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Windows 7: Constant BSOD involving ntoskrnl.exe and win32k.sys


26 Sep 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Constant BSOD involving ntoskrnl.exe and win32k.sys

About a month ago, I started to get a lot of blue screens, which I thought was due to a new update for my Nvidia video drivers. They started getting worse so I downloaded WhoCrashed in order to get a better description of what was happening and it came to my attention that most were involving the ntoskrnl.exe. I had done some google'ing and apparently that is something you cannot just re-download and install as it is a compendium of your computer's drivings and/or settings (or so I've read). I decided to look further into it and it was also said that it could be due to using an old keyboard, which my keyboard was indeed 10+ years old. Ultimately, after making sure all my drivers were up-to-date and yet still getting blue screens, I re-installed Windows 7. I did this a few days ago, Thursday perhaps, and I am still getting blue screens like they are going out of style. I've used MemTest to check my RAM and after about 6-7 passes, it came up with errors. I cleaned all the dust out, re-seated the RAM, and tested each stick separately but could not duplicate the MemTest errors again. Regardless, I kept getting blue screens.

I use Steam often, and if I try to play any games, it's a guaranteed blue screen in about 10 minutes of playing. Leaving my computer just at the desktop will also result in a blue screen eventually, but strangely, if I leave Windows Media Player open playing an .mp3, it seems to put off the blue screens indefinitely until I either try to watch anything on youtube.com or play a game on Steam.

I'm at my wits end with this computer. It's a custom build and is a little over a year old (I built it in August '10 I believe). I'm nervous that if I take it to my local computer shop for a diagnosis ($35), it might turn into something a whole lot more expensive, and I would like to exhaust all possible solutions first. I've heard great things about these forums. Please help and thanks for your time!

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit OEM
ASUS M4A87TD EVO Motherboard
AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460
G. Skill Ripjaws 2x2GB (4GB)
Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Sep 2011   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

Quote:
I've used MemTest to check my RAM and after about 6-7 passes, it came up with errors. I cleaned all the dust out, re-seated the RAM, and tested each stick separately but could not duplicate the MemTest errors again.
One of your RAM stick is probably defective or your BIOS RAM settings such as timings/voltages are incorrectly configured.
Reset your BIOS to default values
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Sep 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I checked the BIOS RAM settings and everything is set to auto, as it always has been when my computer was blue screen free. Occasionally though, after a blue screen, there might be an error where the BIOS settings get messed up for the RAM and CPU core unlocker and I need to set them back to auto. I also tried the MemTest again with each stick separately and I am getting no errors. How many passes should I let it run, on average, for each stick? I'll definitely try setting the BIOS back to default values. Maybe I keep missing something. Thanks for the input so far.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Sep 2011   #4

Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Anachronox View Post
I checked the BIOS RAM settings and everything is set to auto, as it always has been when my computer was blue screen free. Occasionally though, after a blue screen, there might be an error where the BIOS settings get messed up for the RAM and CPU core unlocker and I need to set them back to auto. I also tried the MemTest again with each stick separately and I am getting no errors. How many passes should I let it run, on average, for each stick? I'll definitely try setting the BIOS back to default values. Maybe I keep missing something. Thanks for the input so far.
At least 7-8 passes
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Anachronox View Post
I checked the BIOS RAM settings and everything is set to auto, as it always has been when my computer was blue screen free. Occasionally though, after a blue screen, there might be an error where the BIOS settings get messed up for the RAM and CPU core unlocker and I need to set them back to auto. I also tried the MemTest again with each stick separately and I am getting no errors.
That your BIOS gets "messed up" after a BSOD is not normal. And your memtest method is wrong--either the RAM sticks work together error-free, or they don't. I would do this:

1. Check/doublecheck that your CR2032 CMOS battery is good
2. Clear the CMOS carefully per your mobo instructions
3. Check the memory again with all sticks inserted; if it doesn't pass, that's NO GOOD

It's not clear from your posts that all sticks work together.

If you're lucky, you had a BIOS glitch that will clear with a reset and/or fresh battery. If you're not sure about MemTest results, you should try perhaps another power supply as that is the most likely component to fail over time i.e. you said it just started happening "out of the blue" if you'll pardon the expression!

BTW I'm no expert on BSODs (I didn't look at yr attachment, sorry), but afaik the ntoskrnl error may not be telling you much. A symptom which doesn't necessarily point-back to the disease in any meaningful way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Ok so I ran MemTest for another 8 passes last night and everything checked out ok. I then restarted and ran Driver Verifier as well to see if I could try and narrow the blue screens down a bit and go figure, I was able to play Battlefield 2 for hours, tabbing in and out to AIM and Chrome flawlessly. I reset my BIOS to default settings earlier as well. Then, as soon as I exited Battlefield 2, shutdown AIM, and closed Chrome, I blue screened >.< I'm working a rather odd shift tonight so I will leave my computer running another MemTest to see if it picks up something past the 8. I'm also going to check that battery. Those I can get easily and rather cheaply thankfully. Could it really be the CMOS? Thanks for everyone's help so far
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

As per Maxseven, I checked and cleared my CMOS back to the original setup. Prior to this, I left my MemTest going all night and day while I was at work and after 30 passes, nothing, so it's safe to say I don't need to use MemTest anymore. After I setup everything after clearing the CMOS, I actually noticed that the Express Gate I have on my motherboard was starting up again and not skipping it over regardless of it being set to having a 5 second delay. I see this as a bit of a good thing since it was working before when I think about it. I decided to test everything by starting up some games and my computer just froze. Not even a BSOD at all. Completely froze. I'm attaching some more .dmp files and such. It seemed that there was a slightly different error these few times. Help me Sevenforums, you're my only hope >.<
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2011   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

I dunno Express Gate but agree that memory is not likely the problem after 30 good passes. I think you're back to Post 1 namely your questioning the nvidia update, since you're freezing on (presumably) video-intensive gaming.

I'd start with "clean boot troubleshooting" and assuming you still have problems w/all nonessentials disabled, to look at all drivers and any "ghosts" in Device Manager.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Will do Maxseven. Do you have any suggestions for a program that can also locate and get rid of old drivers? I ask because while checking for ghosts, I have multiple drivers of the same name, then just one single, unique driver for whatever hardware I am using. I'm speaking specifically of my keyboard and mouse right now. When I uninstall these ghosts, they reappear. Not sure if I am losing my mind or if they could be apart of drivers I am using now, but why would it need two, three, or even more copies?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2011   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Anachronox View Post
Do you have any suggestions for a program that can also locate and get rid of old drivers?
That's what Device Manager can do. First, you need to go to System control panel, and under Advanced click "Environement Variables" button. Under System variables, click New and enter a variable name:

devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices

with a Variable value of 1. Now open Device Manager again and in the View menu select "Show hidden devices".

When you open each hardware category, the greyed-out ones are those drivers that are "installed but not in the computer at present".

Start with just the Keyboards and Mice and other... items, and right-click and Uninstall any greyed-out ones you see there. You say you have "multiple copies" but are the grey or solid? The grey ones are the "ghosts".

Be careful Uninstalling stuff, particularly in the Storage volume shadow copies areas (don't do it). In fact, you should make first a fresh System Restore point before you start this, lest you make things worse (though honestly it shouldn't break anything, at worst you Uninstall a good driver and it gets automagically re-installed by Windows 7 when your reboot, or even just Action > Scan for hardware changes).

I'd love to see a pic of your multiple copies of stuff, but it feels like we might be on a good track here i.e. driver conflicts.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Constant BSOD involving ntoskrnl.exe and win32k.sys




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