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Computer freezing and cause unknown, please help.

by xanmore / November 23, 2014 7:11 AM PST

Hi.

I've started having problems with my computer these past 4 month, it has started to randomly freeze, although I use the word "randomly" quite lightly. This is due to the fact that the computer has only frozen during longer periods of playing computer games. Another thing to note is that during these past 4 month the computer has only frozen a total of 4 times.
So far these freezes are mostly an annoyance, but in case they are to get worse I'd like to know what's causing them.

Seeing as I've tried to troubleshoot as best as I can, I've come up with nothing to point to the cause, but I'll write down what I've done so far. But before that I'll mention the 2 big factors which happened just before these freezes began, if they are relevant or not, I do not know.

Just before these freezes began I bought an SSD and reinstalled Windows 7 on it. So with my current setup I use the SSD for the OS and software, while games, music and movies etc are stored on the HDD.
As I said, I do not know if the SSD is at fault or not, I'm just saying that the computer began freezing after I got the SSD, relevant or not.

I'd also like to clarify the problem. At certain points during longer periods of gameplay the computer slows down to a halt during 1-2 sec, the picture on the screen freezes, the sound begins a 1 sec loop, mouse and keyboard become unresponsive. I did at one point wait to see if something happened but after 30min there was no change and I had to do a hard reset.

So after this happened the first time I did what I always do if there is a problem such as a bluescreen etc, and that is to check the Event Viewer and look at the logs. But so far there has been nothing logged about what could've caused the freeze, there is no mention anywhere what could've happened.

Seeing as I gained no information from the event viewer I began to check the hardware. I began with running the Windows Memory Diagonstics Tool during one night and it came up with nothing. Then I went on to check my SSD and HDD using the chkdsk.exe and that as well came up with nothing.
After this I began to monitor the temperature of the GPU and CPU. The GPU is at a steady 80° during load, and the CPU is at a 60° - 70° during load.

I've scanned for virus and malware and come out clean. And all drivers and updates are up-to-date.

If anyone has any idea what could be the cause I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks


Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 EVO B3, Socket-1155
PSU: Corsair HX 750W
GPU: GTX 780
CPU: i7 2600k
RAM: Corsair Dominator DHX DDR3 1600MHz 8GB
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
SSD: Samsung 850 Pro 128GB Basic
HDD: WD Black WD6401AALS 640GB

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common freeze causes
by James Denison / November 23, 2014 7:01 PM PST

1) Heat related issue

2) Failing RAM stick

3) Inadequate power, especially where new power demand was added.

4) video driver related

5) other driver related

6) malware of some sort

I believe that's pretty much in order of most common to least.

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Causes
by xanmore / November 25, 2014 9:08 PM PST
In reply to: common freeze causes

Thanks for the list of causes, although it does not help me greatly.
As I wrote I doubt it to be a heat related issue as all hardware is working at safe temperatures.
And as for RAM, seeing as I used Windows own Memory diagnostic tool and it showed no error one can assume that it's not ab RAM issue. Unless the tool itself is insufficient at testing the RAM.
Moving on to the PSU, by using calculators I found on the Internet I should be well below what's needed from the PSU, even at load.
As for drivers, video and other, I doubt that's were the problem lies. Video drivers are easy to keep updated and since I started having problems there may have been several releases of new drivers released, so I doubt there's a present issue with those. As for "other" drivers, seeing as I format my computer from time to time I use the same routine and there has never been a problem. And If I were to reinstall Windows I'd most likely end up with the same drivers.
And at last, malware, as I said I've scanned for everything and came up with nothing, and that includes viruses.
I use Avast, Spybot and Malwarebytes to keep my computer clean.

The major problem with having this issue that as it is something I would like to solve, it's too inconsistent, making troubleshooting hard. This is unless I can find a way to make it freeze in a consistent way.

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PSU ratings
by James Denison / November 26, 2014 7:27 AM PST
In reply to: Causes
Moving on to the PSU, by using calculators I found on the Internet I should be well below what's needed from the PSU, even at load.

There are two types of ratings, one is "maximum" surge and the other is "continuous" operation. Cheaper PSU always advertise what it can reach on a surge before cutting out, the better ones will advertise their continuous operation. You then also have to consider the cheaper ones run safely at 70% and the better are 80 Plus models.

what you need to know is the continuous capability of the PSU and if it is great enough for power demands. Decent signal filtering is necessary too.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/How-Much-Power-Can-a-Generic-500-W-Power-Supply-Really-Deliver/534

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Why-99-Percent-of-Power-Supply-Reviews-Are-Wrong/410/2

other interesting articles there and honest reviews.
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According to Corsair
by xanmore / November 26, 2014 9:29 AM PST
In reply to: PSU ratings

"Corsair power supplies are all rated at continuous output. That
means that a Corsair power supply can put out 100% of its capability
100% of the time, if necessary
."

So according to Corsair my 750W PSU should have a continuous output of 750W. According to the calculators used I I should be around 500-550W.

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James has a fine list. Follow it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 24, 2014 1:44 AM PST

If it did it since new there are some combinations that require a little more work to get Windows up and stable. Another moderator and I worked on their rig and found the SSD firmware update plus Intel's RST (software app) to fix theirs. That's not to write that's your issue but your builder and the person that installs Windows should know these areas.
Bob

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Firmware and Intel's RST
by xanmore / November 25, 2014 9:17 PM PST

Hi, thanks for the reply.
I checked the website of the manufacturer of the SSD and they don't seem to have any updates for the model I have, as of yet at least.
As for Intel's RST, I looked it up and I remember doing it before when I just got the SSD and was about to install it. I'm still not sure what its use is, but beside that I don't seem to find a version that works on my system.
And to comment on the last thing you wrote, I built my own computer and manage the installation of Windows etc myself. I've never had any trouble with this before, although this is the first time I've used an SSD with a HDD at the same time. I've always just used a singular HDD. So by saying that, there might've been something I've done wrong during the process. Maybe it's just me but if something were to be wrong with the way I've installed and use the SSD and HDD, the problem should be more consistent, I might be wrong.

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That's odd.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2014 12:18 AM PST

I see the usual i7 so unless it's some odd non-Intel host chipset the Intel RST or whatever they call it now is what I use.

As a test we removed the SSD and went with the old HDD setup. It worked better. So going over my notes we went back to the SSD+HDD setup but carefully checked BIOS and SSD firmware then went over the OS install and post install of drivers and apps. In their setup without the Intel RST, odd delays and more.

Installing Windows has changed a lot over the last decade. Many are caught unaware and live with subpar machines.
Bob

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Intel RST
by xanmore / November 26, 2014 2:58 AM PST
In reply to: That's odd.

It turns out I cannot install the newer versions of the drivers for RST, but I found an older version that I could install. So for now let's hope that this may improve the stability.
Thanks for the replys Happy

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Here's hoping that helps.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2014 6:10 AM PST
In reply to: Intel RST

Odd finding but I can't guess what that is happening. Unless this is one of those BLU VERSIONS of Windows. I don't care for those for many reasons.
Bob

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No progress
by xanmore / November 26, 2014 7:30 AM PST

Intel's RST didn't help. Computer just froze again.
As a side note, these last couple of days have been quite heavy on the freezes, at least once a day so far.
By the way, what's "BLU VERSIONS of Windows" if I may ask?

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I can't find a clean link about it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2014 7:43 AM PST
In reply to: No progress
http://www.brighthub.com/computing/windows-platform/articles/70173.aspx sidesteps your question but it was a popular cracked version that I bumped into far too many times. We could never be sure what they did to it so we always sent the machine back to the client as unsupportable.

Nothing seems out of sort so what's left? Be sure the BIOS is stock, no overclocking and well, any other clues could lead in a new direction.

Go ahead and dump a HIJACKTHIS LOG here for a peek. Sometimes you find registry cleaners, disk emulations or something odd.

The odd thing here is your finding on Intel's RST. I've never had to use an old version. That's a clue but I can't see where it goes. It does alert me there is something off about the OS. Could be a rootkit but the clues don't point in the right direction yet.
Bob
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HijackThis
by xanmore / November 26, 2014 9:15 AM PST

Here's a link to my HijackThis log.
You mentioned registry cleaners, and I do use CCleaner, if you think that may have an impact. Although I have been using it for years and as far as I know I've never had a problem due to CCleaner.

Another thing to mention since you mentioned "overclocking", I am current overclocking my CPU, and I have since the day I bought it 3.5 years ago. Seeing as the temperature never goes above 42° during heavy load (correction from what I wrote in the original post), I think there is no reason to suspect overheating. However, if the CPU can cause these problems without the need to overheat, let me know and I'll put it back to standard settings.

About the Intel RST, I can only assume that newer version don't support my Motherboard, hence the need to use an older version. This is however speculation.

Not that you brought it up but I'll leave my computer on during the night and run memtest to see what the results are.

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Looks clean.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2014 9:28 AM PST
In reply to: HijackThis

I'd give up Spybot. I'd also look into if I can do without NvNetworkService as well as wmpnetwk (the service.)

Since it's overclocked, all bets are off no mater how long it worked. As a machine ages, the electrolytic capacitors age and the noise level goes up. It's not a heat issue but overclockers can get irate over the loss over time.

Until it's stable, skip the overclocking.

I see more than one real time protection software. In the past SpyBot's TeaTimer caused odd delays, freezes (lockup then comes back) so I'd keep it simple and stock until something more of a clue shows up.

But it's one of the cleanest HJT logs I've seen in months. Thanks!
Bob

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PS. Optional? FLUX!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2014 9:33 AM PST
In reply to: Looks clean.
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PS. Sorry about that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2014 9:41 AM PST
In reply to: Looks clean.

I read the log once and missed FLUX the first time. But on a third reading what caught my eye was it was launching from the Users folder rather than the usual locations. While that in itself is not a bad thing, it is one of the signs that it needed another look. Imagine my surprise that it's in a thread about a machine locking up.
Bob

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SSD & Firmware
by xanmore / November 26, 2014 10:20 AM PST
In reply to: Looks clean.

According to NVIDIA their software known as NVIDIA GeForce Experience is dependant on NvNetworkService.
I did read that several people did have major problems with Experience but that it is solved now.

The service 'wmpnetwk' has been disabled.

I'll undo the overclocking on the CPU for now and see if that improves the stability.

As for spybot, I'll disable the active protection, but I'll keep it for scans.
TeaTime on the other hand I know of, but I do not have it active as I felt I didn't need it.

On another note, I did find the software called Samsung Magician which handles firmware and your SSD overall.
It turns out my firmware is up-to-date. However, it does seem, according to this software, that I used settings that are for HDDs. That has now been corrected and the SSD should be used correctly and be more stable.
I do hope this proves fruitful.

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NvNetworkService seems connected with ShadowPlay
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2014 10:40 AM PST
In reply to: SSD & Firmware
http://www.geforce.com/geforce-experience/shadowplay

"ShadowPlay records up to the last 20 minutes of your gameplay. Just pulled off an amazing stunt? Hit a hotkey and the game video will be saved to disk."

If a machine is being cranky, this definitely looks optional.
Bob
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Update
by xanmore / November 26, 2014 8:25 PM PST

As I mentioned I ran memtest86 during the night and it came up clean.

I do use ShadowPlay on occasion, however I did disable that specific function as I did not want the software to decide when to record. Therefore I changed it only to record when I choose to, that is to say 'manual mode'. And as a side note, ShadowPlay is inactive most of the time and I only enable it when I want to record something.

I also looked through the link you gave me regarding FLUX, and I must say, they went through quite a lot.
However I think it's unrelated to my case. I've made another scan for malware and came up with nothing. The FLUX I have installed seem legitimate.

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Well if you still have Windows installed on the HD
by orlbuckeye / November 25, 2014 9:42 PM PST

you can remove the SSD and boot with the HD. Then test the system just to eliminate fault or find fault with the SSD.

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When there are bits we can do without...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2014 10:40 PM PST

We do without. I looked a Flux at download.com and it seems OK, but I think it's time to pull the plug here. I feel I'm not able to get you to remove items until it flies straight. I suggest you head to the malwarebytes or bleepingcomputer forum and let them do the usual scans and more.

I can't guess why these items must stay. To me I get a machine stable then can reinstall what I removed.
Bob

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Fair enough
by xanmore / November 27, 2014 12:15 AM PST

I understand, thank you for all the help you've given me up to this point Happy

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Update
by xanmore / December 12, 2014 3:44 AM PST
In reply to: Fair enough

Searching through forum and the like for a while now I have yet to find a solution to my problem.
There are similar cases to mine but either they go unsolved or the cause is something that does not affect me.

A couple of days ago I decided to format and reinstall Windows 7 once again onto my SSD, this was mostly due to the way I installed the OS the first time around. I read that one should disconnect the HDD while installing an OS on the SSD. So this time around I've done this.
This time around I carefully went about to install the newest drivers I could find and avoided software that aren't needed.
Following Bob's advice I didn't install spybot nor NVIDIA Experience this time around.

After all this my computer still froze.
As a recap:
Driver are up-to-date
Temperatures are operating at safe values
Every diagnostic I've run have turned up nothing indicating anything being faulty

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Forget reading temps.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 12, 2014 3:53 AM PST
In reply to: Update

I've bumped into speed fan or such causing a hang.

OK, the CPU: i7 2600k is/was an overclocker's choice so let's be sure the bios is at defaults.

This machine looks to be a few years old and since we know capacitors age and cause unexplainable hangs like that it may be time to start swapping parts. No diagnostic known to date will find this out for us. We use our past experience and visual inspections to see what we can see and choose from that.

Since the hang is not game related or under stress or overclocking I'd look at each board for any BAD CAP (google that for examples.) The criteria is perfection. There is no "good enough" or "that doesn't look too bad" exceptions. Since the office can't warrant a repaired board we replace the board.

If that passes we start swapping boards and chips.
Bob

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As you say
by xanmore / December 12, 2014 6:46 AM PST
In reply to: Forget reading temps.

As you mentioned, some parts are quite old. Some of them has been in use over 3 years now. Anyway, I did opened up the computer to clean it and check for bad caps and check that all cables were correctly fitted.
There was not much dust, most of it was caught in the filter for my water cooling. As for bad caps, it's hard to tell but as far as I could see there was no swelling/bulging and/or no corrosion to speak of.
Beside that, cables and the hardware are tightly fitted (not too tightly though).

What's next to come is for me to do 2 things that I can think of. The first is to remove RAM sticks and test them one by one to see if any of them are faulty. After that I'll reinstall the OS on my HDD and see if the issue persist. The problem with of course being the randomness of the issue at hand and the problem of being able to test it in a proper way seeing as there is no clear way to trigger the freeze/crash.

As you also brought up Bob is to change parts. This is however something I cannot due at this time, due to lack of funds and/or access to spare parts. So although this could be the best course of action, I am limited/blocked from this action.

So in conclusion, if the problem persists after testing the RAM and installing Windows 7 on my HDD and there is no further way to progress in the sense of testing, I'll then be stuck with this issue until I am able to start changing out parts.

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OK, since it's an i7 we can limit the core count.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 12, 2014 7:36 AM PST
In reply to: As you say
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More updates
by xanmore / December 14, 2014 6:26 AM PST

First of all, my theory that these freezes/crashes only happen when the computer has been active for a long time has proven false. As I turned on the computer this morning and 20min later the computer froze/crashed.

Later that day I ran memtest for each individual RAM stick, each stick passed 5 passes without any errors. I did this because of a friend told me to try this as well.

As told I've limited my CPU to 2 cores as you asked me to. I assume that I shall keep it like this until there is another freeze/crash (if there will be one that is).

Due to the random nature of these freezes I'd rather a freeze/crash happen sooner rather then later.

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For now, that's good sleuthing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 14, 2014 6:41 AM PST
In reply to: More updates

There are now too many reasons for a crash. Crashes vary from solid stops to reboots, and more.

So look how to clear all the Event Viewer logs so the next time it crashes and hopefully reboots we have less to pick through.

There's other reasons such as codecs and more but I can't see what's running at the time of the crash. Be sure to hit BleepingComputer and have them check your logs and more to remove any bad thing as a cause.

Start here -> http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/103/am-i-infected-what-do-i-do/
Bob

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