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Another warning on Windows 7 (video BSODs)

March 7, 2010 1 Comment

I’ve actually been having this problem for some time, but I thought it might be some kind of hardware problem with the system. Now I think it’s Microsoft and/or ATI.

As noted below, last fall I bought an HP Pavillion desktop (quad-core 64-bit  processor, 8 GB ram, 1 TB hd) running Windows 7 (Home Premium 64-bit). It’s got an ATI Radeon 4650 with a chunk of dedicated RAM (512 MB, I think) and a 27″ HD display (1920 x 1080). It all worked more or less fine until a few months ago, when I suddenly started getting random Blue Screens of Death (BSODs), usually while playing a game or watching  a video for a while. Note that some of the games involved weren’t terribly graphic intensive (such as Civ4). Likewise, I had it happen while viewing a YouTube video embedded in a blog. Also note that I had no problems with the exact same games and video applications prior to that point.

As mentioned, I thought that the video card or something else might have gone flaky on me. I do have  a 3-year service warranty on the system, but didn’t want to drag my desktop in to where I bought it. I’ve been swamped for the last month, so I’ve largely ignored the problem.

However, it came up today while I was installing software for a new printer. There was an animated disk icon rotating on the screen, and — kablooey! BSOD! This time I went digging on Google, and I wasn’t happy with what I found. Poking around on several different forums, I found folks describing a variety of problems with ATI Radeon video cards and Windows 7 updates, including in Microsoft forums.

In particularly, I found a couple of posts describing pretty much the same situation I face, namely that things worked well for a while, but random BSODs associated with game and other video-related applications started up after a Windows 7 update sometime a few months ago.

Thank you, Microsoft. I was strongly considering converting over to all Apple hardware and software (with XP dual boot), but was seduced both by the low prices of Wintel hardware and the improvements of Windows 7 over Vista. Between this and my earlier problem, I’m starting to regret it.  ..bruce..

About the Author:

Webster is Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor for the BYU Computer Science Department. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at 303.502.4141 or at

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  1. HP and Windows 7: a bad mix? : Bruce F. Webster | July 21, 2010

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