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Computer crashes/audio issues, Windows

IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
edited August 2019 in Help / Advice Forum
Alright, I got an issue that's been dogging my PC for a while. Basically what happens is, My audio crashes first, and then the rest of the PC will slowly go down with it. Here are the most common scenarios (might not tell you much)

-Start up Overwatch and Discord, get into first match, first my game audio cuts, then my mic, and while I can hear my friends, they cant hear me. then the game crashes and the whole system freezes. Needs a hard reboot.

- Start up my computer freshly and try to watch one video on Twitter in chrome, video wont play, and no other media site (twitch, youtube) will play video. Computer no longer plays audio, but otherwise functions normally. if I try to start up a game, it'd crash

- Dislodge my headphones suddenly by mistake, like getting caught in my chair. This can cause the audio issue to trigger, and the whole system to freeze.

I have a relatively nice system that is getting older. the build is this: but I replaced the video card recently upgrading from the MSI GTX 550 Ti to a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. The issues I'm having occured before the card replacement, and with the same frequency after the card replacement.

I'm trying to figure out what is the best approach to escalation to troubleshoot the issue without needlessly updating parts that arent likely to be the problem heres what I've tried:

- I've tried updating my realtek sound drivers with no effect on the issue, and figuring out reputable and recent drivers is a bit of a pain.
- I dusted out my case, to offset potential overheating, no effect
- I moved my case and put a fan on it, some effect during overwatch, still crashes though.
- Tried just making sure my wires were all secure, no effect

My thoughts on the culprit:

- My case is a bit cramped and not super well ventilated, its causing over heating
- My Motherboard is old and somehow a physically failing audio jack is causing total system failure
- My sound drivers are shitty and causing system failure via windows fuckery

Replacing the case/motherboard require a full disassemble and reassemble of the computer, and it starts turning into a "well I might as well upgrade ___ while I do it" and the next then you know I'm being an idiot on new egg with a buncha shit in my cart. I want to feel out some other troubleshooting steps to eliminate a basic windows issue before going the $$$ hardware route, and wonder if anyone else has ideas?

Iruka on


  • NEO|PhyteNEO|Phyte They follow the stars, bound together. Strands in a braid till the end.Registered User regular
    edited August 2019
    Looking at the part list, my initial thought leads towards audio driver fuckery. It has been a hot minute since I've used a USB headset, but I definitely recall fuckery happening if they get unplugged, especially if you never installed the motherboard's audio drivers because you aren't using those plugs.

    :edit: Have you a set of 3.5mm speakers/headphones to try using and see if the problem still happens without that USB one in the picture?

    NEO|Phyte on
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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited August 2019
    I'd disable all audio, uninstall the drivers if your device uses any. Disable onboard audio in the BIOS. Do things that make it lock up. If it seems fine, use USB audio and keep the onboard disabled.

    Audio isn't related to overheating in my experience, so if you eliminate audio (removing devices) you can narrow it down the next time it happens. Windows + Realtek + USB audio could easily be causing a conflict.

    You can test RAM, Power Supply and CPU using various programs (prime95, memtest, voltage monitoring software) but start with disabling devices.

    dispatch.o on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Ah sorry, forgot those headphones are on my list, but they broke ages ago. Current set uses the audio jack on the back of the computer, so directly on the board. I wonder if I have any of those drivers hanging about, though. I'll look and see.

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited August 2019
    I'd still start with disabling that device in BIOS.

    Are you familiar with msconfig?

    start -> run (or shortcut windows key+R)
    type: msconfig

    It will pull up a menu interface to disable / troubleshoot damn near any services, drivers and on startup items.

    Use the Selective Startup toggle on the first tab and then go to the Services tab and toggle "Hide All Microsoft Services"

    Disable everything and use process of elimination. Enable a couple of essential third party services and try again. Honestly most of the non Microsoft services aren't even necessary to have a functional computer and often times you'll wonder what the fuck something is and have to go google it, only to find out it's some shit some old program put there that you don't even want enabled anyway.

    Edit: On Startup was moved to the task manager at some point, but the shortcut is still in the msconfig tab.

    dispatch.o on
  • LuianeLuiane Registered User regular
    I once helped debug a computer with similar issues (audio was garbled, otherwise it was working).

    In that case it was actually the power supply that had dropped in output and was not providing enough anymore. I'd rate this as a very unlikely cause, but you never know.

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    Have you tried replacing the Realtek drivers with the generic Microsoft audio drivers?

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    so yesterday I went through my sound devices and realized that I had a bunch of virtual output devices, I think they may have been installed by OBS, or attempting to stream in general. I disabled all those and didn't hit a crash yesterday, but I didn't use my computer a ton.

    I'll fuss around with my computer in the evening and see if I can trigger the lock up. If I can, I'll look into the windows drivers. If I replace the windows drivers and it still stalls out, I'll more rigorously disable some services.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    Understanding that you're plugging into the back of the board, are your front panel audio connectors connected to the motherboard? You could try unplugging those to see if maybe the controller is getting confused that you're using the plugs on the back.

    Otherwise, you may have already found the culprit.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    So just a slight update on this.

    After cleaning up my drivers I admittedly ran into less fuckery, but do think its hardware.

    Now that the drivers are more strait forward, it's less likely to system crash if my headphones are disconnected, however, my headphones cant stay consistently connected to the computer. I think a pin in the audio jack on the computer has gone bad, as it requires wiggling to get the computer to see them. A sudden disconnection of audio will still slow down/crash overwatch, but I think thats overwatch trying to figure out what the heck to do with a flickering audio device and choking on the process.

    Yesterday, a new trick has appeared where the whole system hangs on the Intel screen at start up, without showing the options to enter bios and not responding to the key input to enter bios. This takes powering down by completely turning off my power supply and giving it a minute to break the cycle.

    I feel like signs are pointing to my motherboard and/or power supply perhaps needing some consideration.

  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    I had a buzzing noise on my headphone jack on my laptop. Caused by a faulty power brick/cord so maybe test another power supply if you have one?

  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Hm. I don't trust your motherboard. What's the chances the board is warped and the bad audio connector is one of many underlying physical issues?

    ... you should get or vet a reliable power supply, back up your drive, and do full stress testing of everything. If the motherboard is the problem, you'll kill it and know. If not, get a sound card.

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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    Cheap troubleshooting option: get one of the sub-$10 USB sound cards from Amazon and see if that helps.

    I agree though that your board could just be on its way out.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    You linked to a power supply? But thats a good idea.

    Because I bought a micro atx back in the day without knowing it, My board doesn't have a ton of connections. I'll have to see if I can even jam another card into my case.

    Replacing my case/motherboard has always been on the agenda, its just always a bit pricer than I want. Maybe I can hold this off till Black Friday sales start popping up.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    If you're still exploring software solutions:

    Based on your level of comfort, you can use a tool like DriverStore Explorer to detect and remove any drivers that may be causing conflicts.

    For example, if you have a driver for a sound card that your computer doesn't actually have (maybe you replaced it) or if there are old drivers that are refusing to get cleaned up and are interfering with new ones somehow.

    Another option is to do one of the various Windows refresh/reset options.

    Option #1 - Fresh Start (Start -> type in "Device Performance" -> Device Performance and Health -> click "Additional Info" -> Get Started)
    Option #2 - Reset PC (Start -> type in "Reset this PC" -> Reset this PC -> Get Started)

    Option #1 performs a "clean" installation of Windows 10 that includes no built-in vendor bloatware, device drivers, etc. It literally just installs Windows 10 on your machine and everything runs off of detected hardware or defaults. So if you bought a Dell computer, none of the extra Dell crap will be included - it's literally just the bare minimum Windows 10 needs to run for a new computer. This option also keeps all your data, but will remove all programs that are not included as part of a default Windows 10 installation. (You'll definitely want to export your browser bookmarks before you do this, though.)

    Option #2 will basically reset your computer to back when you first got it. This includes bloatware and drivers that were included from your vendor (if you got the computer from somewhere like Dell).

    There are other, more complicated options like reinstalling Windows from external media, too.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I built the computer, so theres no real bloat ware to blame here, I don't think.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    If not bloatware, then driver and configuration conflicts can still occur. You mentioned virtual output devices, so maybe something is hanging around?

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    Fucking Goddamnit. Kiwi Browser fucks me over like this regularly.

  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    Check your task manager to see if you're running the Logitech Gaming Framework. If you are be aware that it has a memory leak that they either can't or refuse to fix which means it creeps up from using less than 100MB of RAM to enough RAM to crash your PC in less than 24 hours. I have 16GB of RAM and if I forget to close it before I go to bed it will crash my computer before I get home from work the next day.

  • AmarylAmaryl Registered User regular
    Depending on your confidence level of soldering, you could try to replace the jack itself if that's really the culprit, which shouldn't set you back more than a dollar or two.

    But getting a cheap sound card or borrowing a soundcard from someone and testing that is probably less error prone.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Just a final update: I picked up the USB audio jack that @Mugsley recommend and it fucking works, no crashes or slowdowns since I've had it plugged in for 2 weeks.

    So, its probably the jack on the board, and I don't think I'll take to soldering a board that I desperately want to upgrade anyway. For now, I'll just sacrifice the USB slot until I have a budget for a new setup.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular

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