BSOD Random Reboots, Mystery Solved

By Xfactor
Jul 19, 2008
  1. After Re-formating Windows XP, My computer started randomly rebooting, particulary but not limited to, youtube videos and while playing songs in Windows media player.

    IMO, the first thing you should do is try the obvious things first before trying a MEMTEST and or posting Mini-dumps and such. Such as software and hardware conflicts and drivers issues. Or even switchin some basic settings such as Graphic acceleration.

    1. Turn off Automatic restart by, Startmenu>Rightclickmycomputer>Properties>Advancedtab>Under startup and recovery click setting>Uncheck Automatic restart under system failure.
    A) This will take you to the BSOD so you can see what kind of error message your getting.

    2. Look in the Event viewer by,
    Startmenu>Right click on my computer>Manage>Event viewer>System
    A) This will give you a more detailed description of the error your getting. Then Google it!

    Driver_less or Not_ Equal, is more than likely a Driver issue.

    Since my computer was primarily rebooting when watchin youtube videos it only made sense it was some sort of Graphics Driver issue. The thing is, was, after reinstalling windows, Both the Audio and Video drivers were missing. Now its easy enough to Diagnos the Sound Driver through the Device Manager In addition to no sound; But things get a little more difficult when it comes to the Video Drivers. For some reason there was no yellow ? in Device Manager under DISPLAY ADAPTERS.

    Turns out, when I went to update or install my video driver, I Inadvertantely installed the wrong one, which in Effect, lead to more of a Mystery/Confusion.
    A) Right click on destop>Properties>Settingstab>Under display to view your video driver.

    Solution: I Booted into Safe-mode(not sure this had anything to do with it) and uninstalled my Display Adapter, then rebooted into Normal mode and Viola! the Newfound hardware wizard took over from there, and proceeded to install the correct Graphics driver. Problem solved!

    PS. Was running a 9600/9550x1050(version 5.1021) When I should of Installed a RADEON 9600 Series.

    Good luck!
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Strange that small difference in drivers would make a system crash.

    Since event viewer is not a very reliable way to determine problems, I am wondering what you learned there.

    Anyway, thank you for the updates.
  3. Xfactor

    Xfactor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 76

    I see why it seems strange to you now. Because its still re-booting when watchin videos. It Initially started doing this Only after a system crash and re-installed Windows.
    The different driver seemed to really help, but obviously didnt solve the problem. Ive been workin on this for almost 2 months now. Any obvious suggestions would be appreciated. A different browser is of no effect. Could it possibly be missing plug-ins?
    Has occasionaly done this when running house-call as well.
    The Event Viewer, gave me the ati2mtag, which lead me to the Drivers. But just yesterday, I noticed I get the same error message even if re-boot Voluntarily. So ya, your right. I wouldnt consider this as a reliable source.
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Most of the regulars on this forum understand your frustration... and don't have concrete answers to guarantee a fix.
    But when I get to this point, I do a clean install. There are just some glitches that a fix cannot fix. Even a clean install tells you something useful.
    But then we are not the ones who have to sit in front of that computer for 14 to 19 hours reinstalling and tweaking.
    Be sure to keep us updated as to what you learn, and how you resolve the problem.
  5. Xfactor

    Xfactor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 76

    Well through the help of Memtest showing no errors, I decided to re-look into hardware/software issues. Sure enough, it turned out to Definitely be my sound driver.

    The reason I didnt suspect it all, is because it worked fine in the past for over a year. But apparently, after my sytems crash(unsure if this was the cause not) my sound was missing upon re-installing. So naturally, I went back to where I previousy got my Sound Driver from over a year ago. What I didnt notice, was the site itself had up-dated the Drivers. Even if I had noticed, I wouldnt of thought it would of made a Difference. BUT, it sure as hell did.

    Additional info:Various BSOD error codes, that I recieved were: Main codes: 0x000000D1/0x000000F7/0x000000A irqs and Driver_less_or_not equal's

    One simple Question? Is there anything in the registry I should edit or any folders I should Delete, that this junk may of leftover.TX

    Took forever to download, and after installin the MB didnt match. Heres the link:
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Thanks for the update. This is a good red flag for us, as we have seen sound driver errors before, and spent days looking for something else.
    Apparently not all the drivers jibe with some of the Windows Updates.
  7. Xfactor

    Xfactor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 76


    First of all, I would like to stick this great little piece of information that greatly helped me solving my issue:

    PC randomly rebooting? Read this first...

    As any regular visitor to Hardware Analysis or any of the other tech help forums can attest, one of the most common problems experienced by PC users is that of random reboots, often experienced when carrying out processor (CPU) or graphics processing (GPU) intensive tasks. These issues can be one of the most frustrating to track down and troubleshoot, but in actual fact most (although not all) of these problems can be attributed to one of only five causes:

    1) Viruses and Spyware
    2) Drivers
    3) Overheating
    4) Memory (RAM) problems
    5) Power Supply (PSU) issues

    The purpose of this is to provide a quick troubleshooting guide for anyone experiencing random reboots, hopefully to help the user track down the cause quickly and easily. Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule and it may be the cause of your issue is not covered here, but please work through these troubleshooting steps before posting details of your particular problem.

    Viruses and spyware

    I've put this issue first, although viruses and spyware are among the least likely cause of system reboots. Writers of these types of programs generally want to leave the computer running so that it can carry out the intended task, so the reboots generally only result if the virus is badly written or you have multiple infections which are fighting for resources. Nonetheless, this is the easiest problem to troubleshoot, so I've put it first. Run a virus and spyware scan. If you have neither (why not?) use AVG, Avast! etc (insert name of your favourite virus scanner here), along with Adaware and Spybot Search and Destroy.


    Another one which is relatively unlikely to be the cause of the reboots, but can be ruled out quite easily. Run dxdiag, and have it check that your drivers are WHQL certified. Now, we all have devices which come with non MS certified drivers, but as a trouble shooting exercise, disable anything with a non WHQL driver and see how you go.


    CPU and GPU overheating can and will cause your PC to freeze up and crash. So first things first:

    1. Check your temps, both CPU and GPU. Correct operating temperatures will vary, but a quick Google should tell you the temps your own setup should be running at.

    2. Ensure all your fans are running, especially the heatsink fan and the GPU fan/s.

    3. Take the side panel off of the case, and set up a desk fan to blow air into the case. If the problem goes away, you need to upgrade your cooling.

    Ram problems

    These can be a bit trickier, but generally:

    1. If you have two or more RAM modules (DIMMs), remove all but one to see if this solves the rebooting. If not, swap them out, one stick at a time.

    2. If your BIOS allows, increase the voltage to the ram by 0.1v.

    PSU issues

    Power supplies causing system instability is something which happens far more often that you might imagine. PSUs are subject to very high electrical loading, and today's power hungry components will inevitably wear down a cheap power supply. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to troubleshoot PSU issues without simply swapping it out with a good quality replacement. However, one way to do so is to unplug any unnecessary devices (optical drives, etc.) and see if the system stabilises.

    Followed all the steps above and system is still rebooting? Congratulations-you've got a really unusual problem. Best get posting....

    Turns out, all I did was pull out 1of my2 memory sticks out at a time, to see if the reboots continued. Turns out on my second attempt of pulling a memory stick out, and voila ive been watching videos for 3 days straight now. The longest I could watch a video with the buggy stick in, was anout 20min at most.

    For those of you struggling with reboots, I suggest you try this method ASAP, for it really is fairly simple.

    Still unsure if it was the actual module or stick going bad??? Havent bothered checking yet.

    Also note, that I ran Memtest for 12hrs with NO errors.
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Funny. In our three shops Random Reboots are not in the top 15 problems... perhaps not in the top 18... so we probably would not subscribe to your notion "... one of the most common problems experienced by PC users is that of random reboots..."
    But in your list of fairly common problems, we would agree that power supplies and memory modules are more common that people realize... temperature and cooling, not so much... except in gaming machines. We do not agree with increasing the RAM voltage by 0.1 volt.

    Basically, the user diddling with the computer is a high cause, for which we have found no easy solution, because they won't admit it when they do it.
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