web site for full instructions.
  6. I ended up formatting and reinstalling Windows, and things were going great. I was playing games and watching videos...

    ...and it still froze on me, just now.

    I'm so monumentally depressed and anxious now.

    I'll try memtest first thing tomorrow.
  7. It confirmed u had fail hardware or fail hardware setting.... (there a lot thing that can cause it, but checking the RAM first is good idea)
  8. Just ran memtest for 3 passes as recommended. No errors.

    What should I do next?
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