I think my computer is undergoing a death spiral.
Yesterday, around 1PM, my cat Weaver leapt onto my desk, and knocked a full mug of hot tea over. The majority of the tea landed on my controller, then splashed onto the wall behind the computer (leaving lovely stains which I had to paint over). At first I was terrified that some had dribbled down into the inner components of the PC, but the back of the case *seemed* to be dry.
I cleaned up the mess as best I could. The controller was ruined; it had little airholes in it and the tea was dripping from them for hours. The rest of the case was wiped down.
I was playing FFXI at the time, and shortly after the accident, my game started freezing up like it did back in January. At the time, the issue was resolved when I changed ISPs, but I don't see any reason why it would start freezing up now when it's been going great for almost five months.
When I went to reboot after the first freeze up, I noticed a big Microsoft patch had downloaded, such a vital one apparently that it caused the system to reboot itself to install additional components. I checked for additional patches, and found one had failed to install. I installed it.
I also installed the latest release of nVidia drivers, from June 15th, and ran nTune.
The next time I attempted to run FFXI, the computer not only crashed the game, but the whole system locked up and I had to do a hard power cycle on it. This continued on during normal websurfing even when FFXI wasn't running. Speedfan says the GPU was at a relatively arctic 18C when the last freeze up happened, so it's not an overheating issue.
And then, the blue screens of death began. "Page fault in nonpaged area" it says. That usually points to an issue with hardware, but all the usual diagnostic tests came up clean.
The final clincher that it's probably software and not hardware related is that I'm running just fine in Safe mode with networking right now. When Windows was started normally, I ran into crashes within five minutes.
I'm going to uninstall the Nvidia drivers and roll back to the April release I was running previously. If that doesn't fix it, it might be time for a clean install of Windows 7.
My question is this: Could the downloaded Microsoft patch have caused the initial system freezing even before it was installed, and it was coincidence that it happened precisely at the same time I had a potential hardware disaster?
Edited, Jun 23rd 2010 3:23pm by catwho