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Windows 7: BSOD caused by "ntoskrnl.exe", mainly when playing games

28 May 2014   #1
extremefuzz777

Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit
 
 
BSOD caused by "ntoskrnl.exe", mainly when playing games

I've looked at the other threads concerning this driver and tried multiple troubleshooting methods. No help so far. This error occurs intermittently, usually about once an hour and mainly when I'm playing a game. I have had a follow-up BSOD shortly after logging in after the initial one, and once when watching a video. Here's a few steps I already took in trying to solve the issue:

memtest with 3 passes and no fails
updated the firmware on my SSDs
Reinstalled the current AMD driver 3 times
Used driver verifier
System restore
Startup repair

Driver verifier caused a blue screen when checking ntoskrnl.exe and I had to go into Safe Mode to deactivate it. The Startup Repair identifies a problem but says it cannot automatically fix it. Restoring to an earlier point doesn't help either (all the restore points were too recent). The rest haven't had any affect.

Like I said, I've checked every forum on a Google search and none of the troubleshooting tips have solved this. I've tried everything I can think of and I just can't figure this one out, so I'm asking the advice of people who probably know a lot more than me.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 May 2014   #2
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Memtest should be run for a minimum of seven passes. It's easier to let it run over night. Three passes will generally not reveal questionable memory areas.

In any case, check to see if there's an update for your "Extensible Wireless LAN device driver from Atheros Communications, Inc.". Specifically, athrx.sys. You will need to know the adapter model to get the correct drivers.

Also, when was the last time you did some "dusting"? There's a few thermal events logged along with your BSODs that indicate your system may be overheating. Check to be sure your CPU cooler and fans are clean. It only takes a small amount of dust build up to reduce fan output by more than half.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 May 2014   #3
extremefuzz777

Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit
 
 

I let it run while I was at work for a couple of hours, I'll let it run again overnight.

That athrx.sys driver is weird because I don't have one of their adapters. The one I use is a TP-Link, and the drivers on that are up to date. Realtek GBE Family controller is also listed under device manager. I'll update that and installer the other just in case, but I don't knew where that Atheros driver is coming from.

As for dusting, I actually dusted it just a couple of weeks ago. Wasn't really that dusty either, I wouldn't even call it a layer. If I have time tomorrow I'll give it a look.

EDIT: Just installed the drivers, and like I said I'll let memtest run overnight. I'll post another update tomorrow on the results.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 May 2014   #4
extremefuzz777

Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit
 
 

Alright, I dusted out my desktop, especially around the CPU fan, updated my adapter drivers, and memtest had 8 passes and 0 errors. Played Watch Dogs for about an hour and I received another blue screen. Bluescreenviewer is till pointing to ntoskrnl.exe.

Also I'm uploading another log collector file with the newer dump files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2014   #5
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Yeah, ntoskrnl.exe is Windows layer handler. It's failing because something is walking all over memory. It's not really the cause of the problem. You're getting double faults with stack overflow and memory page faults. Because memory is corrupt in these cases, the dump files are inconclusive. The errors can be caused by a disk error, an errant driver or what I call crapware. This is software that's right on the verge of being malware. Some AV software can cause this but I didn't see the usual suspects.

Perform a Clean Boot and don't add anything back in until we know the system is stable. If you still get BSOSs with a clean boot, start reviewing all software you added prior to the start of the BSODs. One or more are not playing well with memory.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2014   #6
extremefuzz777

Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit
 
 

Checked off most services I rarely use and still got a BSOD. Then I checked off all of them and was able to play Watch Dogs for about an hour and a half with none so far. If nothing pops up again after tomorrow I'll start enabling a few services and see if it happens again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 May 2014   #7
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Enable ONE at a time so the culprit can be identified.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2014   #8
extremefuzz777

Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit
 
 

Ok, I activated "Steam Client Service" and "Steam Client Bootstrapper". It ran fine for a few hours, and then I got another couple of BSODs. I deactivated Bootstrapper and so far after another few hours I haven't got another Blue Screen. Not sure if I found the culprit since it ran fine before for hours without anything, but so far so good.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2014   #9
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Rerun the diagnostic utility and include the dumps if you get any more BSODs. In the mean time, check to see if there's any updates for the Steam software. It does some unconventional processes to maintain it's security. Especially if it includes any daemon style tools. If it creates a pseudo disc drive, this is a common problem for which there's no fix but to remove the software.

Keep us posted.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 BSOD caused by "ntoskrnl.exe", mainly when playing games




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