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Windows 7: Random freezes with new hardware (no BSOD)

08 May 2016   #1
Madmartigan

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Random freezes with new hardware (no BSOD) : FM2A88X Extreme4+

Edit : This is a quick overview of the problem and the solution I found, so you can avoid reading all the boring precision guesswork in this thread. As for me : problem solved.

Problem : Random Freezes. Once frozen, the computer has to be hard rebooted. I did not experience it personally but people have been reporting higher chance of getting freezes when they let the computer idle and also freezes occuring when using the uefi bios of their board.

Cause : this problem is caused by the bios of the ASRock FM2A88X Extreme4+ motherboard. I am not an expert, but it apprently does not handle the Package Core 6 State (PC6 State : one of several low consumption features for CPUs) very well. This has been reported mainly on bios from the 2.60 up to the 3.20 (most recent bios at the moment). I use bios 3.20 : I can't confirm this fix will work with other bios, but it might be worth a try. See this thread and this thread on ASRock's forum for more information.

Fix 1 : Start your computer and press F2 during the POST (Power-On-Self-Test : first screen with the name of the motherboard on it) to get into the UEFI bios of the board. If F2 doesn't seem to work, press F11 and choose "configuration" instead of selecting a boot device. Go to the "Advanced" tab. Choose "CPU configuration". The first two options should be "Core C6 Mode" and "Package C6 Mode".

"Package C6 Mode" will not appear if "Core C6 Mode" is disabled (again, I am no expert, but apparently PC6 State requires C6 State to be activated to work). If your "Core C6 Mode" option is disabled, the problem might not come from your motherboard as this means "Package Core C6" will be disabled too.
If "Core C6 Mode" is enabled, check "Package C6 Mode" :
  • If "Package C6 Mode" is disabled, then again, the problem might not come from your motherboard. You can still try to disable it, but you should know that it will at the very least slightly increase CPU strain and power consumption, especially when the computer is idle.
  • If "Package C6 Mode" is enabled, disable it, go to the exit tab and save the changes to your bios settings before starting your computer.
ASRock FM2A88X Extreme 4+ online manual indicate that the default value for "Package C6 Mode" is "disabled". Problem is, it was not the case on mine and I had a brand new motherboard that I took myself out of the box, thus I don't know why this setting was not on it's default value. It's worth mentioning that I flashed my bios from 2.80 to 3.20, so perhaps in the meanwhile they decided that this feature would be disabled by default on newer bios, and that mine just retained the old default settings from my previous 2.80.

Fix 2 (unverified) : revert to bios 2.50 which seems to have been the last stable version. Impossible to test at the moment as their is no link to download the 2.50, even on softpedia. Warning : flashing a bios is always a dangerous operation. If your motherboard freezes or looses power while trying to flash it, it may never work again.

********


Hi,


With the help of a friend, I recently bought a bunch of new parts, built a new computer and plugged my old HDD on it. I used Kaktussoft tutorial on Paragon Adaptive Restore to get my HDD to be properly recognised by my mobo (thank you Kaktussoft) and keep my old install of windows for as long as I could. I then had a PSU problem (I tried using my old PSU and it turned out it was just not up to the task so I had to buy a new one, many thanks for ICIT2LOL for trying to help in another thread).


Unfortunately I ran into some more trouble. Since the hardware upgrade, the computer sometimes freezes in an unexpected fashion. It seems random, and once frozen, the computer will not respond to any input. In fact, my optical mouse and my keyboard stop receiving power if I hit any key. The computer can freeze when running a game, while using firefox, watching a video, at startup… It doesn't appear to be tied to any particular activity. It can run a game for hours and then freeze suddenly or just freeze after fifteen minutes of using firefox. I once left my antivirus software running for a scan and it froze somewhere in the middle of it. I never tried to let it run without doing anything. Once frozen, I have to do a hard reboot to stop it. It does not generate a BSOD as far as I know (I checked the event viewer for error messages). I do not know if minidumps are enabled on my computer but if there's no BSOD, I don't think windows could generate a .dmp... am I correct ?


***************


My PC specs :


  • CPU : AMD A8 7600 (using stock fan)
  • Mobo : ASRock FM2A88X Extreme4+
  • Graphics : Radeon R9-380P-2DF5 2GB by XFX
  • RAM : Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600mhz (4x4gb) [2 new sticks and 2 older ones]
  • PSU : Corsair VS650
  • 1 DVD RW [old hardware]
  • 1 HDD WD10 EARS (1tb) [old hardware], I have two partitions (+ the hidden reserved for system partition of course) : C for windows and S for data, games and such.
  • OS : Windows 7 Ultimate.

I am not doing anythin special with my hardware like overclocking or raid (well… obviously ^^' ). I bought two sticks of RAM about a year and a half ago and bought an identical kit a few weeks ago to fill up my new empty slots. Anyway they are installed in a dual channel configuration, just in case. The only thing to know is that my RAM is running at 1333 Mhz by default : despite Corsair's claim that those are 1600 MHZ RAM sticks, the real deal is that they can only be overclocked to reach 1600 (there are complaints about this all over the interne... not a big deal, and I don't like overclocking at all). It's worth mentioning that this RAM is not in the Quality Vendor List for this motherboard (but they are still corsair RAM sticks so I am not exactly worried).


***************


Although I am not really tech-savvy, I already tried numerous tricks to try and understand and/or fix this problem :

  • Scan for viruses with Avast and for malwares with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SuperAntiSpyware => only minor problems were detected and corrected.
  • Test HDD with Western Digital diagnostic tool => HDD passed an extended test.
  • Run chkdsk at startup => it detected a couple of minor errors and corrected them, nothing unusual for a 5 years old HDD I guess.
  • Run sfc /scannow => no error detected.
  • Run Memtest86+ => after 3 full passes, no error detected.
  • Start computer with only some of the RAM installed, in different slots, even down to a single stick => computer froze, no change.
  • Start computer with all non essential peripherals disconnected (in my case : speakers and a DVD-RW) => computer still freezes.
  • Checking if all components are properly seated => no problem there.
  • Check temperatures with AMD Overdrive (third party software can't interpret the thermal margin of my CPU correctly and give abnormal readings, so I use this AMD software only to check the CPU temperature, as I said, I don't like overclocking) => nothing unusual for all components and my CPU still had a 10°c margin when running a very heavy program, like Star Citizen for instance.
  • Run computer without any program or non-microsoft service at startup => Avast refused to be deactivated, but other than that, the computer still froze.
  • Check the event monitor for errors => no error seems to be linked to the freezes, windows must be unable to generate any log, since there is no BSOD.
  • Update Daemon Tools (just in case the drivers were too old, even though it was not in direct use when my PC froze) => no results on freezes, but it apparently created a second BD ROM device... I don't know if that's normal.
  • Manual removal of my old VIA audio software and drivers + uninstalling and reinstalling Realtek and AMD drivers (my new mobo uses Realtek drivers and I couldn't uninstall it properly because the old device, my old motherboard, was not plugged in anymore) => computer still freezes.
  • It's probably only in my imagination but it might have made freezes more frequent. Just to be clear : the problem existed before I removed anything : I manually removed a device, files, .dlls and registry entries but only after checking very carefuly that they were only related to VIA products. Anyway, I reverted to a previous restoration point, just to be on the safe side. I still uninstalled the non-present VIA audio device and drivers and removed the startup entry for the software suit afterwards, but I have left the files, .dlls and registry entries alone for now.


***************


I am mostly suspecting some sort of driver problem or simply that something in windows is messed up due to the change of hardware (although I read the whole Paragon Adaptive Restore tutorial thread and there was no mention of something similar). I know the obvious answer many people will immediately want to shout out, but before doing something as drastic as doing a repair install or a clean install of windows, I would like to know for sure where the problem comes from : no use erasing all those data if that doesn't fix anything, right ?


Can anyone please help me to pinpoint my problem ?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
08 May 2016   #2
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

From your other thread.

New hardware : Crash/Reboot on Win 7 WEI test and games

Did you do a clean install of Windows 7 and activate it after changing the motherboard?

Did you install the new chipset ect using the new motherboard CD?
Did you install all the needed new drivers for your new hardware?
Did you install your program fresh again after replacing the motherboard and installing Windows 7?

The odds of replacing the motherboard and other new hardware and just swapping the hard drive with all the old stuff from the other system and working properly is slim to none.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2016   #3
Madmartigan

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hi Layback Bear,

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Did you do a clean install of Windows 7 and activate it after changing the motherboard?
Did you install the new chipset ect using the new motherboard CD?
Did you install all the needed new drivers for your new hardware?
No, I did not do a clean install of Windows 7.
I accessed my old Windows install and scrupulously followed instructions provided in Kaktusoft tutorial by first uninstalling all old drivers, devices and software related to them (except VIA HD Audio Deck as it was broken by the change of motherboard... I had to use a command prompt to show non present devices in the device manager in order to uninstall my old VIA device).

I then installed all available drivers from the motherboard CD, then downloaded and installed the latest version of AMD drivers from AMD website. Same thing for Realtek drivers. I also looked up drivers on Asrock website but it seems they uploaded the same that are on the motherboard CD.
I don't have any unrecognised device in my device manager, although I am quite puzzeled by AMD's "all in 1" installer who installed drivers for USB 3.0 when I already had some from Etron (worst company name ever) from the motherboard CD. Ditto with Audio device. I don't know enough about drivers to be sure all the things it installs are necessary and don't create some sort of conflict with other Asrock recommended drivers.

After that, I ran Win 7 WEI test and found out I had a power failure problem (computer rebooted by himself when trying anything that asked for too much power, because my PSU was old and not as powerful as Mad X claimed it was). I ordered a new PSU and properly connected it with my other components and this time it worked fine. I was then able to run the WEI test properly and play games. I was never prompted to activate windows 7 again : my computer activation was not reinitialised by the use of Paragon Adaptive Restore.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Did you install your program fresh again after replacing the motherboard and installing Windows 7?
Not sure if you are talking about a specific program or just programs in general. I will assume you are talking about all programs and confirm that I have been able to use my old programs and files without having to reinstall anything (although I did uninstall and reinstall some programs I use daily like firefox, to see if that would make any difference).


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
The odds of replacing the motherboard and other new hardware and just swapping the hard drive with all the old stuff from the other system and working properly is slim to none.
Yeah I know that. Unfortunately either I troubleshoot this problem now or I format C: and install windows 7 again but then I'm afraid I might run into some more trouble with my programs installed in my S:.

Sure, I know you have a nice tutorial to help people do a clean install by themselves and I have been told about the fact that Windows 7 is more resilient than it's predecessors to that kind of change, that registry keys for programs are likely to recreate themselves and that the worst trouble I could run into would be to have to delete a bunch of files and install my programs again, but I still have nightmares about Win 95 missing dlls and frankly, "thanks" to dematerialisation, the perspective of having to download again more than 500 Gb at 800Kb/s for a whole two weeks is not the highlight of my day (now, where did I put my rope and where's the nearest tree branch again ?). Especially in the unlikely case that the problem lied elsewhere and I'm just left banging my head on the wall in front of a freezing computer with a clean install.

But of course, I agree with you that a format and a windows install is far more likely to fix my problem, I just don't want to act impulsively and trade my problem for some new ones.


Back on tracks : do my drivers install seems suspicious ?

Edit : I just remembered something from the last time I started my computer with my speakers on : on startup, windows makes a bunch of "new device detected" noises, although there is no "installing new device" pop up.
I checked my device manager using
Code:
set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
start devmgmt.msc
to see all non present devices and I noticed I have tons of non-present HIDs, USB entry devices, USB Bus controllers, generic volumes and generic volume shadow copy (please excuse any mistakes I may have made, those are translation from french, see .jpgs attached for french names). Anything unusual ?
I also noticed a couple of non-present nVidia drivers for SATA and Ethernet that might be safe to remove (they probably come from my old nVidia 5600 series), as well as an unknown device that seems to be linked to Etron USB 3.0 Extensible Root Hub (it says so when I try to auto update drivers).

Edit 2 : I also just found a game that apparently freeze my computer very quickly. Useful to check if the problem is still there.


Attached Thumbnails
Random freezes with new hardware (no BSOD)-clipboard01.jpg   Random freezes with new hardware (no BSOD)-clipboard02.jpg   Random freezes with new hardware (no BSOD)-clipboard03.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 May 2016   #4
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Is you Windows 7 a Retail version??
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2016   #5
Madmartigan

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I think so. It came as a gift from the friend that built the computer this HDD was first connected to (said friend has kind of a disproportionate sense of generosity).

I think I have the code card in a box with a bunch of old component manuals.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2016   #6
Madmartigan

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Well, turns out I was right all along : thoose freezes do not come from trying to keep my old windows install.

As there were no more answers in this thread and after running out of ideas to try and understand where this problem came from, I decided to reinstall the whole thing from scratch.

I decided to get rid of my S: partition as the clean install tutorial stated that trying to install windows on a drive with an existing partition would not create the system reserved partition, so I decided not to take any chances. I backed up every files I needed, and launched the install.

I also did a bit of speleology in my closets and found out that the version of Ultimate I was using was an OEM, not retail. I couldn't install it again so I used a safe win 7 Pro (x64) iso, for which I have a brand new activation code.

The only special thing I did during the install was to use Kari's tutorial about User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation to move programdata and users to the root of my new stockage drive (this time I just let the partition on the letter d: because it was easier that way). It worked well (many thanks to Kari). The rest of the install went well too.

I then proceeded to install drivers (all downloaded from AsRock and AMD's website), one after another, restarting my computer every time one was finished. I only installed firefox before trying to install windows updates. It took hours for it to search for updates. When I finally got the list, I first tried to install all of them at once. It froze within minutes (same symptoms as with my old win 7 ultimate install).

I decided to be cautious before crying wolf and waited a little to see if this happended when I was not doing something so strenuous and error prone. Second freeze occured a day after that, about fifteen seconds after using "net stop wuauserv" in a command prompt : I had discovered that my windows update did an endless search and had trouble downloading updates as well, so I used this command to end the service before applying KB3102810 and KB3138612 to my computer manually (those updates are supposed to resolve this kind of problem with windows update). I did not have a freeze on my second try, although that fixed the problem only for time : windows updates seems to be stuck again. I don't think the update problem and freezes are related since I had no particular trouble with WU on my old install.

Since then I have installed Avast and Comodo Firewall, and a few programs to try to confirm the computer would freeze even if windows update was not involved. Confirmed after a third freeze while watching a video and doing a scan of my C: with Avast. I must have messed something while doing Kari's tutorial, or the freeze when first trying to install updates just borked things up. I will try to see if my WU problem still exists after a clean install without doing anything to programdata and users, but I don't think this problem is related to the freezes.

At least, I believe this install removed a lot of possible culprits. I believe either I have something wrong with my drivers, either there's something wrongly set up in my bios, either one of my new parts is faulty or incompatible with another one. If there is something else that might go wrong, I don't know enough about computing to know what.

About bios, if I mention it, it's only because I noticed that many factory settings were on auto, and I do not know at all how my computer handle them or if that might be a cause for those freezes :

OC TWEAKER
CPU Configuration :
  • AMD Turbo Core Technology : enabled
  • AMD Application Power Management : auto
  • Multiplier/Voltage Change : Auto
  • APU Load-Line Calibration : Default
DRAM Timing Configuration :
  • Load XMP Setting : Auto
  • XMP 1.3 PROFILE 1 : 9-9-9-24 1.50V DDR3 1600
  • DRAM Frequency : Auto
  • DDR3-1333
Voltage configuration :
  • DRAM Voltage 1.5V : Auto
  • APU PCIE Voltage VDDP 1.052V : Auto
  • SB Voltage 1.10V : Auto

I also have a bunch of other settings for South Bus, North Bus, etc, but I just don't know if that's any use at all to put them here.

As I have stated in my first thread, despite trying to avoid spending too much, those parts are all I can afford for PC parts for the next 5 to 10 years. Even using the parts warranty would be a hole in my budget as shipping costs are usually at the buyer's expense. It has been a month and a half since I was able to use my computer without it failing me one way or another so, even if it's far from a life or death question, this whole thing is getting quite depressing.

Edit : I can't believe it... I have been browsing the internet for weeks looking for similar problems linked to my parts but to no avail, until just now. I just stumbled on this thread on the AsRock forum. Long story short : several users reported freeze issues with their computer when running certain BIOS version. My current bios is the latest (3.20) version. Apparently most people seems to agree that 2.50 is the last stable version.

Problem is : you can only download 3.20 drivers on Asrock website. There was a link to a softpedia download for 2.50, but unfortunately, trying to download returns a 404 error. I don't really know where to look for a driver that's not infected with malware, if anyone has an advice, I will be glad to hear it, meanwhile I will keep browsing for alternative links.

Another solution (if I trust the last post in the thread made by L0405) might be to turn off C6 in bios, but I don't know anything about this feature (apparently some kind of low power state for the CPU) and I would prefer to do so with the advice of a knowledgeable person.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 May 2016   #7
Madmartigan

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hi, since a week has passed without any kind of incident, I can finally say that my freeze problem is over, after several weeks spent trying to understand where those freezes came from.


I used my computer for a day without Core 6 State enabled and it worked well. I then tried to enable it and disabled only Package Core 6 State and since then my computer has been working fine.


Although there is at the moment no stable bios version to revert to on download, this simple change of bios settings managed to get my FM2A88X extreme4+ to stop freezing all the time. Some people actually reported getting freezes while running the UEFI bios !



NB : the option to disable PC 6 State is only offered when C6 State is enabled, because Package Core 6 State needs Core 6 State enabled to work. If C6 State is disabled, by default, PC6 State will be disabled by the bios, which solves the problem but augment consumption and CPU load, but apparently, you don’t need to deactivate C6 to avoid freezes, only PC6, at least with bios 3,2 that is. I don’t think the OS has anything to do with this.


The advantage is that disabling only PC6 State seems to allow for less consumption and strain on the CPU than just disabling Core 6 State. But I am no expert on the matter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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