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Help Diagnose the Striped Screen Crashing Computer!

by Chaucer85 / November 15, 2010 2:36 PM PST

Having freeze and crash issues with my custom built rig.

The problem started a month or so ago when I had this thing assembled from parts. Everything tested fine, I took it home and set it up with my new Samsung monitor, HP printer etc.

Soon after the first day or so getting everything I want loaded on, I'm getting random crashes where the screen turns to a series of colored vertical stripes ( and and I'm totally locked out from the OS; have to reboot every time. It happens no matter how intensively I'm using the system, surfing the net, word processing, video playback, whatever. It happens after several hours or several minutes into use.

I take it back to the guy who assembled it, he puts some more thermal paste on the chip, the problem doesn't repeat, everything seems golden. I'm moving soon after, so I break
down the whole office setup and move across half the country and set up shop in California.

As soon as I start trying to use my comp again, it's the same issue.

I take it to another guy. He runs it overnight, stress tests everything; just like before, he can't reproduce the issue. I've already tried a new graphics card just to see if that
was bad. Nope. Everything hardware related checks out fine, no overheating or anything.

I take it home, and set it up again. What do I have at my home setup that the repair guys don't? A Samsung monitor, some logitech speakers, a Western Digital external hard drive and an HP printer.

I run the computer in Safe Mode, hours on end, no problem. AH HA.

It looks very heavily like a driver issue, but I've tried installing the latest drivers for both the monitor and the graphics card with no success to alleviating the issue. My
last resort is trying to clean sweep out the old drivers and re-install the new, making sure there's no remnants lurking anywhere to confuse the poor computer.

The best I can find from Windows 7 internal logs of computer failure is the generic "error 10" message denoting a driver problem with no specifics.

Any help or advice on better determining or narrowing down driver problems (or looking for program compatibility spats) to get a stable machine would be most appreciated.

Specs for those interested:
MSI P55-GD80 mother board
Intel i5 quad core chip
ATI Radeon HD5670 graphics card
8 GB DDR3 Ram

Notable programs running:
Windows 7 64-bit
Avast! anti-virus/Zone Alarm (might try turning this crap off, just for laughs)

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 15, 2010 2:51 PM PST

Frankly every machine that has trouble and uTorrent always finds something that didn't belong on the machine the owner had fetched with uTorrent.

You have revealed a big clue.

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What about
by Jimmy Greystone / November 15, 2010 10:09 PM PST

What about your printer? I didn't see anything about updating those drivers. HP isn't exactly known for high quality drivers ever since Fiorina left her mark on the company. It's all outsourced to some company, and it being HP, they don't really offer them enough money for them to do a good job.

And monitors don't have drivers. They have color profiles, but that's about it, and a bad color profile wouldn't change anything.

Also, in a repair shop, you typically have a workbench that has a lot of space around it. In people's homes, I've seen computers jammed up against the wall, things stacked on every side of it, so there's nowhere for the exhaust air to go. It just builds up inside the case and the small little area behind the system. With the exception of the bottom (to please our straw loving members). Make sure you have at least 2-3 inches of space on EVERY SIDE of the computer. Do NOT block any grille like parts of the case.

You also need to be sure to blow out fans and vents every 6-12 months on your system.

And Bob raises a good point, though I doubt it has anything to do with your problem at hand. Doesn't mean there can't be OTHER problems lurking.

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Device Manager...
by PKsteven / November 15, 2010 11:17 PM PST

..would be a great place to look for issues. What it sounds like is a USB problem. Do you have anything USB plugged in or other peripherals that could be giving you grief? Also, if in safe mode, uninstall your drivers there, do not choose to remove the software though, restart in normal mode, Windows will pick up on it.

Steam + Utorrent= ug

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Since it "runs for hours in safe mode" ...
by Edward ODaniel / November 15, 2010 11:22 PM PST

take a couple of minutes to make sure that your monitor can support the refresh rate and resolution that the video card drivers are demanding of it.

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Thanks for the responses, everybody
by Chaucer85 / November 16, 2010 6:21 AM PST

Yeah, I can also try getting a new printer driver.

The total USB devices I have plugged in are the Western Digital external, the HP printer, and a Logitech mouse.

I'll double check on the monitor specs and see about how things look in the Device Manager.

Also, disabling Steam and uTorrent wouldn't hurt.

Will post more with results.

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So far...
by Chaucer85 / November 16, 2010 10:09 AM PST

Checked things in Device Manager, everything reports as running properly. DID update printer driver, as well as graphics card driver (this has the known side effect of that 1/2 inch black border around the edge of the screen, effectively shrinking in display size of monitor).

Monitor is set to run at 1920 x 1080 with 60Hz refresh rate. This should be well within the Samsung BX2250's specs.

I'll run this regular for awhile, watching if it freaks out, in which case I'll switch back to Safe Mode to remove/disable some programs that might be causing issues.

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by PKsteven / November 16, 2010 10:27 AM PST

Maybe try to unplug all usb devices and see what happens?

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by Chaucer85 / November 16, 2010 3:24 PM PST

Whelp, the system was stable from 5:55pm until about 9:20 pm, when I noticed the loading screen image from startup. Apparently the computer had still crashed, but now it was able to actually manage a BSOD.

Restarting it caused another crash after a few minutes, so it wasn't a fluke. Now, I have given proper space for ventilation, and there's several fans.

The error message given was:

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.1.7600.
Locale ID: 1033

Additional information about the problem:
BCCode: 7f
BCP1: 0000000000000008
BCP2: 0000000080050031
BCP3: 00000000000006F8
BCP4: FFFFF80002A54EC8
OS Version: 6_1_7600
Service Pack: 0_0
Product: 768_1

Files that help describe the problem:

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Quite often that error is caused by ...
by Edward ODaniel / November 17, 2010 3:41 AM PST
In reply to: Update

bad RAM.

Download Memtest86 and run it a while.

Another test you could perform to either rule in or rule out hardware as opposed to a driver issue is to get yourself a Linux Live CD and boot it and run it for a while to see what happens. It runs from the CD/DVD drive so you don't have to concern yourself with any installation. Ubuntu is a good and popular choice although you could double your fun by downloading and creating Dr. Web Live Cd which also lets you run AV and anti-malware checks on the computer while you see if the computer crashes.

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I agree
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 17, 2010 6:12 AM PST
In reply to: Update

Bad ram or a video card issue. To figure this out I often have to swap in a video card I know is good.

Memory testing is known to pass and still be a memory issue. Let me cover something on the dark side of PCs. Ready?

Many are unaware that memory sticks have MANY parameters that are set by the BIOS when the PC boots. But given all the different makers, not all sticks are supported.

Here's the dark part. It would have nice if the PC would halt the boot and report UNSUPPORTED RAM. PRESS F4 TO CONTINUE. But that's not what it does. It uses some defaults and hopes for the best. This is where I go find the stick's parameters and see if the BIOS can be adjusted to those specifications.

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by Chaucer85 / November 17, 2010 4:27 PM PST
In reply to: I agree

Can't really use memtester, Daniel, as the older version (that's stable against more than 4GB of ram) doesn't run with 64-bit.

I do have a copy of unbuntu, but that's a bit of a headache just for further experimentation.

I'll have a look at my corsair DDR3 ram and see what's up with it. Still, you'd think my ram being bad would've popped up if two other people were testing it.

Thanks for the tips.

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Memtest86 works fine for ...
by Edward ODaniel / November 19, 2010 12:20 AM PST
In reply to: Well...

64 bit processors and since it does not run in Windows whether the Windows version is 32 bit or 64 bit is immaterial.

Clear back in 2002 it was fixed for large memory configurations so greater than 6 GB is not a problem either.

All you need to do is go to the following link and download either an ISO for booting from CD or the floppy package for booting from a floppy drive.

You say you have Ubunto but that it is "a bit of a headache just for further experimentation" - WHY, you do not have to install it, just make use of the live CD and run it from your CD/DVD drive. If it has problems running start looking at hardware. If it doesn't have problems start looking at software.

If your problem with Ubuntu is that you are unfamiliar with Linux, don't worry about it. just make use of the Firefox web browser and browse the Internet for a while and have fun - the idea is to isolate the cause of your problems.

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Memtest results...
by Chaucer85 / November 19, 2010 3:12 PM PST

Two passes, no errors. (

I'd still like to adjust the ram to be 9-9-9-24.

Running regular mode minus Zone Alarm and Avast! to see any difference. I'll try out Ubuntu later.

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Since removing Avast and Zone Alarm...
by Chaucer85 / November 21, 2010 1:22 PM PST
In reply to: Memtest results...

There's been no stability issues, no lockups, no sudden BSODs (knock on wood). Trying to add back Avast will be my next step; see if I can't research any potential conflicts in Windows 7 or with other programs.

The odd thing is if Avast *is* what's been causing the problem, why wasn't this repeated at the repair shops? Did they not hook up to the internet to test any software that ran online updates?

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Further Update...
by Chaucer85 / November 18, 2010 4:43 PM PST

Still pursuing research into the more stable RAM timing option (first time I dove into BIOS, the few numbers I adjusted to match the listed settings kept the system from booting, so I rolled them back and the system booted fine).

However, going through my notes, I did some googling on some of the driver failures my logs showed. The're all related to my anti-virus.

I'm going to uninstall my stuff, test the system, re-install, test the system.

We'll see.

Thanks for those checking in.

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Computer freeze and diagonal stripes
by vhugo2 / February 16, 2011 7:08 AM PST
In reply to: Further Update...

I had the same problem with the crashes and the striped screen. Then I couldn't even load windows. I tried another hard drive with the same Win7 OS and Win7 wouldn't load.

I have two 1GB memory modules. I removed one of them and everything worked fine. I replaced the removed module with a spare module, and so far everything works.

Memory tests are innacurate. You can test for memory in Win7 by booting to the install disk and telling the installation to do a repair. That should fill up you memory and see if you get a shutdown.

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Final Results
by Chaucer85 / February 16, 2011 9:17 AM PST

Thanks for the replies, everybody.

Oddly enough, it did seem to be an anti-virus conflict. Very strange.

I removed ZoneAlarm, kept Avast!, and everything works fine. I even finally mastered the damn ATI control panel to properly scale my screen and remove the black bar around my screen oddly enough, this same issue came up recently at work; fixed it when it stymied much more experienced folks ;P).

So, while my RAM still remains at less than optimum settings, it seems to be in good working order.

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Vertical stripes & firewalls
by magna7 / August 6, 2011 2:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Final Results

I had a similar problem and was trying to solve it for months; the only suggestions I could find on the internet were that the graphic card probably was bad. I had vertical stripes, in all kinds of colours, so bad I could barely see a thing. It turned out the problem only appeared when I had specific programs installed on my PC (XP SP3). It appeared when I had installed a specific version of ESET Smart Security; but with the older version of it I had no problem. It started after 2 or 3 reboots after installing. After unistalling ESET, the stripes disappeared. On my laptop I have no problem with the same program. Later on I installed Zonealarm Pro Free on the same PC, and the same problem started all over again. Before, I had Zonealarm (older versions) on my PC for years without any problem. After uninstalling Zonealarm, again the problem disappeared. Now I have installed Avast antivirus and Online Armor Free firewall and Malwarebytes and the PC is having no problem at all. I really don't understand how these programs can present these striped monitor issues, but they do, and not just bad graphic cards! However, this PC also has a Radeon card, a 9600 TX.

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