Computer shutting down repeatedly after waking from sleep

Apr 17, 2016
My computer (a desktop that I built myself in 2010) has recently started behaving erratically and shutting down and/or crashing with a blue screen error after waking from sleep.

The pattern is a very odd one that I have not seen before. After waking from sleep mode, it will sometimes operate without problem and run for many hours entirely stably, and have no problems at all until I next wake it from sleep mode. Sometimes, however, it will, on waking from sleep mode, operate normally for a minute or two and then either crash with a blue screen error (it seems to be a different error each time: I have had STOP errors, page fault in non paged area errors and IRQL not less than or equal errors) or simply hard resets without warning. After restarting, it will often hard reset a further number of times, usually when Windows is loading, but sometimes before Windows even starts to load, or occasionally after Windows has started again. Eventually, sometimes after I have manually turned it off and on again once or twice, it will boot into Windows without difficulty, and then again run stably without any problems for many hours until I next put it into sleep mode.

The problem first appeared last week when I returned from a week's holiday, having left it in sleep mode the whole time. I have normally always put the computer into sleep mode whenever I am not using it ever since I first built it at the end of 2010. It seems as though the problem is more frequent when the computer has been in sleep mode for a longer time, but I am not sure about this. The problem seems to have got worse to-day, as it took longer than usual to return to normal after resetting, and showed some strange behaviour which I had not seen before: the POST beep constantly repeated (several times a second) and the monitors were blank, which behaviour persisted until I turned off the computer using the power switch. This occurred twice before the system eventually booted correctly, and is now running stably again.

I have just changed the sleep button behaviour to hibernate to try to prevent this from occurring, although I have not had chance to test this yet. I am not sure whether this is a problem of sleeping specifically, or whether this is a sign of an impending system failure.

Some background to the system: I am running a first generation Core i7 950, overclocked to a little over 4ghz, 12Gb of RAM and Windows 7. I upgraded my monitors and graphics card last year, and now have two NVidea 980ti cards in SLI driving a 4k monitor. After upgrading the graphics cards, I did have some problems waking from sleep before, when the computer would be very unresponsive for a few minutes (sometimes as many as ten minutes of showing nothing on the screen at all), but this problem appears to have abated recently. I have installed the latest graphics drivers, but the behaviour of hard resetting sometimes even before getting to the Windows boot screen suggests that this is a hardware problem rather than a driver problem. I cannot remember the model of my PSU at present (it is an Antec branded unit that fits into my quiet case), but I do remember checking it when I upgraded my graphics cards last year and finding that it should be more than sufficient for my system.

Has anyone else had anything like this? Is this likely to be a specific problem, or does this seem to be a sign of general system failure?
in my opinion it can be few things that you should check:

1) an unstable overclock with the CPU/RAM, this can be caused due the years of degradation on the overclocked CPU being sometimes unable to handle the clock while waking up, with this you can try turning down a bit the CPU Clock with the same Bios Settings, let's say 3.8ghz and then monitor how it behave..

2)a Bug in the BIOS, the way you use your machine (always sleep mode) can cause sometimes BIOS bugs regarding C States and power saving features, if you have those features enabled try disabling all in BIOS, restart and enable it again. if you have all disabled it can also be affecting the above(#1) issue, quicken the CPU degradation so worth to check.

3)PSU failing, some high end PSUs specially modular ones, have a dedicated microchip that manage the regulation on the outputs if that microchip it's failing due never in the life being properly shut-down to rest you could have an issue there, other issue relating PSU may be any of the PSU rails are getting weak unable to sometimes provide enough voltage to keep the system stable, so worth to check with a New PSU.

4) Corrupted Windows. this is almost self explanatory, windows work very tight with the Hibernate.sys for most of the hybrid hibernate, fast boot, sleep, suspend features, if the file is corrupted it can cause those kind of issues with sleep, so a clean install may solve the issue.
start with removing the oc, then try psu if it continues. also test your cmos battery as they will cause all sorts of odd problems when it gets low, <3v.
Thank you both for your help. After resetting itself a number of times when starting before even getting to the Windows boot screen this morning, the motherboard reset itself to stock speeds, and I have left it as such for the time being to see whether that helps. Having tried hibernation, I found on resuming that it failed with a blue screen error, although I do recall having problems with hibernation before. On rebooting after that, it seems to be working stably now.

I was aware that overclocks can cause degradation of the CPU and RAM over time, but was not aware of the PSU issue with sleep mode - is this well documented?
if it's doing it all the time could have been coincidence that it started after waking from sleep. if it only happens when waking from sleep this is generally why i disabled sleep mode entirely. that still wouldn't account if sleep mode has been working fine before, in which case it could be hardware failing or a software or firmware update that caused a regression.
no prob, hope you get it sorted.
ive always just disabled sleep as it has never worked on any OC'd system ive had. from what i know its due to the way the voltage/multi is handled coming out of sleep. usually the cpu doesn't get enough voltage as it wakes up and it crashes the cpu. but the psu could be an issue if its getting old and bsods while booting would lead me to look at oc, psu, cpu and ram first.
Interesting - I was not aware of any issues with sleep/overclocking. As noted, it used to work waking from sleep until a week or two ago, although there was a time when it would be unresponsive for a very long time - but only sometimes; however, I thought that that was related to problems with graphics drivers, as it did improve when I disabled hardware acceleration in Firefox. I have certainly not had this problem before. As noted, it does not fail all the time; once it has started, it will generally keep running for a long period.

To those who do not use sleep mode with overclocked systems: do you find that hibernate mode works better, or do you just turn the computer fully off after every use? I did find sleep mode to be very convenient, so it would be very awkward never being able to use this again, and my experience of hibernation so far has not been good (see above).
never used either but what i stated was just my experience. I'm sure others will disagree. my systems tends to run 24/7 with reboots for updates and occasional shutdowns for tinkering. i only sleep the monitor after 20. with ssds boot times shouldn't be a big deal anymore.
Thank you for your response.

By way of update, I am finding that hibernate mode seems to have exactly the same issues as sleep mode: the computer will fail (hard reset) after waking from hibernate mode, but, after having reset (sometimes more than once), will then run many hours without issue.

So far, this problem seems to be unaffected by whether the computer is overclocked or running at stock speeds.

It is very odd.
Very interesting thread. ;)

I noticed just this week, actually, that my PC started behaving very oddly after waking up. Infact it crashed with a video card freeze which it's NEVER done with my Titan X. Things were funny just before it absolutely crashed, can't put any detail, but windows felt just off.

I'm on Windows 7, and I noticed there was an update in the last week, and I'm starting to believe this is related/is the cause.

That's the only thing that's changed lately. I'll keep an eye on it and report back, but that said, it might be completely unrelated to your problem! :p
I suspect that my problem is not software related because of the times when it hard resets during restarting before loading Windows as described in the original post, but it is certainly possible for there to be multiple sleep/wake related problems.

The trouble that I am having with deciding how to deal with this problem is that, if this is a hardware problem as I am suspecting it to be, in theory, since I am satisfied with the performance of my computer at present, the most efficient course of action would be simply to replace the individual faulty component: however, I cannot reliably determine whether the problem is the RAM, the CPU, the motherboard, the power supply or even the graphics cards, and testing all of those would not be economical compared to just building a whole new computer, re-using components from my current computer.

I was rather hoping that someone else might have had - and solved - a similar problem so that I could have a better idea what the problem might be, but my particular issue seems quite rare from the response in this thread so far.

Spine - do let me know whether you get your problem resolved. Might a graphics driver update (I notice that there is a new one to-day) fix it, perhaps?
Sorry to say, but in my case it was just a one off blip. Must've been a brown-out in the area or something.

Anyway, reckon you have your own answer:

.... After upgrading the graphics cards, I did have some problems waking from sleep before, when the computer would be very unresponsive for a few minutes (sometimes as many as ten minutes of showing nothing on the screen at all), but this problem appears to have abated recently.

Seems the problem didn't abate, merely that the symptoms changed.

Honestly though, SLI + overclock + sleep = Problems to be expected.
One quick and dirty way to find out if it's related to the video cards is to use a different card just for testing, removing both and the sli and see if that changes anything. If so, then at least you've narrowed it down a bit.