I've searched around and apparently many people with HD or R7/R9 series cards have this problem. Since I posted this on reddit and tomshwardware already, I'll just copy the thread to here.
Briefly, my computer goes black screen and unresponsive after the Windows 10 rotating dots and logo screen, or boots normally but goes black screen unresponsive after a few minutes.
Lets start from the beginning. My computer worked fine for 2 years with no major changes. Recently though (like a month or two), watching YouTube videos started crashing Chrome. Basically, while several tabs of videos were be opened, Chrome would randomly go completely black, then restore normally after a few seconds, but with the video space solid green. If I rewound it a little or reloaded the page it would go back to normal. Since this wasn't a major issue and didn't happen often I disregarded it as Chrome's fault and didn't test other browsers (in retrospect, these were probably webGL crahes but I never got error messages).
About a week ago though, I was watching a Youtube video and it just suddenly stopped with my computer hard locked (no keyboard response at all, including caps lock or scroll lock). I disregarded this as a Chrome problem aswell and it may have happened once or twice more, can't remember (only in fullscreen mode though). A few days ago however, I was playing Arma 3 with youtube open in the background and noticed some graphical artifacts (a small pixelated area of the screen and some elongated 3D lines on the screen, like some distorted models). This had never happened before in any game or antyhing. I alt-tabbed and everything else was fine, but the pixelation artifact in-game persisted. At this point I was almost sure that my GPU was dying.
Anyway, I exited the game almost immediately and went to the open Youtube video and after a minute or two watching, my entire screen (not just the Chrome window this time) went solid light brown and returned to completely normal after a few seconds. I restarted my PC (I guess it was just a panick response, no real need for a restart) and things were pretty much normal. Shortly afterwards though, WebGL started crashing frequently - every minute, now with error messages, most notably when switching tabs or starting and stopping videos, or clicking on the top search bar, but Chrome always recovered fine after a few seconds. Graphical glitches in Arma or other games for that matter were gone though. I played normally the entire day until I was watching a video the same day and my entire screen went solid dark red (the video was not fullscreen), this time with the computer hard locked and nothing I could do. I restarted but it wouldn't boot. After the windows startup screen (the rotating dots and Win 10 logo on a black background), it would go black and unresponsive (even the keyboard light turns off like it's unplugged). Anyway, after restarting again I got the windows automatic repair screen that said the computer didn't start normally, no ****. After restarting again to check if it would maybe boot now, again the black screen and after another restart the automatic repair again, rinse and repeat a few times. After making sure it wouldn't boot at all, I went into the bios and reset to default but the problem persisted. I tried launching in safe mode and voilla, working fine.
This leads me to believe my GPU is at fault but it's working fine in safe mode? I'm writing this on this very PC.
FX 6300 was overclocked to 3,7Ghz, now all stock
Radeon R7 265 Dual-X only overclocked in certain games through AMD software
8GB RAM (two sticks 4GB)
XFX Pro Core Edition 450W PSU
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, version 1709
Also, I never had temperature problems with neither the GPU or CPU.
What I've done so far:
- Tried safe mode, works fine.
- Disassembled the PC and cleaned it out (removed everything except the mobo, PSU and CPU + heatsink), checked all the cables and put it all back in, no change.
- Tried a System Restore, no change (only one restore point available).
- Tried different RAM configurations, no change.
- Ran fsc /scannnow, returned no errors
- Checked pagefile, is not full (this was a suggestion).
- Ran chkdsk /r and while it took hours, meaning there were probably corrupt files, there was no change after it did its thing.
- Uninstalled GPU drivers (this is an interesting one) - as said, I uninstalled the drivers in Device Manager in safe mode and tried to boot to normal mode and it actually booted fine. The problem is that eventually, after a few minutes, the screen goes black and the computer hardlocks. This happens every time in normal mode and never in safe mode. I also tried a clean install with DDU (and yes, I did disable Windows from downloading or updating my drivers), removing any trace of AMD software in safe mode aswell as downloading the AMD software installer to have it ready in the normal boot. The results were the same - unresponsive black screen a few minutes into using the PC.
- Tried a new cable, no change (using DVI to VGA converter because I was too lazy to buy an HDMI cable).
I did this recently and got good progress from it: I remembered I could use Event Viewer to check out the errors. Among several irrelevant Windows services errors, I noticed one that stands out - AutoKMS.exe failure with a faulty module KERNELBASE.dll. Being the idiot I am, I installed AutoKMS like two months ago to keep my Windows registered without checking it with Avira or anything... I checked its log and sure enough, it failed to start at every attempt since about two months ago. I'm presuming it downloaded me a virus and caused most of my problems. I removed it from my PC and scanned with Malwarebytes and Avira, after which the computer is working just fine, even in Normal Boot mode... except one thing, I still can't install drivers. Every time I try to install any driver version, the screen goes black and unresposive. Upon restart, the driver IS available to install through device manager (meaning the installer did unpack it succsfully), but the generic microsoft one is always in use. The black screen apparently happens when switching from generic to AMD since the screen goes black for a second, then returns to normal display (like during any driver installation) then black unresponsive (and all fans to idle). I even tried installing the driver through Device Manager using the Browse Computer option and the result is exactly the same. I also tried versions from 18.3.4 all the way to back from 2015, none work.
At this point I kinda don't know what to do anymore, any ideas?