Windows funkiness after long idle.

By kjl
Nov 26, 2005
  1. I posted this problem a while ago and said I'd "fixed" it be getting rid of the sound card, but I was wrong - the sound card made the crashes more obnoxious, but it wasn't the cause - I crashed consistently after I got rid of the soundcard and again after I got the replacement from Creative.

    The gist of the problem is: My machine will freeze OR BSOD OR reboot randomly if left idle for a long time.

    I never crash as long as I am doing intensive things with the computer - playing system-hog games, 3d modeling software, 3dmark05, etc.. Some weekends I have played many hours of games and everything is fine; leave it idle for an hour and I come back to either a rebooted or frozen machine. Even surfing the web now I am liable to crash. But start up Civilization 4 and go to work and the machine will still be functioning fine when I get back.

    Asus a8n-sli premium mobo
    AMD athlon64 x2 4400+
    2x 1gig sticks of OCZ ram.
    Creative X-Fi
    Nvidia 7800gt
    250 gig SATA Western Digital drive.
    Windows XP pro - all updates are the latest (SP2, etc.)

    ASUS probe returns no funny voltage drops before it goes down.
    Memtest reports no errors (also, it still crashes if I run with only 1 stick of RAM, and I tried both by themselves).
    chkdsk /r /f found no errors.

    7 Minidumps attached.

    Any idea what Windows is doing when it is idle or otherwise unbusy that could tickle my machine into crashing?

    Thanks very much for your help! This is driving me nuts.
  2. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    When you say "crashes" do you get a BSOD or is it merely switching to standby?
  3. kjl

    kjl TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    It varies.

    Sometimes I get a BSOD.

    Sometimes I will just completely freeze up (mouse doesn't move).

    Sometimes the mouse will keep moving, and I will be able to highlight icons in my desktop and bring up the start menu, but double clicking on anything or attempting to start any program (or soft-restart/shutdown) will fail (usually resulting in a full freeze up in a minute).

    The BSOD is probably the least common of the 3 - the other 2 happen quite often. (edit) -> I only get a minidump every once in a while - the machine crashes every time I leave it idle (say, 99% of the time it is idle for an hour or more), so in the past month it has crashed >50 times, but I only have these 7 minidumps I attached.

    Sometimes random things get corrupted just before the crash, as well (speakers will emit a high-pitched whine, or the video display will start blinking). That's why I thought it was the sound card at first ;)
  4. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    Check all your internal connections, memory and cards are properly seated. Does the power plug seem solid in the PSU? Any possibility of swapping the PSU?
  5. kjl

    kjl TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Yep, all the connections seem fine. I don't think my old PSU has enough power to power my current machine but I will try. Right now I have an Antec Neo 480W, so it's not a cheapo one.

    This is the same problem I had last time I posted - I would guess that all the usual suspect problems (disk, memory, power) would tend to manifest themselves more while I was really taxing the machine (games, 3D apps), and less when idle, but in my case it only crashes whlie idle. It really has me stumped :(

    But then, I have no idea what Windows XP is doing when it is idle - maybe it exercises when I'm not looking ;)
  6. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    One minidump crashes at ACPI.sys, ACPI Driver for NT, and references nvata.sys. Raid/sata driver. It has a bugcheck of 7A.


    A page of kernel data was not found in the pagefile and could not be read into memory. This might be due to incompatible disk or controller drivers, firmware, or hardware.

    Two of your minidumps crash with memory corruption, and a bugcheck of 77.


    A page of kernel data requested from the pagefile could not be found or read into memory. This message also can indicate disk hardware failure, disk data corruption, or possible virus infection.

    Four of your minidumps crash with a bugcheck of 9C.


    This is a hardware issue: an unrecoverable hardware error has occurred. The parameters have different meanings depending on what type of CPU you have but, while diagnostic, rarely lead to a clear solution. Most commonly it results from overheating, from failed hardware (RAM, CPU, hardware bus, power supply, etc.), or from pushing hardware beyond its capabilities (e.g., overclocking a CPU).

    It looks like you have some kind of harware failure. As you know finding which hardware is faulty can be difficult, and time consuming.

    Regards and good luck Howard :)
  7. kjl

    kjl TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Thanks for the analysis!

    Actually, I have no idea how to go about doing this... do I need to hit the computer store and buy replacements for everything and swap them out, one by one? Are computer stores generally OK with people buying parts to test out their machine and accepting returns? Gah :(
  8. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    The problem for me is. I can`t get my hands on your computer unfortunately.
    So whatever I say is just going to be a guess.

    I think you may have a hard drive problem, but like I said, this is only a guess, and I could be totally wrong.

    You might want to check your mobo capacitors. Look for leaking, or bulging caps. See HERE for more info.

    Check all cable and connections. Cleanout any dust from the case. Check you temperatures. Make sure nothing is overclocked.

    Go HERE and follow the instructions for testing your ram, and running a diskcheck.

    Try running your computer with just the bare minimum of components. take out anything not needed, and test your system. Just leave the hdd/videocard/cpu/ram.

    Regards Howard :)
  9. kjl

    kjl TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Thanks. Yeah, I will probably buy a replacement drive and then go through the remaining computer components in ascending order of "how big a pain in the **** it is to order and replace."

    Nothing is overclocked, and everything is clean (it is only a month-old computer and I have had this problem since day 1). I'll doublecheck (well, more like quadruple check) the connections and take a look at the capacitors.

    What a pain ;)
  10. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    If you`re not confident in trying to diagnose your hardware problem. Rather than just buying new parts that may, or may not fix your problem. It might be better to take your computer to a pc repair shop, and have them look at it for you.

    Regards Howard :)
  11. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Try updating the processor driver and disabling / changing power management settings.
  12. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    check the MB site for contoller update or patch for the SATA drivers and or controller chipset.
    a search shows issues with any drive over 137gb on all microsoft OS's
    there was apost on this site for reg fix also
    (I know I got it around here somewhere??)
  13. luke osullivan

    luke osullivan TS Rookie

    i'm having the exact same issue

    my system is an a8n-sli premium with x2 3800+ cpu, single nvidia gpu, and 2 gigs of pc 3200. i too am having the problem whereby the system is fine when in use, but if left to idle for an hour or two will just freeze. windows starts normally after i reset the power, but i sure would like to know what is causing it. i am NOT using the nforce drivers (apart from memory controller and pci-bus stuff which is needed to make it run at more than a snail's pace) because the the 66.66 and 66.70 releases i) give me bsods (nvata.sys, nvtcp.sys) which render the system unbootable and mean i have to restore a ghost image and ii) corrupt all files i download even with network access manager (NAM) disabled. i am highly cheesed at this situation (pop over to and join the party) but could live without all the forceware nonsense if i could just sort out this freezing issue because otherwise my system is stable. but take heart, it's probably not your specific hardware, so much a generic problem with the chipset. interestingly, this same board *was* stable when i had a 3000+, the 1007/8 bioses, and the previous nforce drivers installed. serves me right for upgrading. please do let me know if you manage to find what is causing it; i am about to try the 66.65 nforce drivers from the asus site to see if they help, but won't install any NAM/Firewall stuff. If the freezes stop, i'll post back.
  14. luke osullivan

    luke osullivan TS Rookie

    and i think i've found the cure...

    the 8.22 nforce drivers over at (which are not yet up on the official nvidia site) seem to solve my issues. they don't include NAM or nvidia firewall or audio drivers, but all the bus and sata drivers are new and whql'd. the pc has been on for 36 hours straight, and so far, my downloads aren't corrupting, i'm not getting bsods, and its not hanging when left to idle for several hours. i'd like to run it for another few days of continuous operation before i'm prepared to say it's fully stable, but these drivers are definitely worth a try.
  15. kjl

    kjl TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Heh, I found the cure, too, and it was different from yours ;)

    Went to the OCZ website and found the settings they used for exactly my type of memory and my type of motherboard and plugged those settings in manually (they were set on auto), and now everything works fine (been up and running for ~4 days now). Not sure if it was the timing settings (I thought the motherboard would test the memory and set appropriate timings) or the voltage - I guess it was the voltage.

    samstoned: I had partitioned my drives such that no logical drive was >137 gb because I heard of that - I didn't know if simply making the partitions small enough would solve the problem, though...
  16. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    I`m glad you managed to sort your problem, and thanks for letting us know.

    Regards Howard :) :)
  17. l3stat

    l3stat TS Rookie

    Hi there, my first post here. Are these the drivers you're talking about:
  18. Cuta

    Cuta TS Rookie

    Hey there, just found this site and its awesome, lots of cool stuff

    i have the same problems

    I have a GIGABYTE sli w/ AMD-64 3500+ Venice Core, DDR 400 1gb, and 1 Nvidia 6800gt PCI-E

    i see a pattern with this problem and the gigabyte board...

    3 HDDS
    Master: WD 200GB SATA I
    IDE Seagate 120gb
    IDE Seagate 40gb

    anyways mine started about a week ago because i leave large downloads going over night, i came back and it was at the login screen. no big deal, maybe a random power out or something, but i soon realised when left idle it crashes after 30 mins or so. never did this before and i have owned the PC for 5 months.

    this troubles me. same thing as explained by the two gentlemen above, works fine when im on it, using MAYA 7, Shake, Photoshop you name it it works.

    soon as its left idle BAM! BSOD for a quick second, then it dies.

    i will look into that Nforce driver, and the other solution as well to see which works.

    i have attempted a disk scan of the file system for errors, found none

    attempted bad sector recovery and fixing, still having problems.

    checked power levels, and its fine as well

    bios settings have not been tweaked and are all set to system defaults

    temp for CPU never reaches higher than 40C
    gpu never goes higher than 75C (pretty good considering its a 6800gt)
    case only goes as high as 85F

    i have attempeted booting just the SATA but i get the same problem

    i am just putting this here as not to make another thread on the problem and have it be a good resource for others who experience the problem
    thank you for reading this!
  19. madeinengland85

    madeinengland85 TS Rookie

    I'm having the same problems and believe it to be a problem initiated by Windows XP, as I read that after 30 minutes idle (the golden time) Windows does some routine clean up operations.


    So annoyed. Computer is 3 years old and it started doing exactly as described 6 months ago

  20. madeinengland85

    madeinengland85 TS Rookie

    Sorry for caps!!

    Just to post something constructive, certain programs are unable to go into "hibernation" causing the system to freeze upon hibernation (or indeed, these mystery 30 minute XP tasks)

    This didn't solve my problem though, obviously
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