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Windows 7: WiFi Driver Causing OS Deadlock

01 Aug 2014   #1
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 
WiFi Driver Causing OS Deadlock

Hi. A few months back, I posted here with a problem which caused my computer to completely deadlock. You can see the whole sorry story here. Long story short, the problem has returned.

My machine is an Alienware M17x R1, running Windows 7 x64 Home Premium SP1. The problem is that while I'm using the machine, it sometimes randomly deadlocks. By deadlock, I mean that everything stops; no mouse movement, no Alt-Ctrl-Del, no Caps Lock toggling on the keyboard, nothing. Once it deadlocks, the only thing I can do is to hold the power button to force a shutdown.

The problem first occured after I came home from uni, and therefore I at first assumed that it must be a hardware issue caused by moving the machine around. However I've done plenty of hardware scans (see the previous thread) and I never found any issues (aside from an overheating graphics card which turned out to be the result of nothing more exciting than cat hair, and has now been solved). Last time, I was able to solve the problem by reinstalling a number of drivers which I believed might have been responsible. However the big thing that I didn't mention in the previous post is that I did that after I returned to uni. Now I've returned home again for the first time since the problems, and on my first day back, the problem has returned in full force; deadlocking many times a day (often after just a few minutes of running). This made me realise that the problem is something to do with being at home, rather than at uni, and the only difference I can think of is that at uni, I use an ethernet cable to connect to the internet, whilst at home, I connect to the WiFi. Therefore I did an experiment of switching off the WiFi and running the machine with no internet and sure enough, I've not had a single deadlock. This makes me think that the issue is with the WiFi driver.

Last time I had the problem, I ran Driver Verifier for days on end, and never got a BSOD with a crash dump, and therefore was never able to identify the problem. However now that I seem to have narrowed it down to the WiFi driver, I'm unsure of what to do. Of course, I have updated it but it says that it is up to date. I have also tried uninstalling and reinstalling the driver, but it makes no difference. I've also tried installing the latest driver downloaded directly from the Dell website, but again no difference.

Do you have any advice on what I can do to fix the problem? My network adapter describes itself as a Broadcom 802.11n.

A few other "clues" that might be of interest. I get the problem with any browser I use (I initially thought the issue might be in Chrome). However I was able to play a couple of hours of GW2 (an MMO for those of you who don't know) last night without an issue. Maybe I was just lucky, but this seems a little odd. There were a number of software updates to our wireless hub whilst I was away, which is the only thing I'm aware has changed since I was able to use the WiFi without problems. We use a BT Home Hub. There are at least four other machines using the WiFi without any problems. I've checked for any obvious issues like mismached MTU sizes but I've not found anything.

Anyhow any advice you can give me on what I can do from here would be greatly appreciated. And of course if you need any other information from me, please just ask. Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Aug 2014   #2
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

OK well after all my complaining about just getting freezes with no BSODs, I actually got a BSOD moments after it froze yesterday for the first time ever. Unfortunately, no crash dumps appear to have been created, even though the BSOD clearly stated that it had created them. However the BSOD was considerably more useful than normal, as it specifically named ndis.sys as the problem. There was no specific BSOD error, but the stop code was 0x0000007E. Having looked up ndis.sys, it does appear to be something to do with the networking as I suspected.

Is there anything I can do from here to try and solve the problem? I can do an upload using the forum dm log collector if you like although as I say, no new crash dumps were created. Also now that I've got a BSOD, should this be in the BSOD section rather than the drivers section? If so, I'd be more than happy for a mod to move it.

Anyhow if you have any advice on solving this, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Aug 2014   #3
Arc

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Laurie View Post
There was no specific BSOD error, but the stop code was 0x0000007E. Having looked up ndis.sys, it does appear to be something to do with the networking as I suspected.

Is there anything I can do from here to try and solve the problem? I can do an upload using the forum dm log collector if you like although as I say, no new crash dumps were created. Also now that I've got a BSOD, should this be in the BSOD section rather than the drivers section? If so, I'd be more than happy for a mod to move it.

Anyhow if you have any advice on solving this, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Hi Laurie.

Click on the button below ....



It will download the DM log collector. Right click on the application and run as administrator. It will generate a .zip file on your desktop. Upload the .zip.
Screenshots and Files - Upload and Post in Seven Forums

Let us see if any BSOD is recorded or not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Aug 2014   #4
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Hi Arc. Thanks for the response. Sure, I've attached the zip. As I said, as far as I can see, the only dumps are from a BSOD I had a very long time ago, but I don't really know what I'm looking for so maybe you'll be able to spot something useful.

Anyhow thanks for your help. Do let me know if you need any more info from me.


Attached Files
File Type: zip LAURIE-PC-04_08_2014__74316_22.zip (1.74 MB, 7 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2014   #5
Arc

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview 64-bit
 
 

Hi Laurie.

There is no crash dump after April, as you said. But overall it gives us a sight about the issue. A crash dump gives us a probable cause, which we are missing here.

Update the driver to Broadcom 802.11n Network Adapter from Support | Dell US

Free up the startup. Windows does not need any other program to auto start with it, but the auto start programs often conflicts and causes various problems including BSODs.
  1. Click on the Start button
  2. Type “msconfig (without quotes), click the resulting link. It will open the System Configuration window.
  3. Select the “Startup” tab.
  4. Deselect all items other than the antivirus and the dual monitor.
  5. Apply > OK
  6. Accept then restart.
I know that Trusteer Rapport is a very essential program for its users. But it causes issues with network. If updating the network driver and reducing the startup items does not help at all; uninstall Rapport, at least as a test, to see how it goes. Let us know.

Also, follow it: Dump Files - Configure Windows to Create on BSOD
Go to Option Two, Point 2. Download the .reg file and merge it in registry by double clicking it.

Now wait for another BSOD. When it occurred, search the .dmp files manually in the default path: C:\Windows\Minidump or %SystemRoot%\Minidump. See if the crash dump is recorded or not (hopefully it will be recorded).Post it following the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) Posting Instructions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2014   #6
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Hi Arc. Thanks for the suggestions.

OK so I've installed the latest driver from Dell, switched off most of the startup programs, uninstalled Rapport and merged in the registry file. I'm fairly sure that I had it set up to create minidumps before, but better to be sure.

At the moment, having done all that, I'm still getting the freezes. If I get another BSOD, I will be sure to post again with all the details. However my experience is that the BSODs are very rare, compared to the freezes which happen all the time if I have the networking switched on. Therefore I'm none too hopefully that I'll get another one. I did manage to force some last time I had the problem by using Driver Verifier, but they always happened on boot and never produced any minidumps.

Anyhow if there is anything else I can do in the mean time that might help to resolve the issue, please do let me know. Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2014   #7
Arc

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview 64-bit
 
 

First let us assume that the freezes are being caused by any driver.

Upload the list of all the third party drivers Using NirSoft DriverView :
  • Download and execute Driverview
  • View > Hide Microsoft Drivers
  • Edit > Select all
  • File > Save Selected Items
  • In the Save dialog, Set the path to desktop, Put "Driverview" in the name field, and save.
  • Zip the .txt file and upload it.
It will help us to have a clear look on the drivers and to decide if any of them are having a bearing on networking.

About the startup items, better you disable everything other than the antivirus and the touchpad driver.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2014   #8
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

OK I've attached the Driverview file.

On the startup programs, I see two things called "Microsoft Security Client" (which I'm assuming is my Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus) and "Microsoft Windows Operating System". My gut instinct would be that I would need that too! But correct me if I'm wrong. Anyhow for the time being, I've left just these two checked and all the rest are switched off.

Also do you think the issue is with the programs themselves or with them running on startup? I ask because I mean, can I open these programs manually after the computer has booted or should I avoid them entirely?

Thanks for taking the time to help me with this.


Attached Files
File Type: zip Driverview.zip (3.5 KB, 1 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2014   #9
Arc

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview 64-bit
 
 

The "Microsoft Windows Operating System" entry is for sidebar/gadgets. If you dont use them, you may uncheck it,too.

There is no other driver that may have a bearing on networking directly. You may search for any BIOS and/or chipset update in Dell and apply it if available.

Also, sometimes the network issues may be caused by malwares. So a scan with malwarebytes will be a good idea.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2014   #10
Laurie

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

OK I've unchecked Microsoft Windows OS too now. I've also checked for any chipset updates but there don't seem to be any, and I've already got the latest BIOS installed (I remember installing that because it killed my RAID1 setup lol).

I'll run a full malware scan overnight and report back if there are any problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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