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Windows 7: Black screen of death in Windows 7 64-bit Professional

29 Sep 2012   #1

Windows 7 64-bit Professional
Black screen of death in Windows 7 64-bit Professional

Hi everyone,

I have a new Windows 7 64-bit computer with the these specs:
CPU: i5-2500K 3.3 GHz
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTS 450 OC
HDD: 120GB Corsair Force Series 3 SSD and 320GB Seagate Barracuda as well as two WD external hardrives
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3
RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz
PSU: Corsair 750W

My computer has recently started to proceed to a black screen after the "Starting Windows" logo screen and I am unable to see the login screen. I have to hard-restart to be able to restart the computer. On the occasion it has started okay and I have been able to log into Windows, the graphics driver crashes and then eventually goes to a black screen and I cannot see the desktop. I will be doing anything on the PC, watching a movie, on the Internet, playing a game, or Windows 7 will just be idling when the screen goes black.

What I have done so far:
1. The HDDs:
- Replaced SATA cables
- Run chkdsk on both hard-drives and run a check on them using HD tune pro for bad sectors. Both tests came back as alright for every hard-drive.
- Re-installed Windows 7 on the SSD and also as a test, installed Windows 7 on the Seagate HDD.

None of this fixed the problem.

2. The RAM:
- Have fiddled with the voltage and frequency in the BIOS within recommended limits (my BIOS limited the frequency to 1333MHz)
- Have run several tests and passes using Memtest 86+ and Windows Memory Diagnostic. All tests came back with no errors.
- Have removed 3 sticks of RAM and replaced one by one and then alternated the RAM sticks to check for defective RAM.

None of this fixed the problem

3. CPU:
- Have checked the positioning and made sure it was locked in properly to the motherboard.
- Looked for any signs of damage. None were found.

4. The Motherboard:
- Looked at the motherboard for any signs of damage, components were all plugged in etc. As far as I could tell everything looked okay.

5. The Graphics Card:
- Have taken the Graphics Card out and cleaned using air hose.
- Re-seated into the PCI-E slot and checked to ensure it was seated properly and no damage in the PCI-E slot.
- Have updated the driver to the latest (306.23 at the current time) and done a clean install with the driver. Have installed old drivers as well (also clean installs)
- Have tried to fiddle with some voltage values (within recommended limits).

This did not fix the problem.

6. General things:
- Have run Malware bytes and removed some viruses found
- Have run CCCleaner to detect any errors in the registry (backed up registry first)
- Have decreased the amount of RAM usage Firefox takes on the PC.
- Have run virus scans constantly using AVG Anti-virus
- Have altered the Startup and Services to have a "clean" startup and then re-enabled them one by one to check any driver issues. For a time this was ok, but then the kernel graphics driver became an issue.
- Have flashed the motherboard BIOS to the latest version
- Have upgraded the firmware on the SSD to the latest version
- Have checked the drivers and ensured they were all up to date.
- Ran OCCT and Prime95 tests before the issue started happening and they came back as alright.
- Have changed the power levels to maximum performance to ensure enough power is getting through to the peripherals etc.
- Have switched the PC off for a few days and then switched back on.

7. Temperatures:
- Have checked the BIOS temps and it says 30 - 40 degrees Celsius which seems a bit high to me, but OCCT says the CPU is 26 degrees Celsius so don't know which one is accurate?

8. Safe mode:
- Have run the computer in Safe Mode and interestingly the PC has never gone to a black screen. I have left it running for days on end without any issue.

The only thing I haven't been able to test is the PSU, but I reckon it has to be the graphics card as the kernel graphics driver keeps popping up as recovered and when running in Safe Mode, it disables this driver. I have not tested the PSU and I know in Safe Mode the PC won't be drawing as much power, but the PC has never crashed in Safe Mode. I have looked at the Event Viewer, but cannot find anything related to the driver.

Can anyone give me advice about this? It's been going on for a few weeks now and it's driving me insane.

Many thanks,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2012   #2
Terronium 12

Windows 10 Technical Preview - x64

First and foremost welcome to Seven Forums.

Next, you could help me to help you a lot better if you filled in your system specs Nevermind that, somehow I overlooked them being at the top of your post, but it would still be pertinent that it's filled out in your specs sheet for any help down the line.

Right off the bat I would suggest testing the video card in another system if possible. If the problem persists than it's likely to do with the card itself. Safe mode doesn't necessarily prove that the card is functioning as it should as it uses low-level driver privileges. I had a 4870 X2 that worked swimmingly in Safe Mode but couldn't boot into 7 worth a damn.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

You've done most of the troubleshooting procedures that I would've done. It has to be definitely a faulty Graphics Card. Since your system is new, you can get a replacement graphics card free of charge. That will fix the black screen of death.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Oct 2012   #4

Windows 7 64-bit Professional

Hi Terronium 12 and theveterans,

Many thanks for your replies. I am getting a test system off some family members tomorrow where I'll be able to switch some parts and test the system and hopefully I can figure out what's going on.

Hopefully I'll be able to update with some good news!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2012   #5

Windows 7 64-bit Professional

Just placed the graphics card in the test system and made it in a similar environment - Windows 7 64-bit, same driver. If the black screen doesn't occur, what do you think it might be as everything else looks like it's ok?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2012   #6

Windows 7 64-bit Professional

Well, put the card in the test system, seemed to be ok last night, but i thought to test it as close to my other pc as possible, so plugged in both screens and as soon as I made it play a video, bang, black screen and the computer switches off. Is it safe to say this card has had its day?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2012   #7

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

Of course! By reasoning, if the card fails on 1 computer and also fails on another computer that is fully functional, then the fault is the card. Since your system is new, try to get a replacement for free cause it is likely to be under warranty.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2012   #8

Windows 7 64-bit Professional

Hi Terronium 12 and theveterans, just wanted to say thanks for all the help. Got the card replaced and lo and behold no more issues!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2012   #9

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

Thanks, i'm glad your problem is solved.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Black screen of death in Windows 7 64-bit Professional

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