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Windows 7: multiple OS installs on both HDD & SSD over 6 months...still BSODs

19 Jun 2012   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
multiple OS installs on both HDD & SSD over 6 months...still BSODs

First, my system specs & some details:

-I purchased the hardware & assembled my machine in late December 2011
-Full Retail version of Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
-Multiple (at least 4) clean installations of the OS over the past 6 months, all BSODing
-Initial OS installations (at least 2 from Dec. to Feb.) were performed on a WD hdd...all had BSOD problems
-RAM: In January performed "stick by stick" & "slot by slot" testing with Memtest86+. No reported errors on Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 1600 CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B
-SSD: This latest clean OS installation is the 2nd clean OS installation onto a Samsung 128GB SSD 830 Series purchased & installed in late February & updated to the latest FW update (CXM03B1Q) prior to any OS installations. Using the latest Samsung SSD Magician software & its OS optimization
-CPU: Intel i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core cooled with Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
-Video Card: XFX DoubleD HD-687A-ZDFC Radeon 6870 1GB 256bit GDDR5 PCIe
-MB: Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX w/ UEFI bios

Secondly, I have a 'method' whereby I've been able to increase my chances and/or rapidity of this intermittent but consistent BSOD I'm experiencing. Although I've experienced BSODs while doing all of these particular things in this combined method singly, I've seemingly had it happen in any and many other unremembered scenarios. In other words, I'm not necessarily convinced of any specific causation or any conclusion as a result of using this method to more quickly guarantee the eventual BSOD. It just works. I used this method to solve my curiosity as to whether I could induce a BSOD while also in SAFE MODE a few days ago. It was successful. I'm not sure if this fact is helpful or not.

All the programs or tasks comprising this are opened and then ran simultaneously. This "method" of inducing an eventual BSOD...sooner rather than as follows:
1. Open Media Center and play a recorded show. (When attempted in Safe Mode, I was only able to open WMC but unable to playback an actual recorded show.)
2. Run a full scan of Microsoft Security Essentials
3. Run a full scan of Malwarebytes
4. Open 3 different browsers (Chrome, IE & FF) and have all 3 browsers simultaneously playing a lengthy YouTube video playlist.

Again, this is after yet another clean install of the OS. I most often get through full scans of MSE or Malwarebytes w/ no problem or detections just in case someone is trying to send me down the malware causation route. These are a compilation of tasks that where more notably underway in a singular form when previous BSODs occurred. These are however not the only singular or combined scenarios in which BSODs have happened over the past 6 months of numerous clean OS installations on both an HDD & an SSD.

Thirdly, more in regards to the Asus motherboard and Corsair RAM. In this latest clean installation of the OS (6/13/2012), I've updated the MB with the very latest bios and been sure that any other Asus available download for my MB is up-to-date via the MB's OS specific support page. I've also used the Intel Driver Update Utility to be sure that everything is current on that front also.

Delving into my BIOS & my MB manual before proceeding in the most recent round of Memtest86+ v4.20 testing over the past two days raised a few questions and things I'm not exactly sure about which I'll address momentarily. Having previously completed (back in January) both a full 16GB config test AND also literally every conceivable "stick by stick" & "slot by slot" & 'extended tests' testing possibility with no errors, I opted this time to only run the Memtest86+ in my full 16GB configuration since I seriously doubted to encounter any error detection anyway. Here are results of Memtest 86+ over the past 2 days for my Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4 GB) 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B:

1st Test Results: No Errors after 8 passes taking nearly 18 hours
SETTINGS: **668 MHz (DDR3-1337)** CAS 9-9-9-24

2nd Test Results: No Errors after 8 passes taking 17 1/2 hours
SETTINGS: **802 MHz (DDR3-1605)** CAS 9-9-9-24

Here's where my questions and uncertainties arise and why I ran the Memtest86+ in the two different settings mentioned above to be sure I wasn't missing something. unfortunately, I'm not very sure if the following is relevant or helpful but it is defintiely unclear to me. I've read the MB manual and noted the default settings. I'm not necessarily any clearer on things however. I was trying to determine a few things so that I could expedite the troubleshooting. I was trying to figure out the following 2 things:

1. Although I know the processor is capable of over-clocking via the MB, I haven't learned enough about to to be comfortable with doing so. I'm trying to ensure that I'm NOT overclocking and I'm finding that not so easy to determine precisely via the MB manual or BIOS.

2. The "Ai Tweaker" menu found in the Advanced Menu of my BIOS is slightly confusing to me in regard to the "Ai Overclock Tuner". Yes, I'm trying NOT to overclock but I don't see anywhere to specifically keep it from overclocking per se. Having noticed some differences that in DRAM speed while trying to figure out the Advanced Settings in BIOS, I decided to Memtest BOTH speeds that showed up most often when trying to figure out what the heck I actually had or should be using. I kept seeing 1337 or 1336 and 1600 and even 1648. This became more confusing to me.

In summary, I don't really know if I am over-clocking. I'm not trying to and don't want to...especially for the purposes of this debugging...therefore due to my uncertainty I've set my "Ai Overclock Tuner" to "X.M.P." so that the seemingly appropriate 1600 actually shows up when I re-enter and view the details in my bios. Having said that does that mean that I'm not overclocking and begs this question. Why is it that when I otherwise tinker in that menu of my advanced bios do I end up with 1337 which is below the RAM's 1600 rating? Which should I even use. In summary, I don't know if I'm over-clocking so I tested 2 different RAM settings for the Memtest86+. Being that I get still get no errors on Memtest after all this, is any of this even a problem, a red herring or maybe something I still need to get to a proper setting or baseline for proceeding any further with troubleshooting and debugging?

I'm not sure what's the most logical progression from here. I'm wanting to focus my effort on whatever is relevant and next. I've attached the required files. I'd be grateful for any and all who can make clear my path for working to debug and troubleshoot my 6 month ongoing BSOD problem, specifically in this latest incarnation. If you made it this far, many thanks as I really appreciate your time.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #2

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Been reading around and I'll try this out in the meantime: "While waiting for a reply, please run Driver Verifier according to these instructions: Driver Verifier Settings"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #3

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

An hour after running Driver Verifier according to the instructions in the link listed above, I received another BSOD. While trying to then immediately run the "BSOD Dump & System File Collection app" upon reboot, I encountered a second BSOD. However a second reboot allowed me to generate a new "Windows_NT6_BSOD_jcgriff2" report & System Health report that are newly attached.

I used my previously mentioned method of inducing or expediting the BSOD occurrence. While doing so it may be noteworthy that MSE stopped working 2 or 3 times with error notifications that it was no longer working or active and with a prompt to be reactivated and sending of an error report to Microsoft...before the BSOD occurred. Each time I restarted MSE and also restarted a full scan.

Not sure how to continue with Driver Verifier so I'm making no changes yet. I'm assuming later, at some point, I'll either want to separately use it on Microsoft drivers and/or add them to the other drivers already subject to Driver Verifier's scope or parameters.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Jun 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

A lot of the crashes point to the AMD software installed with the drivers. See what happens if you install your drivers without Catalyst Control Center/Vision Engine Control Center. Download the version of ATI drivers that you want to install, and then do the following steps.
  • Start the installation program to install your drivers and ATI software. When you get to the option to Express/Custom install, cancel the installation. Your drivers should now exist in C:\AMD\Support\xx-x_vista_win7_64_dd_ccc where the x's replace your version number of the driver software.
  • Uninstall all AMD software related to your graphics card by uninstalling AMD Catalyst Install Manager in Start Menu -> Control Panel -> Uninstall a program
  • If AMD Catalyst Install Manager is not listed, use the following method to uninstall the graphics drivers:
    1. Click Start Menu
    2. Right Click My Computer/Computer
    3. Click Manage
    4. Click Device Manager from the list on the left
    5. Expand Display adapters
    6. Do the following for each adapter (in case you have multiple display cards)
      • Right click the adapter
      • Click Uninstall (do not click OK in the dialog box that pops up after hitting Uninstall)
      • Put a tick in Delete driver software for this device (if this option is available, otherwise just hit OK) and hit OK
    1. Login as an adminstrative user
    2. Click Start Menu
    3. Click Control Panel
    4. Click Hardware and Sound
    5. Click Device Manager (the last link under Devices and Printers)
    6. Expand Display adapters
    7. Do the following for each adapter (in case you have multiple display cards)
      • Right click the adapter
      • Click Uninstall (do not click OK in the dialog box that pops up after hitting Uninstall)
      • Put a tick in Delete driver software for this device (if this option is available, otherwise just hit OK) and hit OK
  • Restart your computer.
  • Re-install your drivers from the C:\AMD\Support\xx-x_vista_win7_64_dd_ccc folder using a similar method to that in OPTION TWO of Drivers - Install Vista Drivers on Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #5

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Thanks @writhziden! This addresses the nuance of getting the driver installed without the driver bloat that may be exacerbating my BSOD situation. But I had an ideal trying to bypass the insanity of uninstalling and reinstalling that driver altogether for right now..just for the process of elimination so here is what I tried and what happened. I used the "Uninstall Programs" to uninstall the AMD drivers and Catalyst Control center. I had a BSOD when first attempting to do so. (Not sure if Driver Verifier still being activated has anything to do with that or not. That accounts for the BSOD minidump @ 6/19 9:30 PM GMT)

After the reboot I was subsequently able to successfully uninstall it the second time via "Uninstall Programs" and then rebooted. I ran Driver Sweeper and removed the remains of any AMD drivers then turned OFF my machine. I then physically removed my AMD Radeon HD Graphics 6xxx series PCIe card. Plugged my monitors DVI connection into the motherboard DVI input, enabled the CPUs onboard Intel HD 3000 graphics (IGX) via the BIOS, then rebooted. Upon restart, I again verified that there were no remains of any AMD drivers. I then started my previously mentioned & proven method of inducing a BSOD and within 45 minutes I indeed had another BSOD. Now I say that with one possible caveat that I'm not sure that matters or not...I still have Driver Verifier enabled for everything but Microsoft items...but I'm not sure if that is relevant or not.

I'm attaching the latest set of files that should show this subsequent BSOD on 6/19 @ 10:17 PM happened while using the onboard Intel HD 3000 Graphics. "WhoCrashed" is apparently pointing to the Intel RST drivers. Again, I'm not sure if having Driver Verifier in use is noteworthy in that regard. That brings me to my next question. Being that I'm not using a RAID setup, I don't believe I need to have the Intel RST installed. Can't I just go ahead and uninstall that and also eliminate that from this whole ongoing BSOD situation.

I installed the very latest BIOS update as per the ASUS support site specifically for my MB's OS. I also noticed that the BIOS prior to this latest one detailed important steps to follow in regard to updating and activating Intel RST. I followed it to the exact letter and thought it somewhat odd that my last "WhoCrashed" report seemed to point to the Intel RST. Since that is useful best I can follow...for RAID setups, I was contemplating uninstalling it to possibly eliminate any conflicts since I seemingly might not need it anyway. I've also however seen a number of people say not to mess with it although they give no solid evidence that deleting it is detrimental. So I'm not really sure how to approach that possibility or peel away another layer that seemingly gets me no closer to the root cause.

Your previous post is extremely helpful in regards to getting the lightest of proper driver installations possible once I'm able to again attempt a physical return of my AMD video card...after I'm hopefully successful at determining the exact cause(s) of my continuing BSODs.

Am I getting anywhere?I'm sensing either that I'm narrowing down to something I've missed RAM-wise(maybe Bios), driver &/or driver verifier, something really weird mobo-wise or the unlikeliest scenario that something may be wrong/corrupt with my DVD copy of Windows. I'm spit-balling now under the
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

A few questions before you decide to remove IRST...
  1. Are you aware you are also using the Marvell 91xx controller drivers?

  2. Are you aware your Marvell 91xx controller drivers are out of date?
    RAID: Marvell* SATA Driver

  3. Are you also aware that Intel Rapid Storage Technology includes both RAID and AHCI drivers, so you need the AHCI driver version from AHCI: Intel® Rapid Storage Technology Driver for Intel Desktop Boards
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #7

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Yes, I knew that I was using Marvell controller drivers for my data drives. No, I wasn't aware that I could find those drivers on the Intel site. 'Software Informer' program notifications about my Marvell controller drivers sent me on a google search skewed to pages of spammy, incorrect, or Russian sites. I'll probably look like even more of a total idiot on this third one: "...Intel Desktop Boards..." within the title of your 3rd link would have led me to believe (had I even found it) that it was some literal, specific Intel motherboard product (not chipset-like...if that even makes any sense) and therefore not applicable to my Asus MB. I wrongly assumed that I'd find the latest &/or most correct one on the Asus support page for my MB & it's specific OS. well, at least I'm laughing at myself a little bit now, haven't done that much lately...ha!

Ummm, let me take care of this definite oversight on my part. Many thanks & I'll take care of these and see if there is anything else similar that I'm overlooking.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Nah, I don't think you're an idiot at all. Drivers are difficult to find, and many of us are only good at finding them because we work on these forums helping others find them and have become accustomed to poorly described drivers and inadequate language. :)

Also, many drivers are fine to get directly from the motherboard. With SSDs, it is a completely different game with driver finding because all drivers related to HDDs and SSDs must be as up to date as possible. Chipset drivers must also be as up to date as possible (have you checked for an update for this on Intel, by the way?), and BIOS and firmware updates must be current (it sounds like you covered this one already).

Another thing many do not know is that if you use the automatic driver update utility from Intel, it will tell you the driver you have is valid, but that does not mean it is up to date. You still need to click on the link to find the latest update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #9

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

After encountering the Intel RST driver nuance on the Asus MB support page (in regard to the updated BIOSs) I began to see & to understand that there was a difference between Intel's app validating drivers and what was really up-to-date. I was using the Intel update Utility very regularly and had a false sense of security that it was telling me everything I needed to know. I now see more fully the depth of this difference between valid and up-to-date. I'm going to exercise some due diligence first (also double check the chipset) so I don't waste your time and if I'm iffy on something I'll ask before attempting to put anything to the test again. Although I was able to research & do this first-ever build all on my own, it has however taken me 6 months to figure out I didn't know quite enough to make it truly work stably without help. I'll get it right yet.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Building your own system is always a learning experience, even when it is your fifth or sixth system. Hardware evolves, so we have to evolve with it. You'll learn a ton from your first build that will help you with future builds, and everything new you learn with future builds will seem minor in comparison. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 multiple OS installs on both HDD & SSD over 6 months...still BSODs

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