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Windows 7: BSOD 0xF4 only during start-up

12 Jan 2012   #1
Jan 1

Windows 7 Home 64 bit
BSOD 0xF4 only during start-up

Two months ago, I bought a number of components and assembled my PC, using Windows 7 Home 64-bit.

A few times a week during 'cold' start-up, I get a BSOD with STOP id 0x000F4. There are also 'cold' start-ups that are successful. When I do a restart or a shutdown followed by a start-up this problem has never occured yet.

What is always the case is that the BSOD hangs in the phase "initializing disk for crash dump" and the led of the harddisk is burning constantly, but nothing happens. As a consequence, I do not have a crash dump file of this problem.

I did already a complete reinstall with the OS of my system, but the problem remains. The tests of the disk, memory and graphics acard are ok.

Does anyone have a idea what is going on here?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2012   #2

Win 8 Release candidate 8400

No DMP files included in upload try this method.

We do need the DMP file as it contains the only record of the sequence of events leading up to the crash, what drivers were loaded, and what was responsible.

If you are overclocking STOP

You may be able to get the DMP files without crashing by booting into safe mode (F8) with networking.

To enable us to assist you with your computer's BSOD symptoms, upload the contents of your "\Windows\Minidump" folder.

The procedure:
* Copy the contents of \Windows\Minidump to another (temporary) location somewhere on your machine.
* Zip up the copy.
* Attach the ZIP archive to your post using the "paperclip" (file attachments) button.
*If the files are too large please upload them to a file sharing service like "Rapidshare" and put a link to them in your reply.

To ensure minidumps are enabled:
* Go to Start, in the Search Box type: sysdm.cpl, press Enter.
* Under the Advanced tab, click on the Startup and Recovery Settings... button.
* Ensure that Automatically restart is unchecked.
* Under the Write Debugging Information header select Small memory dump (256 kB) in the dropdown box (the 256kb varies).
* Ensure that the Small Dump Directory is listed as %systemroot%\Minidump.
* OK your way out.
* Reboot if changes have been made.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP


Please check Windows Updates for any available updates. Your system has 54 updates after SP1, most systems have 65 or more.

Beyond that, I don't see any sign of Windows or 3rd party problems. That leaves hardware as the most likely possibility. Please try this:

I suggest starting all troubleshooting with the following diagnostic tests (located at this link: Hardware Diags ). They'll save you a lot of time and heartache if there is a hardware failure, and you'll have the disks on hand in case you need them in the future:
H/W Diagnostics:
Please start by running these bootable hardware diagnostics:
Memory Diagnostics (read the details at the link)
HD Diagnostic (read the details at the link) - Test ALL of the hard drives.

Also, please run one of these free, independent online malware scans to ensure that your current protection hasn't been compromised: Free Online AntiMalware Resources (read the details at the link)
There are also free, bootable antivirus disks at this link: Free Online AntiMalware Resources - Bootable Disks
Then, if the above tests pass, I'd try these free stress tests:
FurMark download site: FurMark: VGA Stress Test, Graphics Card and GPU Stability Test, Burn-in Test, OpenGL Benchmark and GPU Temperature | oZone3D.Net
FurMark Setup:
- If you have more than one GPU, select Multi-GPU during setup
- In the Run mode box, select "Stability Test" and "Log GPU Temperature"
Click "Go" to start the test
- Run the test until the GPU temperature maxes out - or until you start having problems (whichever comes first).
NOTE: Set the alarm to go off at 90șC. Then watch the system from that point on. If the system doesn't display a temperature, watch it constantly and turn it off at the first sign of video problems. DO NOT leave it it unmonitored, it can DAMAGE your video card!!!
If the temperature gets above 100șC, quit the test - the video card is overheating.
- Click "Quit" to exit
Prime95 download site: Free Software - GIMPS
Prime95 Setup:
- extract the contents of the zip file to a location of your choice
- double click on the executable file
- select "Just stress testing"
- select the "Blend" test. If you've already run MemTest overnight please run the "Small FFTs" test instead. (run all 3 if you find a problem and note how long it takes to error out with each)
- "Number of torture test threads to run" should equal the number of CPU's times 2 (if you're using hyperthreading).
The easiest way to figure this out is to go to Task Manager...Performance tab - and see the number of boxes under CPU Usage History
Then run the test for 6 to 24 hours - or until you get errors (whichever comes first).
Monitor the CPU temperature and DON'T let it exceed 85șC. If it does, then you probably have a CPU cooling problem.
This won't necessarily crash the system - but check the output in the test window for errors.
The Test selection box and the stress.txt file describes what components that the program stresses.
More details on the use of this test: Torture test your CPU with Prime95
More Video Stress Tests:
1. Thanks to VirGnarus for finding this video memory test:
Alternate download link (w/o registration) located here: Folding@home - DownloadUtils
2. Two other video stress tests (may be more stressful than FurMark):
NOTE: I have had reports that some ISP's will block this website
Video Memory stress Test -
Artifact Locator -
Sorry, but I don't read the language that this website is made in.
3. Another interesting test that came to my attention: Download - OCCT Website english
USE AT YOUR OWN RISK - the program doesn't have a whole bunch of safety features to protect you from yourself!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jan 2012   #4

Win 7

Since you hear the disk thrashing try running the WD Data Life Guard tools for DOS(CD) the test the drive, > WD Support / Downloads / SATA & SAS / WD Caviar Green / GP
D/L burn to a CD an boot from the CD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2012   #5
Jan 1

Windows 7 Home 64 bit

Running tests on the memory, harddisk, graphics card and CPU didn't reveal a problem.
Since the problem only occurs occasionally when switching on the PC, my guess is now that it is some kind of start-up timing issue. As my external harddisk is probably the slowest during start-up, I will disconnect it for a week or so to see whether this solves the problem.
Any other suggestions?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2012   #6

Win 7

Unplugging the external drive is a good idea I've seen external drives cause start up issues before.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #7
Jan 1

Windows 7 Home 64 bit

Unplugging the external drive did not solve the problem. After 2 days the problem re-occurred.
Then I did an update of the BIOS. This seems to have solved the problem; it has been more than one week now, and I haven't seen a blue screen since.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 BSOD 0xF4 only during start-up

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