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Windows 7: My Kernel-Power Woes

07 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7
My Kernel-Power Woes

This is a bit of a long story, and has occupied roughly 30+ hours of labour, which as of yet have been to no avail.
It all starts with a beautiful, well-trimmed, fine-tuned winXP sp3, on which I gamed for hours and let run constantly, with no problems whatsoever. I had settled into XP since vista didn't want to install, even though I tried 3 different versions (2x32bit, 1x64bit, different times). Since the Vista installation always gave me BSODs, I figured why bother.
So, even though I'd settled into my comfortable XP life, and accrued mounds of very useful little gadgets and products to make my life enjoyable and efficient, I thought I'd give Windows 7 a crack. After all, I could just backup my current setup and rewrite it in 10min if a problem arose. And Windows 7 is so much sexier.
So I used Paragon Exact Image, saved the image on my 2nd hard drive (1TB seagate), and began the journey that would turn out to be arduous, fretting, and nerve-wracking at times, and which is still not resolved.
I'm gonna cut the prose and speak plainly to make this well understood.
I used Windows 7 7600 x64. At first I ran into many BSOD's during installation setup, but after disabling Cool'n'Quiet in BIOS got around that. The installation went until the final setup screen, the last step in the process, and then I got "Encountered unexpected error." The installation would not continue.
I researched exhaustively and found that perhaps the bundled video drivers were conflicting with my ATI HD4850. I moved to China to work about 3yrs ago, and don't have my techie friends around, so I had to take it to a shop and convince them to let me insert another video card to see if I could circumvent this problem. Sure enough, by plugging in a Geforce (don't know which), the installation completed itself (in like 2min, which made me so angry that I'd waited two days trying to figure out how to pass those last 2 minutes of the installation). When I switched my card back in, Windows 7 would not BSOD. But I could get into safe mode and update the video drivers. This did the trick, or so I thought.
I was now able to Windows 7, but only for about 90s max (I timed it, every time I would BSOD between 70-90s).
Another day of exhaustive trawling through forums later, I discovered the problem: power settings. I was on balanced. Something was malfunctioning with Cool'n'Quiet, even though it was disabled in bios. So I changed my power settings to "High Performance." This resolved my 90s limit, but did not make for a stable system. I realized that I could get some good times of 30min, maybe even an hour, but then the BSOD's would come. Each time, the Event Viewer showed a critical error called Kernel-Power. After the 1st, they would happen very frequently. I could not play videos, and sometimes even opening "explorer" would cause the BSOD.
So then came the exhaustive testing. Using Hiren's Boot 10.0, I ran as many tests as I could, memtest86+ overnight, Hard drive tests (all of them), cpu burn-in (for 6hrs). There were no errors. I tried removing the DVD player and the 2nd hard drive, and removing one ram chip, then the other, and trying them in different slots... but still got Kernel-Power errors. I was so frustrated of doing this over a week in all my spare time, and trawling though forums, that I gave up and decided to go back to XP.
Things became more frustrating from this point. I installed an April'09 XP SP3 that I had used before, and suddenly I was getting spontaneous BSODs, which had never happened before. So I tried to reload my old WinXP setup from the Paragon Exact Image I'd made, only problem is that their recovery CD is not compatible with my video card, I get a blank screen. The Paragon tool that comes with Hiren is also not compatible, so I can't reload my old setup. This in itself doesn't frustrate me the most, but adds to my ire. I had the latest version of my bios from the beginning, and have tried reverting from F9 to F7 and F6 (there is no F8), but still nothing.
I have deduced that it is not my CPU, hard drives, ram or burner. This leaves Mobo and Video card. So I'm pretty well aware that my next step is going to a shop to have it all checked out. I've since tried installing two other previous versions of XP, nothing. I can use MiniXP from Hiren's, for as long as I want, and browse online etc, even put on a high resolution and it looks ok. It never freezes.
I'm left thinking, why was everything fine until the moment I tried installing Windows 7?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Dec 2009   #2

Windows 7 x64 finally!

Hi Wiser, welcome to the forums
Have you checked the temperatures? It sounds a lot like a hardware problem and the delay in happening leads me to believe it could be overheat. Windows 7 is known to "run hotter" than XP. And maybe something got unstable when it overheated, hence your new problem with XP?
If not, do have your Mobo and Video card checked as you suggested, they are the next in line as suspects
Let us know
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2009   #3

7600.20510 x86

Have you looked at this thread as I've previously advised?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Dec 2009   #4

Windows 7

Ya, thanks torrentg, I checked it out. All steps have been taken.
As I can't get into windows 7 long enough to debug this, and don't have another x64 system up (only my girlfriends old laptop, which would shudder under windows 7), would someone mind taking a peek at this latest minidump for me?

Attached Files
File Type: zip (15.3 KB, 7 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #5

7600.20510 x86

All the drivers look alright. Unofrtunately, I have a feeling you have a motherboard issue.

How do the capacitors look? I forget if I asked already. Is any electrolyte leaking from them or do they have rounded tops instead of flat?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #6

Windows 7 x64 finally!

Good point TG, I also believe it is a HW problem, although the caps are hardly the culprit.
That board uses Oscon solid caps, or any variation from the other big three Japanese manufacturers (meaning they are good quality) according to GigaByte. Although they do have a lifetime, it is supposed to be way longer than non-solid caps and they can withstand longer term operation under high temperature / loads without the degradation you have with non-solid caps.

But there could be other problems with the Mobo or the Video card. Wiser, I would proceed as you indicated and try to test them at a shop or other system if possible.

In case you are asking why it only failed with Windows 7 and not with other OSs, I have seen it before. I myself have a AMD processor (4200+) that will run anything without problems (XP, Vista, Ubuntu) x86 or x64, but will not run Windows 7 x64, no matter what. Windows 7 x86 runs fine. I could never understand what happens.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #7

7600.20510 x86

Actually, he has had major problems under XP SP3 as well. Same 0x124. So that definitely says hardware.

Cool about the caps. In that case, I doubt there's a problem with them specifically as you've said.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #8

Windows 7 x64 finally!

+1, I missed that, completely right. So the only constant is the hardware. Strong indication...

It is always good to check the caps too, but you probably won't be able to see anything. If you do, run, they release bad stuff under special conditions (J/K, your house would've burn down already before that happens).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #9

Windows 7

I physically inspected the capacitors and they are flat-topped. However none of them look in a bad way, physically the board looks fine, in my semi-but-not-professionally-trained eyes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #10

Windows 7

Right, my XP issues, which only started after I tried to install Windows 7 x64. Perhaps something was stressed in the process and now I can't get back to normal. Too bad, hate to be without my comp for such a long time (as a mobo RMA will probably require).
Still doing some tests though to see if I can live without doing that. Gonna try x86 Windows 7 tomorrow morning.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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