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troubleshooting frequent restarts

About a week ago my PC started occasionally doing what I assume is the windows 10 equivalent of a blue screen of death and then restarting itself. The blue screen doesn't stay up long enough for me to read if there's any detailed error information, but I think all it says is "Windows has encountered a problem and needs to restart" and maybe a memory dump progress percentage that finishes in about a second. This morning it got worse, it restarted within a minute of logging in 3 or 4 times in a row until this time, where it has stayed stable. Perhaps coincidentally this is the first time I was able to close steam after logging on before it started downloading something today.

How should I go about troubleshooting what the problem is? The parts inside the case are all new except the power supply and the graphics card, which are many years old now, and the system has been running with no problems until now since I built it last summer. Is this perhaps a symptom of the power supply failing?

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Posts

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    edited January 2016
    hmm after testing it more it definitely seems like if I don't start steam up the system does not crash. A couple minutes after I do start steam and start downloading this game it BSODs and restarts. Maybe there's a problem with my SSD.

    e: I finally was able to make out what else it said in on the BSOD, the error is "critical_process_died". I don't know why it hung on that screen longer this time. Gonna try to troubleshoot based on that.

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  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    Open up the start menu and type in "event viewer". In the tree view on the left go to "custom views -> administrative events". All errors should be logged there. There's likely some named 'critical' or somesuch, that should have time stamps that coincide with your crashes.

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    edited January 2016
    Yes, those are there. Can I do something with those?

    Geeze there's a ton of scary-sounding warning events logged in here.


    also is it normal for microsoft update to be hanging on 1% downloaded forever? making sure you have the latest windows updates was one of the generic troubleshooting steps for critical_process_died, but it seems like there's an update that my system is silently failing to download.

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  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    If you click on one there should be a longer description of what went wrong. It's pretty normal to have quite a few warnings. Critical ones are the ones you should watch out for.

    If your updates are hanging, it's possible that there is an update that's messed up. There's a folder you can delete to get it to try again, but I can't remember if off of the top of my head. I'll look it up when I have some time.

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  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    The only critical warnings are that there were restarts without clean shutdowns, IE it crashed. It doesn't give any more detail about the cause in plain language, just bug report information in the details tab I don't know how to decipher.

    I'm also now quite certain that the crash happens when steam is downloading a game, around when the download reaches the 2.8 gig mark, as I have left steam running for several hours now with all the downloads cancelled with no crashes. That really makes me think there is something wrong with my solid state drive.

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  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    How can I test my SSD to see if it's defective or something? I ran CHKDSK /F and it seemed to complete without incident, but the crash is still happening if I let anything download in steam for a minute or two.

    I looked up how to get windows update unstuck and did that and got the update I was missing, but that sadly also didn't solve the problem.

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  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    Ok, one thing to try:

    Find the folder that the game is downloading into (IE: steam/steamapps/common/whatever) and right click it and hit properties, make sure it's not set to read-only.

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    edited January 2016
    huh the /steamapps/downloading folder is set to read-only, that's strange as I have definitely seen files in there in the last day. I cancelled the download and deleted the local data of the game before so there's nothing in there at the moment.

    ... actually it seems like every folder on the drive is marked read-only? What the fuck?
    but they're read only with a square mark, rather than a check mark. What does that mean?

    ok googling that seems to suggest that that mark does not mean the folders or their contents are read-only, it's super confusing and dumb.

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  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    That might be normal. Or normalish. Try changing the steam ones and seeing if it fixes the problem though.

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    clicking the box cycles between square mark > blank > check mark, when I changed it to blank and closed the properties window and then opened it again it had just gone back to the square mark, I don't think it means anything.

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  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    ok I think I've fixed it, it was something to do with certain startup processes from adobe causing a processor fuckup under those very specific circumstances??? maybe? at any rate telling those processes not to be run stopped the crashing, I think. Knock on wood.

    lol it BSOD'd while I was typing this post
    FUCK COMPUTERS

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    Try running MemTest86+ to see if maybe you have a bad stick of RAM. Let it run for at least a couple complete passes. For SSD diagnostics, you'll probably have to find the diagnostic software from your SSD manufacturer. I think SSDs do have some SMART stuff, but I'm not sure.

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  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    how do I use memtest86+?
    I got a CD image but I'm not sure what to do with it, do I need to somehow use it as a boot disk?

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    Yeah. You'd have to burn the ISO to a CD. I think Win 7 and later has the capability baked in by default. Just right-click on the ISO and you should see that option pop up. Alternatively, you could download the Ultimate Boot CD image, which has MemTest on it, as well as a bunch of other stuff, and follow these instructions to copy the files to a USB thumb drive that you can boot off of. You'll have to extract the ISO to a folder on your harddrive first, using 7-Zip or something.

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  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    I don't have a CD or floppy drive, just a USB thumb stick. I think my BIOS can boot from USB though, can I just slap a bootable binary version in there and try booting off of that?

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    Yarp. That's why I suggested UBCD. It's got the script to make a bootable USB included in the ISO.
    I usually end up going that route cause I don't have a working CD burner either. All my optical drives are dead and I never bothered replacing them cause I find a use for one maybe 3 times a year.

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  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    A random question: Now that we've fixed the windows update problem, is there anything other than Steam that's crashing downloads?

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    I haven't tried downloading any large files with anything else yet. I think the original BSOD I could reproduce has been fixed maybe probably, by following some advice from MS's support forum and disabling all the non-MS startup processes and then gradually reenabling them until I find one that causes the crash to reproduce, which turned out to work. I guess the culprit was some old startup processes from adobe creative suite 5 that I didn't need anyway. The only problem is that after the thing I was originally downloading finished and I needed to repair it because of course the BSOD problems had caused a few corrupted files in there due to interrupted downloads, it BSOD'd at the start of the redownload of the files it needed. But then it finished the download without incident afterwards and it hasn't crashed since then so I DUNNO. Fuck computers, I'm tired of chasing this rabbit for the moment. I'll come back to it if it rears its head again the next time I am downloading a large file.

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  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    We'll be here when you want to tackle it again.

  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    edited January 2016
    Hmm, different possibly unrelated problem, I just noticed today while watching my task manager that my SSD seems to cap out its transfer speed at just a few MB/s, with a reported use of at most less than 10 MB/s. The performance graphs will shoot up to 100% usage of the disk under that kind of load and the whole system gets kind of hung up waiting for the operation to finish for 5-10 seconds. That doesn't seem normal, and I don't recall it doing this before this whole mess. A SATA 3 drive should be able to handle several hundreds of MB/s, shouldn't it?

    I let memtest86 run 3 passes and it didn't find any errors, so I think the RAM's fine. Have not had any more large files to download, I've been putting off doing that because I can't think of anything large to download except steam games.

    e: oh nevermind I think I just jostled the SATA cable yesterday, wiggling the connectors around improved it

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