I was looking at my computer's physical memory in Cheat Engine (a memory editor/debugger application) and I decided to look at the addresses that Device Manager says are used by my video card. When I went to one of the sections, however, my screen turned black and my computer stopped responding. I know it actually stopped responding as opposed to me simply not seeing the results of actions, because I unplugged a USB device and plugged it back in and there was no sound. I also pressed Win+R, cmd, Enter, and typed a command to create a file on the desktop, and when I rebooted, it wasn't there.

In case you're wondering how I was looking at physical memory in Cheat Engine, it has an optional kernel-mode component that I was using. But what I'm wondering is why simply reading memory can cause a crash like that--writing memory I'd understand, but isn't reading memory by definition an action with no side effects?

BTW, when I rebooted my computer, no error message appeared, and nothing out of the ordinary was in the event log either. My computer did reboot twice more before I could log in, but that was because updates were being installed.

This is on Windows 8 with an NVIDIA graphics card.

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