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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to this site but it's helped me in the past so i figured i might as well try it.

Anyway. I've had this computer for almost 2 years now and it's worked semi-flawlessly.
Current Specs:
Intel Core i5 661 3.33Ghz x2
12GB RAM
(2) 1TB Hard drives. Seagate and Hitatchi (Seagate is master)
EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 2GB 972Mhz
Motherboard: EVGA P55V 650.
Dual Monitors (Different Resolutions)
CPU is liquid cooled.
Before it had 4GB of Ram
1tb hard drive
and a Geforce GTS 250

But before any of that changed. the problems already began

It really started when playing games on the GTS 250. After about 20min the computer would lock up and the sound would loop while the display gets distorted and finally results into a STOP Error. Great fun.

At first i decided it was because the games files were bad or the graphics were too intense for the older card.
Slowly bluescreens persisted even with lower graphical games
eventually all the drivers for the old card just stopped working and would report "Display Drivers stopped and have recovered." while the screen is still distorted and pixels are just flowing all over the place... suffice of to say i considered the OS to have finally failed. after exploring all other solutions. Backed up what i wanted to keep. and then formatted the drive via Windows 7 Installation disk. During installation.. got BSOD.. Ntfs.sys error. Searched everywhere and found this may be because of a bad hard drive. Replaced the hard drive. installed windows.. no problem. shortly after that.. Windows would not operated correctly. Programs wouldnt install. Updates wouldn't work. Drivers failing.. so decided to try again.. Failed. during install got SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION. Retried. Installed successfully. No errors. windows updated. programs installed. Watched a movie.. When suddenly. *flash* "Display drivers stopped responding and have recovered." Then a series of problems slowly occurred. Decided to get a new video card (GTX 550 Ti) Solved problem. system continued to be unstable with programs though... Disabled Intel Speedstep and loaded optimal BIOS defaults.. Reinstalled. No problems. No driver issues. updates installing. Everything works fine.. EXCEPT. Tried playing Skyrim. Played for about 20min or so.. got to a certain part. then.. it just closes.. No errors.. no flashing.. just.. Closed. Try again. same result. i figured there's a problem with the games core files given its source.
uninstalled. things continued to work normally. but then. during update installation before shutdown. Bsod. for who knows what reason.. wasn't around to see it. just saw the error when the system restarted. Unsure of what went wrong.. tested it again. Shut down.. windows installs updates before shutdown. no problems. Start back up.. applies updates and configures.. no problems. Stumped.. I run SFC /Scannow. Computer instantly Blue screens. I've literally run out of options.. I've run Memory tests. No errors. Chkdsk, no errors.. Defrags. Reinstalled so many times i've lost count. updated drivers. Haven't updated BIOS in fear the system will crash during the flashing process, The last time i ran SFC successfully it came up with no problems. Event viewer only tells me Event 41 Kernal-Power. Very unspecific. New hard drive, New video card. Everything seems to be working.. but lurking in the background is that Stop error waiting to happen over and over again. I've got no idea what to do now.

Bluescreen dumb file says that driver: ntoskrnl.exe caused the problem. No idea what that is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Video card and Hard drive was replaced only about a week ago. Still getting the same problems. SFC says some files were corrupt or missing and could not be repaired. Given that this is the first time I've ever had to use my installation disk I'm going to blame the software until a third party disk can prove otherwise.
 

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Where did you obtain the installation media?

Given the number of people using Windows 7, a software problem is extremely unlikely. My own Windows 7 systems pass SFC with no issues, for instance. It is more likely that your installation media is incomplete or damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
well. by software i meant the installation disk XD but yeah. the disk came from cyberpowerpc inc. I got another disk from someone else, even though its Professional and not Home premium. we'll see what happens. seriously hoping its the disk. ive reached my budget limit for new parts
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Didn't work at first. Formatted both Hard Drives. installed onto the Seagate (Drive 0) It got past file expansion and had restarted.. but when it came to completing installation after the first restart.. It bluescreened after about 2min. I'm trying again. This time unplugged SATA cable to second Hard Drive. unplugged all cables besides the essentials. It seems to have worked.. so far. At the set up screen for creating a user name and such. See where it goes from here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No success. I just realized it's 32bit software.. so it's no wonder it's probably wouldn't work properly on a 64bit system. Using the disk cyberpower gave me again. hopefully 8th times the charm.
 

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32-bit Windows utilizes less resources than 64-bit resources. It should run better on a 64-bit capable system, not worse.

There are four pieces of hardware that the video card and the hard disk access most. The RAM, the PSU, the motherboard, and the CPU (listed from most likely problem to least likely). I would suggest first that you test your RAM with Memtest86+.
 

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Test RAM With Memtest86+

Run the boot version of Memtest86+. Let it run for at least 7-10 passes (preferably more) or until errors show up.

A helpful post from Tekno Venus for steps to create the bootable Memtest86+ media and run it:​

Tekno Venus said:

Option 1 – Using a USB Memory Stick (Recommended)


  1. Download the latest version of the Auto-installer for USB Key (Win 9x/2k/xp/7) from the official Memtest86+ website - Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool
  2. Insert a blank USB memory stick into your computer. It doesn’t matter what size the stick is because the memtest86+ file is only 180Kb big. I have installed it on a 128MB USB stick with no issues.
  3. Extract the .exe file from the zip archive you just downloaded to your desktop and double click it.
  4. This will launch the USB installer. Check the option to format the drive to reduce the risk of any install issues. Note: this will erase all data on the USB drive.
  5. Once the installer finishes, the drive is ready.

Option 2 – Using a CD


  1. Download the latest version of the Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip) from the official Memtest86+ website - Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool
  2. Extract the .iso file from the zip archive to your desktop.
  3. Right click this file and choose Open With -> Windows Disk Burner
  4. Insert a blank CD into your disk drive, ensure the correct disk burner is selected in the dialogue box and press burn.

If you see even one error, stop the test and do the following:

WARNING:
  • Before you proceed with the following, answer these two questions: Are you still under warranty? Does your warranty allow you to open up the machine to check hardware? If you are unsure of the answers to these questions, contact your system manufacturer. WARNING: The steps that follow can void your warranty!!!
  1. Shut down and turn off your computer.

  2. Unplug all power sources to the system: unplug the power from the outlet/surge protector or PSU (then remove the battery if it is a laptop).

  3. Hold down the power button for 30 seconds (for your safety and the safety of the components) to close the circuit and drain all power from components.

  4. Remove the casing (or remove the RAM panel if it is a laptop).

  5. Remove all but one memory module making sure you are grounded while doing so.
    Make sure you are grounded by using proper grounding techniques, i.e. work on an anti-static workbench, anti-static desk, or an anti-static pad. Hold something metallic while touching it to the anti-static surface, or use an anti-static wristband to attach to the anti-static material while working. If you do not have an anti-static workbench, desk, or pad, you can use your computer tower/case by finding a metal hold in it, such as a drive bay.​

  6. Replace the casing (or replace the RAM panel if it is a laptop) and put the remaining memory module(s) in a safe, static free environment.

  7. If the problem persists, repeat steps 1-4 and move the memory module to another slot (while staying grounded, of course).

Do this until all slots have been tested. If all slots fail, the memory module may be bad. Test with one of the remaining modules. Continue one module at a time in one slot at a time until you find a good module and good slot. Test remaining modules in the good slot, test good modules in other slots to find bad slots, etc.​



Some of the best information provided by a user who had RAM problems that were difficult to track down:

CaptainDju said:
Okay, finally got the new identical RAM kit delivered, and had time to run some tests, I think the conclusion is indeed a faulty RAM kit:

First I ran a positive control test where I reset the BIOS settings to Auto for all items I had changed in a previous post, and re-installed the faulty RAM in the A2-B2 slots
--> Crashes as frequent as before, as expected

Then I placed the faulty RAM in the A1-B1 to see if it could be a faulty slot (mobo) issue instead
--> Crashes as frequent as before, consistent with the faulty RAM theory, but does not rule out the faulty mobo

Third step was to remove the faulty RAM and install the new RAM kit in slots A1-B1
--> Not a single crash in a total of 10 hours of gaming, where I used to have crashes every few minutes. Still consistent with the faulty RAM theory, but does not rule out the faulty mobo

Last step was to move the new RAM to the A2-B2 slots to test them:
--> Not a single crash in over 18 hours of gaming/intensive use.

So in conclusion I think it is safe to assume the mobo is fine and the old RAM kit is faulty, so I'll send it out for replacement.

Here are my lessons learned on this one:

- Even though everyone hopes for a quick fix, ALWAYS perform test steps one by one (e.g. remove ONE supposedly faulty component and test right away). If you change multiple things and the issue is resolved, you won't know for sure what actually solved the issue.

- MemTest results are definitely not 100% accurate unless you leave it to run long enough. I think it's pretty safe to say that running it for less than 10 passes is worthless.
Note that even with enough successful passes (20+ have been advised) it does not replace real-life situations a.k.a. whatever you usually do on your computer that makes it crash.

- If the component you're suspecting is plugged in the motherboard, don't rule out the possibility that the motherboard itself is faulty, ideally have a negative control test with another similar component that is known to work fine

- RAM issues are a pain to diagnose as you can easily have false negatives as I have had. Also there's nothing you can do with your computer without RAM :p

I'll mark this one as resolved, hopefully it can help other people.

Anyway, thanks a ton for your super fast follow up and very knowledgeable answers.

TL;DR: The RAM was borked in the end, tadaaa :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Was too lazy to redownload memtest XD so I ran windows memory diagnostic again. not expecting any problems.. long behold.. it detected a hardware problem. So at least i have a lead now. only thing left to do is find out which one(s) of the 4 are faulty. Time to run each stick! :nuke:
 

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Memtest86+ is typically more reliable than Windows Memory Diagnostic tests (WMD). Glad WMD did point to a problem, at any rate. Let us know how things go with RAM swapping. Make sure to practice safe Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) procedures during swapping.

To prevent ESD, you should be well grounded by using either a wrist strap and anti-static mat / workbench, or by touching metal within your PC case such as a hard drive bay while working inside the PC.
 
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