I'm at a loss. My PC went crazy a few days ago while playing a game and now, after attempting many, many different things, I'm still unable to use it. My windows installation was destroyed. BSOD galore. You name it. I need help because I'm out of ideas on this one.
First I want to make it clear that I am not an expert in PC repairs, but I do have experience taking them apart and putting them back together again, swapping components, etc. I'm simply not experienced enough as someone who makes a living out of it.
These are my specs:
- Intel Core i7 6700 - 3.4 GHz
- 8 GB RAM
- Motherboard: Gigabyte H170-Gaming 3 DDR3
- Video card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760
- 500 GB SSD
- 3 TB HDD
- PSU: XFX model XPS-650W-3XS (650W)
- Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
And here is the sequence of events that led me to this. Hopefully, someone can give me new ideas:
- I was playing Rise of the Tomb Raider. Unlike many other games of that level running smoothly on my PC, this one was running a bit sluggish. Very unstable FPS. I thought it was the game being badly optimized (I still think so, but that is off-topic). I switch the settings from DirectX 12 to DirectX 11 to see if it helped.
- Went back into the game (this setting had to be changed outside the game and then restart it). That's when everything went to hell. I started seeing some weird artifacts on screen for a few moments and then a BSOD. The error mentioned said "video scheduler internal error". Damn.
- Waited for windows to restart, switched the setting back to directx 12 (thinking that the blue screen was caused by dx11). Started the game again, and a few seconds in all the video on my screen got scrambled. Black boxes, lines, dots, etc. A mess. And then all frozen. This is when I started to panic. The first thing I thought after seeing this was the video card is fried.
- I started windows again, researched the message on that BSOD and performed a chkdsk, as suggested. A restart was required.
- After the scan, started Windows again and tried a different game. Fallout 4. A few seconds in, again, disaster: red dots, lines everywhere, complete mess... and another BSOD.
- It goes downhill from here. After restarting once again, instead of going back to Windows, I got into the startup repair of Windows, meaning that Windows did not boot correctly. I tried every single option available. Nothing made Windows boot back up. After a few tries, I got into safe mode, where everything seemed OK. I tried restoring to a previous a checkpoint, and nothing.
- After giving up on this installation of Windows, decided to reinstall it. Everywhere I looked on the internet, people kept mentioning that Windows may have gotten corrupted so a new installation was the easiest way to fix it.
- I cave in and reinstalled. It all seemed fine after the installation. I even got to a point where I was able to reinstall Fallout 4. So I tried again. Same results. Crashes, BSODs (one of them mentioned "irql_not_less_or_equal"), restart. This also killed Windows for me... again.
- At some point between all those restarts, startup repairs, etc. The entire video got locked into 800x600 resolution. There was no way to change it and even the BIOS was almost unusable because of the resolution (that's right; even on BIOS it stayed at that size). I had never seen anything like this.
- I finally got into Windows again after a second re-installation (this time I completely wiped out the drive to rule out viruses and malware). But still, no way to change from 800x600 resolution.
- I tried installing the Nvidia drivers and as soon as the installation started, another BSOD, this time the message mentioned "nvlddmkm.sys", which apparently has something to do with Nvidia drivers.
- At this point, I shut down, removed the video card and connected the monitor directly to the motherboard to use the internal graphics chip.
- This made it much better, the resolution went back to normal and Windows started up without issues. Of course, this was not the acceptable outcome.
- After much more investigating and different attempts to fix this mess, I decided that enough was enough, so I bought a new video card, a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060.
- Finally, it arrived yesterday. I connected everything as it should and turned the PC back on. I got video again!! Yay!!! But....
- My HDD, for whatever reason was not being recognized by Windows. I found out how to fix that, and as soon as the drive was re-recognized, dots everywhere and complete freeze!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!
- Restarted the PC but there was no way to get video back. Not even the Gigabyte logo from the BIOS was showing up. Simply black screen.
- I noticed that the light on my Xbox One gamepad came on and pretty much everything seemed fine inside the PC. There was simply no video output whatsoever. Could my new shiny video card have been fried already? Could it be defective?
- I tried several things, changing the PSU connectors, switching between using HDMI and DVI, etc.... nothing helped.
- I then removed the new video card, reinstalled the old one, and this time I got video again, but once more, 800x600 resolution, locked and as soon as Windows started and tried to installed the Nvidia drivers automatically, BSOD again.... shit!
I should mention that I did manage to get the HDD back. After that last freeze from step 16, went back to Windows and the HDD started showing up again as always.
So, at this point, I have no clue what else to do. Could it be the PSU that is causing all this trouble? It is the oldest component I have on this PC, about 7 years old (older than two of my kids!). Would changing the PSU fix all of this?
Could it simply be bad luck that I got a defective video card yesterday and this would have happened regardless of all the drama before it arrived? Should I RMA the new video card?
What else can I do? Like I said, I'm out of ideas and at this point I need suggestions from the experts.
I hope someone can help me.