Monday, June 18, 2007

Family IT Foibles

This one is for the search engines more than anything.

Stef's computer was repeatedly crashing when attempting to play anything from Shockwave games. (She has a subscription to shockwave.com which let's you download and play tons of "casual" games... most are quite good, with high production values and ... back to the point.)

Anyway, the games would lock her computer up after a few minutes of play. I tried swapping out the video card, reinstalling all Shockwave drivers (per Shockwave.com tech support) and just generally being "family IT guy" to fix yet another computer problem. Nothing at all helped.

The breakthrough came last night, after I had completely removed Shockwave and Flash drivers from her computer (both files and registry entries) and realized that the games all still played. All this time I had assumed that these were Shockwave content games, especially since their tech support recommended reinstalling the drivers. Anyhoo, the games still ran and still crashed in exactly the same fashion... the screen would freeze and whatever sound was playing would repeat in about a half-second loop for maybe ten second and then the computer would reboot. The sound is what finally tipped me off. I disabled the sound device in control panel and everything started working perfectly (minus sound, of course.) I uninstalled as much of the sound devices as I could, then rebooted and let windows reload the sound drivers, and now everything works perfectly!

So, all you search engine peoples, if Shockwave / Shockwave.com games are freezing / crashing / locking up try reinstalling your sound card drivers. It worked for us.

EDIT: Things started going south again, and I discovered that the fan on the video card was freezing up. It may have been a combination of the two issues at the time, but replacing the video card (or in our case, reverting to the on-board video) has solved the problem.

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