Random freezing / stuttering / sound loops in Windows Vista or 7?


I recently had this problem, and since it broke my PC for like 4 hours, and couldn’t find ANY solution online, I thought I’d share. I’m gonna vent the whole process to you, or if you are just wanting the fix, scroll down.

I’ll describe the problem a bit better. So, I was happily playing my new game, Dragon Age: Origins, and had been playing for hours. Suddenly, the game froze, but the sound was looping less than a second of audio over and over. This lasted maybe 5 seconds. then it was fine, no ill effects, and the game continued. I assumed it was just a random glitch.


It happened again, and again. Finally it happened again, and the screen flickered and the game crashed to desktop.

At this point my first thought was to chalk it up to simply an overheat problem. I HAD been playing for hours. Quick check of my temps using SpeedFan showed nothing. I shut down and left it, convinced it would go away. But sitting, reading my book, I became more and more concerned and curious. I powered up to confront what I had feared. It was happening in Windows.

Oh shit. Freezing every few minutes is highly annoying, even if it doesn’t do any real harm. But it was, every few freezes, causing my graphics system to reinitialise. My first clue!

Windows 7 includes a ‘solution solver’ thing, which popped out automatically after the first few graphics crashes. It recommended a driver reinstall for my nVidia graphics card. A sensible idea, for once – MICROSOFT! Needless to say, the reinstall failed miserably. Still there. Crap. Googled it, nothing. plenty of people with a problem that COULD be it, but not enough info to say. It’s actually quite hard to describe, to be fair, but of the topics and threads with even suggested solutions, none were sensible or worked. Most ‘solutions’ were stupid ideas from clearly stupid people.

Next – hardware damage? Since there were no dangers in my temperatures, I was concerned that it started while I was playing a taxing game. Graphics card damage would make sense, which would be seriously shitty. Freaking out, I decided to check anything else I possibly could. Noticed that during the freezes, my hard drive activity light goes bonkers. Event log – saviour! The logs showed some PIECE OF NVIDIA CRUD called nvstor64 was triggering every few minutes.

The cycle was as follows:

  1. Warning: nvstor64 “Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort1, was issued.”
  2. Warning: nvstor64 “A request to this device has been cancelled. Device: \Device\RaidPort1”

Now, let me just burst in here with my revelation – I HAVE NO RAID! I’m venting frustration here for literary effect, but this cracked me up. You see, I have an nVidia chipset motherboard. It’s great, apart from nVidia seem to make some poor drivers on occasion. When you are like I am, installing the chipset drivers presents you with the option of installing “nVidia Storage Drivers” which are apparently “better SATA drivers than Windows”.

Translation: installing this will make your hard drives appear as SCSI drives, make Windows / most tools (bar a few – Crystal Disk Info being one) unable to read S.M.A.R.T. status properly, and also enables NCQ (native command queuing). It’ s a mixed bag. NCQ theoretically gives you faster disk access, and S.M.A.R.T. is kinda useless most times. However, in this case, fuck that. It’s dodgy drivers wrecked my week-old Windows 7 installation. Uninstall that.

However, uninstalling the storage driver alone is impossible. Thanks nVidia. The only option is to TOTALLY uninstall the chipset drivers, and reinstall them but not choose the storage driver option. A nontrivial task. Do it wrong, and you end up needing an OS reinstall.

Here’s the solution:

  1. Check that you are experiencing nvstor warnings in the “System” event logs (event viewer). If you are not, this solution won’t help you.
  2. Pre-download the latest chipset drivers from nVidia for your chipset (and graphics if you have them)
  3. Download and install Driver Sweeper. Don’t run it yet!
  4. Go into Add/Remove programs and uninstall both the graphics drivers (if you have them) and then the chipset drivers. With those two done, proceed to uninstall ANY other nVidia items in the list.
  5. Reboot.
  6. Go into safe mode. To do this, hammer the fuck outta F8 AFTER your BIOS splash screen but BEFORE the Windows splash. If you miss it, and the Windows logo appears, PRESS RESET IMMEDIATELY. Last thing we want is Windows trying to reinstall the drivers itself. The reset has the added advantage of triggering Windows’ self diagnostic – next time you will get a message “Windows did not boot correctly” with a safe mode option. Pick it.
  7. Run driver sweeper. It will remove any trace of nVidia from your computer.
  8. Reboot into normal Windows.
  9. Install the chipset drivers. Make sure not to choose to install the storage drivers this time around. Reboot when asked.
  10. Install graphics if required. Reboot.

Solved. Now, your hard drives will still come up as SCSIs, and still support NCQ, but the nvstor is seemingly not in control any more, or at least not causing the freezes and lag spikes. Good.

41 Replies to “Random freezing / stuttering / sound loops in Windows Vista or 7?”

  1. You are an absolute star!

    Thanks for posting this. Of course I don’t know if you have checked your own event logs again but I had the error reappear within two hours of fixing it- minus the freezing? I may have to try the process again if it starts freezing (which I have a feeling it will). Strangely it doesn’t do this in Windows Server 2008 R2 (which I have on a separate HDD). The plot thickens since it has also been around since Vista 64 bit. It’s either nVidia or Microsoft or both at fault here…

    Thanks for the help again though!!!

  2. Yea, if you noticed my little asterisk * 😛 I do occasionally get an entry in the logs now, but its a warning rather than an error. And it doesn’t trigger any freeze longer than a second, and no more than once a day now, which is totally better!

    I’m not surprised it doesn’t happen when you dual-boot into 2008 Server. The problem seems to just OCCUR randomly… there was no triggering event I could identify. It’s also possible that your 2008 install doesn’t rely on the nvstor driver.

    Do me a favour and spread a link to here for anyone having this problem!

  3. Dude, you fucking saved my life. I have been reinstalling windows… 5 times. everytime i’ve installed the fucking same fucker nvidia fucking chipset… thanks bro!

    Basically my computer works pretty fine, i can play games and shit. but whenever i try to boot up windows it might fail. and every new time i boot it up, more shit goes wrong. last thing that went wrong is that my wireless stopped working lol… i cant even open wordpad. it will freeze the computer… OBVIOUSLY it is a hdd fault, because everytime the computer freezes, the light on the hdd icon (the one that lights everytime the hdd is in use) is on constantly instead of the usual flicker on off.
    and i think what you said about storage driver is the shit that fucks up my computer… i will report back once i reinstall win7 for the 6th time tomorrow.

  4. @Duoc – hope it helps, definitely let me know. Sounds like your problem is even worse than mine was! The nVidia driver seems awfully buggy to me…
    However, if this is a new PC / build Duoc, it MIGHT be bad RAM. It would potentially corrupt Windows boots and drivers etc. Just a thought, you could try a memory test and even a hard drive error scan from the Ultimate boot CD – http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ just to check?
    Let me know how it goes!

  5. I’ve experienced this problem myself with the NVIDIA 750i chipset, and found that a working solution was to simply go into device manager, under IDE/ATAPI controllers, go into the NVIDIA SATA controllers there and disable command queuing for each port. I have not had a freeze since. If you still have freezing errors or want to try a less hassle solution first, I highly recommend trying this!

  6. Cheers for the input Empathy. I can’t confirm this myself as the problem hasn’t returned for me! One comment on your solution – it disables native command queuing. This gives a noticeable speed increase on many newer hard drives, and I would rather keep it available if possible! Since the problem seems to be a RAID problem, a solution should exist that doesn’t require disabling an unrelated feature.
    I should qualify this by saying that since my solution uninstalls in principle the nvidia SATA drivers, it might be that it disables NCQ, thus accomplishing your solution. However, on my system now the device manager tells me I still have NCQ enabled, so it seems my solution gets the best of both worlds; stops the freezing AND keeps NCQ.

  7. I’m attempting this fix right now and I hope to god it fixes it.
    EXACT same fucking problem and the exact same thing happened to me in DA:O
    I used to start chugging along after about 2+ hours of continuous time on the PC. It started making audible *err*err*err*err*err*err* noises and it took 3 seconds for mouse movements to register.
    Now after several re installations that problem is gone, however my OS now locks up randomly. Forcing a hard restart, with this little bastard filling up 18,000 events on the viewer. Yes, 18,000. If this works, you are a god among men.

  8. Looking good so far! This even solved my windows update issue! It wouldn’t allow me to install updates, now it does. Thanks!

  9. Totally glad it worked 😀
    Lots of people have this problem yet it seems like very few (none that I found) websites actually have a solution, which is why I ended up working out one for myself. Glad it seems to be working. Spread the word!

  10. Just came across this and will be trying the fixes this evening…I get this error literally dozens of times a day for the passed few days. Here’s hoping for success, and pre-thanking you all for the suggestions!

  11. Hi there, first post i’ve found on the net that has anything similar to the symptoms im suffering -freezing and recurring audio no bsod just instant death. Sadly though, im not getting that system message when the computer works long enough for me to check – i get a DCOM error with a event id of 10005 recurring. Havent found solution yet but your post gives me hope its software and not hardware. Nightmares of havin to spend money i dont have. i did update nvidia graphics drivers so there could be a link. Thanks for your input maybe light at the end of the tunnel yet.

  12. Hi,

    I suffered this under Vista back in May 2009, a reinstall and it went away
    Ever notice if you reboot when it locks up windows doesnt seem to load well, and even says disk read error sometimes.

    Anyway it happened in Windows 7 in Dec, and again in january with new hard drives. I have seen other suggestions of get rid of the NVidia drivers, so i am giving it ago as it happened again yesterday.

    For reference, the error is.
    A request to this device has been cancelled.

    Device: \Device\RaidPort0
    Model: WDC WD5001AALS-00J7B1 \\(your hard drive here)
    Firmware Version: 05.0
    Serial Number: WD-WMATV4251449 \\(your hard drive here)
    Port: 0

    Source: nvstor64
    Event ID: 8
    Level: Warning

    This occurred upto 10 times per second according to my logs but on average is 1-2 per seconds, but no less than 1 per 4 seconds.
    Although after removing all the drivers there does appear to be more nvidia references in the device manager, however atleast they say SATA not IDE now.

  13. Same problem here but haven’t tried the fix yet. Going to check events logs first. Brand new computer about 5 months ago(old now) and it started the screen freeze the day I got it. Tech support solution and the only solution ever given was always to reinstall windows. omg if I hear those words again I might go postal! Sorry, if you think I sound a little agitated you wouldn’t be wrong. I just wanted to mention one difference in my mine though and that is it never did it everyday. So it would go for days and then freeze up 15 times in one day. It’s getting worse now as it has now been doing it for about 4 days straight and many times a day.
    If I get up enough nerve to try the fit you suggested I will post back the results.

  14. Did not find a nvstor error in Logs so did not try fix and the Freeze keeps marching on. I will continue to check back here to see if there is any more news for this problem.


  15. Help me. Ive come to this site since i share some of the same problems. I was playing WoW and my game fucked up on me it lagged hardcore, sound was looping then the graphix took a shit on my dreams; and sent me out to the desktop screen. Though it got worse. now my desktop computer (writing this from my laptop) freezes. It will boot up, displaying no problems what so ever, then within 5 mins into using it it will freeze up completly with an occasional random stuttering. i cant try anything to fix it as in it will freeze up on me and not do shit afterword, with no way to shut it down except holding the power button. i seen these commets and site and got hapyy and excited for a solution to my problems. So how can i solve this problem when i cant do anything after it freezes… HELP ME!

  16. @Abyys I would recommend that you try safe mode. The solution should work in that mode, and maybe you will have the chance to avoid freezing.

  17. ive looked for this warning and i admit im nothing when it comes down to comptuers isides. point is i couldnt find a list of specific warnings/errors but found a log with a shit load of warings/ errors. noting ive tried has worked however. im in safemode doing a full scale scan, and so far im waiting on that. i know that we had a nvidia video card installed and that the computer says it has Nvidia GeForce 6150 LE watever that is. does this have anything to do with my probems or is important in any way???

  18. still nothing i have tried has worked.
    and the random freezing is gone to a full scale freeze. im desperate to get back to the way it was and if i had the cash id get a new computer, but alas i dont.

  19. Issue while following the instructions
    in safe mode windows (windows 7 x64) detected the disk controller (and everything else i uninstalled) and reinstalled them (i thought it would not be an issue) so I ran driver sweeper and since then the system died (blue screen with disk not accessible error code)
    lucky for me since safe mode also died, the system started a recovery process that allowed me to do a system restore…
    any idea why the system crashed?
    and if the automated installation of the drivers in safe mode should happen?

  20. I have had that happen too… it was some sort of confusion that occurred when the mainboard drivers were removed and Windows had some serious trouble with generic ones. Seems a little random or maybe if something just goes a little wrong in the removal… glad you got sorted anyway!

  21. hey this really works – i had to uninstall the raid controller in device manager aswell – now all i get in event viewer is: “The description for Event ID 11 from source nvraid cannot be found. Either the component that raises this event is not installed on your local computer or the installation is corrupted. You can install or repair the component on the local computer.”
    no more freezes so far touch wood 🙂 thx for the info..

  22. I would, but nvidia update their drivers so frequently that I think its better if you get them straight from nvidia! That way you can be sure you have the most recent ones!

  23. yea but when i dll drivers i dont have no option to chose storage drivers its just a normal instalation of the drivers

  24. Thank you for this post! This problem has been driving me nutz for a couple weeks. I did not put it together that the nVidia drivers were the cause because I installed an SSD drive at the same time and thought I was having drive problems.

    My installation is likely unique but I am using an Intel x25 SSD ONLY for swap and temp files. My Windows install drive is a notmal 500G SATA2 drive. I bring this up because the only drive getting the nvstor32 warning is the SSD drive. I get the warnings about every 4 hours and when it does the system hangs, crashes my games, etc and I have to hard reset. I do not know if this is a drive issue or a driver issue and it seems to be caused by the swap file not being able to be writen.

    At the moment I am trying turning off the the command queuing option on only the controller and port that my SSD drive is connected to. I will let you know if it works.


  25. Tried this one with my XP machine, and its a CONFIRMED SOLUTION, try disabling all chipset, display, ethernet, related drivers from starting up in safe mode. boot to normal windows, then follow the above instructions, hope the freezes wont come back. thanks man!

  26. I get freezes randomly when using Skype with webcam video and watching online videostreams. After a couple minutes, 30 minutes or hours after starting.Sometimes repeating a couple minutes after restart. The rest of the time the pc works perfectly. Any suggestions? No nvstor found.

  27. First, thanks for sharing. I had the precise problem described above where my system would simply hang while the Event Viewer was filling up with the nvstor64 error message. Sometimes it would come back, sometimes it would crash. I am running Win7-64 with an Intel SSD as my boot drive. After reading through the explanation above and all the comments, I implemented Empathy’s solution of disabling Command Queuing for each port. That worked, I no longer had nvstor64 error messages. However, it came at a cost.

    As pointed out by gyaku_zuki, with Native Command Queuing disabled on my SSD, I was not getting the full speed it was capable of. I ran the Win7 speed test, and found that the Sustained Speed came in at 60 (millions of bytes per second). I tested and retested in subsequent days, and it was always very close to 60. Then I bought a new video card, and needed to run Driver Sweeper anyway, so I thought I may as well try out gyaku_zuki’s full solution. I removed all Nvidia drivers, including the Storage Drivers. Then I installed only the chipset drivers from that package, and the latest GeForce drivers for my new card. Rebooted, and went to Device Manager. I did one last test before enabling Command Queuing, it once again came in at 60.

    Enabled Command Queuing, rebooted, and retested. The Sustained Speed jumped to 205! I have retested it many times after subsequent reboots, and it is always at or very close to 205.

    Conclusion? Gyaku_zuki is correct. The best solution is to remove entirely the Nvidia storage drivers via his method above, and keep Command Queuing enabled.


  28. I came to a similar conclusion but at best this improves the situation but doesn’t fix anything. for starters the event will not be logged unless your using the nvidia drivers because microsoft’s drivers do not log nvidia events 😉
    so….. how do we know it actually changed anything anyway ?
    Maybe because NCQ is disabled ? havn’t looked into the NCQ angle yet.
    You can easily flip between drivers with way less trouble guys. For starters if you NOT running a Raid array you should be disabling the start entry for the nvidia raid .exe set to load on start up anyway (easy way = download Sysinternals Autoruns and uncheck NvRaidService) After that if you go to device manager and select update driver on the storage controllers it should check online and install the windows version of the driver (if you want that instead) bingo nvidia driver version NOT used / no fuss.
    Most places on the net such as an Asus support web page mention the usual possible problems for this issue one of them interesting is that it can be a connection issue. Try different ports and / or re-seating the connectors that solved the problems for me for ages only to re-surface after taking my computer apart and cleaning it lol (my cables are not making good contacts i think) Also if anyone wants a little tip trouble shooting this issue ? you can set a scheduled task to pop up a message box on the event in the event viewer. I see 2 possible errors and 1 warning. I would not put the task on the warning / it comes up too much lol
    So yeah check your cables and consider using device manager (no need to go through fancy methods to remove the nvidia driver if it is not being loaded)

  29. This solved my issue! Thanks for the very nice tip! However installing newest version from NVidia was enough (unchecking all options except Graphics Driver).

  30. I can’t believe how hard I had to look to solve this issue. Thank you gyaku for posting this – I can’t believe this is still an issue after 4 years of the original post. My problem began when I installed a SSD into my computer to use as the system drive. I have a Dell XPS 730 with an nvidia 790i board, and after doing tons of research the problem and solution you posted above are dead on.

    The problems I had since installing the SSD mirror what is said above – windows took about 4 minutes to boot, literally. The system would sit at the login screen for over 3 minutes before allowing me to even type my login password. After logging in, everything loaded extremely fast but there were persistent freezes, crashes, etc. for no apparent reason. Event viewer showed many problems associated with nvstor64 specifically referencing the SSD (Kingston HyperX).

    I can confirm this fix is working for me. I reinstalled windows and configured in audit mode first (highly recommend this for an SSD install – you can move your users and programdata folders to a larger hard drive and save a ton of space on the SSD) and before exiting audit mode I switched the drivers for all the storage devices to the MS standard drivers. What a DIFFERENCE. My system now loads in about 15 seconds, from power button to full load, and not one freeze yet. Thank you for this – post this elsewhere.

    Stupid Nvidia…not buying another nvidia MOBO ever again. I also believe this issue fried my graphics card – can’t confirm this but my graphics card died in about 2 weeks after this problem began, you do the math. I replaced with an AMD.

  31. Well, I suspected that my drivers from nVidia were crappy. But this is genius! I am wery grateful. I will warn my friends and re-direct them to Your page.

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