Micro-Freezes/Various BSODs/Display Driver Crashes | PCSPECIALIST

Micro-Freezes/Various BSODs/Display Driver Crashes

Infernox

Member
Hello everyone.
I have encountered a rather substantial issue with my system that arose around two weeks or so ago and inevitably about a week after my Year Warranty expired!

This is the post from Tom's Hardware but I have recieved little input thus far.
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/id-2838508/micro-freezing-bsods-display-driver-crashes.html

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Hello again Tom's!
It seems I always have some issue or another don't I? I guess I am just unlucky :-(

This is a follow up to an earlier thread of mine that has recieved little input, likely do to a poor choice of Sub-Forum. I have since delved deeper into the issue.

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-2834535/micro-freezing-windows-seemingly-appeared-blue.html

SYSTEM
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OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Clean Install)
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K (Stock)
RAM: 16GB Kingston Hyper-X Beast 2133MHz (Running At 1600MHz)
MoBo: ASUS Z97-A
GPU: MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G (x2)
PSU: Corsair RM850
Storage #1: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB (OS)
Storage #2: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB (Games)
Storage #3: WD Black 1TB (Media)

Simply put I began experiencing Micro-Freezes in Windows while conducting various tasks, the issues was very obvious while audio was playing due to the "buzz" that would occur as the audio hung. I have since reinstalled Windows and am still experiencing issues.

Throughout my analysis today I have encountered various BSODs:
- PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
- DRIVER_IQRL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
- KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED

I am also experiencing numerous recoverted Display Driver crashes while conducting my tests along with the continued dropping of audio as reported in my previous thread.

Due to the issue seemingly mostly presenting itself during multitasking (Spotify and a Game running for instance) I have been testing the system by running an Intel Extreme Testing Utility Memory Test while also playing an MP3 file (Everything Is Awesome! in case you were wondering =P)

Each time I have conducted the one hour test I have encounted a BSOD or Display Driver Crash inside of thirty minutes bar one which occured with less than ten minutes remaining.

So far, in an attempt to isolate the cause I have:
- Taken out each RAM Stick individually
- Seated the single Stick in slot B2 rather than A23
- Removed each GPU individually
- Powered each GPU with the others Power Cable
- Removed my second Monitor

The test I am currently conducting has involved using a new Power Cable for the single GPU I have installed (still with a single RAM stick installed) along with using a different Surge-Protected Extension Lead and mains socket. This test has been ongoing for forty minutes and has yet to encounter any of the above issues. I have been unable to isolate the PSU as the problem due to not having any others available to me.

If anyone could be of assistance I would be incredibly grateful as I am coming to the end of my ideas and really need my PC up and running again.
Conor

UPDATES
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System passed my most recent test [new Power Cable for the single GPU I have installed (still with a single RAM stick installed) along with using a different Surge-Protected Extension Lead and mains socket] and I will now proceed to reinstall my second GPU and run the same test.

System past my next test. Same procedure but with both GPUs installed (new Power Cable for each) and I am now proceeding to conduct another test with both sticks of RAM installed.

Audio dropout remained during the last test (both GPUs) - no visible system errors, just the audio dropout around half an hour in, hitting the Realtek Audio Driver test kicked the speakers back into life. When they "die" the green LED indicator on the volume wheel dims. The speakers are not powered by the PC so to me that could imply a seperate fault with the speakers themselves.

Running with both sticks of RAM resulted in a crash within five minutes. Reverting back to a single stick resulted in the same. It seems I may have just missed the Display Driver crashes in the previous three tests I believed to have been successes.

I have subjected my RAM to an overnight HCI MemTest pass in the BIOS which resulted in 300% coverage with no errors as well as a 600% coverage within the OS, again with no errors.

At this stage I am out of ideas as to what to try. I suppose RAM, PSU and Motherboard are all still possibilites but I have no spares available to test with. IN theory a software problem is still possible despite the reinstallation of Windows. I don't know how to test for this as Intel Extreme Tuning Utility does not run in Windows Safe Mode.

Updating to the latest Nvidia Beta Drivers and reverting to the previous Nvidia Game Ready Drivers failed to resolve the Display Driver crashes during the tests. Both were a full Clean Installation using CCleaner, Driver Fusion and DDU.

I am beginning to suspect that a recent update to Windows 10 itself may be causing this issue.

I was initially under the impression I had some kind of Hardware failure on my hands but, as I scroll through the Windows 10 Sub-Forum I am seeing more and more instances of the same BSODs and a couple instances of the audio hangs.

I fully updated Windows 10 (bar Hardware Drivers) when I reinstalled Windows so this could indeed be the case, I really don't want to reinstall again (my poor SSD =P) especially without being certain this is the issue nor which Windows Update is the cause should it be.

Thanks in advance for anyhelp you can provide
Conor
 

Infernox

Member
UPDATE
---------------------------
After reinstalling for a second time, not allowing it to connect to the internet (no Windows Update) and only installing the latest Nvidia Game Ready Drivers and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, the system has successfully passed two Memory Stress Tests of 1hr and 1.5hr respectively.

To me this points to a software issue of some kind surely?
I am hesitant to install any additional software at this stage for fear of the issue arising once more.

To me, the possible causes are:
- A program that has worked fine for in excess of two months and now has developed a bug (unlikely?)
- A Motherboard Driver from the ASUS Website
- A Windows Update.

For me a Windows Update seems the most likely due to the way the problem arose so suddenly without the installation of new software.
My question is now of course, how likely is it that I am correct and if I am, what can I do seeing as Windows will force updates on me as soon as I connect to the internet?
 

ubuysa

Moderator
Moderator
You have done the most sensible troubleshooting by clean installing Windows (and all the drivers I hope?) and nothing else. That gives you a stable software platform and if you have problems then they are probably hardware. If you get no problems, and you don't seem to, that would suggest it was software.

As you rightly say, you still don't known what software was at fault. What I'd do if it were mine depends on what version of Windows you're running:

Windows 10

If it's Windows 10 as soon as you connect to the Internet it will start installing updates (including driver updates) and legally there is nothing you can do to stop that. Allow all updates to be installed, reboot when asked and keep running Windows update until no more updates are found. Do not install any other software. Now run your stress tests again and see what happens. If it fails it was a Windows update. You can back some of these out, so if it fails I'd research each installed update and figure out (or guess!) which one is most likely and uninstall that. Then test again, and keep doing that until it suddenly started working again.

If it still works after all Windows updates are on then it's not an updates. At that stage I'd check to see whether there were any updated drivers available for any of my hardware (from PCS or the device manufacturers websites - nowhere else!) and if there were I'd install them one at a time, reboot after each and thoroughly test. If it fails then you know which driver it was and you can back that one out. If it still works then it's not a driver.

Now got to Application Testing.

Not Windows 10

If it's not Windows 10 then I'd first turn off automatic updates. Then I'd get the latest drivers for all my hardware (from PCS or the device manufacturers websites - nowhere else!) and update each driver one at a time, rebooting and testing thoroughly after each one. If all the drivers install and it's still working fine then it's not a driver. If the testing shows a problem then you know which driver it was and you can back that one out.

Then I'd let Windows update run. Deselect all Recommended and driver updates. Install only Important updates at this stage. If there are more than about 20 I'd do them in groups if 5 - it is well known that sometimes installing a huge number of updates causes them to get in each others way (especially if two updates affect the same module). Keep installing Important updates in small groups until there are no more important updates. Do not install any other software. Now run your stress tests again and see what happens. If it fails it was a Windows update. You can back most of these out, so if it fails I'd research each installed update and figure out (or guess!) which one is most likely and uninstall that (or, to save time, uninstall them in small groups). Then test again, and keep doing that until it suddenly starts working again - that's your suspect update.

If it still works after Important updates have been installed then it's not one of them. Now you can install Recommended updates. Again do them in small groups. I would not install any driver updates found - you already know you have a stable driver platform. If it still works after that it's not a Windows update.

Application Testing

Here you just have to bite the bullet and reinstall each third party program one a a time and then reboot (even if they don't tell you to). Now run your stress tests again and see whether it fails. Repeat for each third party program.

As you say I think this is a software issue and a step by step careful approach is really the only way to isolate what's causing the problem.

I hope that helps some?

:)
 
Last edited:

Infernox

Member
Thanks for the reply Ubuysa! I have a follow-up query for you,

On my most recent Windows 10 installation I have seemingly successfully completed all available Windows Updates and installed my Nvidia Drivers without encountering any BSODs, hangs or Display Driver Crashes.

This means that my prime subject for the reason behind my issues were my Motherboard drivers as that just seems more likely than a program cauing these problems as such I have come to a crossroads, do I install these Drivers and risk the issue reappearing and not being solved by a simple uninstallation of the drivers or do I just ignore them? As such I have to ask.

These are the Drivers in question:
- Intel Management Engine Interface
- Intel Chipset Software (Windows installed a version of this already)
- Realtek Audio
- Intel LAN
- Intel Rapid Storage Technology

What functionality do these drivers offer above what Windows installs natively? My audio and internet connection are working as normal for example and to the best of my knowledge, IRS is only compatible with Intel Drives but I could be mistaken there.

Thanks
 

ubuysa

Moderator
Moderator
Thanks for the reply Ubuysa! I have a follow-up query for you,

On my most recent Windows 10 installation I have seemingly successfully completed all available Windows Updates and installed my Nvidia Drivers without encountering any BSODs, hangs or Display Driver Crashes.

This means that my prime subject for the reason behind my issues were my Motherboard drivers as that just seems more likely than a program cauing these problems as such I have come to a crossroads, do I install these Drivers and risk the issue reappearing and not being solved by a simple uninstallation of the drivers or do I just ignore them? As such I have to ask.

These are the Drivers in question:
- Intel Management Engine Interface
- Intel Chipset Software (Windows installed a version of this already)
- Realtek Audio
- Intel LAN
- Intel Rapid Storage Technology

What functionality do these drivers offer above what Windows installs natively? My audio and internet connection are working as normal for example and to the best of my knowledge, IRS is only compatible with Intel Drives but I could be mistaken there.

Thanks
If Windows 10 has installed a chipset driver and if everything is working (all ports, USBs, etc.) then you don't need the driver on the disk, Windows will have already installed the best driver.

The same will be true of other drivers too, if audio is working ok and if the networks is working ok, then you're fine and you don't need those drivers.

In any case, none of the drivers you have on disk are likely to be Windows 10 compatible so don't install any of them. Windows 10 generally installs all the drivers you need.

The best way to check is to open up the Device Manager, right-click on the start icon at bottom left and select Device Manager from the list. If there are any items in there marked with a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in there you don't have the right driver installed. If there are no such items then you're all sorted.

If you do need additional drivers login to your account on the main PCS website (where you place orders) and look for a Tech Support menu on the left hand side, under there is a Download menu item. If you click that you should find all the Windows 10 drivers for your build.
 
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