This might be a really specific question, but I've searched online and found many solutions that don't work, so this is sort of my last resort before formatting my computer. This is my setup:

  • Graphics card: EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 570 HD (Running dual monitors)
  • Memory: 8GB GSKILL Ripjaws X Series
  • CPU: i5 2500k OC'd to 4.5

The game crashes only under 3 separate circumstances:

  1. When I finish a match in multiplayer
  2. When I finish a mission in single player
  3. When I get on an AC-130 (be it single player or multiplayer)

And I'm running it in max settings. The really annoying thing that makes it hard to test is that it doesn't happen every time (AC130 does, but unfortunately I don't get it every time).

And by crash I mean fully crash, it doesn't send me to the desktop, both screens go blank and I have to turn off and back on the computer.

Any suggestion is extremely welcome, even if it's just a way to reproduce the problem every time would help me a lot for testing purposes.



I started a bounty. More details about the crash:

  • It usually happens on explosions (cars, concussive, AC130 big gun) but it's not limited to that, sometimes it happens out of nowhere, other times when game starts or ends.
  • I tried without overclocking and it didn't work
  • I tried it with the game's "Safe Mode" and it crashed too (not that safe I guess)
  • Updated my mother board's audio drivers and have latest video card drivers
  • Crash happens roughly once every hour
  • Screen goes blank and I can still hear half a second of the last sound in the game being repeated over and over (an exaggerated example of this is if the guy said "Target down" I will hear "down,down,down,down,down,down" until I restart my computer, without exagerating I would probably hear "n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n,n")
  • Video card fan speeds up like crazy and gets really noisy
  • The temperature of my video card is usually around 80 degrees, but that's with every game so I don't think heating is the problem
  • I have two monitors. I disabled on of them and it didn't fix the problem
  • I turned off antialiasing and some other effects in the advanced video settings, and I still go the crash
  • Erased MW3, re-downloaded and re-installed it, and it crashed on the first game I tried
  • Took out my CPU overclocking and it still crashed
  • Video card is overclocked by manufacturer see here
  • Crash is not logged in the Windows' Event Viewer
  • I'm not 100% sure, but I sort of remember the problem started after some Windows update, after that Windows update Skype also started acting up (as soon as I picked up a phone call, Skype would crash, I had to download the next version's beta to get rid of that problem)
  • Steam overlay is disabled, and it still crashes

I'll post more details as I remember them.

Also these are some of the games I usually play or have played, and I have had no problems with them:

  • Starcraft 2
  • Skyrim
  • Call of Duty 4
  • Call of Duty MW2
  • Borderlands
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Payday
  • The Witcher 2
  • Civilization V
  • Batman Arkam Asylum (Although this one drops frame rate drastically only on boss battles, weird too. It doesn't crash though)
  • Counter Strike Source
  • Portal
  • Portal 2
  • Half-Life 2
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution
  • Among others


More news:

By changing the game's sound from "Windows Default" to "Stereo" I was able to reduce the occurrence of this problem to once every 3 to 5 hours, however, the problem persists. If is a clue to anyone, your advice is really appreciated. Thanks.

It just crashed again a few minutes ago according to the log, at 8:05pm and this is the only info I get in the event viewer:

enter image description here

The ones above it say (from bottom to top):

  • Unable to produce a minidump file from the full dump file.
  • The computer has rebooted from a bugcheck. The bugcheck was: 0x00000116 (0xfffffa800addb4e0, 0xfffff8800fa0afa4, 0xffffffffc000009a, 0x0000000000000004). A dump was saved in: C:\Windows\MEMORY.DMP. Report Id: .
  • (Critical)The system has rebooted without cleanly shutting down first. This error could be caused if the system stopped responding, crashed, or lost power unexpectedly.
  • Audit events have been dropped by the transport. 0


So the bounty is about to end, and I didn't get any conclusive solution. I will keep trying to fix this, and will post my solution once I'm find the solution. I hope this helps anyone have the same problem.

Thanks for everyone's time, you guys have been really helpful, I will let you all know when this is fixed.


It was a strange form overheating. I call it strange because it crashes soon after it gets to 80 degrees, but I've played other games (Startcraft 2 for example) at around 86 degrees without problems, which is why I disregarded this possibility right away. Lately I've been setting the GPU fan to spin as fast as it can using MSI Afterburner, and I haven't had any crash since. I was able to set back the audio to Dolby 5.1, put back the steam overlay and everything. So I can happily play now.

Thanks everyone for all your help, I learned a lot from this experience, and although the problem and solution were somewhat simple (except for the fact that other games run all right when the GPU is warmer) I hope it helps others having any issue addressed here.

Thanks again and happy gaming.

  • Have you had a look in Windows Event Viewer to see if there's anything in there? On Win 7 go into your start menu and type in the box at the bottom "eventvwr" click this, expand Windows Log tab, then go through "Application" and "System". See if there is anything at the exact time of the crash which could provide some information? Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 21:28
  • @IttyBrittyGirlGamer: I actually did, it showed some application which right now I don't remember its name (it was to improve download speeds or something, I never consciously install anything like that), but I removed it and it still crashes. I'll find the name of the app when I get back home. Thanks!
    – Carlo
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 22:14
  • Have you played any other game since MW3? Are those games still stable? Also, is that a custom built machine?
    – l I
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 20:15
  • One last question, is your memory overclocked by any chance?
    – l I
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 20:17
  • @yx. Yeah, I put a list of games I usually play without problems. I can play SC2 for HOURS and my computer will be fine.
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 20:19

8 Answers 8


I can't find anyone else with this specific problem, but the general "modern warfare 3 black screen" issues people are encountering seem to be fixed by:

  • Updating your graphics drivers. I think there was a special release for the BF3 beta recently that caused issues with MW3 at launch. Even if you've updated recently, check for a newer revision.
  • Verify your Steam cache
  • Disable the Steam overlay

Beyond that I'm afraid I don't know - there's so many tiny things that can go terribly wrong with a recent game and an individual PC setup that I'm not sure how to advise you in your current situation.

I note that you're overclocking, if you stop, does that help any? That's the first thing I try if I'm having an issue of any type while overclocking.

  • Thanks for the suggestion, but I already tried all 3 of those. I already have the latest gtx570 drivers, steam cache is ok according to that steam tool and steam overlay is currently disabled. And yeah you're right, maybe I should try it without overclocking, it hadn't crossed my mind because if OC is unstable it's usually noticeable in every game you play and all the tools I've used to test overclocking are stable, but it's still worth a shot. Thanks!
    – Carlo
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 22:18
  • I just tried it without the OC, it crashed too... =(
    – Carlo
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 9:07

This sounds very similar to an issue I ran into a while ago

Even though everything checked out normally, it turns out that somehow my memory has gone bad (despite passing all memtests!).

I eventually figured this out by placing only one stick of memory into my system at a time, and it would constantly crash with one stick but not the other.

Ever since I replaced my memory I've had no problems with my system.

The only other thing I can offer is to check the voltage levels for your memory and other components. Some motherboards set the default voltage levels to be too low/high for certain types of memory, which can cause them to burn out faster. (I suspect this is what happened to my machine).

  • I can try the memory thing, but if the problem was the voltage, wouldn't it crash too with all the other games I've played?
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 20:31
  • @Carlo not necessarily, it depends on how much memory the games use. GL with your diagnosis, it took me a loooong time and much aggravation to solve my problem. These kinds are rarely easy to figure out.
    – l I
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 20:31
  • Ah ok, I'll run CPUID to check the voltages next time I play MW3, the good thing is that both monitors freeze, so I'll be able to see the voltage at the exact moment the freeze happens.
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 20:33
  • wow, your bad memory passed an overnight run of memtest86?? Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 21:14
  • @Jeff yup, it was totally unexpected. Its why I was so sure it couldn't be the memory, it was the last thing I replaced. I swapped the PSU, Video card, hard drive, even tried reseating my CPU.
    – l I
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 21:15

Just to definitively rule out overheating, I'd open the case and place a large house fan blowing directly on the open side of the PC at full blast. If you still get the crash in that scenario, then excess heat cannot be the reason why.

Beyond that, the standard PC stability troubleshooting rules apply:


  • run Prime95 overnight and see if your CPU is stable

  • run Memtest86 overnight and see if your memory is stable

  • run Furmark for an hour or so (be careful as this thing loads GPUs far beyond any realistic load)

  • I haven't tried the big fan, but the rest I have when I overclocked my computer. Prime95 ran stable for like 12 hours, I don't remember the exact results of Memtest86 but it also was favorable. I'll try Furmark, it's the only one I don't have. Thanks!
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 20:19
  • 1
    I didn't notice it was you Jeff :). Thanks for trying to help :).
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 20:23
  • there are rumblings of some very obscure sound chipset incompatibilities in some games. If you have access to an externally connected USB sound device (headset, etc) try using that and disabling the on-board sound to see if the problem goes away. Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 21:13
  • I did try that, I originally thought that was the cause of the crash. I have the Tritons ax720 headset, which has that external usb sound device you mention, I plugged it into the computer and plugged the headset into it, it installed some generic drivers and I used it for a few days, until I thought the crash was caused by that. I haven't used it since, but the crashes remain.
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 21:31
  • 1
    I would like to add: You can also test your Video Memory in a lot of cases. :) Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 0:31

By changing the game's sound from "Windows Default" to "Stereo" I was able to reduce the occurrence of this problem to once every 3 to 5 hours, however, the problem persists. If is a clue to anyone, your advice is really appreciated. Thanks.

Given that this seems to be pretty audio-related; try changing your default audio format to different values, you can find this options in the properties of your sound device:

The rule of thumb here is to go for lower settings as they are less of an impact, so try 24 bit, 44100 Hz as well as 16 bit, 48000 Hz and 16 bit, 44100 Hz. At least try the two values involving 44100 Hz because these should really be working. It might be that Modern Warfare 3 has problems with your specific audio card driver and its format settings.

Changing the type of sound seems from non-Stereo to Stereo settings already made the impact on the Sound card lower, so changing the format might have additional relieving effects. You might also want to check that all sound effects are disabled on the Enhancements tab and / or that it is set to an immediate mode. Again, to ensure that the load on your audio card is decreased, the latency is low and the buffers don't get fill because there is something slow.

Other than that, trying older more stable drivers might have possitive effects. But I really think you should be looking for audio related issues. Thinking about audio related issues, the Deferred Procedure Calls can interfere with audio so it might be that you have some spikes there. What does the DPC Latency Checker report to you? It might also play a role...

  • Wow, very detailed. I'll check all of this tonight. I've been seriously considering getting a new sound card (the one I currently use is integrated to my MOBO). I suppose it is possible that using another sound card could fix this issue. What do you think?
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 0:37
  • @Carlo: Possible, you can either be sure by actually replacing it or running a few stability test as said in Jeff's answer. That's up to you... Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 0:52
  • I'll definitely run the tests first. I'll bang my head against the wall if I buy a sound card and the problem is not fixed.
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 1:00
  • I get this all the time, not sure what it means screencast.com/t/jG7wP8wwMDo
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 4:27
  • @Carlo: That means you have a good latency system, there are no drivers or devices that are generating spikes. A spike is a routine that doesn't return within a certain amount of micro seconds. That can result in things like when you play a Full HD video it suddenly stutters each X seconds, some hick-ups in audio; and even in games. But you don't have that in this case so that's not where to look for problems... :) Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 12:16

This is a mega long shot, but a similar thing used to happen to me whenever I played CSS, about an hour in, with no warning, regardless of graphics settings, the game would freeze and I'd hear the "n-n-n-n-n-n" you described of audio looping. Brand new computer, first game I installed. It was the only game that caused this error.

I always thought it was a heat issue as well, but if it's not running higher than other games, than I doubt it is.

I never figured it out until I got into the APB beta, and had the same issue. I e-mailed their support team and gave all the details I could. They told me to update my BIOS drivers. I don't know why it solved the problem but it did, and I haven't had the issue since.

**I would have posted this just as a comment, but I registered just to offer this advice.

Also I noticed you said at the end of games and in AC-130's, the screen goes mostly black and white at these points. I don't know if that could have something to do with it. To recreate it, create a private match and get a friend to spawn with tac insertions so you can quickly farm an AC-130?

  • That's a good idea, I never thought of constructing my own scenario to reproduce it at will. I love that. A friend told me I should update the BIOS too, but he told me that as a "guess" and not as an experience. Yesterday I mingled some more with the audio based on a suggestion someone gave me here, and I was able to play for 2 hours sans-crash. This will definitely be my next solution attempt. Thank you!
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 18:58
  • I tried updating the BIOS yesterday, but I got a lot of warnings "If you do this ASROCK is not responsible for malfunctions blah blah", it said it could make the MOBO stop working, etc. I've never done a BIOS update, so I don't know if that's normal.
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 21:24
  • Well I had a dell at the time and I just downloaded the drivers from their website. If you're not sure what you're doing than I wouldn't recommend it. Can you contact the manufacturer for more information?
    – turbo
    Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 13:50
  • @carlo updating your mobo BIOS is always a good idea. You've tried about everything else so I think this is worth doing. Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 22:32

I had an issue very similar with a machine with the GeForce GTX 570ti and after struggling through various suggestions on the EVGA forums, the core of it came down to the annoying way NVIDIA drivers include sound device drivers. An uninstall (you need to fully clear them out) and a selective reinstall of the latest approved 570 drivers sorted out that issue.

Have a look at the link I followed on the evga forums on removal of the NVIDIA HD Sound Device

  • That's interesting. So how does the selective reinstall go? What do I need to avoid. Can you go in a little more detail, I think this could help since I think the problem is mainly caused by audio.
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 20:03
  • I'll find the link and update my answer when I get back to my desktop
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 22:50
  • no need to uninstall, just disable any unwanted sound drivers in the sound control devices panel. That's what I do... Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 22:33
  • @JeffAtwood ah thanks for the info, I'll give that a shot
    – Carlo
    Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 22:38
  • An FYI - I needed to entirely uninstall them,disabling didn't work - the various EVGA threads on it seem to indicate there is just something fundamentally borked with the sound device drivers from Nvidia
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 24, 2011 at 10:47

You made note of an update to windows and skype that happened about the same time as the problem. try rolling back to before the windows update and then make sure skype is not running in the task manager. and see if the problem keeps happening.


no matter what you do its going to happen. there is nothing u can do about it. I am a mw3 survival player and my game crashes at around 150 wave(which usually takes 8-10 hours). Its because the pc is unable to render all the graphics items like sound, explosions, choppers etc. What you can try is go to the settings of the game and reduce the volume to 0% when you get into the scenario where lot of things happening and then bring it back on to whatever suits you...worked for me couple of times. Rest there is no possible solution we as in all the survival players could find.

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