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Problem with one of my computers....

It's been like this for a while now, but one of my computers has a problem. Whenever I play a video or game, my monitor starts to blink and after a while, it goes out and I have to shut the computer down with the power button and reboot it. After I reboot it, Windows says that this computer has recovered from a serious error. I figure that reformatting the hard drive might solve the problem, but I don't want to reformat it if there is another option. I was wondering, does anybody have an idea about what is happening and why? I'm stumped, usually I can solve any computer issue, but not this time.

This only happens when I try to play a video or game. Music works, basic productivity works, and flash based videos/games work.

Thanks in advance.
Download a new release of your hardware manufacturer's driver program, even if you have the latest, it might still be worth a try to reinstall it, i;d guess that's your best bet... my 2 cents.

out of curiosity what are your system specs?
That was the first thing I did, and the blinking was reduced, but it still occured.

The computer that has the problem has:

Intel 865PE chipset
Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with HT
160 GB SATA 7200 RPM Hard Drive
nVidia GeForce 5200 FX Graphics Card
did you install any OverClocking mod for your videocard?
if you still got the problem I suggest you download latest video drivers
Uninstall current nvidia drivers reboot install the new ones and reboot hopefully that works if not you need to look into DirectX
start --> Run --> dxdiag
Prabhu Raj
This is generally problem with the display adaptor you are using or the monitor frequency setting.

forst change the monitor frequency setting and tey the game or swap the display card from another machine and see.

then after swaping the display card if your game works fine then it is problem with the display card. replace it.

I'm a little skeptical about installing an overclocking mod. Are you sure about that? Also, I reinstalled the driver (first thing I did), the blinking was reduced but not eliminated. I'll go ahead and look into DirectX.

@Prabhu Raj

I changed the monitor frequency setting. Didn't work. Also, my card is an AGP, and none of my other systems have an AGP slot (except for one, but it's been malfunctioning recently). Plus, it's not just one specific game that doesn't work, it's any game except ones that are flash based.
OK, I tried everything you guys said, and nothing worked. The blinking is still there. I'd also like to add that I tested this with many files and programs, inlcuding Windows Media Player and Quicktime. In both programs, when watching a video, the blinking occured. Also, I should add that whenever it blinks, the sound stops, too and everything temporarily freezes. (Except in some cases where the cursor still moves). I think I may have to go ahead and reformat my hard drive.

Does anyone else have any other ideas? I really don't want to reformat it again.
How about your power supply? Is it powerfull enough? Note that it might isn't able to supply your system with enough power, when the power requirements go up(playing games,watching videos). Disconnect any hardware that isn't needed for boot up(extra dvddrives, 2nd hard drive,). And check if the problem frequency is reduced. If it is, then get a new PSU.

Also, check your vga temperatures, and your general computer temperatures. Are they normal?
There maybe a possibility that the fan on your video card is burnt out. Try taking the case off and notice if the fan is moving at all on the video card, if not than the video card is overheating causing your compuer to have some issues as well as video games freezing. Also, do you know how many watt power supply you have & what type of video card you are using?
My Graphics Card is a GeForce FX 5200, there is no fan for it. It's only connected to my motherboard via AGP. I checked if it was burned out when I first had the problem. Everything was fine. My current PSU is a 250 Watt. Even though that's very low, it's suffice for what I have. For the past two years, it was working just fine...and I haven't added any hardware upgrades since.

The problem is not hardware. I somewhat fixed the problem by reducing my graphics acceleration. I shut down some major things, biggest being Direct Draw. After doing so, the computer is running just fine, the videos are running and the games are running, too. However, in some demanding games, the difference in graphics is noticeable. I installed the latest version of DirectX 9, and the latest version of my driver. My assumption is that there is an error somewhere...somewhere in my hard drive that I can't locate. If I could, then I might be able to go on without reformatting it.
you could have bad clusters on your hard should really consider to format it...oh and getting a better powerplant 400Watt is enough for me, and I use about 300, so make sure you allways have enough in +
I still belive that it is your PSU... It doesn't matter if it was sufficient.... All that time it was running at high capacitie, so its total output has dropped... Why dodn't you try an other one, o at least disconnect all the devices not needed for computer to boot, and try see if the problem is reduced? 250 Watt is FAR TOO LOW for your computer... The PSU, has been working at its full capacity, why has probably dropped....

Did you try changing the Monitor with a different computer to make sure if was not the monitor?

Do you have a known working video card that you could trade to check out your video card?

When the mnitor goes off, does the computer reboot? Or do you manely resetting it? If the computer is turning off, it is either the system or the PSU. For any P4 system you should have at least a 350 Watt PSU, and be warry of any PSU older than 2 years. You can get a basic PSU free or for very cheap if you shop around a little bit.

As far as a system refomat, just backup your docs, bookmarks, and any important program infomation, which you should backup no matter the state of your computer as a general rule. After that reinstalling the system is not that big of a deal.

Actually, I just checked and 230 Watts is how much that computer consumes at maximum. But, I still went ahead and disconnected the optical drives, floppy, and more...same thing. At the moment, I do not require a higher PSU, but I will once I make my first upgrade.


Yeah, I checked the monitor, but I have no other AGP cards anymore, and none of my other machines even have an AGP slot.

When the monitor goes off, the computer doesn't reboot, I just have to reset it myself. I have considered a new PSU for a while, but I won't until I make my first upgrade on that machine. (Another gig of RAM).

Yeah, I know reformatting isn't much, but I have several gigs of files that I need to backup, that's about the only reason I'm not happy to do so.

But, thing is, I really doubt that it's a hardware issue. Shutting down the graphic accelerators is what stopped the blinking, and when I reinstalled drivers, it improved. At first, it was even worse. The screen blinked ALL the time. Even if I wasn't running any applications (except the required Windows apps), it would start to blink. After reinstalling the driver, the problem only occured for games and videos that were not flash based.
Power supplys are cheap, just buy a basic one like I said 350 is the standard for P4 system.
Oh, I know. Getting a power supply isn't a problem at all, installing it isn't either. Like I said, I'm not going to get one until my next upgrade.
It sounds to me like something is overheating under heavy usage.
The video card is the usual suspect for overheating.
Take the cover off the case and direct a floor fan at the video card,
see if that makes any difference.
If it does, then you know it is a heat problem somewhere.

A weak PSU will cause heat.
When a component gets supplied a lower than design voltage,
it has to draw more amperage to do the work.
The higher amperage condition causes the extra heat.

If the CPU was overheating it would be rebooting by itself.

The RAM could be getting flaky too.
Try re-seating your RAM.

Make sure all the dust is blown out of the case and out of the PSU.

Have you re-seated the video card?

Are all of the fans inside the PSU running?
I have replaced fans inside of PSU's and gotten more life out of them.
jswelly has the right idea; it is definently overheating. I have the same card in a backup computer and I had to buy one of these: to cool it enough. Until it got here, I just zip-tied a 120mm fan to it Laughing

I reseated the heatsink with AS5 as well, that dropped temps a lot and brought up the stability too. I doubt it is your power supply, but it is always possible because it sounds like you only have problems when you have video load. If it were the PSU, you may get instability when multitasking, or especially when booting or transferring files.
Perhaps overheating is the case. I'm going to go ahead and try what jwellsy said, and if it works, then I'll get a fan (probably the one psycosquirrel mentioned). The only reason I assumed that it's only a software issue is because I could be running a DVD Quality or 720p flash video, and it works. I also managed to run 3D flash based games perfectly, but I had issues when I played a 2D non-flash based game. (the 3D flash game obviously required more power).

Anyhow, if cooling it doesn't work, then I'll reformat the hard drive (once I relocate the disk to install Windows).

Thanks again for the help.
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