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Windows 7: Random crashes and blue screens


20 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Random crashes and blue screens

This is a home-built system (Windows 7 x64 OEM) that has been running for about a year with no issues. A little over a month ago, I started getting random program crashes, and frequent blue screen crashes. There doesn't seem to be any real pattern. Sometimes it will bluescreen while just sitting idle. But playing resource-intensive games brings them on more frequently. Based on experience, I was pretty sure the problem was some hardware component, so I started trying to narrow it down. Originally, I thought it was related to a new wi-fi card I installed, because the reliability history showed that the crashes started the day I installed it. Since then I have done the following:
  • Removed the wi-fi card and completely wiped the drivers off the system. No effect.
  • Replaced the video card. No effect.
  • Ran a bunch of memory diagnostics, which found nothing.

At this point, the crashes started getting worse, and eventually, Windows stopped booting altogether, reporting failure to mount the boot volume. So then, I:
  • Tried to run SeaTools off a boot CD, but it kept crashing partway through the long test.
  • Replaced hard drive and did a fresh Windows install. It seemed fine for a while, but after a day or so, I started getting app crashes and blue-screens again.
  • Suspecting a problem with the on-board SATA controller, I installed a SATA3 controller card (came with motherboard, but never used it before). Like the HDD/OS install, it seemed to be working for about a day, then it started crashing again.

So at this point, I'm starting to think the problem is some major component of the Motherboard. But before I spring for a replacement, I thought I'd see if anyone here has any other suggestions to try. I'm attaching the data from the data collection tool.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 Apr 2011   #2

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by IamSparticles View Post
This is a home-built system (Windows 7 x64 OEM) that has been running for about a year with no issues. A little over a month ago, I started getting random program crashes, and frequent blue screen crashes. There doesn't seem to be any real pattern. Sometimes it will bluescreen while just sitting idle. But playing resource-intensive games brings them on more frequently. Based on experience, I was pretty sure the problem was some hardware component, so I started trying to narrow it down. Originally, I thought it was related to a new wi-fi card I installed, because the reliability history showed that the crashes started the day I installed it. Since then I have done the following:
  • Removed the wi-fi card and completely wiped the drivers off the system. No effect.
  • Replaced the video card. No effect.
  • Ran a bunch of memory diagnostics, which found nothing.

At this point, the crashes started getting worse, and eventually, Windows stopped booting altogether, reporting failure to mount the boot volume. So then, I:
  • Tried to run SeaTools off a boot CD, but it kept crashing partway through the long test.
  • Replaced hard drive and did a fresh Windows install. It seemed fine for a while, but after a day or so, I started getting app crashes and blue-screens again.
  • Suspecting a problem with the on-board SATA controller, I installed a SATA3 controller card (came with motherboard, but never used it before). Like the HDD/OS install, it seemed to be working for about a day, then it started crashing again.

So at this point, I'm starting to think the problem is some major component of the Motherboard. But before I spring for a replacement, I thought I'd see if anyone here has any other suggestions to try. I'm attaching the data from the data collection tool.

Most of these were caused by memory management probably caused by a driver.


I would run memtest to verify your memory

Download a copy of Memtest86 and burn the ISO to a CD using Iso Recorder or another ISO burning program. Memtest86.com - Memory Diagnostic

Boot from the CD, and leave it running for at least 5 or 6 passes.

Just remember, any time Memtest reports errors, it can be either bad RAM or a bad motherboard slot.

Test the sticks individually, and if you find a good one, test it in all slots.


I would also run driver verifier to find which driver is the cause

Quote:
I'd suggest that you first backup your stuff and then make sure you've got access to another computer so you can contact us if problems arise. Then make a System Restore point (so you can restore the system using the Vista/Windows 7 Startup Repair feature).

In Windows 7 you can make a Startup Repair disk by going to Start....All Programs...Maintenance...Create a System Repair Disc - with Windows Vista you'll have to use your installation disk or the "Repair your computer" option at the top of the Safe Mode menu .

Then, here's the procedure:
- Go to Start and type in "verifier" (without the quotes) and press Enter
- Select "Create custom settings (for code developers)" and click "Next"
- Select "Select individual settings from a full list" and click "Next"
- Select everything EXCEPT FOR "Low Resource Simulation" and click "Next"
- Select "Select driver names from a list" and click "Next"
Then select all drivers NOT provided by Microsoft and click "Next"
- Select "Finish" on the next page.

Reboot the system and wait for it to crash to the Blue Screen. Continue to use your system normally, and if you know what causes the crash, do that repeatedly. The objective here is to get the system to crash because Driver Verifier is stressing the drivers out. If it doesn't crash for you, then let it run for at least 36 hours of continuous operation (an estimate on my part).

If you can't get into Windows because it crashes too soon, try it in Safe Mode.
If you can't get into Safe Mode, try using System Restore from your installation DVD to set the system back to the previous restore point that you created.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I ran Memtest86 and was surprised to see that it found errors on the first pass. So I tried taking out modules and moving them around to different slots: no joy. It found errors no matter the config. The errors weren't consistent, but all occurred during moving inversion tests (5,6, and 8). It seems unlikely that all 3 modules went bad at the same time. So I'm back to the motherboard, unless someone has another suggestion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


21 Apr 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

Can you give us some System Specs?
Fill out as much as you can, with this info we can give more help.

All three RAM cards failing would be unusual but, not un-heard of.
Do you have or can you borrow some other known good RAM to test with?

What PSU do you have? How old is it?

Can you download CPUZ and post a snip of the CPU, Mainboard, Memory, and SPD tabs.

For posting the information , enter 'Snipping tool' in the Start button > Search box, hit enter. Select the area you want to post and save to a convenient place.
How to Post a Screenshot in Seven Forums

Go to your BIOS and tell us what the CPU, RAM and North Bridge (NB) voltages are.
Depending on your system specs, the NB may be a CPU integrated memory controller.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I don't have access to any extra DDR3 RAM. I would have to go buy some, or find a repair shop that will do the diagnosing for me. I'm at work, so I can't get you the CPU-Z info right now. Luckily, I still have the invoice from Newegg in gmail It was all purchased and assembled in February of last year, with the exception of parts I have replaced as part of my troubleshooting (indicated):
  • Mainboard: ASRock X58 Deluxe 3 (specs here)
  • Memory: 3x 2GB OCZ 3G 1600
  • CPU: i7 920 2.66GHz
  • PSU: Antec TruePower 650W
  • HDD: WD Caviar Black 640GB (new)
  • LG bluray combo drive
  • EVGA Geforce 570 GTX SC (new)
  • CPU heatsink: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7

Everything is running at stock speeds, with the partial exception of the video card, which is factory overclocked. But my issues started before I put in the new card (see original post for timeline). Everything is installed in an Antec Six Hundred case. All temps are well within safe zones.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

Remove all of your RAM except one stick and test that stick. Test each stick in that manner using the same slot. If all fail in that slot try another slot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

Carl is right, you need to confirm this in a methodical way.

If you haven't test one RAM card at a time it is best to re-test. If you get any errors you can stop the test and go to the next.

It is possible that the RAM settings can cause these errors, post the CPUZ info and we can go from there.

This information is crucial to the next step: Go to your BIOS and tell us what the CPU, RAM and CPU integrated memory controller voltages are.
For the voltages, in your BIOS select the 'Advanced' Tab > Voltage Control, you can check your voltages here.
The CPU integrated memory controller voltages are controlled by the 'Vtt offset voltage' select the [+100mV] this will bring it up to 1.22v.

Do you have the 3 RAM cards in the white slots?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2011   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Sorry, I thought I made it clear before that I already tried all combinations of single sticks in single slots. I got errors with every test pass. I got a new motherboard today and re-ran Memtest with the same memory sticks. Everything passed with flying colors over multiple passes. I'm pretty sure that's where the problem was. So now I'm reinstalling Windows and I'm hopeful that I've finally nipped this thing in the bud.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

Good news, Glad you found the cause.

Just thought a clarification would help.
Quote:
So I tried taking out modules and moving them around to different slots: no joy. It found errors no matter the config.
We get members with very different levels of understanding, so we try to clarify replies.
Better to be sure than continue for a few pages and find out later.

Let us know how the new motherboard is running.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2011   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Okay, yeah, I guess I wasn't that clear before Anyway, so far so good. Everything seems to be running fine with the new mb. I got Steam installed and it's downloading some of the games that were causing the most crashes. So tonight I'll give it a real-world stress test.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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