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Multiple Products Crash to Desktop RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've been struggling with this since Vista's release, and I'm now completely out of ideas.

     

    With a clean install of Vista Ultimate x64 I have applications (mostly games) completely bomb on me and crash to desktop.  This is an instant death:  no error message, seldom a moment of freeze-up; just one moment I'm in a program or in-game and the next I'm staring at my wallpaper.

     

    I seldom get anything listed in the Event Viewer; when I do it's typically the generic "Application Error 1000".

     

    I wouldn't mind if it were just pre-Vista games, but we're talking about Games for Windows titles, games put out with the software assurance label that was supposed to make upgrading to Vista worthwhile.  I am experiencing this exact same problem on Halo 1, Call of Duty 2, and The Matrix Online...and I am also experiencing it on Gears of War, Blacksite: Area 51, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, Crysis, and Call of Duty 4.  In fact, I can not think of one game I've played on Vista in the past year and a half that hasn't crashed. 

     

    Here are my stats:

     

    ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe motherboard

    AMD Athlon X2 4400+ processor (2.2GHz)

    4 GB RAM (4 x 1GB OCZ Technologies PC3200 low-latency performance RAM, dual-channel enabled)

    2 x Western Digital 160GB SATA 2.0 3.0Gb/s HD (individual non-RAID volumes): one for the OS, one for programs

    2 x BFG Tech nVidia GeForce 8800GS 512MB video cards, SLi enabled

    Creative Labs Audigy X-Fi Audio sound card

    Toshiba SATA 2.0 DVD+/-RW drive

     

    WEI Rating: 5.0

     

    All drivers are kept constantly up to date (I check weekly).  All patches and Service Pack 1 have been applied.  I use Avast! for anti-virus protection.

     

    Here's what I've tried, in combinations:

     

    • enable/disable UAC
    • run program as Admin/not as Admin
    • XP Service Pack 2 compatibility enabled / disabled (including display checkboxes in "Compatibility" tab)
    • Windows 2000 compatibility enabled / disabled
    • Killing all non-essential services (Print Spooler, etc.)
    • Black Viper configs for performance / default out-of-box settings for Vista
    • Killing all non-essential programs (background programs like QuickTime or even components like Windows Sidebar)
    • Enabling / Disabling programs like Superfetch, Multimedia Task Scheduler, etc.
    • Clearing out Prefetch folder / letting Prefetch build a cache after two weeks of regular use (incl. launch programs and let them crash, then launch them again)
    • using ReadyBoost with a compatible 4GB Patriot XT key:  as dedicated and non-dedicated (removeable) resource
    • Log in under different Administrative access account
    • Log in under different Limited access account
    • Enabling / Disabling Aero Glass
    • Implementing every one of the "50 Ways to Improve Performance in Windows Vista" article from Vista Magazine (some of which are in this list already)
    • enable / disable Windows Defender, Windows Updates (incl. Background Intelligent Transfer service)
    • manually installing the latest DirectX 10, incl. redist. and SDK
    • Enabling / Disabling Windows Media services (player, Windows Media Center, etc.)
    • Manually raising game priority to "High"
    • Defragment, defragment, defragment...at one point I'd defrag, do an install and when prompted for the next disc, defragment, then pop in the next disc, defrag, next disc, etc., defrag after, reboot, defrag, run
    • Switch to a Microsoft mouse and generic keyboard, completely removing other device software

    Where I stand right now is that I have done yet another full format and reinstall of Vista Ultimate x64.  I am back to the Logitech G15 keyboard and a Microsoft Optical Trackball.

     

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.  I don't overclock or use Beta drivers, and I've even tried UNDERclocking everything.  Machine temps and voltage are stable: I have a pretty hefty APC UPS connected to a line conditioner and plenty of fans, ventilation, and regular dusting.  This hardware can (and at one point did) run beautifully under XP x64 Edition.

     

     

     

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008 4:40 PM

Answers

  • I assume you've already checked the event viewer to see what your error codes are and researched them so I'm going to suggest something different.

     

    I understand that the two suggestions I'd like you to try will not be fun, but please try both of them over a period of a few days.

     

    1 - Remove one of your Video Cards

     

    I understand that removing one of your cards will kill your performance, but I believe you could do that and keep your latest drivers intact to test with to see if it's SLI that's causing Vista to puke. We're not looking for speed in this instance, we checking for in-game stability. If it resolves the crashing problem we can move on to possible causes.

     

    FYI, SLI in Vista 64 gave me fits. So much so that I replaced my 8800GTS cards with 4870s. I haven't had an issue since.

     

    2 - Run in SLI, but revert back to the 169.x version of the nVidia Drivers.

     

    I've heard tales that reverting back to the 169s allow SLI to work better, though not quite as fast as with the later drivers. (and you have to manually set your fanspeed each time you boot up.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008 8:05 PM
  • I think the answer was both simple and odd:  I just don't think my hardware was compatible with Vista, simple as that.  I'm learning this lesson the hard way:  some machines work perfectly with some OSes, others do not.  End of Story.  I've got an old Gateway from the Windows Me era that simply will not run on Windows XP, nor will it step backwards to Windows 98...Me is the only thing that'll work despite trying a new hard drive.  This must be another example of the phenomenon.

    This machine has been nothing but happy ever since I put Windows 7 on it.  And when I put Vista on a different machine that's just one shade newer than this one, Vista ran fine, too.

    Hope that's helpful to someone.  I guess the lesson learned is, "When you run out of ideas and even Microsoft Tech Support can't figure it out, stop spinning your wheels and just accept it."
    • Marked as answer by Sonic_Spike Wednesday, November 4, 2009 8:45 PM
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 8:45 PM

All replies

  • I assume you've already checked the event viewer to see what your error codes are and researched them so I'm going to suggest something different.

     

    I understand that the two suggestions I'd like you to try will not be fun, but please try both of them over a period of a few days.

     

    1 - Remove one of your Video Cards

     

    I understand that removing one of your cards will kill your performance, but I believe you could do that and keep your latest drivers intact to test with to see if it's SLI that's causing Vista to puke. We're not looking for speed in this instance, we checking for in-game stability. If it resolves the crashing problem we can move on to possible causes.

     

    FYI, SLI in Vista 64 gave me fits. So much so that I replaced my 8800GTS cards with 4870s. I haven't had an issue since.

     

    2 - Run in SLI, but revert back to the 169.x version of the nVidia Drivers.

     

    I've heard tales that reverting back to the 169s allow SLI to work better, though not quite as fast as with the later drivers. (and you have to manually set your fanspeed each time you boot up.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008 8:05 PM
  • Mandark, thanks:  this is a GREAT suggestion and I will give it a try (and post back here with the results).

     

    I won't bother with the 169 drivers unless a single-card config doesn't solve the problem, because that was what I was using back when I first got going.

     

    I'm not desperate to squeeze that small overhead out of SLi that a single card can't provide--I just had the opportunity and thought that was what would best help the system.  I figured Vista was a hog and would want double the graphics trough at which to swill. Stick out tongue

     

    You mentioned reverting to older cards.  I also have a pair of 7950s I could use, but...the 8800s were for DX10 support.  Just out of curiosity, do you think if I swapped 7950s in SLi for stability that I'd lose a lot with Vista?

     

    Thanks again

    Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:09 PM
  • I could have sworn I replied to this, just days after you posted it.  Perhaps someone stole my packets. :P

    I tried one video card--no change.  I did this in a thorough way:  disable SLi, uninstall the drivers, shut down, remove card, power up, reinstall.  Then I reverted back to 169 drivers with single-video-card configuration.  Still crashes.  Uninstalled video drivers, shut down, added second card back in, enabled SLi and ran on 169 drivers, still a crash.  Rolled forward again to latest and greatest drivers.

    I think the problem is the awfulness of Vista in general, and in particular that this installation DVD was one of the first--pre SP1. 

    In December another awful thing happened to me that Vista randomly does from time to time:  I turned it on one day, and it said, "cannot find winboot.exe".  My machine was completely unrecoverable and utterly hosed, and yet again I had to do a full format/reinstall.

    Here's the odd thing:  when I watch the performance monitor in my Logitech G15 keyboard, I see CPU fluctuating up and down from 30-100%, but RAM is typically maxed out, with random drops to reasonable levels.  After I did this reinstall, things seemed to run properly:  RAM and CPU load scaling up and down, but never pegging at 100% and holding there.

    Suddenly, everything was running great:  it seemed like Windows Vista was going absolutely the way it was supposed to!  Fallout 3 looked gorgeous and every game (except Halo) ran smoothly.

    In January, I turned it on one day, and "cannot find winboot.exe".  Hosed again.

    I installed Windows 7 Beta and since then, everything seems to be going...okay.  Better.  I'm a bit too scarred to call this fixed, but I'm hoping that the fact I've run for 3 months now without a crash is a good sign.  Performance has dropped just a bit for Fallout 3, but other than that I'm stable.
    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 12:06 PM
  • I think the answer was both simple and odd:  I just don't think my hardware was compatible with Vista, simple as that.  I'm learning this lesson the hard way:  some machines work perfectly with some OSes, others do not.  End of Story.  I've got an old Gateway from the Windows Me era that simply will not run on Windows XP, nor will it step backwards to Windows 98...Me is the only thing that'll work despite trying a new hard drive.  This must be another example of the phenomenon.

    This machine has been nothing but happy ever since I put Windows 7 on it.  And when I put Vista on a different machine that's just one shade newer than this one, Vista ran fine, too.

    Hope that's helpful to someone.  I guess the lesson learned is, "When you run out of ideas and even Microsoft Tech Support can't figure it out, stop spinning your wheels and just accept it."
    • Marked as answer by Sonic_Spike Wednesday, November 4, 2009 8:45 PM
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 8:45 PM