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I assembled a computer for myself about 11 months ago. It was my first build ever, but I seem to have done well-enough. However, I sporadically run into a problem where the audio hangs, all computer functions immediately cease, and I'm then forced to either restart or power-down the computer.

In short, it is very much like a blue screen of death, except that my monitor loses the visual display (it goes into idle mode, and then powers down after a few seconds).

Since not having a blue screen to view, this ongoing problem has been hard to diagnose, as these crashes are completely random, sometimes happening within 10 minutes of boot up, sometimes happening after hours of running fine, sometimes after hours of low-CPU work (such as MS Word).

What exactly happens when a computer gets a "blue screen of death"? ; Could there be an actual 'blue screen of death' occuring that, because of my monitor, I just can't view?

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Try and check the event viewer, there should be a record of a BSOD in there. –  MaxMackie May 22 '11 at 3:03
    
@MaxMackie - how do I access that? –  Raven Dreamer May 22 '11 at 5:38
    
click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Event Viewer. It might be a little different for windows 7 but it'll basically be the same thing. –  MaxMackie May 22 '11 at 5:40
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2 Answers 2

A BSOD happens when the windows kernel encounters an error that it cannot or does not know how to handle, this is usually software related but sometimes can occur when hardware malfunction causing the software to lock or crash.

I think what you are experiencing is not so much an OS or software issue, but more a direct hardware issue. The first thing I would check if I was you would be your RAM, being that it is a random lock up and not after a set amount of time, I am guessing part of your RAM is bad. First I would check to see that all of your RAM is properly seated on your motherboard, and clipped in (I accidentally didn't have one clipped in and experienced your same problem). Then I would download a live boot linux CD (I would go with Ubuntu) and the CD usually has a RAM checker right off the boot screen (the newest cds you need to push a button on the keyboard to get to the menu). This will check your RAM for consistence and that it isnt causing errors. If this checks out I would then guess either your CPU is over heating and to download something like speedfan http://filehippo.com/download_speedfan/ or CPUZ http://filehippo.com/download_cpuz/ and watch your CPU temp very carefully. If it is overheating then remove your CPU fan and clean off the thermal paste and apply a new coat. Make sure that it is seated firmly. If THAT isnt the case I would then fully boot into the linux live CD and (or view the speedfan SMART date from your HD, but I've found speedfan to be wrong in this area before) and view the system disk stats. If your HD is failing in an odd way it would cause your CPU to instantly lock up. IF all of these arn't your case I would check to see if removing any add-on cards fixes your problem (graphics, audio, usb, etc) as if one of these are bad, the whole system would lock without any warning, such as BSOD.. but this is most unlikely (hence being last)

good luck!

Oh one thing I forgot, power supply! I would rank the power supply right after RAM checks out... your power supply could be randomly bad or sending poor voltage to your system. If you cheaped out when you bought the power supply or bought one with not enough watts for what your system need then THAT right there is your problem. They also do go bad randomely so dont think your safe even if you spent a lot of money on it. Your best bet for this would be to either buy a power supply tester (and get one with good ratings because cheap testers are not worth investing in)... or buy a new power supply. If you plan on building more computers I would buy both right off the bat, if not then just buy the power supply. As chances are your power supply is bad, and even if it isn't, well it is one of the most likely things to go bad in the future and is always good to have a backup. newegg.com is usually where i go to get that stuff... and always check the ratings

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The power source is definitely a possibility. I got it as part of a bundle on new egg, so it alone was not hand-picked. –  Raven Dreamer May 22 '11 at 5:40
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

My computer crashed today, in a manner similar to how it always has -- video dies, audio gets stuck stuttering, and I have to reset my computer.

However, this time I apparently waited long enough that Windows 7 had a nice handy alert when I rebooted:

Problem signature:
  Problem Event Name:   BlueScreen
  OS Version:   6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.48
  Locale ID:    1033

Additional information about the problem:
  BCCode:   124
  BCP1: 0000000000000000
  BCP2: FFFFFA80070ED738
  BCP3: 0000000000000000
  BCP4: 0000000000000000
  OS Version:   6_1_7600
  Service Pack: 0_0
  Product:  256_1

Files that help describe the problem:
  C:\Windows\Minidump\053111-30482-01.dmp
  C:\Users\Evan\AppData\Local\Temp\WER-55567-0.sysdata.xml

Read our privacy statement online:
  http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=104288&clcid=0x0409

If the online privacy statement is not available, please read our privacy statement offline:
  C:\Windows\system32\en-US\erofflps.txt

So in this case, it is clear to me that, yes, a monitor can fail to show a blue screen of death.

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Windows 7 has a service pack available. It looks to me like you need updates. But I seriously doubt this is the reason why you are getting the BSOD. Odd that it didnt show the BSOD too, it must of been such a hard crash that it didn't have time. I would be interested to know if there is any useful (if any at all) info in the files listed to "help describe the problem". –  CenterOrbit Jun 1 '11 at 1:50
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