I have a desktop computer that is hosting a media server and I also use it almost on a daily basis for photo/video editing. It recently started to behave strangely by freezing randomly.

When does the freeze happen?:

  • only if I'm using the computer, never when only turned on for the media server
  • It will freeze after 1 week or 2 of being ON in normal conditions
  • If I listen to music for some time it will freeze the same day, I can reproduce the freeze easily by having a app (any app) play music (local files or streaming) for a few hours.

How does it freeze?:

  • I can feel it will freeze soon when I use an app and the app starts getting less responsive, it can be any app (browser, photo editing, etc). From that point, I can still close apps and switch windows for about 15 seconds before I completely lose control.
  • Once frozen, the mouse cursor still runs on screen as usual but it does not control anything, only option is reboot with the reboot button.
  • If audio was playing during the freeze, it may enter in an audio loop of the sound sample of that moment.

What did I try?:

  • Due to the fact that audio seemed to have an impact on the freeze, I did uninstall and re-install audio drivers from my motherboard audio. Also tried different versions of the driver.
  • Next, thinking perhaps a hardware issue, I uninstalled all audio drivers and disabled the Realtek onboard audio from the bios and replaced it by a Sound Blaster Audigy FX. Unfortunately the same issue occurs.
  • I also tried to look for some info in Windows Event Viewer but I cannot see any entries describing an issue at the time of the freeze.

What are the specs of my system?:

  • Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core (12 threads)
  • Motherboard Gigabyte B450 AORUS M (Bios F50)
  • RAM 32.0 GB G.SKILL DDR4-3200 (2xF4-3200C16-16GVK)
  • Powersupply Corsair CX 650M
  • Audio Card Sound Blaster Audigy FX
  • GPU GeForce GTX 1060 G1 Gaming 6GB

Sorry for the long post but I felt all details were important. Thanks.

  • I would pull out the sound card and run off of the onboard audio until I was assured that the card isn't the problem. Rule that out first before putting the card back in. Jul 11, 2021 at 22:18
  • Thanks @SeñorCMasMas but the sound card is brand new and I bought expressly to validate that the onboard audio wasn't the issue. I can guaranty that the computer will freeze with onboard audio.
    – jmbouffard
    Jul 13, 2021 at 3:42
  • Get familiar with the System Internals Process Monitor. Learn how to narrow down the filters if you don't already know. It will take time, but you can probably figure out what is munching on your machine by watching the timestamps. At first, you will probably see a friggan billion entries. Whittle down the entries via filters over and over until you find the culprit. If it is PURE HARDWARE (and not drivers or software, this may or may not work) but I have yet to find a problem that I could not solve without all of the tools in the toolbox. Jul 13, 2021 at 16:44
  • Also.. "back in the day", we had problems like this because of interrupt conflicts. Now, there is a special chipset called an interrupt controller coupled with interrupt sharing managed by the operating system to prevent it. There might be something wrong with your interrupt controller. If nothing else, you might be interested in how interrupts work.. in fact, it is still sort of how EVERYTHING works. Jul 13, 2021 at 16:48
  • @SeñorCMasMas could be more specific about what tool you are using to find issues similar to mine? I tried to look for "System Internals Process Monitor" but could not find anything.
    – jmbouffard
    Sep 7, 2021 at 11:36


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