Question PC Black Screens randomly

Sep 24, 2022
9
0
10
0
Ive been getting a lot of black screens. It happens most often during gaming, but sometimes when im not gaming as well. Ive had it where where screens go black and it doesnt restart, screen goes black and PC auto restarts and screen goes black and i still have audio but no post. Sometimes, but not always, the GPU fans are maxed.

Things ive tried:

Ive RMA'd my GPU so this is a "new" one, Ive replaced the PSU, ive done a RAM test, ive reseated my parts, i checked all the connectors. Im not sure what else it can be. Any help would be appreciated.

Also, the BIOS is up to date as well as all the GPU drivers. Google tells me whats left might be a CMOS battery replacement or a bad MOBO.

Specs:
MOBO: asrock phantom gaming z390 4-cb
CPu: i9-9900k
GPU: GTX 2080 Super
Storage: 1 HDD and 2 SSDs
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Did they specifically tell you that they DID replace it with a new one, or did they just send it back to you without a clear indication of whether it was replaced or not? Usually, if they find a problem and replace it, they will specifically make it a point to tell you that it was replaced, otherwise, it isn't wise to assume they did replace it because I've seen a lot of cases, more than where they did, that they did not.

Have you done a CLEAN install of the graphics card drivers using the DDU? If not, I would recommend that you start there. Additionally, I would go to the product support page for your motherboard, download the latest chipset (.inf), network adapter (LAN/Ethernet) and audio controller drivers and install those as well. Do not rely on Windows to accurately provide either properly up to date OR full featured drivers for any hardware device including expansion cards, unless it is the only possible option. Always download them directly from the manufacturer whenever possible.

What is your exact power supply model number?

What is your exact memory kit model number, and were all the DIMMs you are using purchased together in a single kit or did your memory come separately at different times or single in different kits, regardless of whether they are all the same model or not?

What Windows version are you running and when was the last time, if ever, a clean install of Windows was done? And by clean install I do NOT mean a reset, refresh, restore or reinstall. Also, what drive is Windows installed on, what is on the other drives and did any of them ever previously have Windows installed on them, and if they did, did you disconnect them from the system when you were installing Windows on your current OS drive? And did you also then delete all the partitions on the old Windows drive INCLUDING the hidden EFI and restore partitions on that drive?

CMOS battery is unlikely to be the problem, especially since this motherboard is really not that old. If in doubt, it's only a couple of bucks to replace it but it seems very unlikely to me, and additionally it is further very much unlikely to cause THIS kind of problem.

I would first update the drivers as I've explained, and if that doesn't solve the problem I'd consider doing a clean install of Windows, and be sure to disconnect ALL other drives except the drive you are installing FROM and the drive you are installing TO, when you do so, followed by again installing all the latest motherboard and graphics card drivers from the manufacturer's websites, before condemning any hardware like the motherboard. In truth, this is likely a lot more probable to be a PSU or graphics card problem than it is a motherboard issue, but anything is possible.
 
Sep 24, 2022
9
0
10
0
Hello,

Thanks for the reply. It was an ASUS RMA. They did not tell me that they replaced it with a new one and did not indicate that it was new. They also did not leave a description of what was "fixed". The GPU i received did have a different serial # so i assumed it might be refurbished.

Regarding the driver update, i did do a clean install and it did not help the issue.

Ill have to double check the driver updates on the website as youre right, i have been relying on windows for driver updates.

The PSU is a Corsair RM850 that i bought 2 days ago and just placed in my system, but still received a black screen.

The RAM model is 2x8gb SPECTRIX D41 DDR4 RGB Memory Module and was purchased together. Something i can also try is taking one stick out and testing them individually.

I am running windows 10 and have never done a clean install. Windows is on my SATA SSD drive, do you think cloning it over to a new drive would help? I also have a separate M.2 SSD and an HDD in this build for games and what not. Something to note is that my SSD that holds windows is almost at capacity memory wise, not sure if that has an impact.

Another note i have to add is that the blackscreens happen while gaming, but they also happen more rarely when im not gaming, which leads me to believe its not the GPU, but at this point i have no clue what it can be. Thanks!
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Ok, so if they sent you a unit with a different serial # then at least we know it wasn't the same unit, so likely wouldn't have the same problem. It's an assumption, but let's roll with it for now until such time as it looks like that's a bad assumption.

On the clean install of the Nvidia drivers, did you do a clean install using the Nvidia built in clean install method or did you use the Display driver uninstaller while in safe mode?

It's pretty important to be running the latest BIOS and the latest motherboard drivers these days, as Windows and other third party software, such as Nvidia/AMD drivers, games, various utilities, etc., are just too commonly guilty of breaking things and have to be fixed via chipset, network, audio controller and firmware updates all the time anymore it seems like.

PSU is fine. Not a bad unit at all.

Have you had these problems ever since this system was built or did they only start recently? Was this system custom built by you or did you purchase it prebuilt through one of the boutique retailers?

Not a fan, AT ALL, of Adata products. Sure, they are cheap, and some sites give them positive reviews, but in my experience they are problematic WAY more often than other manufacturers. I'm not saying I think the memory is your problem, yet, but I'm not saying it isn't either. I'd recommend you test the memory using Memtest86 as follows and I recommend you do it first with both sticks installed. IF you get even one error, there is a problem, and you should remove one stick and test each stick individually to see if the problem is due to one of the sticks or due to the fact that they don't want to play nice with each other. Not being a particularly high quality brand I have doubts as to whether they actually do the same level of QA testing to ensure sticks are mutually compatible as companies like G.Skill, Corsair and Crucial do.

Also, make sure you have them installed in the A2 and B2 slots. Those are the second and fourth slots over from the CPU socket, or the first and third over from the edge of the motherboard. For single DIMM population it is almost always recommended to use the A2 slot although ASUS (Doesn't apply to you) HAS stupidly decided they need to be different on some of their newer board models and recommend the B2 slot instead. There are reasons related to signal deflection resulting from bus termination that predicate these population rules so they should always be followed and aside from some ASUS products they are basically the same, second and fourth slots for two DIMMs and second slot over from CPU for one DIMM, for practically every four DIMM consumer motherboard sold in the last ten to twelve years, if not longer.

Memtest86


Go to the Passmark software website and download the USB Memtest86 free version. You can do the optical disk version too if for some reason you cannot use a bootable USB flash drive.


Create bootable media using the downloaded Memtest86. Once you have done that, go into your BIOS and configure the system to boot to the USB drive that contains the Memtest86 USB media or the optical drive if using that option.


You CAN use Memtest86+, as they've recently updated the program after MANY years of no updates, but for the purpose of this guide I recommend using the Passmark version as this is a tried and true utility while I've not had the opportunity to investigate the reliability of the latest 86+ release as compared to Memtest86. Possibly, consider using Memtest86+ as simply a secondary test to Memtest86, much as Windows memory diagnostic utility and Prime95 Blend or custom modes can be used for a second opinion utility.


Create a bootable USB Flash drive:

1. Download the Windows MemTest86 USB image.

2. Right click on the downloaded file and select the "Extract to Here" option. This places the USB image and imaging tool into the current folder.

3. Run the included imageUSB tool, it should already have the image file selected and you just need to choose which connected USB drive to turn into a bootable drive. Note that this will erase all data on the drive.



No memory should ever fail to pass Memtest86 when it is at the default configuration that the system sets it at when you start out or do a clear CMOS by removing the CMOS battery for five minutes.

Best method for testing memory is to first run four passes of Memtest86, all 11 tests, WITH the memory at the default configuration. This should be done BEFORE setting the memory to the XMP profile settings. The paid version has 13 tests but the free version only has tests 1-10 and test 13. So run full passes of all 11 tests. Be sure to download the latest version of Memtest86. Memtest86+ has not been updated in MANY years. It is NO-WISE as good as regular Memtest86 from Passmark software.

If there are ANY errors, at all, then the memory configuration is not stable. Bumping the DRAM voltage up slightly may resolve that OR you may need to make adjustments to the primary timings. There are very few secondary or tertiary timings that should be altered. I can tell you about those if you are trying to tighten your memory timings.

If you cannot pass Memtest86 with the memory at the XMP configuration settings then I would recommend restoring the memory to the default JEDEC SPD of 1333/2133mhz (Depending on your platform and memory type) with everything left on the auto/default configuration and running Memtest86 over again. If it completes the four full passes without error you can try again with the XMP settings but first try bumping the DRAM voltage up once again by whatever small increment the motherboard will allow you to increase it by. If it passes, great, move on to the Prime95 testing.

If it still fails, try once again bumping the voltage if you are still within the maximum allowable voltage for your memory type and test again. If it still fails, you are likely going to need more advanced help with configuring your primary timings and should return the memory to the default configuration until you can sort it out.

If the memory will not pass Memtest86 for four passes when it IS at the stock default non-XMP configuration, even after a minor bump in voltage, then there is likely something physically wrong with one or more of the memory modules and I'd recommend running Memtest on each individual module, separately, to determine which module is causing the issue. If you find a single module that is faulty you should contact the seller or the memory manufacturer and have them replace the memory as a SET. Memory comes matched for a reason as I made clear earlier and if you let them replace only one module rather than the entire set you are back to using unmatched memory which is an open door for problems with incompatible memory.

Be aware that you SHOULD run Memtest86 to test the memory at the default, non-XMP, non-custom profile settings BEFORE ever making any changes to the memory configuration so that you will know if the problem is a setting or is a physical problem with the memory, but it can be done in reverse as well since if there are no errors when XMP is enabled there will be no need to run Memtest additional times.


HOW close to full is the SSD that Windows is on? Is this also an NVME M.2 SSD or is it a SATA SSD?

How long has this Windows installation been running and being updated with major spring and fall updates, since originally being installed? Was it an upgrade from a previous version of Windows such as 7 or 8.1?
 
Sep 24, 2022
9
0
10
0
First off,

I appreciate the hell out of this.

To answer your question, i used the Nividia clean install and not the DDU install so that is my next adventure and i will report back. My followup question is why does that matter? is the Nvidia clean install not as good?

The bios is up to date and this was a prebuilt PC. The DDR4 Ram were in the A2 and B2 before and im trying A1 and B1 at the moment. Good to know that Adata is unreliable.

I will try the memtest if the DDU method doesnt work.

The SSD had 14gb free out of 200 and is a SATA SSD. This windows version has always been windows 10.

Thanks a ton
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The Nvidia clean install is NOT "as good". It is ok most of the time, especially as just a standard practice between installing different driver version releases to simply ensure a proper and trouble free installation, but the Nvidia option doesn't always do well if there is an already existing problem you are trying to resolve because it does not do everything that the DDU clean install does, which is why the DDU clean install is recommended to be done in safe mode. There are registry settings and files that sometimes cannot be removed while in normal desktop mode, and often enough one or more of those files, settings or registry entries is what is causing the problem because sometimes they become "stuck" and don't want to go away. LOL. That's about the best way I can put it, and in safe mode they CAN be changed or removed so that the new file, setting or registry entry will "stick" rather than simply causing conflicts.

Sometimes it is also necessary, especially if there has been a change of hardware, to do a hard reset of the BIOS in order to get the CMOS to force a reconstruction of the hardware tables. If you should ever have a problem after a change of hardware that you can't resolve, the following method for a hard reset of the BIOS will often accomplish what even loading the BIOS defaults or using the clear CMOS pins on the motherboard will not.

BIOS Hard Reset procedure

Power off the unit, switch the PSU off and unplug the PSU cord from either the wall or the power supply.

Remove the motherboard CMOS battery for about three to five minutes. In some cases it may be necessary to remove the graphics card to access the CMOS battery.

During that five minutes while the CMOS battery is out of the motherboard, press the power button on the case, continuously, for 15-30 seconds, in order to deplete any residual charge that might be present in the CMOS circuit. After the five minutes is up, reinstall the CMOS battery making sure to insert it with the correct side up just as it came out.

If you had to remove the graphics card you can now reinstall it, but remember to reconnect your power cables if there were any attached to it as well as your display cable.

Now, plug the power supply cable back in, switch the PSU back on and power up the system. It should display the POST screen and the options to enter CMOS/BIOS setup. Enter the bios setup program and reconfigure the boot settings for either the Windows boot manager or for legacy systems, the drive your OS is installed on if necessary.

Save settings and exit. If the system will POST and boot then you can move forward from there including going back into the bios and configuring any other custom settings you may need to configure such as Memory XMP, A-XMP or D.O.C.P profile settings, custom fan profile settings or other specific settings you may have previously had configured that were wiped out by resetting the CMOS.

In some cases it may be necessary when you go into the BIOS after a reset, to load the Optimal default or Default values and then save settings, to actually get the hardware tables to reset in the boot manager.

It is probably also worth mentioning that for anything that might require an attempt to DO a hard reset in the first place, IF the problem is related to a lack of video signal, it is a GOOD IDEA to try a different type of display as many systems will not work properly for some reason with displayport configurations. It is worth trying HDMI if you are having no display or lack of visual ability to enter the BIOS, or no signal messages.

Trying a different monitor as well, if possible, is also a good idea if there is a lack of display. It happens.



I wouldn't EXACTLY say that Adata is "unreliable", per se, just maybe "less reliable" than more premium brands like G.Skill, Corsair and Crucial. I'm sure Adata has some products that are fine, but I've encountered enough problems with their products, and seen enough problems that other people on here have had with them, to simply recommend avoiding them as a matter of course except when it's the only or best option amongst a bunch of alternative options that are even worse. PNY is another company that, aside from their Quadro or RTX workstation graphics cards, I try to avoid because the majority of their products I've had problems with on many occasions and they are simply not to the same level of quality as some others while not really being demonstrably less expensive at the same time.

Let's see if the DDU works and if not I'll make further recommendations from there. I think it's time for a new SSD for the OS though. I don't know how big your M.2 SSD is, but generally speaking there is a lot more gain to be had by having the OS on an M.2 NVME PCIe SSD and games on a SATA SSD (Because games really don't see terrific improvement from being on the super fast NVME drive aside from slight improvements to map and level loading times since storage speed has little relationship with gaming performance) than the other way around AND having only 20GB left out of 200GB does in my opinion reflect a need for a larger drive.

Considering a clean install has never been done, I would not recommend doing a clone. I'd recommend doing a clean install because it's senseless to bring all the cruft, orphaned registry entries from months or years of installed/uninstalled programs and updates etc., to the new drive especially when there has already been a history of problems or unwanted behaviors. Sure, it's a bit more work to go through reinstalling things, but the end result is a lot more solid and a lot less troubled than trying to reuse an installation that has already repeatedly been updated through several major version releases not to mention lots of other software added and removed over time. Sometimes it is simply the ONLY way to resolve some issues as well but admittedly it also sometimes is not the fix, but in those cases at least we generally then know what it ISN'T which makes it easier to determine what it IS.
 
Sep 24, 2022
9
0
10
0
So i tried the DDU with fresh reinstall of GPU drivers and it worked for a while, but there is still random crashing. This time the crash was a little different. The screen went black then displayed again but everything was frozen. The previous crashes the screen would just stay black or the PC would restart, what do you think that means?

Thanks
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
You did move your RAM back to A2 and B2 right? Because there should not be any memory installed in A1 and B1, ever, unless A2 and B2 are already populated.

I think at this point, if you want my real advice, I'd consider getting a larger drive now and doing a clean install of Windows on that drive.

In order I would, download the latest drivers for your motherboard and put them on a flash drive to install after you do a clean install in case Windows doesn't automatically support your network adapter. It should, but just in case.

Back up anything important that isn't already backed up, to another drive or external source like cloud storage, optical disks, flash drive, external hard drive or secondary internal drive, if you haven't already.

Install new drive (Or you can try just doing a clean install on your existing OS drive first, which will likely result in freeing up at least some of that used space even after you put things back on because you probably have a lot of useless crap on there by now like the Windows.old file that is probably a few dozen GB worth of space and other cruft).

Perform a clean install by following the instructions at the following link. A few of the screens will be different as I need to update my guide, but in general the process is going to largely be the same and you should follow it as exactly as possible especially when it comes to choosing the "Custom" installation method when it asks, and then deleting all the existing partitions on the OS drive if you reuse your current drive. The steps are outlined and be sure to remove or fully disconnect ALL other drives before doing a clean install, except the drive you are installing TO and the drive (Usually a flash drive) you are installing FROM.

Read the guide in advance to familiarize yourself with the steps involved.

The point is to not throw money at hardware that isn't needed if possible and doing a clean install is about the only way to ensure that it is not in fact a software issue.

It would be a good idea to read ALL of these before doing anything else.

 
Sep 24, 2022
9
0
10
0
Thanks, im going to try that next. I just have to order a USB drive since i havent used one in a long time.

I also just checked my GPUs warranty and its covered. Do you think i should just RMA it? or is that a last case scenario.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I thought you already did that, and still had the same problem? If so, then I'd make that a last ditch effort. I'd try clean installing everything first, and if you THEN still have the same problem you might consider another RMA.

Might also not be the worst idea, just so you can say you did it and it wasn't the solution, to get a new CMOS battery since they are only a couple of bucks.

Might also try the graphics card in the other x16 PCIe slot.
 
Sep 24, 2022
9
0
10
0
Im going to try the windows fresh install then CMOS, then probably just RMA

I did notice this in the event log around the time of a black screen. Not sure if this is useful

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Faulting application name: dwm.exe, version: 10.0.19041.746, time stamp: 0x6be51595
Faulting module name: KERNELBASE.dll, version: 10.0.19041.1949, time stamp: 0xcb12e58e
Exception code: 0xe0464645
Fault offset: 0x000000000010fb62
Faulting process id: 0x1bd4
Faulting application start time: 0x01d8d2bea3f8148c
Faulting application path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\dwm.exe
Faulting module path: C:\WINDOWS\System32\KERNELBASE.dll
Report Id: ab4ec832-08fb-408f-87e4-de3898c20455
Faulting package full name:
Faulting package-relative application ID:
 
Sep 24, 2022
9
0
10
0
Ok so before i did a clean install i tried one thing. I uninstalled the latest "Windows update" version and i havent had a single crash yet. I did, however, notice interesting boot behavior. Whenever i boot my computer to sleep, when i move my mouse or reboot the PC seems to shut down boot, shutdown, then boot again fully before coming to the login screen. It hasnt really effected anything and all my current open tabs dont change. I do think its interesting.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Disable hibernation, which will also disable fast startup in Windows. System will still sleep just fine, better in fact, for almost all Windows 10 and 11 systems (And 8.1 before that), but won't have the problems that fast startup creates for most systems.

To disable Hibernation:

The first step is to run the command prompt as administrator. In Windows 10, you can do this by right clicking on the start menu and clicking "Command Prompt (Admin)"
Type in "powercfg.exe /h off" without the quotes and press enter. If you typed it in correctly, the cursor will simply start at a new line asking for new input
Now just exit out of command prompt
 
Sep 24, 2022
9
0
10
0
Another update I reset the BIOS and now i have strange boot issues. Whenever i wake the PC out of sleep it turns on, then all the lights in the case shut off (i think it shuts off) then boots all without me touching anything. The computer works ok after that too. Sometimes it resets my computer and sometimes my tabs and stuff are still there. Either way its a strange issue.

I just replaced my PSU so i dont think thats it. Im going to try a fresh install of windows soon. Any ideas what might be causing this?
 
Oct 9, 2022
2
0
10
0
Hi,

So i did a Windows clean install and forgot the password and email to the account above lol

The PC still boots in that weird behavior. Not sure what to do about that. I think it has to do with me clearing the CMOS and resetting the BIOS because the problem wasnt there before. Maybe it has to do with a BIOS setting that got reset.
 
Oct 9, 2022
2
0
10
0
Hello, came to say that i RMA'd my GPU and i no longer haver crashes. Safe to say if you run into problems similar to the ones i listed in this thread its prob a bad GPU. Thanks for all the help.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Well, that's why the very first thing I said was "Are you sure it got replaced", because it sure seemed unlikely to me that they replaced it if you still had the same issue. Apparently, instincts are right sometimes.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS