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Windows 7: Intermittent Random Shutdowns, No BSODs or info in Event Viewer

10 Jul 2013   #1

Win 7 x64
 
 
Intermittent Random Shutdowns, No BSODs or info in Event Viewer

Summary: computer is intermittently (but against my will) shutting down 'properly' (i.e. by trying to close open programs first), and also sometimes it crashes and generates a BSOD (which seems to be related to graphics card). I am currently trying to get the crashdumps off the machine.

Note it has shutdown 15 times today, but only 3 minidumps are available. It appears to be a combination of (a) 'legitimate' shutdowns and (b) crashes, hence why I'm wondering if there are two different problems here.

Symptoms:
  • computer shuts down sometimes on boot up, prior to windows loading, such as at PCI devices listing stage (just prior to 'boot from CD' message) - no info in event viewer, and no BSOD
  • computer shuts randomly down both in safe mode and in normal mode, all startup programs disabled but behaviour continues - note it tries to close down 'properly', it seems that something within windows is trying to trigger a shutdown (similar to the way windows updates does) - event viewer says that RestartManager is shutting down the PC, and suggests it was triggered by my user account. I do not know what exactly is causing this, it happens even after a fresh reboot so is presumably not down to a program that has recently updated.
  • tried a RAM check pre windows, it also rebooted when I tried this - again no info in Event Viewer
  • in addition to the 'proper' windows shutdowns (triggered against my will) there are a number of BSOD outright crashes - three today and six in the past week or so.

From the symptoms above, it might be that there are two or three separate problems here, especially given that some of the shutdowns happen outside of my windows install (e.g. when checking RAM).

Background
  • I picked up the PC from a friend that had also experienced random stability issues under XP, it has sat under a desk for the past couple of years.
  • when I first got the pc I did a memtest x86 to see if I could work out what the problem was. It said there were no errors, and the PC seemed stable in XP so I assumed the instability was a thing of the past.
  • After cleaning it up (de-dusting etc) I did a fresh install of Windows 7 when I got it a month ago, it has run absolutely fine for the past month, until the past week. Today it has become particularly bad, with about 15 reboots, including 3 BSODs. I have disabled startup items but problem persists.
  • Recent activity: installed an old PC game this week, which didn't run as it was missing a dll so needed a direct X update (which doesn't seem to have any option to install); last week upgraded the graphics card drivers to the latest ones from AMD (ran fine until today with the new drivers);
  • Other recent activity (probably not relevant) installed various Windows Media Centre addins and uninstalled / disabled a number of them due to problems crashing WMC - addins include comskip, dvrmstoolbox, showanalyser, recorded tv hd, and tunerfree mce. Mostly disabled now.
  • cpu is running at about 40 degs, I've also tried running the PC with the case open but problem persists.

I am in the process of trying to get the six BSODs off the PC (it keeps shutting down before I'm done) - 3 from today, but six this week.
I had a quick look at them in BlueScreenViewer and the following are mentioned as probable causes:
- atikmdag.sys
- dxdgkrnl.sys
- dxgmms1.sys (all from today)
- ntoskrnl.sys (from one of the older crashdumps earlier this week)


I am also trying to get the info from SF_diagnostics_tool but again it reboots / crashes before I get it, even in safe mode.

Can someone please advise where to start in terms of identifying the causes of the 'full' or 'proper' shutdowns (which don't leave a crashdump or record in Event Viewer), and advise on how I work out if this is one problem or multiple problems combined. Any help is much appreciated.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

10 Jul 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Hi,

atimdag.sys is relating to graphics driver. As you Blue screen in safe-mode, it may be hardware related.

Therefore maybe worth trying to disable your graphics card (if you are able),
which may stop your BSOD's so you can boot.

To disable GPU navigate to:

Start> Computer> system properties> device manager
Locate> Display Adapters and expand
Select your Graphics card
Right click and "disable" and it will ask you to confirm and reboot the system.

Can you now boot into Windows without BSOD?

To get your minidumps:

Navigate to:

C:\Windows\minidump and upload the logs (again if you are able)

Cheers

Dave
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2013   #3

Win 7 x64
 
 

Hi Dave

Thanks for your help.

Short reply - lots of random issues since I posted, but these SEEM to have ALL been fixed (along with the strange behaviour in my first post) by rebuilding the PC outside of the case. I wanted to test for a couple of days before posting back to check the system is now stable. I suspect a short caused the problems, which is surprising but the only logical conclusion I can come to given the steps I took (outlined in more detail below).

In any case, thanks for your help. If I get any further BSODs I will post them on this forum.

(full details below)
Since posting my message the following happened.
  • computer refused to boot at all, not even to POST screen, shut down after a few seconds. I suspected PSU, CPU or graphics card at fault.
  • I have no spare GPU nor onboard graphics so started with PSU. Switched PSU over for one from an old rig - only 300W rather than 450W.
  • Still fails to boot. Unplug all SATA and IDE drives and all PCI cards except for GPU. Still fails to boot. Very frustrated by now, just about to throw the lot in the bin.
  • Remove everything from the case and 'reassemble' all over the living room carpet - with just RAM, MB, PSU and obviously CPU. Amazingly now works! Reattach HDD, system boots fine! Suspect a component was intermittently shorting against the case, causing all the random shutdowns and BSODs to date.
  • Reattach PCI cards including DVB-S2 tuner, one at time. System works fine!
  • Windows Media centre is however very upset and doesn't recognise the tuners any more, even after removing and re-installing in Windows and trying a system restore to last week. I have to reset WMC and setup all my channels again (takes about 2 hours).
  • Computer now boots up and has run for 48hrs (including a couple of deliberate reboots) with apparently no issues. No BSODs and no random shutdowns. Still on the 300W power supply which I switched in.
  • So my PC now boots, and APPEARS stable for as long as it is lying loose on the living room floor. The crashdumps that I started this thread in the hope of analysing have now been wiped, as part of the system restore I had to do a few steps above.
  • The earlier crashdumps implied a graphics issue, but since the system now seems to be working OK, I am going to leave it as is unless I get any further trouble. Fingers crossed that all the problems have been solved by removing the motherboard from the case. I am very surprised that this seems to have fixed all the issues - I would have expected random shortings to shut the PC down instantly, not a controlled 'force close' as I experienced. In any case, I will wait and see if this has solved the problem, and if it exists, find a small case which can house a full size motherboard for a media pc under the TV (the case I inherited was pretty naff and not pleasing for the partner!), and rebuild the PC in that new case.

I have posted these steps in case they are useful to anyone else, and to explain why I have not uploaded the crashdumps. (I see a lot of people post in forums a random problem, then post back and say 'solved' without explaining to others what they did to get there. Therefore I have tried to give as much useful detail as possible in my post)

Also just for clarity, I want to add that the PC wasn't blue screening in safe mode but was instead doing a 'force close' shut down, triggered by something I still don't understand, and generating no crashdump.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


14 Jul 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Thanks for the feedback and glad its sorted.

Yes sounds like the case may have been shorting out the motherboard.

Cheers

Dave
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Intermittent Random Shutdowns, No BSODs or info in Event Viewer




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