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Black screen/shutdown without warning

By mrtraver
Jul 30, 2015
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  1. Asus P5Q Pro motherboard
    Corsair 600w PSU (about a year old)
    E8500 Core 2 Duo
    2 x 2GB OCZ Fatal1ty edition DDR2 RAM
    EVGA GTX480 (refurb, less than a year old)
    on-board sound
    OCZ Agility 4 SSD boot drive
    WD 74GB Raptor HDD
    WD 640 GB HDD
    Windows 7 Home (64 bit)

    About a month ago, my desktop started suddenly shutting down. I can be in the middle of typing, and the display will shut off. Sometimes it is like it is going to sleep, and will resume if I wait until all fans and everything stop before pressing another key. Other times the screen will go black and the fans still run, but the only way to recover it to do a hard reset.

    Sometimes it will do it several times in a day, then I can go several days without issues. I can be doing anything - web browsing with IE11 or Chrome, using Office 2013 (usually Word or Excel), or gaming. About the only consistent thing I have noticed is I have to be doing something; it does not do it on its own when no one is at the keyboard. That makes me suspect possibly a hardware issue, especially RAM or GPU. I ran the Windows memory test on reboot, and no issues were reported.

    I have checked and rechecked power settings. I don't use a screensaver, the monitor is set to shut off after 20 minutes of inactivity, and the hard drives are to never shut off.

    I did a clean install of the graphics driver a few days ago but the issue continues.

    I'm not even sure if it is a hardware issue or software (OS, driver, malware?) Recent scans with Avast, Panda online tools, Super AntiSpyware, MalwareBytes Anti Malware, and Windows Defender don't show anything.

    Perhaps coincidentally, I started seeing this issue after installing Windows 10 Preview on a separate partition. I eventually reformatted that partition and removed Windows 10 from MSCONFIG, but the issue persists.

    The Reliability Monitor shows some issues, but does not log anything that I can see when this happens.

    If there are any logs or anything I can upload that will help, I will be glad to.

    I do plan on doing a clean install of Windows 10 eventually, but I would rather not do it yet unless a clean OS install will help with this issue. I did a windows 7 repair install (in-place upgrade) but it did not help.

    Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Piiote

    Piiote TS Rookie

    What I'd do in that situation is just troubleshoot the hardware I think might be faulty. Remove one of the RAM sticks and test the pc one stick at a time. Remove the GPU and use your mobo's graphics processor. You checked your HDDs for SMART issues?
    When your screen goes black, does the pc reboot or just hang? and if it hangs, does the audio keep playing?

    Sounds like a GPU problem to me, but I might be wrong. Probably not a software issue, and I usually trust MBAM when it says there are no issues.
     
  3. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 345   +43

    Thanks! You reminded of a few things I accidentally left out of the first post.

    I tried the RAM one at a time (man, this thing was slow with more than a couple of browser tabs open!), and had the same issue eventually.

    My mobo/CPU combo does not have integrated graphics. Even in safe mode, the graphics are routed through my video card (there are no video ports on the mobo).

    All drives check out OK on SMART. My SSD does have a dirty bit set, and the system hangs when I try to do a disk check, so right now it is set to not check that disk on startup.

    When the screen goes black, there is no audio. Either the PC acts like it is going to sleep, and wakes up when I press a key (even though I was pressing keys when it went to sleep), or the drives and fans keep spinning but it doesn't respond until I press the reset button. It does each behavior roughly equally.

    Also, sometimes it does it within minutes of starting up, and other times it takes days to happen, so I don't think it is anything overheating. I cleaned out the GPU and CPU coolers with compressed air, and made sure all case fans are clean and operating.
     
  4. Piiote

    Piiote TS Rookie

    The pc hangs when you run chkdsk on the SSD, or it happens when you run it on any drive?
    if it's only on that drive, I bet that's the cause. There's no reason for chkdsk to hang your pc otherwise. Is windows installed on the SSD? if not, test the pc without the SSD plugged in. If it is, Get Hiren's BootCD, or make a bootable version of windows on a usb drive, remove the SSD and run the pc on the bootcd.

    It's either that or the GPU, since you seem to have tested everything else. Check event viewer to see if it logs anything after it happens, and get a cheap GPU or borrow one from a friend to troubleshoot it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
  5. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Chkdsk is not intended to be used on SSD's. Remove or disconnect the WD hard drives. They may be extremely old and loading the SATA controller severely, causing this problem
     
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    If the file structures are corrupted, CHKDSK is the only choice. However, *NEVER* defrag and SSD.
     
  7. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

  8. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 345   +43

    Well I accidentally upgraded to Windows 10. Windows 10 fixed the disk issues, but the problem continues. The next thing I am going to try per another suggestion is to swap out my Saitek Gamer's keyboard. I can't even start NFS: Hot Pursuit unless I unplug the keyboard first. I have an OCZ Alchemy lying around that I will try.

    Other things I am thinking are mobo, PSU, and GPU.
     
  9. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    "Well I accidentally upgraded to Windows 10" Couldn't resist clicking on the little with window huh...
     
    mrtraver likes this.
  10. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 345   +43

    I think changing my keyboard did the trick. 11 days without this happening again! But I sure did like that Saitek a lot more than this OCZ.
     
    Tmagic650 likes this.

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