PC freezes up randomly

I’ve been having some PC issues ever since I installed Windows 7, and I can’t figure out what the cause is. When the PC freezes up, I can’t do anything except do a hard reboot. The problem is easily replicated if I play music using a media player (any one will cause the PC to lock up). Initially, I thought it was a sound-related issue since that was the only way I could produce the problem, but after getting a new sound card and disabling the onboard sound, and still experiencing the same problem, I think I have a bigger problem.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

-Disabled all startup programs and nonessential services
-Cleaned out the dust on the components
-Formatted hard drive
-Ran memory test (no problems)
-Ran chkdsk /r
-Updated BIOS
-Installed new sound card
-Installed the latest graphics drivers (Nvidia driver 195.62)
-Tested the CPU and GPU temperature (CPU temp is around 45-55 degrees C, GPU is 65 when idle, and about 80+ when in use while playing a game. All the fans in my PC are working)

I was advised to swap out my graphics card to see if that might be causing the issue, but I’m not so sure if my card is the problem. I’ve played PC games for hours with no problems at all. I ran benchmark tests using 3D Mark 06. The thing that really bugs me is that playing music is the fastest way to make my PC crash, yet a resource-intensive application like a video game runs fine. It isn’t any specific file that causes the PC to lock up, either. Is it still advisable to swap the graphics card, or even the memory despite no problems being reported?

Here’s a link to a thread I created on Microsoft’s forum: http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7music/thread/99511887-193f-4692-b5d2-e2d86d4f12c7

I’ve been thinking about switching back to Windows XP to see if it’s a Windows 7 issue, but it would really suck if that turned out to be the problem the whole time.

Try to play a music file in VLC. Does it still happen? It could be something like Windows 7 not communicating with your motherboard the right way… have you tried a different Windows 7 install disc?

I am somewhat doubtful that your graphics card (alone, by itself) is to blame here. Typically graphics problems will more often present on BSODs than actual OS-level freezing. First I simply wanted to confirm you are freezing at the OS-level, that is nothing responds. Also, if you could post some more information on your computer specifications including but not limited at your motherboard brand and model, memory module manufacturers, GFX brand (since you’ve already posted model) and your HDD make and model, that should give us a slightly better picture of what’s going on.

If you can consistently crash your computer while playing music, also try replicating this problem with both variations in media files as well as another media program, and see if it there is any significance between the variables.

First check if it could be the particular program you’re using, but in all honesty if you’re getting hard locks then it sounds like a stability issue.

Run prime95. If you run the blended test you’ll know if your pc is stable or not after letting it run for several hours. I usually let mine run overnight and if I get no errors I know everything is fine. This is what most people use to test stability of their PC after overclocking them, or after building an new PC.

PC stability can be a product of using stable voltages. If you find that it isn’t stable at all with prime95, then you need to manually check the voltages and make sure they’ll all ok. If you aren’t overclocking the auto settings will usually regulate it themselves but the bad part of it is that it usually uses more voltage than it needs, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you don’t overclock, but it’s unnecessary for hardware savvy people.

Completely remove all sound drivers, and install the appropriate ones.

I had a similar problem once. Randomly if I played a flash video it would freeze my entire computer and have to reinstall flash hoping it would work again. It would also freeze my computer infrequently from playing video or music in foobar. Turns out I had the wrong drivers installed.

just to make sure you disabled the onboard sound through the bios right, i know it sounds stupid but just want to make sure. I know these problems exist with some on board realtek sound driver with ac’ 97 enabled when its supposed to be HD audio

I tried playing music files with other media players: Winamp 5.57 and the WMP that came with Windows 7. Ran into the same problem. This was before I started looking at it as a hardware problem.

The only thing that responds when my PC locks up is the mouse, and even then, I can only move the cursor.

After playing Mass Effect 2 and experiencing some black boxes and two crashes (the PC locked up in the exact same way), I’m starting to think that the problem is my graphics card, although it didn’t seem to be the case at first.

I ran my temperature tests using RealTempGT. There’s actually a button to run Prime95, but it takes you to a site that you have to register with in order to get it, though. Maybe I’ll do it, since I want to know what kind of results I get. I don’t overclock anything on my PC…seems like too much trouble to me.

Done that. I even got a new sound card because I was certain that it was a sound issue. I ended up wasting money, but it was $20, so whatever.

I believe I already said in the thread that I disabled the onboard sound, and I did it through the BIOS.

I’m almost certain that I have the problem solved. I just need to use my old graphics card for a while to confirm that it is indeed my newer graphics card that’s causing me grief. Thanks for the suggestions so far…if I run into the crashes again, I’ll let you know, and try some of the suggestions offered.

Just because you have good temperatures doesn’t make your PC stable. If your PC fails Prime 95 tests it’s something that can be corrected by voltage settings a lot of times. If voltage settings don’t help then often times it’s an early sign of hardware failure, which opens up a can of worms making it even harder to diagnose (ram, hdd, cpu, motherboard, etc).


64 bit:

32 bit:

How old is your computer? Was it pre-built or custom built by someone?

I’ve had my PC since 2007. I replaced the motherboard in 2008, and I’m still using it. I have a Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L. My PC is custom built by myself.

By the way…I ran into the same problem. :sad: I’m gonna try Prime 95.

I’m running Prime 95 right now…so far, no errors.

If I try to play music (since that’s what I do if I want to generate the freezing), will Prime 95 report the problem, or does it only focus on whatever it does to find errors?

let prime 95 run a blended test overnight, If it runs around 5-8 hours without errors you can generally assume your pc is stable. If you pass that test I would go ahead and look at something like drive/hardware conflicts.

Basically Prime 95 just simulates workload on your computer/ram. Basically it puts the workload at 100% for as long as you let the test run. If your pc is unstable it will stop the test and tell you.

Another thing I wanted to ask. You said these problems only occurred after you installed windows 7, right? It could be a driver problem.

Yeah, the problem started after installing Windows 7. I was thinking about switching back to XP, but then I thought about trying Windows 7 32-bit first.

I’ll try running Prime 95 overnight when I’m ready to go to bed.

I ran Prime 95 overnight, and I haven’t had one issue at all. I did see an Windows update for reliability issue…I installed the update, so I’ll see if this does anything. If not, then it’s back to XP for me.

What sound card was it that you bought? Probably would be a good start as I don’t see that answered anywhere. Also please list your full specs so we have a better idea of what’s going on here, could be a million and one things in fairness.

OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Version 6.1.7600 Build 7600
Other OS Description Not Available
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Name MIKE-PC
System Manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
System Model G31M-S2L
System Type x64-based PC
Processor Intel® Core™2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz, 2400 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Award Software International, Inc. F10f, 6/1/2009
SMBIOS Version 2.4
Windows Directory C:\Windows
System Directory C:\Windows\system32
Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.1.7600.16385"
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 4.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 4.00 GB
Available Physical Memory 2.87 GB
Total Virtual Memory 8.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 6.77 GB
Page File Space 4.00 GB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys

My sound card is a Bytecc BT-P8CHS. My graphics card is a XFX-brand GeForce 8800GT with 196.21 drivers.

Okay, I’ve had a look around and there’s no specific problem with your motherboard from what I can tell which would of been my first guess. Have you tried botting with minimal stuff connected? Tried with different RAM setup? Just try one stick, try each stick one at a time. Does this happen 100% when you play music/movies. Could you try another Graphics Card possibly? Also, what PSU are you running? Alot of questions but maybe one of the answers would point us in the right direction at least.

I tried an older graphics card, and I did boot up with no startup programs or services. I’ve noticed that I ran into occasional lock-ups with uTorrent and Mass Effect 2, but the easiest way to replicate the problem is by playing music.

I went and reinstalled XP to see if encounter the same problem. Hopefully I don’t, but I would really like to use the OS that I bought.