Screen goes dark sporadically and PC needs rebooting


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Hi guys,

On occasion the monitor screen goes dark, I can't do anything, and I need to reboot. The system then asks me if I want to start Windows normally, instead of in safe mode, I say yes, and everything is fine, including the monitor. Someone advised me it could be a problem with the video card starting to fail, or even the mother board.

However, I was also told that maybe it could be software-related re. Windows. I use Windows 7.

Does anyone know if I could be missing any Windows software or program or file that could be responsible for the problem, assuming it is not hardware, and if so, where I can get it ad install it safely, to resolve the problem?

Thank you for any help.
 
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TrainableMan

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My first thought would be with your power and/or sleep settings.

If you have a laptop then simply hit the power button a second to try and wake it up (it is likely sleeping).

If it is a desktop then go to control panel>Hardware & Sound>Power Options. Select "choose when to turn off the display". Try setting "put the computer to sleep" to Never and see if that solves the issue.
 
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Thanks for your advice. I have a desktop, and that setting is already in "Never". The issue I described above happens occasionally, although it happened twice in the same week. I was told by a tech over the phone where I originally bought the pc about six years ago that it could be Windows software related, some missing file, but the problems is just a few months old and sporadic, not all the time. He also said it could be a video card or mother board issue. If it keeps happening I may have to take it in for a check.

Any other ideas are appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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Hi,

Do you have to power on the system (depress the power on button similar to a cold start) when the screen goes dark? This seems to be indicated since you are getting the "safe mode" option at power on time. The PC is shutting down unexpectedly but it is not Blue Screening. So Windows is not the cause of the shutdown. It may be hardware related.

Have you checked system board and component temps? Could be thermal related. Try the free version of "Speccy", by Piriform, to check temps. Could also be faulty hardware including the power supply or system board components such as bad capacitors .

Have you tried running the Microsoft System File Checker? This will check system files just to verify it is not a system file issue.

Run any system diagnostics provided by the PC OEM. You should have the option to run baked in boot diagnostics or download system diagnostics at your PC support site provided by the manufacturer.
 
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Thanks, John.

The answer to your first question I think is yes. The monitor goes dark, can't get anything back, so I force the shutdown and then power on, or sometimes I turned off the power bar and then on again and push the button to restart the PC, get the message it closed unexpectedly, choose regular mode and it works. I don't think is Bluescreen at all, I get no message about it, although I had this issue in the past.

I tried the Microsoft File Checker, it ran ,and it did not detect any integrity issues.

I downloaded the regular Speccy, the items that show temperature values are in green.

System diagnostics like ccleaner and defragmentation are OK, assuming that's what you meant. I weant to Accessories and Systems Tools do do these checks. Antivirus shows no issues.

At this point, and since it does not happen all the time, it's a bit sporadic, do you think it could be hardware, such as a video card starting to go bad and needing replacement? Or mother board (I hope not)? Then I need to tale it to the shop.

What do you think?

Thanks again.
 
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Hi,

You're welcome.

Thanks for the detailed information.

System diagnostics would be software that HP, or Dell, or Lenovo provides to check the system board, graphics, memory, or the processor. I have HP systems and a build your own system. HP provides boot time UEFI hardware diagnostics or I can download the bootable USB UEFI diagnostic software.

I am leaning towards a possible power supply problem. The system may not shutdown if the graphics card is failing unless you have integrated graphics. It could also be the system board voltage regulator.

Try to run OEM hardware diagnostics. If this does not find the cause you have no choice but to start swapping components with known good replacement components.

Take the PC to a local reputable tech. The tech can systematically troubleshoot the hardware until the cause is found.

One way to isolate the problem to hardware would be to restore the PC back to factory using the OEM recovery discs or USB drive. This is drastic and you will have to back up data and reinstall all of your software.

It is a pain and time consuming. But if the system acts the same with a good, clean install, then you know it is a hardware problem.

I use system images. So I can factory reset my HP's, test for stability. and then reimage the system back to my latest image.
 
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Thanks again.

I think I will take it to the place where I bought it, it's not so expensive. I have one last question.

Since the problem is still sporadic, do you think the guilty component is likely to get noticeably worse gradually or more likely to simply fail altogether? Impossible to know?

Thanks.
 

TrainableMan

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It sounds like the sudden power loss may actually be you hitting the power switch.

So before you go returning it there are settings you might check/try.

There are other things that can go to sleep. I would set advanced power settings so the hard disk never sleeps and see if that makes a difference. In advanced power I would also verify Hybrid Sleep is Disabled. And check Hibernate while you're there, sleep can be disabled but hibernate might not be; if so try disabling that too

I would also make sure control panel>device manager "power management" options for your mouse are set to "allow this device to wake the computer".
 
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Thanks, TM

I'm, not sure I understood your first sentence above. What has been happening sporadically is that the screen goes dark and nothing works, mouse or keyboard, forcing me to reboot the computer and start anew.

In regards to your recommendations, everything is set according to what you recommended, with the exception of hybrid sleep setting being on, and I changed it to off as per your suggestion. Correct?

Hibernate was off already, same with hard disk set to never sleep, and mouse was set as you described.

Let's see if it doesn't happen again. It happened twice in the same week, but let's see if the hybrid sleep setting being now off makes a difference. I don't even know what it means, but we'll see. I never played with this particular setting before, and for years things were fine. I hope is this and not a hardware problem.

Thanks, and I will write again if it happens once more.
 

TrainableMan

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John had mentioned about the power loss not being caused by Windows because you get the safe mode option screen at start-up and I was saying it sounds like the power loss may be caused by you actually turning it off.

If it worked for years with no problem though, then I am inclined to agree with John that it is likely a hardware problem rather than a power option setting like hybrid sleep. It may be time to take it to the shop or replace it.
 
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Hi celser,

You're welcome.

I have no idea if you have a laptop or a desktop or who the OEM is. It is always best to provide your product number and the OEM (don't include the serial number) when creating a thread. Doing this makes it easier to assist with troubleshooting and upgrade questions.

Your response to my first post states you force a shutdown after the screen goes black. I missed that the first time around. I apologize for that mistake.

The question is: Is the system completely shutting down without user input and then you must power it on. Or are you physically powering off the system after losing video and then must power it back on?

Powering the system on and off suggests you are doing a hard shutdown which then causes the Windows error message when restarting the PC. So I gave you incorrect info based on missing the fact that you are causing the actual hard shutdown.

First try the Power Management suggestions offered by TrainableMan. Try installing the latest graphics drivers for your graphics card.

Try using on board graphics, if available on the system board, by removing the discrete graphics card if you have added a discrete graphics card. Install an inexpensive graphics card if you are only using integrated graphics and you have an available PCIe x16 slot on the motherboard. This would not be possible if you have a laptop.

You'll have to uninstall the current graphics drivers and then install the correct drivers as you test the system.

I agree with TrainableMan that it could be a power management setting or the graphics card may be failing, or you need to update the drivers.
 
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