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I have an Intel Quad Core Workstation that I used to use for high end games and Hyper-V servers. It has an Nvidia 9800 GTX graphics card. (Driver version 280.26) The workstation has 8GB of RAM. It never had any stability issue under Windows Vista / Windows Server 2008 R2.

I decided recently to re-purpose it for my wife, and installed Windows 7 Ultimate Edition (64 bit).

She ONLY wants it to use Internet Explorer 8. (Some of her favorite websites do not work with IE9, or Firefox, Chrome. It HAS to be IE 8).

This is a clean install. The NVidia driver is the only software installed so far.

She doesn't need any special graphics features. Aero is turned off. Internet Explorer hardware acceleration is not important.

In addition, I have Adobe Flash hardware acceleration turned off.

Now, it generally seems to work. But sometimes (not always) the machine freezes up when a Flash site is visited.

I have tried with Windows 7 with and without Service Pack 1. Same problem.

Since we do not need anything special (apart from just working) from the graphics card, is there a generic driver / solution I can switch to that won't crash?

Or do I just have to buy a cheap but reliable replacement graphics card?

(I could also have my wife use Windows XP mode, but I do not feel that is a nice solution for your average end user)

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It might be relevant to add that it has a Gigabyte motherboard from 2008. The Bios has also never been updated and RAID-5 is turned on. – Andrew Sep 13 '11 at 2:15
Can you please try using Google Chrome with its embedded Flash plugin to see if the problem is reproducible? I've had endless hassles with Flash myself (completely different computer) so it would be good to test this. Also, is she using the 32- or 64-bit Internet Explorer? That might be an issue (assuming Adobe has a 64-bit Flash plugin). – user3463 Sep 13 '11 at 7:47
Hi, yes the same thing happened with Chrome / Flash. With some more investigation I found out that by running a stress test tool against the graphics card I could replicate the behavior without Flash. – Andrew Sep 19 '11 at 8:04
I was using IE 8 32-bit running on Windows 7 64-bit. I might try that, although at this stage it seems to be something fundamental in the system mainboard and/or graphics card. – Andrew Sep 19 '11 at 8:05

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