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26 Jan 2012  

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Display Driver stopped responding and has recovered (plus BSODs)

I'm writing this on my laptop (working fine).

I have had a problem that has been plaguing me for years now. I'll first list my current hardware and spec information:

MSI p67a-gd65 mobo ~ 1 week old
Intel i7 2600 (locked) ~ 1 week old
12 GB Corsair Vengence DDR3 1600 RAM ~ 7 weeks old (a little over 2 months)
Corsair Force3 120GB SSD (primary boot drive) ~ 7 weeks old
WD Caviar Black 2TB spinning HDD (data drive) ~ 1 year old
900 watt power supply (I can dig in and find the brand and model info if necessary ~ 5 weeks old
Nvidia GTX 560 TI 1.2GB DDR5 onboard ~ 7 weeks old
Windows 7 Ulti Upgrade disc ~ last fresh (full wipe) install was 1 week ago. I don't have my old vista dvd anymore so I had to do a double stack for the upgrade to work.

I think that's the relevant hardware.

This morning the computer began up with the same old BS I've been fighting with for years. I'm cruising along (usually in the morning) and open up something with small requirements, such as firefox. Suddenly the mouse stops responding for about 2-3 seconds. That's followed by a full black screen as though the monitor has turned off. That holds for 3-5 seconds. Then, the screen returns with a pop up on the lower right taskbar with the message "Display Driver stopped responding and has recovered." That is the usual routine. Sometimes (maybe 10% of the time) It will full on BSOD and dump memory to disc. When this black screen/recovery cycle starts up, it usually keeps going every 10-15 seconds. In other words, it will come back with that error message, I'll regain control of the mouse, and back to smooth sailing for a short time. It almost always returns within 5-30 seconds. The more I push through this error, the more frequently it seems to happen. Eventually, I get a BSOD dump or the cycle's frequency becomes so close together the computer is unusable.

Some history. I first noticed something like this happening around 3 years ago, while using vista. Every once in awhile I'd get a kernel error that pointed to something along the lines of "knneddleenn.exe" (don't remember the exact letter order but it seemed to be related to graphics drivers). I upgraded my video card and everything returned to normal....for awhile. Eventually, 6-9 months later, I had the same problem come up. I simply upgraded video cards again, and success, it worked again...for awhile. Fast forward to about two and a half months ago. Completely different computer hardware. Not a shred of that original system from 3 years ago remains, right down to mouse/keyboard and monitor. I had a system using a core2duo processor and an nvidia 240 gt video card. Same basic problem, except the error message with windows 7 is "Display Driver stopped responding and has recovered". When I get a BSOD it points to a filename exactly like the old vista error message (that "knneddleenn.exe").

So, two and a half months ago, I bought a new video card, a 460 GT. Everything was fine for about 2 weeks. Then it came back. So I know it couldn't be the video card. I had suspected that all along. I began throwing money at the problem. I swapped in a x58 sabretooth mobo and a core i7 960 processor. With the new mobo came the memory. 2 weeks in the clear, then back to the same problem. Buy new power supply, problem persists. I took it to Fry's Electronics (at my wits end). After 2 weeks of incompetance, they tell me it's the SSD. I know that's not the case, but I buy one anyway and install it clean. Diagnostics always seem to throw a false positive on SSDs. Good for about 4-5 days, then it's back.

I've monitored hardware temps. Everything is better than good. Nothing is getting up past mid 40s *C. I've tried a few registry edits that have been recommended on the internet with no effect. They involved modifying some TDR entries. I've done clean installs on several different nvidia drivers (most recent, the one that came with the video card, the betas, legacy ~180.XX), no changes to the problem.

So now about 2 weeks ago I bought ANOTHER new mobo and processor. This time it's the ones listed at the top of this post. New gen i7 with a mid-level board (having dropped ~$1500 in the last couple of months I've started settling for mid level gear).

The oldest piece of hardware is MAYBE a year old and it's a data drive that has nothing necessary for windows on it. The boot drive holds all OS and driver installations. I'm getting ready to format that drive just to rule it out.

Sorry for the long one. I've explained all of this to every tech that would listen and usually they just give me a dumbfounded look. I wanted to make sure I covered everything. I'm unable to access to computer in question right now to get any files that you might need, but I can attempt to get them this evening if you need them. I'm really hoping someone else out there has dealt with this sort of problem before. I've loaded my .45 with the intention of shooting this machine before calmer heads prevailed.


*edit* I've attached the 2 dump files from the directory you specified. I've never played around with these, so let me know if I've done it wrong. It's in .rar format.
My System SpecsSystem Spec