Question A Symphony of Suffering - Freeze into BSOD, can still move mouse

Apr 13, 2020
Hello to the fine folks at Tom's Hardware,


Long time reader, first time poster, I wish under better circumstances. My PC (pre-built, for gaming) started off marvelously having little to no issues whatsoever. After using it for the first three months that I had it, I started encountering a problem. The computer would freeze, and then crash. The manner in which it did these things was peculiar.

The problem first arose when I was playing a heavily modded version of Skyrim. 'No biggie' I thought. I uninstalled the game as I imagined that was the cause of the crash. Unfortunately, it happened again, immediately upon booting. This first occurrence of the problem was in early March. Moving forward, I tried to monitor my performance via task manager, as well as CPU usage/temp, GPU temp, and SSD usage. For most days, nothing. In fact, I am writing this on my PC right now with confidence it won't crash. Heck I played Bannerlord over last weekend for like a solid few hours and it ran great, no crashes whatsoever. That is why this problem angers me so, the crashes/freezes are so infrequent, that it can be days before they occur again, making them very difficult to fix or nail down.

While I strongly believe I have diagnosed the problem, I wanted to bounce it off you fine fellows to ensure I don't waste my money. Here are the deets:

Intel i7-9700KF 3.60GHz (6-core)
16.0 GB DDR4 XPG Ram
Windows 10 x64, up to date
ADATA Ultimate SU750 2.5" SATA III 3D TLC Internal Solid State Drive ASU750SS (I have another SSD but I haven't used it much, if at all)

The Problem (Probably)

Among my observations, I would frequently see the %Usage of my C: Drive hitting and staying at 100% leading up to a freeze. Funnily enough, when it would hit 100%, the task manager would freeze (I'm going to guess it's still at 100% during the freeze) but my mouse would still move. It remains frozen like this for some time before it inevitably results in a BSOD. The BSOD's tend to change, however. The myriad of errors I've received during the BSOD are CRITICAL_SERVICE_FAILED (0x0000005A ) and CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED (0x000000EF ). I may have seen others, but these two are the ones most frequently seen. Studious as I try to be, I always login to Event Viewer and try and find the error, but I get very little information. The stop errors I see in System> windows are:

The computer has rebooted from a bugcheck. The bugcheck was: 0x00000154 (0xffff928388876000, 0xffff810f9da55f00, 0x0000000000000002, 0x0000000000000000). A dump was saved in: C:\Windows\MEMORY.DMP. Report Id: bb388f49-bb87-4a3d-a9e2-58220144e530.

This is always an Error message. But the Critical Stop Error is always Event ID 41. The following occurred not even an hour ago:


Event ID 41:

[ Name] Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-Power
[ Guid] {331c3b3a-2005-44c2-ac5e-77220c37d6b4}







[ SystemTime] 2020-04-14T01:00:32.184859300Z



[ ProcessID] 4
[ ThreadID] 8



[ UserID]
















According to the internet, the issue lies with my SSD, primarily with it having difficulty with power. I have tried the following to remedy this:

Update all drivers
Clean Boot/system restore
Adjust power settings (Disable PCI management)
Uninstall most programs, the problem occurs regardless of what's running (if anything)

I Have NOT tried switching SSDs. I do not have a space copy of windows lying around, and I'm unsure if I can switch windows to my other drive. It is currently on my 1TB SSD, and my other one is 250GB.

I Have NOT tried using another SSD with a clean install for the same reason.

I have not tried using another Surge Protector (it has a 1850W limit, which I should be comfortably below.

Again, a reason I'm scratching my head at this is that this problem didn't exist at all during the first few months of my owning it.

Basically, I want to make sure it's the SSD before I drop a fat hundred or so on another. I know the build itself looks like I got cash to burn on this, but I'd like to save when I can. If you need/want for the info to help provide a second opinion.


Not likely that it's the SSD itself being bad.
It could be that a cable came loose and you should double check that ALL power cables and such are firmly plugged into everything.

Otherwise, there are a few options we can go over.
Option 1:
The SSD is faulty, and that is what your warranty is for.

Option 2: It's Windows related and a clean install would fix this.

Option 3: Neither is the issue, everything is plugged in properly, but the power supply itself is faulty, and again, that is what a warranty is for.

The first thing you can do is check cables like I mentioned above.
The second thing you can do at no cost to you (or potentially no cost to you) is if you have a flash drive lying around that is at least 8GB in size.
If you do have one of those, then proceed with backing up any important little files you don't want to lose.

Second, go into your account settings in Windows and make sure you are signed into a Microsoft account and that you have linked the activation of your copy of Windows to your account.

Third, download and use the Windows Media Creation Tool from Microsoft to turn that flash drive into a bootable one that can install Windows 10.

Fourth, if you have the means to connect the 250GB drive to your PC without removing the 1TB you have in there, then do so while the system is off and unplugged, then plug in the flash drive, boot the computer, boot into the flash drive from startup, then go to custom install options, and completely wipe your 1TB and install Windows to the 250GB making it the OS drive.

Alternatively, just wipe the 1TB and install to that one if you can't install the 250GB along side it.

Make sure to select to install the version of Windows you had already on the system that your activation is for (it's most likely Windows 10 Home)

After Windows is installed, it'll ask you to sign into a Microsoft account. You sign in and it will auto activate using the activation that is linked to your account.

If you continue to have issues, then as mentioned above and by me, it could be the power supply.
You can give us the make and model number of it so we can determine if your model happens to have any known wide spread issues. And again, this is what a warranty on your pre built is for.

So basically, aside from checking all the power and connector cables, and doing a clean install of Windows, you would most likely have a hardware issue, and at that point, you should take advantage of your warranty to get things fixed.

Make sure to back up important data though before sending the thing off to get fixed because most likely they will wipe the drive before sending it back to you.

Once all is said and done though, if you do have the means to connect both SSD's into your system, I would highly recommend doing that and having Windows installed onto the smaller one so that you can use it as a boot drive and for a few main applications like web browsers, and then keep all your loose files and games and such on the larger drive, so that in the future in the event of definitely needing to do a clean install of Windows, you won't have to end up deleting games and such and only have to re install the operating system with those select few basic programs like web browsers.
Apr 13, 2020
Appreciate the quick reply gentlemen/gentleladies. I'll do the simplest first, and turn everything off while giving the cords a thorough once over. Try a few restarts to see if I can recreate the problem. I'll also check out the PSU, since I'm honestly not sure what it is.

I'll let you know what's up. I appreciate the suggestions!
Apr 13, 2020
I have returned.
Interestingly enough, when I rebooted just now, my computer froze in the customary fashion (still can move mouse nothing responds). However, I did not go to a BSOD, and there is no stop error in Event Viewer. There are a few errors, but they don't relate to the problem (one is a WLAN error, the other two are BitLocker related, and I don't want to post information as to those).

What I found out:
Everything is plugged in flawlessly. Honestly, the cable management is superb, it's locked up tighter than Rikers Island. The PSU is 800W, which according to PC Part Picker, is well above the minimum recommended 500 Wattage. I'm unsure how to go forward from here. On occasion, the task manager lists certain programs as 'Very High' for power usage, even when under minimal load. And again, when I froze up just a bit ago, the C Drive was at 100% usage throughout.

Is there a way I can check the power usage via program? I'm not keen on getting an external reader. Otherwise, if the problem gets worse I'll try the SSD switcheroo idea. I've run this through SFC and Memtest btw, and nothing came upon


the lock up can possibly be due to the high disk usage.
as for the PSU, wattage means nothing if the PSU itself is of poor quality in it's build and components as well as how well it delivers on that wattage through the different rails and the amps as well.

but your issue is more likely due to the OS for some odd reason.
perhaps it was something you installed at some point.
don't go installing software without knowing for certain it's good software.
also, you should never go to odd websites.
when browsing the web, you also don't want to click on anything random, and you should browse using either Chrome or Firefox and with the adblocker extension/addon called uBlock Origin (not the other adblockers, those are trash)

So what you should do is go through the motions of doing a clean install of Windows as I outlined above.

Here's a few tips after a clean install:
Run Windows update and install updates.
Keep checking for updates until it asks you to restart then do so.
After restart, keep checking, so on and so forth until when you check for updates, it has none to give.

If your pre-built is the likes of Dell, HP, Alienware, etc. then go to the support of page of your model prebuilt and download and install chipset drivers and other specialty drivers for LAN and network if it's something like Killer LAN or something, otherwise leave it to W10 to auto use whatever drivers it wants as those might be better.
Let W10 handle drivers for everything else.

Alternatively, if your prebuilt comes from the likes of iBuyPower, CyberPowerPC, OriginPC, etc. then open DXDiag by typing in just that in Windows search and opening it to see what your motherboard is and Google for the "System Model" number. (you can also use this model number if it's the previous kind of pre built) and you'll find the support page for you motherboard. Same deal with drivers.

Or you can open the PC and look at the motherboard model printed right there on the motherboard itself and Google that.

After that, you can install graphics card drivers that you download directly from Nvidia website.

Everything else is just a matter of software such as web browsers, game clients, games, etc.

If you do a clean install, and don't go installing third party software except for that of trusted companies (like Valve with Steam, Google with Chrome, Adobe with their software, etc.) and you still experience a problem when just using the system or when gaming, and/or you see the 100% disk usage after the first 2 minutes after loading into the desktop (check task manager btw, and organize by disk usage and see what is using the most. It's usually Antimalware/Antivirus from defender for a bit until it calms down) then perhaps you have a hardware issue with the SSD.

Last thing you can do to check that it is in fact the SSD, is to use your other SSD to install Windows (completely removing or just unplugging the current SSD so it's not part of the equation) and then check to see if you still have any issues.

In this scenario, if you still have problems after clean install, and then don't after swapping out the storage, then you know for sure it's the SSD and you should act upon your warranty.

If you still have issues after swapping the SSD's, then something else is wrong and you should still act upon your warranty.

Here's a guide for performing a clean install if you need it.

My post above details a few things already such as backing up any important files, and linking the activation to your account (or just double checking that it already is if you signed into one when you first booted the system) but read the guide for the full setup and execution process of installing a clean copy of Windows 10.