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Windows 7: Spontaneous, repeated reboots with occasional BSOD

02 Oct 2015   #1
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Spontaneous, repeated reboots with occasional BSOD

I have been trying to see if somebody else has already posted a problem like mine but my system won't stay up long enough for me to get to the end of reading posts. And that's the problem. My system keeps spontaneously rebooting. Here is what I have tried, based on things I have managed to read between reboots.

I got MEMTEST86 and let it run for about 7 hours. No errors.

I tried to localize the problem to a USB port. This system has 8 USB ports total. There's 2 USB ports on the front of the machine, which I have used every so often when I am loading new music onto my iPod. But usually these ports are not in use. The last time I did use them was several months ago. The back of the machine has 2 banks of USB ports, one bank of 4 ports and one bank of 2 ports. Normally, my USB keyboard is plugged into a slot in the bank-of-4. But in my attempt to determine whether the USB ports are the problem, I went into the BIOS and disabled both banks I was not using. Thus if I was using a port in the bank-of-4 but a port in the bank-of-2 was throwing errors, I eliminated that possibility by disabling the bank-of-2 in the BIOS. Similarly, when I had the keyboard plugged into the bank-of-2 in the back of the machine, I had the bank-of-4 disabled in the BIOS. The cable for the keyboard won't reach to the front of the machine, so I've had that bank disabled for all of this. In any case, I continued to get reboots no matter where I plugged in my keyboard. I conclude that this eliminates the USB ports as a source of the problem. Unless they're ALL bad. I hate to believe that's true. And if the problem is in the USB ports, it's intermittent since, like I say, my keyboard is USB and . . . well . . . the evidence is in front of your eyes that it must be working most of the time.

Some more detail on my symptoms. This just started happening about a week ago. Normally, I hibernate my system when I'm done with it for the day. Last Thursday (or about then) when I fired it up after hibernating it the night before, I got a BSOD. Since then, it's been hell. Of course, I haven't even thought about doing a hibernate since then. I'm doing perfectly innocuous things & poof, the system spontaneously reboots. I've even left the system idle while I was in another room doing . . . whatever. I come back to discover it's rebooted. Most often when this happens, the reboot presents me with a list of choices of how to reboot, with "Restart Normally" as the recommended choice. I do that & it reboots to the normal system like nothing happened. About once a day, it reboots to a slightly different screen that tells me "Startup Repair" is the recommended choice. So I do that. It runs for about half an hour. I sometimes tell it to go to a restore point, sometimes I don't. It doesn't seem to make much difference. The resulting report that it offers shows return codes 0 on everything it tried & doesn't appear to have found anything that needed repairing.

Question about restore points. If I did happen to manage to go back to some earlier restore point, would Windows Update just offer me the missing updates next time?

Occasionally, maybe one time in 5, the spontaneous reboot goes instead to a BSOD. Maybe one time in 10 of the BSODs, its alleged writing of a dump to my disk completes & then it proceeds through a normal reboot. But most often it doesn't seem to complete the dump. I wait a couple of minutes, verify that the disk activity light is not on, not flickering, and I power off. When I power on, it does a normal bootup. I'm a bit surprised I haven't even once seen it do a CHKDSK.

Every so often, the reboot is on the verge of showing the desktop and it packs it in & immediately does another normal reboot. When it does complete a reboot, I have gotten anything from 2 minutes to 2 hours of up time. There's no pattern of my activity that I have discerned that reliably makes it stay up or reboot. I'll have a couple of Firefox windows open with multiple tabs in each & it will reboot. After reboot, Firefox does let me resume with the same windows & tabs so it doesn't seem like there's something on those web pages that causes the problem. I will say that sometimes, opening 15 or 20 tabs in a browser window seems to cause a reboot. But even that is intermittent. After a reboot, the system has stayed up long enough for me to read whatever I'm going to on the 20 tabs and then I manage to get to a normal shutdown of Firefox. And inevitably, some time later, it's reboot city all over again.

On my to-do list are:
1 - run a complete antivirus scan
2 - run a complete Malwarebytes scan
3 - run a complete Spybot scan
4 - run SFC /VERIFYONLY
I have a customized Start Orb & I don't want to have to redo it. In the past, when I have run SFC, the only error it finds is on explore.exe, and that's because of my Start Orb so it's not really an error. I have already tried running SFC but the system hasn't yet stayed up long enough for that to complete. It seems that if I try to run it in background, since it takes a while to complete, that the system is more likely to reboot. But I am so jittery from all of this that I could be hallucinating that correlation.
5 - run CHKDSK on my boot partition

I can only hope the system stays up long enough to run these scans.

Already did registry cleanups via Eusing Free Registry Cleaner as well as CCleaner.

So how did I manage to get such a long post onto the forum? I composed it in a text file outside the browser and hit SAVE every few seconds. This allowed me to complete it without too much retyping due to the reboots that did interrupt me. Then once I was ready, I came here & just cut/pasted the text into this post. I have attached the results of DM Log Collector to this post. You'll notice there's no dump. Not exactly sure why not. Do they get erased each time? I have had a few BSODs that did claim to have completed writing a dump so I don't know why one of those didn't get included.

So now I throw myself on the mercy of you kind folks gathered here & hope we can somehow restore this system to the normal operation I have enjoyed for the past couple of years. Is the problem in hardware? Is it in software? I can't tell.

And oh yeah. Huge thanks ahead of time.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
02 Oct 2015   #2
Boozad

W7 Pro x64 SP1 | W10 Pro IP x64 | W8.1 Pro x64 VM | Linux Mint VM
 
 

Right, the dump files will be essential in this case. First off we need to get the machine creating them upon BSODs so can you check your settings to see if they match the ones below.
  1. Open Advanced System Settings
  2. Click on Settings in Startup & Recovery
  3. Make sure both boxes indicated below are checked
  4. In the dropdown box ensure you're set to record Small Memory Dumps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2015   #3
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Thank you for responding!

Well there you go. The setting was for kernel memory dump. I don't suppose the file name absolutely has to be MINIDUMP, does it? It's set to . . . oh wait. I think I saw something in that DM Log Collector thing. I'm changing the file name as well. OK. So next one I get, I'll post.

Is it weird that, with it set to do a kernel dump, it sometimes appears to not create the dump?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

02 Oct 2015   #4
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

After I posted that, I noticed a couple of links to other threads at the bottom & started reading them. Of course, I had reboots a couple of times. The weirdest one went like this. System closed down. Went to BSOD & claimed to be creating a dump. Left it for 15 minutes, much longer than it has taken the few times it has looked like it was actually creating a dump. Came back & it looked like it was idling, no disk drive light. So I cycled the power. It came back to the boot selections with "Normal Boot" as the recommended choice. Did that. I have Task Manager in my Startup folder. So it got to my desktop and started running stuff. Except it was really abnormal. The desktop was just the background color, no icons, no Start Bar. And the Task Manager window was there but it was empty, no tasks listed, no CPU usage in the bottom frame. I moved the mouse around a bit & it did move. I tried clicking on the Task Manager window to close it -- nothing. I started clicking keyboard combinations like Alt+Tab, Ctrl+Alt+Del, Ctrl+Esc. Suddenly the display went blank. I don't think anything I was doing on the keyboard made that happen. The system seemed completely unresponsive. I think something just timed out. Eventually, not right away, it started to reboot.

At a later stage after another reboot (while I was still trying to read other threads here), I got this thing:

Attachment 372790

First time I've seen this. I tried to resize the window so more of the text would be visible in the image but it wouldn't resize. The scrollable text area contained stuff that I thought I had cut/pasted into a text file. But when I went to open it later, it was empty. Maybe I screwed that part up. At least I managed to get the image properly. So then I clicked the button "Check for solution." The system immediately packed it in, without a BSOD.

On the reboot, I tried to run DM Log Collector. As soon as I hit enter on the executable, the system rebooted without a BSOD. On the subsequent reboot it ran & appears to have collected TWO dumps. Wow. Another first. I sure hope they're useful.

At a later stage, I got the thing again & this time, I managed to cut/paste the text in the scrollable area:

===Begin paste===

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.256.4
Locale ID: 1033

Additional information about the problem:
BCCode: 1e
BCP1: FFFFFFFFC0000005
BCP2: FFFF415002CDAE09
BCP3: 0000000000000000
BCP4: FFFFF800FFFFFFFF
OS Version: 6_1_7601
Service Pack: 1_0
Product: 256_1

Files that help describe the problem:
C:\Windows\Minidump\100215-23290-01.dmp
C:\Users\WildWilly\AppData\Local\Temp\WER-75894-0.sysdata.xml

Read our privacy statement online:
Windows 7 Privacy Statement - Microsoft Windows

If the online privacy statement is not available, please read our privacy statement offline:
C:\windows\system32\en-US\erofflps.txt

===End paste===

The numbers probably don't synch with the dumps I've posted but this at least shows you what's in that scrollable text area. This time, when I clicked "Check for solution," it started showing a progress bar of checking for solution. That lasted maybe 3 seconds, then it closed. No results. Total mystery. Oh well . . .
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2015   #5
Boozad

W7 Pro x64 SP1 | W10 Pro IP x64 | W8.1 Pro x64 VM | Linux Mint VM
 
 

I'll get to this tomorrow mate, I'm a bit tied up catching up on stuff at the moment after a back injury. Bear with me and I'll get back to you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2015   #6
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

"after a back injury . . . I'll get back to you."

And I don't even have to pay extra for the hilarious commentary? Is this a great place or what?!?!?

No worries . . . mate. (I hesitate to use that Aussie-ism, not being an Aussie myself, but it seemed only appropriate to answer in kind.)

It is sheer hell here. Last night, the last thing I did was schedule a CHKDSK on my boot partition. You know, the system lets you CHKDSK any partition except the active boot partition. So you have to agree to let the scan happen on the next reboot. So I did that. While it was running, I left the room, since it takes forever. Or about 30 minutes or so. Whichever comes first. When I came back, the system had rebooted to my desktop. Did the CHKDSK work? Does Microsoft offer us a CHKDSK.LOG file to capture the results of the CHKDSK? Do I have any more rhetorical questions for wasting our time?

While I was hunting around in the system for a log file to tell me whether the CHKDSK had worked, the system spontaneously rebooted. It may have been more than once. I've seen so many I can't keep track any more. So my problem with these reboots is not caused by some sort of weird file system corruption.

I tried to run an anti-virus scan. Of course, the system packed it in before the scan completed. I even tried to run the scan from a safe-mode boot. That is a bit difficult because even though that comes up with a mouse cursor smack in the middle of the screen, the mouse is non-functional. Good thing I hate the mouse and prefer keyboard operation of the system anyway. So I did manage to run the anti-virus scan in safe mode. But again, due to the long time that takes, I wasn't in the room when it finished. When I came back, the system had booted to my normal desktop. When I opened AVG, there didn't appear to be a log entry for the scan I had done while in safe mode. Did it complete? Did the system pack it in even in safe mode? I don't know. So after making sure I had the latest update, I launched the full system scan again. Of course, that got about half way through (according to their progress bar) when the system . . . you guessed it . . . packed it in. I'm going to assume I don't have a virus here and I'm not going to try another system scan until we've solved this problem.

I have tried to get SFC /VERIFYONLY to run at least 3 times now. Of course . . . say it with me . . . the system packed it in before the scan completed. I have looked in the CBS.LOG file. That's full of all manner of weird junk. I believe I have recognized the output from SFC. It's easy enough to find since it has to be at the very bottom of the file, since the system rebooted while that was running. It seems to do its thing in chunks of 100 files. There's a repeating pattern of things like this:

POQ 46 ends.
2015-10-03 00:37:19, Info CSI 00000115 [SR] Verify complete
2015-10-03 00:37:20, Info CSI 00000116 [SR] Verifying 100 (0x0000000000000064) components
2015-10-03 00:37:20, Info CSI 00000117 [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transaction
2015-10-03 00:37:24, Info CSI 00000118 Repair results created:
POQ 47 starts:

Visually filtering out the noise, I believe the only file it had complained about so far was explorer.exe, which I already know it's going to complain about since I have a customized Start Orb. If the system would only stay up long enough to let the scan complete . . . I'm going to have to abandon these attempts as well until we get this all sorted out.

I have seen reboots that come to my desktop background color, no icons, no background image, no Start Bar, nothing but a mouse cursor. At least the mouse moves. But there's nothing happening, no disk activity light, no response to mouse clicks with either button, no response to any keyboard activity. Only way out is cycle the power.

I have seen reboots that come to my desktop backgound color, no icons, no background image, no Start Bar, but the Task Manager is open. After a bit, the system freezes, and after a few more minutes it spontaneously reboots.

I have seen reboots that come to the normal desktop with Task Manager and a Start Bar but things stop happening. There's no disk activity light, the mouse freezes in place, there's no response to keyboard activity. After a few minutes, it spontaneously reboots.

At the end of yesterday's ordeal, I did eventually manage to get in a normal shutdown. The system was off for a few hours. When I powered it up for the first time today, somewhere between the BIOS splash screen and "Starting Windows" I got a BSOD. I got BSODs in every possible gap between the BIOS splash screen and either "Starting Windows" or the list of choices that offers normal start or the list of choices that recommends a Startup Repair. Some of the BSODs claimed to be generating dumps, but I don't think they did. I have had BSODs that did generate dumps and they proceed to a fresh boot without my intervention. These did not do that. The only way out was cycling the power. On the other hand, there were some BSODs that didn't even say they were generating dumps. Interesting. In any case, since these BSODs are so early in the system startup process, I'm beginning to lean toward believing I have some kind of hardware problem. I just wish some part of this process would say, "Your xxxxxxx is failing. Get a new one." It can't be the hard drive. I bought this new drive in April, not even 6 months ago. Western Digital is reputed to make decent equipment, are they not? I've already run MEMTEST86 on my RAM so it's not that. I hope. What does that leave? The keyboard? The video card? The CPU? I would just like some sort of evidence that implicates some culprit & I'll punish it. This is quite ridiculous. I can't get more than about 10 minutes of up time. I've had 2 complete Startup Repair Cycles and at least 2 dozen reboots in the time I've been trying to write this post, in a text file outside the browser of course. It's at least 3 hours since I first started trying to post this reply.

I have had 4 or 5 Startup Repairs today, counting the 2 that I've had since I started writing this post. I have skipped the restore and allowed it to do the restore. Doesn't seem to matter. I'm still getting the spontaneous reboots.

If I'm interpreting the status window shown after a Startup Repair, one of the things it does during that process is a CHKDSK. It does actually use that word but it claims to have taken a very short time to do it. It may have even said 0ms. That couldn't have been a real CHKDSK. I would post that actual log except there's no way to cut/paste anything when the system is in that particular state. I believe another thing it does during a Startup Repair is SFC.

Speaking of SFC, I'm going to try a safe boot and see if I can manage to get SFC to run to completion.

OK. Enough of this blather. I'm going to see if my system will stay up long enough for me to log onto W7Forums and let me actually post this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2015   #7
Boozad

W7 Pro x64 SP1 | W10 Pro IP x64 | W8.1 Pro x64 VM | Linux Mint VM
 
 

Right, unfortunately the two dumps in the logs you posted are corrupt and I can't open them. If you get any more please re-run the DM Log Collector and post up new logs, hopefully we'll be able to get something out of them.

I've taken a look through Event Log to see if anything is showing that could possibly be the issue. Without dump files I may not be hitting the problem directly, but the two instances I've found so far may well be contributing to it.

Firstly AVG seems to be having some problems.
Code:
Event[55593]:
  Log Name: System
  Source: Service Control Manager
  Date: 2015-10-02T08:57:15.188
  Event ID: 7036
  Task: N/A
  Level: Information
  Opcode: N/A
  Keyword: Classic
  User: N/A
  User Name: N/A
  Computer: WWSystem
  Description: 
The AVG WatchDog service entered the running state.

Event[55594]:
  Log Name: System
  Source: Service Control Manager
  Date: 2015-10-02T08:57:37.872
  Event ID: 7009
  Task: N/A
  Level: Error
  Opcode: N/A
  Keyword: Classic
  User: N/A
  User Name: N/A
  Computer: WWSystem
  Description: 
A timeout was reached (30000 milliseconds) while waiting for the Spybot-S&D 2 Scanner Service service to connect.

Event[55595]:
  Log Name: System
  Source: Service Control Manager
  Date: 2015-10-02T08:57:37.872
  Event ID: 7000
  Task: N/A
  Level: Error
  Opcode: N/A
  Keyword: Classic
  User: N/A
  User Name: N/A
  Computer: WWSystem
  Description: 
The Spybot-S&D 2 Scanner Service service failed to start due to the following error: 
The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.
To rule this out I'd recommend uninstalling AVG using the tool linked below and installing MS Security Essentials and MalwareBytes.

Note   Note
Make sure you uncheck the 'Enable Free Trial' box when installing.



AVG Uninstaller (64-bit):

download


Secondly your Broadcomm NetXtreme 57XX driver is old and needs updating. This could well be causing lots of issues.
Code:
Event[55643]:
  Log Name: System
  Source: b57nd60a
  Date: 2015-10-02T09:12:25.356
  Event ID: 15
  Task: N/A
  Level: Information
  Opcode: N/A
  Keyword: Classic
  User: N/A
  User Name: N/A
  Computer: WWSystem
  Description: 
Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx Gigabit Controller: Driver initialized successfully.

b06bdrv      Broadcom NetXtreme II  Kernel Stopped   2/13/2009      C:\windows\system32\drivers\bxvbda.sys
The file below is an updated version of your driver from 2013 taken from the Dell support page for your machine.

download

Try performing the above suggestions and see if it helps with stability, and upload new logs if you encounter any more BSODs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2015   #8
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

The DM Log Collector failed because I apparently have FIFTY (!!!!!) dumps on my system now. While it was running, I could see messages that said that it was creating all the other things that go into that ZIP file, the Sysinfo, the Event Logs, all those good things. But when I opened the ZIP file that it created, there were 44 .DMP files in it, not even all the dumps, and NOTHING ELSE. There is a tool for going in & deleting dumps off the system selectively, right? Please tell me there is such a thing. I found something called Event Viewer but I don't think it manipulates the dump files directly. I think it may have a function that would let me shrink the Event Log by selectively deleting events. But that wouldn't get rid of the dump files.

Speaking of which, is there a way to tell the system to keep only so many dumps? Or only dumps that occupy so much space before it starts deleting the old ones to make room for new ones. I will try to search here for answers to those questions but I expect to be stymied by repeated reboots.

As for AVG & Spybot, are there entries in the log that show them starting successfully? I'm thinking the errors you found might have been transient. With everything that's going wrong here, there are times when things might start and times when they might not. I have not run Spybot in a while, and I don't think I'm going to bother until I get this all fixed because I have 0 confidence my system will actually stay up long enough for a scan to complete. I did, however, launch a full system anti-virus scan in AVG yesterday & it did run for maybe 15-20 minutes . . . until the system packed it in. So I don't think there's anything wrong with AVG. That's why I'm thinking the errors you saw may have been transient.

If you tell me where the Event Log file is, I can look at it myself & figure out the answer to my question. Trying to get the answer out of Event Viewer looks like just too much of a pain in the ass. Too much mouse clicking & moving focus around.

I already have Security Essentials. Whenever I run Windows Update, there's always a little update to Security Essentials included. I always thought it was part of the operating system. Don't you see evidence in the stuff you've got that says it's running on my system?

I also already have Malwarebytes. Again, I intend to run it to scan my system after I can rely on my system to stay up long enough for a scan to complete.

As for the NIC driver . . . thanks. Putting the link here saves me from hunting for it myself & having to fight through who knows how many reboots before I actually find it. I'm getting on that right now. Let's see how many reboots I have to overcome to get the driver & then get it installed.

Once again, thanks a zillion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2015   #9
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

I'm beginning to suspect my video card. I get corruption on the display and then either the system freezes or it clicks & suddenly I'm rebooting.

Also, that NIC driver is not for Windows 7. Dell Support said they have only WXP drivers because that was the system they preloaded on this box before they sold it. To a friend of mine. How good is this friend? He DONATED this system to me with W7 on it. DONATED. GRATIS. FREE. GRATUIT. So now I'm off to Broadcom-land to see what I can find.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2015   #10
WildWilly

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

OK. I've deleted several dozen dumps & now here's a file with just 10 dumps in it.

I have installed the latest NIC driver from Broadcom. It seems they don't have anything that is specific to W7. I got my copy off the Broadcom site. It's probably the same as the one you found for me. However, it's made no difference. I went to a web site where there's live TV streams & I picked one at random to watch for a bit just to exercise the new NIC driver. Everything went fine until the stream had run about 10 seconds. Then suddenly my display went all corrupt & click, reboot. I did it 3 times, just to see if maybe I could get it to stay connected. Nope. I am really coming to suspect the video card more & more. And that driver is up to date. I just got it a few months ago. It is the "latest" but it is not all that recent. I suspect the video card isn't their latest & greatest so they aren't updating the driver any more. But everything worked fine for several months after I got the new video driver until a little over a week ago, when everything went to hell in a handbasket. Still, I'd like some confirmation that the problem is the video card. I don't want to lay out cash for a new card only to discover that the problem is still happening.

During the run of the DM Log Collector, the system had the screen corruption and reboot. I wasn't doing anything at all except just watching it run & poof, reboot. It stayed up long enough to complete on the second try. But I had 2 reboots just reading through the files in the zip file. I've seen it reboot while it was at the splash screen just before the desktop comes up. I've seen it get to the desktop and some Startup folder items have launched & others are about to come. The screen goes corrupt & it reboots, or the system freezes & I have to cycle power. And invariably, when I get one reboot, I get 6 or 8 in a row before it finally decides to boot all the way to a functioning system. I'm not going to do any more Startup Repairs. My startup is fine. The repair just runs around not finding anything to repair. But each one takes a half hour. Earlier today I let it tell me to do 4 of those back to back before it finally deemed my system fit to run. No more. It's fit to run. There's no damage in my startup. I think it's my video card. I would just like some confirmation that there's evidence of that in these dump files before I go out & lay down good cash on a video card. I mean, I would not be too happy if I came home with a brand new video card & within 10 minutes I had one of these spontaneous reboots.

I am so tempted to just build myself a new computer around my hard drive. Keep that & replace everything else. I'm not all that impressed with this Dell system. There's no room for anything in there. You have to move 3 things out of the way just to get at the RAM sticks. I suppose they met their design target to make something compact. But there's no room to add anything if that's what you might want. Plus there's no open power plugs for anything new either. So it's not the most impressive system I could imagine. On the other hand, the price (for me) was right.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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