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Windows 7: Unknown BSOD and impossible-to-find windbg

12 May 2018   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
Unknown BSOD and impossible-to-find windbg

My old Windows 7 install has been plagued with BSODs for the past few weeks and I eventually decided to just reinstall it entirely, which kept them at bay for about a week but today it went right back to crashing for seemingly no reason.

I've tried to locate an installer for WinDbg so I can find out what the problem is, but the Windows SDK doesn't allow me to install it because it doesn't recognise the version of NET framework I have installed (even though I specifically installed the version it asked for via the link) and I can't find it anywhere else. I even tried to install WinDbg Preview on my Windows 10 laptop but wouldn't you know, the one time I go to get something from the Microsoft Store, it doesn't even download the damn thing. I swear, there isn't a day that I use Windows 10 without it doing something to make me angry.

I uploaded the DM log and the minidump file if anyone wants to take a look but I'd be happy enough if someone could help me install windbg so I can check it out myself, because I'm sure this isn't going to be the last time I have a problem.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2018   #2

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN

Welcome to SevenForums!

Give these two programs a try:
BlueScreenView - NirSoft

Resplendence Software - WhoCrashed, automatic crash dump analyzer

Excellent tutorial on BSOD troubleshooting

Windows BSOD analysis - A thorough usage guide

WinDBG requires .NET 4.x & if you have 7.x .NET you have to uninstall it before installing Windows SDK. You can reinstall 7.x .NET after install of SDK.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2018   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Thanks, I downloaded those and I'm trying to follow the BSOD analysis guide, starting with Driver Verifier, but I can't find most of the information that it's supposed to gather. The support page says that after running it and restarting, the results are in property pages like Driver Status, Global Counters, Pool Tracking and Settings, but I can't find those.

The BSOD analysis guide tells me to start verifier.exe and restart my computer, which I did, and Driver Verifier is supposed to "disable faulty drivers in between BSOD and reboots until you finally reach the desktop". Well, my computer booted to the desktop, at which point the TrustedInstaller process occupied the CPU for a while, and that's it. I'm not sure what was supposed to happen here.

WhoCrashed tells me the most recent crashes were caused by ntoskrnl.exe, which might be because of my CPU overheating. I could remove the cooler and reapply thermal paste but if overheating was the problem, I'd have expected that Driver Verifier occupying the CPU at 90% for 15 minutes would have caused it to happen again. The pattern I'm noticing here is that everything is stable for a while, then one BSOD happens, and two or more quickly follow that one if I don't boot windows into safe mode. Is that consistent with overheating?

Oh yeah, about the Windows SDK, NET Framework 4.7.2 is the only version installed on my system, and the SDK installer still says it's only seeing a pre-release version and throws up an error message when I try to install it, but after two hours of downloading the Windows 10 version of WinDbg finally showed up so at least I can use that one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 May 2018   #4

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN

dotNetFx45_Full_setup is the .NET 4.x I had to install to permit Win7 SDK to install, and I had to remove .NET 7.x beforehand.
I'll give @axe0 a shout, the resident SevenForums expert on BSOD for help here.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2018   #5

Windows 10 Pro


The driver verifier information on the 'thorough guide' isn't entirely correct. Driver verifier does not disable any drivers performing bad actions in between reboots, because it does happen that driver verifier keeps crashing the system over a single driver. Disabling certain drivers would mean that driver verifier would be capable of doing more than it is designed to do, validate selected actions on selected drivers and crash the system if an action is not correct.
It seems the guide has some counteractive text.
Furthermore, if your machine cannot boot into desktop because of Verifier, you can disable the tool by launching the Last Known Good configuration or booting into Safe mode.
If driver verifier was able to disable drivers, a pc would always be able to go to the desktop.

There might be more information incorrect in that guide, but I haven't checked it thoroughly.
BTW, I just noticed that the guide has some counter

WhoCrashed tells me the most recent crashes were caused by ntoskrnl.exe, which might be because of my CPU overheating.
Ntoskrnl.exe is not the reason for the crashes for multiple reasons:
- it is by default selected when it is the only module shown in a limited list containing actions performed by Windows at the time of the crash (stack trace)
- it is a file used in the boot process, if it was the cause you wouldn't be able to boot the system
Whatever any tutorial or others say about ntoskrnl causing BSODs, it is not true.

The dumps point to a hard drive related issue, how old is your system?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2018   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Yeah, I noticed that ntoskrnl.exe is a system process, I was just quoting the crash report verbatim. I have Windows installed on an Intel SSD I've been using for about three years, and I've been using the motherboard/processor for maybe four. I suspected something might be wrong there but the Intel SSD toolbox reports no problems after a full diagnostic scan on reading functionality and data integrity. The SMART summary doesn't seem to be out of the ordinary either, except for maybe the CRC error count of 2431. However, I have a second SSD that Windows had trouble detecting a few days ago because the SATA cable didn't connect properly. That problem went away after I replaced the cable, but could the same thing be happening to the system drive? Do BSODs ever happen because of bad SATA cables? Or might there be a problem that this program can't detect?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2018   #7

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN

As always axe0, I learn much from your posts!

Yes, bad SATA cables can cause BSOD.
Does your SATA cable have metal clips?

Attachment 403953 Attachment 403954

I'd replaced them with the kind that has no clips. It seems the spring action of the clip pushes the contacts away from each other; over time, with heat, this could cause intermittent disconnects.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2018   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Interesting, because it was the SATA cable without clips that wasn't connecting properly to my other SSD. My system SSD is affixed to the bottom of my case, and even with the shortest SATA cable I have, the angle of it causes some lateral push on the connector, so I'm worried that without a clip it won't connect properly either. I haven't had more BSODs in two days, so I'm going to wait and see if it happens again, and then maybe I can move my system from one SSD to the other as a solution.

In case I run into more/different problems in the future, could either of you help me understand how to properly use Driver Verifier? I'd like to be able to at least eliminate bad drivers if my install goes to hell again like before.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2018   #9

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN

axe0 would be the individual to provide further assistance. I'm a student studying BSOD as well as other IT areas, as listed in my profile. I'll keep checking though! Click on red entry and PM, it will show up on axe0s notifications.
Here's M$ page:
Using Driver Verifier to identify issues with Windows drivers
and SevenForums tutorial
Driver Verifier - Enable and Disable - Windows 7 Help Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2018   #10

Windows 10 Pro

Unless you've played a lot with the hard drive's connection, the CRC shouldn't be very high. Keep an eye on it, if it rises it indicates connection issues which may explain the crashes.

Do you have the drive connected to the same port as where the cable had trouble with connecting?

Generally drive related issues are a result of 3 things:
  • Drive itself is causing issues, this is the most common
  • Motherboard port is causing issues
  • Cable is bad

Unknown BSOD and impossible-to-find windbg Diagnostic Test Unknown BSOD and impossible-to-find windbg
 Driver verifier

Please run driver verifier for 48 hours.

Warning: driver verifier can cause boot issues and/or performance issues.

Resetting driver verifier options (recommended in this order)
  1. In normal mode open an administrator command prompt and enter the below command
  2. In safe mode open an administrator command prompt and enter the below command
  3. On 3 boot failures, you'll boot automatically to the recovery options,
    • click Troubleshoot
    • go to the advanced options
    • choose command prompt
    • enter the below command
  4. Boot with the recovery media, see above 4 steps in option 3.
  5. Via the recovery options or recovery media, select a restore point prior enabling driver verifier
verifier /reset

Crashed when running driver verifier
  1. Reset driver verifier
  2. Boot in normal mode if necessary
  3. Follow Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) Posting Instructions to provide the requested logs
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Unknown BSOD and impossible-to-find windbg

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