A story about ghosts living inside my PC

A story about ghosts living inside my PC

I assume that you came here to read about how to solve your problem with sound/video stutter on your PC.

First, let me explain what was happening in my case. At random times, during playing music, or watching YouTube videos, playing video games or watching movies my PC would "freeze" for a second (sometimes two) and then it would resume like nothing happened.

It manifested itself like complete PC freeze and the sound would preserve the last thing it was playing and hold that tone. The screen would lock itself on the same image/scene and the keyboard and mouse were unresponsive during that period.

My main suspects

At first, I thought that I have faulty RAM sticks. So I used Memtest86 and let it run for 6 hours. Result: no errors.

Then I figured that maybe it was the CPU so I used Prime95 to stress my CPU overnight. Nothing happened. Everything was working fine. At this moment, I've installed a bunch of CPU stressing software and ran all of them one by one. Still nothing.

Since I have 2 SSDs I was pretty sure the issue was not with them, but just in case, I used Intel SSD Toolbox to upgrade the firmware and scan for errors and do optimizations. No errors there. But wait, I also have 2 hard drives connected, so I defragmented them both, scanned for errors and even used some software to test the drives somehow. All good there.

At this point, I was suspecting my PSU aka Power supply unit. That was the oldest piece of hardware in my PC, so by some kind of logic, it must have been the culprit. Before I decided to buy a new PSU, I decided to stress test my GPU. I used Heaven Benchmark at ultra settings and got a happy 25FPS there. At this point I noticed something. Testing my GPU would sometimes trigger the stuttering effect, but sometimes it would not. I am sure as hell not buying a new GPU on a hunch that it could be faulty xD.

One thing that came to mind because of sound stutter was that maybe it was the sound card that was making that stuttering effect. I read on the Internet that a lot of people think that the onboard Realtek sound card was giving them issues since upgrading to Windows 10. Aside from that stuttering, my sound was perfectly clear, both on headphones and on speakers. I reinstalled the drivers, even tried changing some settings as suggested on a forum, but the stuttering continued.

So, I did what every other sane person at this stage would do. I bought a new modular PSU from Corsair AX760. Oh boy, the moment of installation was so divine and the packaging was so good that it gave me confidence that it would solve my problem with stuttering. I pushed the button to start the PC, it booted and as soon as I played some music it stuttered xD.

I was crazy at this point.

Fix everything

I opened Event Viewer and then expanded errors and warnings in the last hour and googled for solutions. I managed to solve every single one error/warning I had in there. THE STUTTERING WAS STILL HERE!

Ok, drastic times ask for drastic solutions. Somehow I found out about a software called Windows Repair from tweaking.com. I downloaded that and ran it as suggested a couple of times in safe mode. It seemed to work, but finally, the stuttering was still there. No luck!

I was bat shit crazy and as my luck would want it I started having issues with Homestead and Virtualbox's ghost/invisible Host-only adapters. The bottom line is that I was able to connect to Homestead using an ssh tunnel, but I could not ping the machine. The IP on the host-only adapter for my Homestead machine was not 192.168.10.10 like I set, but was some random stuff. So I went and manually tried to set it to 192.168.10.10 and then Windows gave me a warning that I already have an adapter with that IP. I did not have it. I only had my LAN adapter and that Host only from Virtualbox.

Solution

At this moment, it was already 5 in the morning and as my luck would want it, there was a power outage on the whole island xD

But, I have a battery for my PC so I managed to manually perform a shutdown. I went to sleep and in the morning when I woke up I pressed the button to start my PC but it would not start. I pressed and pressed it but nothing. It seemed like a dead PC. I checked the battery and it was working as normal. I unplugged/plugged the power cable from the PC, but it still would not start. So, I decided to turn off the battery completely in hopes that it would fix the problem of not being able to power up my PC. I turned on the battery, connected the power cable to the PC and pressed the button to start it. YES!! my bad luck was leaving me I've managed to get back into Windows. I wanted to play some music to relax from this stress early in the morning. I played some album, don't remember which one now. And after one hour I noticed that there was no stuttering ....

I started Homestead and it worked right away. I played a video game; no stuttering. I watched a movie; no stutter. OMG! WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED!

Conclusion

I think that there are probably troll ghosts living inside of my PC.

Mario Bašić

About Mario Bašić

I love dancing, programming, and driving motorcycles. Not necessarily in that order. I work as a freelancer and have created a website called Laravelista where I teach others how to use Laravel.