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Windows 7: Shutdown/hardware failure, despite being able to play before

22 Jun 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
Shutdown/hardware failure, despite being able to play before

Hi everyone,

I’m looking for some guidance on my recent issue as I’ve exhausted my own little knowledge.

My computer has begun shutting down when I start two different games, this happens during the ‘splash’ screen. With one particular game, it has happened only after a large update – prior to this, I had played for 135 hours with good performance.

I'm open to the fact that my system is outdated (I cannot afford to replace it yet), although, I want to do my best to figure a possible workaround – considering I’ve had success running the same games before.

  • System file check scan via console – no errors
  • Memtest86+ – no errors
  • Memory Diagnostics Tool – no errors
  • DirectX Diagnostic Tool – no errors
  • Anti-virus – no errors
  • All drivers are up-to-date from my knowledge, used Driver Sweeper for fresh graphics drivers install and also checked via GameBooster/AMD application
  • Disabled onboard audio drivers
  • Regularly cleaned from dust
  • HWMonitor: Temperatures stay healthy, even when stressed using Prime95
  • No BSoD, despite settings
  • Event Viewer does not give details about shutdown (The previous system shutdown at 10:17:19 PM on ‎6/‎21/‎2012 was unexpected)

  • Using my service tag I’ve found a legitimate update available for my BIOS released in 2009. v1.0.18, whereas I’m using v1.0.15 – is worthwhile to update?
  • I’m considering rolling back my graphics drivers to an earlier version
  • I may test with 1GB of RAM at a time
  • My hunch is that it's the PSU, it's a mere 250w and I've had it punch above it's weight for a while, as I have ran modern games with it. I'm looking at a 300w replacement from the U.S. (the best I can do, considering it's housed in a slimline case) - although, postage will be high.

Many thanks for any help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2012   #2

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit with SP1

What kind of update?
If you were able to run the show without error, than everything works out (your suggestion regarding "lack of power").
It might be the case that it will scratch nearly at peak, but the PSUs of the last 10 years always have some reserves.
Try a PSU calculator (google it) and it will add your load together.
if you have a pre-build system, than everything is matched to each other including some reserve for additional hardware (like a new HDD or switch from DVD to BD burner etc.).

The root of the problem might than be a software problem.
Just as you already said, if you had no problem before the last major update, you should look into the update history.
It will give you a list with the latest installed updates and you can check microsoft support pages and other forum regarding special cases (like crash after KB123456 update).

Just in case watch the temperature of your system.
If it states 2009 on the case and you have not done anything major, like opening the case, it might be a good idea to do so now.
I suggest you open your case and do some cleaning of the fans and other components.
Do this at least once a year.

BIOS updates are not always recommend (just adding support for newer CPUs is no reason updating a running system).
You should read the changelog first, before you decide what to do.
Also you can read about problems/performance with the new BIOS, when you do another search.

Roll-back of the graphics drivers is a good in some cases.
Keep in mind, sometimes there are changes and you have to configure the drivers first.

Sorry for being quite vague, but you provide to little details about your system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit

Hi bootready,

Thanks for your quick reply. The update was a patch for Red Orchestra 2 (it added new game modes and was large by normal standards - not a typical bug fix). To my knowledge, the problem lies with my hardware - rather than their update.

I will not update the BIOS in case it creates more problems, because aside from this issue my system suits my needs well.

I clean my PC from dust on a regular basis, but yes - it's not a custom build and was bought around three years ago. My system specs can be seen on my profile. Once I learn how to remove my PSU, I will give the fan a much better clean.

I will look into the PS Calculator you mentioned, but I believe 300w is the maximum I can acquire, due to the slimline case.

Thanks again, bootready. I hope to hear more suggestions.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Jun 2012   #4

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit with SP1

OK so it was a game patch. lol
I thought it was a serious case of "Windows 7 patch" problem.

You mentioned RO2 as one problem. I looked into your system specs.
It does not surprise me now, that you have crashing problems.
Even though it is extreme, usually games go back to desktop, when they are not able to start.
Compare the minimum and recommended specs:

OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Processor: Dual Core 2.3 GHz or better
Graphics card: 256 MB SM 3.0 DX9 Compliant NVIDIA® GeForce 7800 GTX or better ATI® Radeon® HD 2900 GT or better
Sound: Windows Supported Sound Card
DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
Hard Drive: 8 GB free hard drive space

OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Processor: Quad Core 2.6 GHz or better
Graphics card: 512 MB SM 3.0 DX9 Compliant NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 260 or better ATI® Radeon® HD 5750 or better
Sound: Sound Blaster Audigy or better
DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
Hard Drive: 8 GB free hard drive space

You do not really meet either. :-(

You can try to work around it.
Have you tried reducing the graphic settings to minimum (or "safe start")?
Do not forget to reduce the resolution (for example only 1280x720).
Try adding graphic features in steps and observe when it will crash again, than pull back again.

The CPU & graphics combination was also in 2009 outdated and low budget (DELL... HIGH PRICE of course).
I am surprised it was at least running first (as you mentioned it did so).

Yeah in general you should simply throttle down (regarding graphics etc.).
That is the best you can do for the moment.

Save that extra money from your electrical bill and buy a new PC later on.
Believe me, it is really cost-effective to grit your teeth now.
Rather than being annoyed, because the hardware-change did not have the impact you wanted.
Furthermore when you change one thing, usually you must change another thing.

I updated my system at the end of 2011 and still need a new graphicsadapter (looky profile).
The new 3rd generation Intel Core i-series is something you should look into.
Esp. the Intel Core i5 3570(k) would fit your case as a base.
You can work around it pretty good with different configurations (MB/RAM/GA).
As you might know, you want to get yourself a x64 license for utilizing more than 4GB of RAM in the future, too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit

Hi bootready,

Thanks for your response. I do not intend to sound rude, as I understand your point regarding my system not meeting the recommended settings: but I had successfully played the game for 135 hours before this shutdown issue, on Medium-High settings (admittedly, it did take some patient tweaking). What has concerned me the most is suspecting that some hardware has deteriorated recently, notably my PSU - considering I've had success playing before. Is it possible for it to weaken and for this to happen? Would you suggest replacing the PSU? I'm worried it will fail on me sometime soon.

I would agree my system is very poor, but I never intended to run any games on it - and in all fairness, this has been my first big issue in a year. I can still play Deus Ex: HR on Medium-High with no hiccups, although, games differ in optimization.

I will ask on the official forums if somebody has an edited .ini file with all the variables set to the lowest. This was a great idea and something that slipped my mind, thanks very much for the suggestion.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

The PSU should be the most important part of a hardware config, no matter if you're a gamer or just using a regular user. If the PSU fails and malfunctions it could take your whole rig with it.

Even if the PSU is not a problem (which we can't know at this time) you should consider replacing it with a better one. This is the only hardware component on which you don't want to save cash.

Still, before you go emptying your wallet you should consider rolling back the RO2 patch and just see if you keep getting the same problem. Since you said it's not a bugfix patch, it is possible that it created a fault in the game.

In the end, it is your choice, really.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2012   #7

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit with SP1


you do not sound rude at all.
Neither do I want to sound rude, but if so, I apologize for being a rude-boy.

Anyway I also wanted to suggest you, to roll-back RO2 to an update, what was still working for your machine.
I did not wanted to encourage you to throw out your faithful battle-station and buy a new one right away (but later on hrhr).
Thanks for the hint Gornot.

A PSU has a certain life-time, which depends on a lot of circumstances, just like any other hardware.
You can have two similar hardware devices and use them in the same way and the same time.
One breaks down after a year, the other one runs perfectly and in 100% condition even after 5 years of use.

My point is that it is possible for your PSU to lose power over time.
BUT, as I already mentioned, the PSUs of the last 10 years have reserves.
Also straining these reserves do not harm them, because if so, they shut down.
This might be the case with your PC, even though I do not understand why, because the game worked before with your tweaking the game settings (which is quite impressive!).

Have you added any new hardware or replaced anything from the stock-setup?
This might strain the PSU, since these PSUs are tailored for only the hardware they integrate in the pre-builds (same as a laptop).

What about a benchmark? Have you already run a benchmark tool on your machine (3d Mark or a game benchmark)?
A benchmark strains all hardware devices at once.
This might be a good test, than an actual game for the moment.

EDIT: If you really think it is a PSU related problem read this:

There are 2-3 suggested PSUs for swapping. ;-)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2012   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit

Thanks for both responses.

I have been anticipating PSU issues for some time and tried to source replacements in the past with no luck; but thanks to bootready’s link, I’ve come across a _SeaSonic SS-300TFX Bronze 300W TFX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply_. Regardless whether or not my PSU is at fault, I’ll be buying this replacement.

I can’t rollback the game to a previous version, because I use the Steam service and don’t own the retail disc.

Hi again. I ran 3DMark06; it shut down my computer instantly, leaving no log in Event Viewer. I’ve also been running OCCT 4.2.0 with interesting results.

Config: Large Data Set
Duration: 1h
Results: No errors and all readings seem stable
GPU:3D (#1) –
Config: 1024 x 768 @ 0 Hz, Windowed mode, Shader Complexity 8, with Error Checking
Duration: 0h 2m 40s
Results: GPU Core reached 85ºC (from av. 50 ºC) in this short time and test was aborted

GPU:3D (#2) –
Config: 1024 x 768 @ 0 Hz, Windowed mode, Shader Complexity 1, with Error Checking
Duration: 0h 2m 31s
Results: GPU Core reached 85ºC (from av. 50ºC) in this short time and test was aborted

Any opinions on these results? Is it my graphics card causing the problems?

Kind regards.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2012   #9

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit with SP1

One last test:

Download this tool and run it once.
GPU-Z is just an information tool.
It will give you live information about your video card (temp/GHz/MHz).

Compare the information with the database/forum of GPU-Z.
When you do not get any information (like temps/GHz/MHz), you have a dead video card (esp. the 3D part).
On the other hand the cooling of the card might be broken...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit

Thank you, bootready. I get all readings, only my Memory Clock states 800 MHz, whereas on the database it is 900 MHz.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Shutdown/hardware failure, despite being able to play before

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