Speckles, Crashes, etc. in Windows 7 Media Center

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by bckncook, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. bckncook

    bckncook New Member

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    Speckles, Crashes, etc. in Windows 7 Media Center

    OK, so I need a hero right now. I’m having graphics issues with my custom media center (no gaming whatsoever) running Windows 7 Ultimate RTM. I’ve tried everything I can think of over the last few weeks, all to no avail. No matter what I do, at least one of the following eventually happens, according to the rough probabilities noted:

    1) It always reaches a state where the screen is lightly speckled, progressing to heavier speckles, and eventually to near total distortion (note that sometimes, however, it will jump straight to the total distortion phase and sometimes, the blue screen mentioned in #3 will occur before the speckles begin).
    2) It often pops up the tray notification about the “display driver stopped responding and has recoveredâ€Â￾.
    3) It sometimes results in a blue screen (usually after speckling a while, but sometimes beforehand) mentioning that an “attempt to reset the display driver and recover from timeout failedâ€Â￾ and referencing “nvlddmkm.sysâ€Â￾.
    4) It occasionally causes the screen to randomly flicker / flash.
    5) It rarely causes the screen to black out, sometimes coming back on and sometimes not.

    The issues most commonly occur while displaying the Favorites slideshow (i.e. Win7 Media Center’s screen saver) or while displaying the Now Playing collage of album art. Interestingly enough, though, it hasn’t ever started during a movie, even a Blu-Ray or HD DVD.

    I’ve tried three different graphics cards (8500GT, 8600GT, 9500GT) to drive my HDTV through my receiver via component video (I have no HDMI devices) and to drive my front panel via VGA (my case has a touchscreen display on the front). I should note that when each card is first installed, I get an initial error about how my video may not work as expected since I have less than 64 MB video RAM (I don’t remember the exact message), but that’s obviously not accurate. I just click OK, move on, and it never shows again until I install a different card.

    I’ve also tried using a 7300GS in conjunction with with one of the main cards and drove the front panel off this separate card. I hoped this might take some load off the main card if that was somehow a problem (don’t know why it would have been, but was getting desperate). It didn’t fix the problem coming out of the main card, but I was at least able to conclude that the issue doesn’t affect the front panel if it’s running off a separate card, but that both screens are affected when one card is doing double duty.

    Anyway, here are the specific graphics card models I’ve tried:

    1) 8600GT: eVGA 256-P2-N753-TR 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 (ordered a couple weeks ago to convert this box into a media center; this PC was originally built as a home automation server, and all other hardware components below are holdovers from when I originally built the PC for that purpose)
    2) 8500GT: MSI NX8500GT-MTD256EH 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 Silent Heatsink (took out of my modified HP z558 to try)
    3) 9500GT: Galaxy 95TGE8HUFEXX 1GB 128-bit DDR2 (went out and bought at Best Buy just to make sure this wasn’t an 8-series issue)
    4) 7300GS: XFX PVT72GWANG 256MB 64-bit GDDR2 (the one I used back when this was just a home automation server)

    And here are my other hardware components:

    1) Case: Moneual MonCaso 932B Black Aluminum 7" Touch Screen ATX
    2) Power Supply: Scythe Kamariki 2 KMRK-450A-2 450W ATX12V
    3) Motherboard: eVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR Intel LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX
    4) Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 65W
    5) Memory: Corsair XMS2 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
    6) Hard Drive: Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s 3.5"
    7) Optical Drive: LG GGW-H20L Super-Multi Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD Drive SATA Lightscribe
    8) Display: Pioneer Elite PRO-710HD 64â€Â￾ Reference Monitor (at least it used to be a reference model J)
    9) Receiver: Pioneer Elite VSX-49Txi THX Ultra 2 A/V i-Link Receiver

    So what else have I tried (other than that mentioned above)? Well, I failed to take good notes along the way, but minimally, these efforts come to mind, and none of the efforts resulted in any substantial change to the system’s behavior pattern:

    1) Installed old and new drivers ranging from version 181.71 to the latest version 190.62; also tried the version that came on each included installation CD; used Driver Sweeper between attempted version.
    2) Have tried with one card doing double duty and have tried with separate cards driving the two displays; either way, the displays are used in extended desktop mode; each display has been tried as the primary.
    3) Have tried all three PCI-E x16 slots; the 8500GT, 8600GT, or 9500GT, whichever was in at the time, has definitely been tried in all three slots; didn’t try the 7300GS in all slots, but that’s likely irrelevant.
    4) When only using one card, have tried it with and without the front panel being active; have tried it with the front panel turned off via the display settings and have also tried it disconnected altogether.
    5) Originally had the 64-bit version of Windows 7 RTM installed; thought it might be a 64-bit driver issue, so I even did a clean install using the 32-bit version of Windows 7 RTM, but there was no improvement.

    And with that… HELP!!! I’ve wasted enough time trying to solve this. It shouldn’t be this difficult, so I know one of you out there has a magic bullet for me, so please… hurry and fire it my way!
     
  2. bckncook

    bckncook New Member

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    Speckles, Crashes, etc. in Windows 7 Media Center

    OK, so I need a hero right now. I’m having graphics issues with my custom media center (no gaming whatsoever) running Windows 7 Ultimate RTM. I’ve tried everything I can think of over the last few weeks, all to no avail. No matter what I do, at least one of the following eventually happens, according to the rough probabilities noted:

    1) It always reaches a state where the screen is lightly speckled, progressing to heavier speckles, and eventually to near total distortion (note that sometimes, however, it will jump straight to the total distortion phase and sometimes, the blue screen mentioned in #3 will occur before the speckles begin).
    2) It often pops up the tray notification about the “display driver stopped responding and has recoveredâ€Â￾.
    3) It sometimes results in a blue screen (usually after speckling a while, but sometimes beforehand) mentioning that an “attempt to reset the display driver and recover from timeout failedâ€Â￾ and referencing “nvlddmkm.sysâ€Â￾.
    4) It occasionally causes the screen to randomly flicker / flash.
    5) It rarely causes the screen to black out, sometimes coming back on and sometimes not.

    The issues most commonly occur while displaying the Favorites slideshow (i.e. Win7 Media Center’s screen saver) or while displaying the Now Playing collage of album art. Interestingly enough, though, it hasn’t ever started during a movie, even a Blu-Ray or HD DVD.

    I’ve tried three different graphics cards (8500GT, 8600GT, 9500GT) to drive my HDTV through my receiver via component video (I have no HDMI devices) and to drive my front panel via VGA (my case has a touchscreen display on the front). I should note that when each card is first installed, I get an initial error about how my video may not work as expected since I have less than 64 MB video RAM (I don’t remember the exact message), but that’s obviously not accurate. I just click OK, move on, and it never shows again until I install a different card.

    I’ve also tried using a 7300GS in conjunction with with one of the main cards and drove the front panel off this separate card. I hoped this might take some load off the main card if that was somehow a problem (don’t know why it would have been, but was getting desperate). It didn’t fix the problem coming out of the main card, but I was at least able to conclude that the issue doesn’t affect the front panel if it’s running off a separate card, but that both screens are affected when one card is doing double duty.

    Anyway, here are the specific graphics card models I’ve tried:

    1) 8600GT: eVGA 256-P2-N753-TR 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 (ordered a couple weeks ago to convert this box into a media center; this PC was originally built as a home automation server, and all other hardware components below are holdovers from when I originally built the PC for that purpose)
    2) 8500GT: MSI NX8500GT-MTD256EH 256MB 128-bit GDDR2 Silent Heatsink (took out of my modified HP z558 to try)
    3) 9500GT: Galaxy 95TGE8HUFEXX 1GB 128-bit DDR2 (went out and bought at Best Buy just to make sure this wasn’t an 8-series issue)
    4) 7300GS: XFX PVT72GWANG 256MB 64-bit GDDR2 (the one I used back when this was just a home automation server)

    And here are my other hardware components:

    1) Case: Moneual MonCaso 932B Black Aluminum 7" Touch Screen ATX
    2) Power Supply: Scythe Kamariki 2 KMRK-450A-2 450W ATX12V
    3) Motherboard: eVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR Intel LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX
    4) Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 65W
    5) Memory: Corsair XMS2 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
    6) Hard Drive: Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s 3.5"
    7) Optical Drive: LG GGW-H20L Super-Multi Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD Drive SATA Lightscribe
    8) Display: Pioneer Elite PRO-710HD 64â€Â￾ Reference Monitor (at least it used to be a reference model J)
    9) Receiver: Pioneer Elite VSX-49Txi THX Ultra 2 A/V i-Link Receiver

    So what else have I tried (other than that mentioned above)? Well, I failed to take good notes along the way, but minimally, these efforts come to mind, and none of the efforts resulted in any substantial change to the system’s behavior pattern:

    1) Installed old and new drivers ranging from version 181.71 to the latest version 190.62; also tried the version that came on each included installation CD; used Driver Sweeper between attempted version.
    2) Have tried with one card doing double duty and have tried with separate cards driving the two displays; either way, the displays are used in extended desktop mode; each display has been tried as the primary.
    3) Have tried all three PCI-E x16 slots; the 8500GT, 8600GT, or 9500GT, whichever was in at the time, has definitely been tried in all three slots; didn’t try the 7300GS in all slots, but that’s likely irrelevant.
    4) When only using one card, have tried it with and without the front panel being active; have tried it with the front panel turned off via the display settings and have also tried it disconnected altogether.
    5) Originally had the 64-bit version of Windows 7 RTM installed; thought it might be a 64-bit driver issue, so I even did a clean install using the 32-bit version of Windows 7 RTM, but there was no improvement.

    And with that… HELP!!! I’ve wasted enough time trying to solve this. It shouldn’t be this difficult, so I know one of you out there has a magic bullet for me, so please… hurry and fire it my way!
     
  3. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    Hi bckncook,
    much thanks for the information, it's a great help. I've moved both of your posts to the same thread as double posting will not get your answer any quicker and if anything causes confusion. Please do not double post.
    Thankyou.
    You don't say if the motherboard has got the latest bios or not? After reading your account this would be the first thing I'd check on.
    I checked on which was the latest version for your board and it's this one:
    P33
    http://www.evga.com/support/drivers/default.asp?switch=2

    I'd just double-check to be on the safe side though.. If it isn't your bios needing updating then apologies and post back.
     
    #3 kemical, Aug 23, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  4. teejayok

    teejayok New Member

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    Hello
    I am having the same type of issues, except I do not get speckling, I just get BSOD's. I have tried all of the following on both Windows 7 64 and 32bit installations (6 so far). I have installed the latest drivers (195.62), downloaded from the EVGA site for my 9800 GX2, from Guru3d.com, from Windows update, and from the Nvidia driver page. All have either not installed correctly, giving me a BSOD with the nvlddmkm.sys file as the culprit, or the started installing, getting 1/3 of the way through, and then skipping to the "The system has not been modified" message.
    I have also tried versions 190.38, 185.85, 174.74 and the latest Omega drivers 169.25.
    I have used Driver sweeper in Safe mode to clean up between tries, and found that using Driver cleaner Pro caught about 5 files that Driver Sweeper did not. When I did get a driver to work I would often get the message that the graphics card had experienced a problem, and had reset itself. I went into the registry and added the Q-Word (for 64bit) TrdDelay, with the the value of 8, so as to give the card more time to work things out before Windows steps in and shuts everything down, but to no avail. I always lose the Aero Glass function too.
    I have read in other forums that the nvlddmkm.sys error comes from the uninstall process not getting rid of older versions of this file, so the PC becomes confused. But at each uninstall, I take ownership of the files, located in System32/Drivers/nvlddmkm.sys, and System32/DriverStore/FileRepository/nv-lh-disp-something, and delete them. I have even tried deleting all of the files in the Repository that have to do with the display, but again, no luck.
    It is as if Windows 7 does not recognize my card as a graphics card, for long. And it not just gaming. In fact I cannot often even get to that point. I'll be clicking on something, and the mouse/system will slow way down, and become unresponsive, then comes the BSOD, or I just turn off the PC via the Power switch because nothing is happening at all.
    I have tried the Windows Repair function, Start up Repair, and System Restore, all of which either give me nothing, or work, and produce the same errors once the system is restored, or "fixed".
    I have learned that this has been going on since Vista, and that not everybody has this issue, otherwise it would have been solved by now.
    Any help with this would be very much appreciated. I am willing to try just about anything about now.
    Thank you

    My system specs are;
    Intel E8400 @3GHz
    EVGA 9800 GX2 (not OC'd)
    Silverstone 850 watt PCU
    Asus P5w DH Deluxe (Bios 2501)
    8 Gigs of Corsair (4 sticks of Twin2X4096-6400C5DHX) I have tried it with one set of RAM, then the other, then both, no difference, also ran Memtest, no errors
    Windows 7 Build 7600
     
  5. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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  6. teejayok

    teejayok New Member

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    Thank you very much for the Link kemical. I'll be doing some reading there today.
    Something strange happened last night as I was fiddling with the PC, trying different things, and mentally preparing myself for another clean install.
    I was browsing the Net, looking for clues, and happened upon a page for Device Doctor. It is a Freeware program that scans the PC and gives download links to newer drivers.
    Now I thought that, having gotten all the drivers from the Asus site was good enough, but apparently both the RealTek HD Audio and the JMicron drivers had newer versions out. It also found a Nvidia driver I'd never heard of before called 15.37_nforce_win7_64bit_international-whql that weighed in at a whopping 169MB, as compared to the ones around 108-135 that I'd seen before. It has the Nvidia PhysX driver right in there with it.
    Meanwhile, on the the Nvidia Forums, some body told me of a fix he'd done by changing the Language and Region settings on his PC to English. As mine already were in English, I changed them to another Language (English - Zimbabwe), and then back again. I then took a deep breath, and began with the strange new video driver.
    Not holding out much hope, I went through the uninstallation and cleaning routine, and was not surprised when I got to my desktop, and Aero was still not working. But because I had not gotten that pesky nvlddmkm.sys BSOD, I decided to work with it further.
    In my Device Manager, the two instances of my 9800 GX2 still had the little yellow warning signs on them, so before giving up and going to bed (5AM), I decided to install the same driver over itself, no cleaning, no nothing, just a last ditch effort after 8 hours of disappointment.
    And it worked!
    Although the screen did some worrisome blacking out, and resolution changing during the process, once I rebooted, Aero was back, and the little yellow warning signs were gone from the Device Manager. I rebooted 3 times, and each time the PC not only reached the Desktop, but with Aero enabled!
    It also booted right up this morning, and I played a bit of Dragon Age without any hitching or BSOD's.
    So that's where it stands. It is working, for now, and with the Tweak guide to read up on, I am a very happy camper.
    One more strange thing in all of this is that I had much better luck using the 64 bit version of Win 7 than the 32 bit, hopefully this is good news for the future.
    Thank you very much for the help in this. :D
     
  7. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
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    That's great news! I do remember from using an Nvidia card that some users were effected by the driver version (as you mentioned) and downloading either the 'international' version or 'US' version can really effect the outcome. Basically if you live in the good old USA then download the US version, if not then the 'international' version is the one for you.. :)
     
  8. teejayok

    teejayok New Member

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    The weird thing kemical, is that I do live in the USA : )
     

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