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Flash content freezing my computer!

Last response: in Windows 7
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January 27, 2013 10:45:59 AM

Hey there,

I've been having an issue with Flash content for the past three weeks now, I've tried just about anything and I'm becoming desperate. I've conducted a wide variety of tests on the various components in my build, but I'm still no closer to discovering what the issue may be.

The Issue

Occasionally, when watching Flash content, my computer will freeze and I'll lose all control over the mouse and keyboard. It sounds like the computer is about to blue screen (looping audio), but it doesn't - it just hangs on the same image for anywhere between 15 seconds to 2 minutes. Sometimes, I need to hard restart my system in order to use the computer again.

This will typically happen when Flash content is played full-screen on websites like YouTube and Twitch.tv, and on resolutions higher than 480p - but I have experienced (less frequent) crashes when the content is not full-screen, at 360p. It just seems to be video that causes the problem, as I've yet to have any issues with websites that present an alternative form of Flash content.

Hardware:

Processor: Intel i5-2500K @ 3.30GHz
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 1280MB
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3
Memory: Kingston HyperX Genesis Grey 8GB
PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro Modular 700W

Nothing is overclocked, and I'm running Windows 7 x64 Home Premium SP1.

I’ve uploaded my DxDiag here.

What have I done to try and diagnose the problem?

• Enabled and disabled hardware acceleration.
• Updated to latest graphics card drivers, also rolled back to previous versions I’ve known to work previously with my system.
• Monitored system usage/temperatures when watching HD Flash content. Nothing out of the ordinary.
• Ran Memtestx86 for 24 hours. No errors.
• Ran Prime95 Blend for 24 hours. No errors.
• FurMark for 2 hours to test graphics card stability, things seemed fine. Have been playing Far Cry 3 continuously on high settings for the past few days with zero instability.
• I’ve tried downloading older versions of Flash, and using different browsers. No change.

When did it start?

The issue started when I updated the BIOS for my motherboard (ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3) from v1.20 to v2.20, since then I've updated to v2.30. I would roll back to v1.20, but it’s simply not possible according to various sources I’ve read online.

Thoughts

I’m pretty sure my hardware is fine. All the tests I’ve done indicate my system is stable when I’m not running Flash content. I’ve been playing games, writing documents for university and browsing the internet with absolutely no issues (as long as I don’t watch any Flash content).

I suspect there are compatibility issues with Flash, my hardware setup and the latest BIOS updates from ASRock, but maybe I’ve missed something. If you’ve got any ideas PLEASE leave a reply. I’m pulling my hair out trying to figure out what’s going on here, some help would be great.

Cheers!
February 1, 2013 12:38:29 PM

Duzuki said:
I’ve uploaded my DxDiag here.

Thank god he didn't post up that entire report here on Toms like some people. Good on you for that!
February 1, 2013 12:39:34 PM

Make sure your flash version is updated to the lastest version.

I can't think of much more than that. However if I do, I will definetly let you know.

Cheers!
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August 5, 2013 9:27:24 AM

This bothered me for a long time. I had adobe 11.8 installed and youtube would freeze the entire computer with no way to unfreeze without manually resetting.

This is what worked for me to completely fix the problem:
1. Install Revo Uninstaller (free version)
2. Use Revo to uninstall Adobe Flash Player, Adobe AIR, Adobe Shockwave Player, and Google Chrome. Use Advanced uninstall for all of these. After each uninstaller finishes make sure you select all and delete all registry items and files.
3. Restart Computer
4. Install Flash Player Plugin using Firefox's Plugin Installer (you may be able to just install flash player from adobes website)
5. Install Google Chrome
6. Enjoy flash content again!


BTW: I am running Win7 64bit Enterprise, Dual 560 ti's, Intel Core i7 970, 24Gb Ram, on a Gigabit 333 motherboard.
NVIDIA Driver: 320.49
Windows is completely up to date.

PS. Whenever I run into a program that starts acting up after it had been working fine I use Revo to completely remove it from the system. Restart, and then reinstall. That process seems to work really well.
August 13, 2013 5:29:05 AM

Cheers for your reply.

I found that the problem was caused by downloading dodgy network card drivers through Windows Update. If I left the drivers out of date the problem never occurred. If you're having problems with Flash content I'd recommend doing a full reformat and installing drivers one-by-one until you isolate the hardware/software that is causing the problem. It's a real ball ache when it's a driver issue, as it's extremely difficult to spot.

I'll give your recommendation a go if I ever decide to go back to Windows 7 again. However, I fixed the problem by simply upgrading to Windows 8 Pro as all the older drivers from TP-Link were giving me issues (unreliable connection, reduced speed). An expensive solution, but it solved the problem and it was cheaper than a new network card.

What network card were you running by the way? You never mentioned in your response?
September 1, 2013 3:25:31 PM

Hi all!
I have the very same problem as author's since I passed to Win7 from XP (about this later, near the end).

PC freezes occasionally when playing flash content like youtube and even on opening pages with simple flash ads elements - so it becomes a problem not only to see flash movies (that i can pass of) but even to browse common content.

It may happen immediately (one-two seconds) from beginning flash or after half a minute; sometimes it happens only on fifth or tenth movie, but it comes unavoidably and rather early than late. Like in the author's post it's pure freezing — image is on the screen, but PC not responding except hard resetting — with no BSOD and no memory dumping (since it seems to be hardware issue) - just on the next reboot a Critical event "critical event id 41 kernel power", again with no dll or exe or other handler notification.

All my hardware devices are working well I'm 99% sure. The PC gurus from all over the world advice the same fable about the same stuff: check memtest, show us HDD SMART (mhdd, victoria and so on), check BIOS and make all settings default etc blah blah — all this IS already done, let it be just to clear the conscience, and all tests are alright, of course.

What I've tried (besides memory & HDD & other tests):
Toggle acceleration of-off in Flash Player settings;
Made BIOS settings default;
Install (after complete clean) several out-of-date video drivers builds;
Back up to almost clear system with no queer drivers yet installed;
Another stuff that is caused by my desperation and that I don't even remember...

Also seems like it's a very common problem (especially with FlashPlayer-VideoCard-Freezing combination), judging by the quantity of complaints and need-help topics all over the Internet community and that's very strange it's not still fixed and solved permanently one time for all.

I'm 100% sure too, that problem is in some compatibility issue of Video Card Driver with some other component (that Flash movies processing involves) and some other driver (but which?) — and of course not in bad CPU, GPU, bad sectors in memory and other stuff that is nothing to do with the problem.
To this (the GPU driver is the issue) there are two great arguments.
1) The freezings happen only when a Flash content plays — I can do other tasks all days long: see movies in players (like Pot or Winamp), make GPU and CPU - intensive graphic jobs, make sound & video redactions in virtual studios and so forth, and I have no freezes at all. Only and only playing Flash (except one time using KMPlayer - one freeze watching video but about this little bit later).
2) I had the similar (but not the same) problem in XP, but that time it happened (and that was new PC with all new components -- and the same freezing!) exactly watching video in video players (never Flash content). But — in XP it came out with Blue Screen and dump files that allowed me to analyse this with Crash Debugger or simply seeing conflict in BSOD (if it was there - and it was!). And the problem was localized namely in ati****.dll or somethat. And in that times there was a pretty solution — OmegaDrivers. Install that and forget about freezings and BSODs really for years!
Unfortunately the honorable guy that developed this alternative drivers for Radeon had retired since 2010 and there is no decent (in fact, not at all, it seems) third-party drivers for Win7 supporting Radeon GPU.

To conclude, my specs:
Win7 Ultimate, Intel Core2Duo 2333; MoBo Asus P5E3; DDR3 3Gb (patriot); Asus EAX3850 (Radeon HD 3850, 512 Mb RAM) - and damn this last piece of iron, always the permanent headache with it!
What I haven't yet done (and will try if no other solutions won't help, and will report here):
-- update DirectX
-- try to backup to older Flash Player, 10.3 (though that's barely useful, I think)
-- reset CMOS (the same comment)
-- try to install the only third-party stuff that I've found -- DNA ATI drivers from online-source.net.

If anybody can propose another solution, any will be greatly appreciated!!
p.s. sorry my horrible English.
September 1, 2013 10:25:31 PM

Some hours later.
Seems that the problem hides somewhere near the audio driver area... The following steps didn't help me:
-- DirectX updating;
-- DNA-ATI build (that appears to be a quite queer modification of some old stable AMD CCC pack);
-- set the Marvell Lan Adapter to all default settings (I modified once the Duplex mode from auto to Full duplex 100Mbs)...
But as I thought that Flash movie playing hangs with permanent (until hard reset) "Drrrrrrrrrrzzzzzzz" sound (some sort of "audio freezing" too), I tried to uninstall and unplug the Audio Card — just to see what's going to happen. Namely it's Asus Xonar D1.
And now after reboot I restard forcedly multiple times different Flash videos on different pages and after 30-40 tries still no one hanging/freezing.
Now I will try to install my ancient SB Live! 5.1 Audio and see what I have with it.

In fact, this Asus Xonar D1 very suspiciosly clicks, and quite loud, when Windows starts — two clear and distinct clicks that had to suggest me possible cause more early... — and with XP drivers for the same device there were no clicks.

But if it solves my freeze conflict that will anyway remain a quite sorrowful thing since my actual card is rather new and expensive device I've bought recently for serious work with virtual studios thru ASIO and low latencies... And no thoughts what to do wit it - as it conflicts with video and Flash I'm really and definitely stuck.

====
Audio Card change did not solve my problem — hangs continue... Move along to Advanced Headache Realm...(
December 18, 2013 10:04:01 AM

I was having the same problem due to a new build, and I froze when landing on this page.

What plug in would my Mozilla browser be using here?
!