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Windows 7: Multiple/frequent BSODs, USB Ports not recognised, driver issues?

4 Weeks Ago   #1

Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit Version 6.1 (Build 7601: Service Pack 1)
Multiple/frequent BSODs, USB Ports not recognised, driver issues?

Hello! I'll start with my initial problems...!

I primarily use my computer for gaming and music creation. I've just recently bought Cubase 10 Pro (as a huge upgrade from Cubase 5!) to record and edit my music. But I've been experiencing audio dropouts and CPU spikes constantly. I have stripped my system back, removing old unwanted programs, removing unnecessary startup programs etc. I was still getting audio dropouts and massive CPU spikes every couple of seconds. These spikes would occur whether I was running Cubase or not. I did a virus scan with Kaspersky (which I have now removed as it hogged memory and missed viruses) and found nothing. I then ran MalwareBytes, which actually found about 6 things. Nothing looked serious, but I removed them regardless. Things improved slightly, but my CPU would still spike usage every now and then.

I noticed a correlation between network usage and CPU spikes. After some digging in the Windows Error log, I found a service called wlanext.exe that was constantly reporting as failed to start, but it was located in C:\Windows\wmu3\wlanext.exe. It didn't look like a legitimate Windows service. After some digging, I found this was a potential virus. After even more digging, I found that wlanext.exe had parameters attached to it such as - "-o -k --donate-level=1". This looked to be a bitcoin mining something or other. I used NSSM to completely remove this. I now no longer get service failed errors for wlanext.exe. But I am still unable to smoothly record and edit audio, or perform other tasks without odd audio spikes. I have thoroughly checked for malware/viruses and not found anything else.

The CPU spikes seem to correlate with mouse movement, getting really juddery when moving the mouse. On top of that, audio will just suddenly drop due to a massive ASIO load. There is nothing wrong with my ASIO settings, soundcard (external USB - Komplete Audio 6) has worked wonderfully in the past. On top of this, my USB wireless WiFi dongle kept playing up. It would randomly drop connection and require me to unplug it and plug it back in again. (I have now, as of yesterday, replaced it with a PCIe WiFi card.) Additionally, my USB 3 ports have completely stopped functioning. I cannot plug anything into them and it was showing as an unknown device in Device Manager. Other USB ports seem to sometimes work and sometimes not.

This led me to believe that something was up with my USB drivers. I tried replacing them with drivers from the MSI website, but that just seemed to make things worse. I now do not know if I even have the right drivers installed!

I started getting BSODs about a week ago, which only increased in frequency as I tried updating drivers. I've tried running chkdsk, Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool, SFC etc. which all found nothing major. I even had to do a system restore at one point because the system would not start. Some of the BSODs I've seen are:


I saw nvlddmkm.sys and thought perhaps my video drivers were outdated or corrupted. I removed them entirely using DDU and reinstalled a clean copy from NVIDIA. However, this has not helped.

Some of the later BSODs were related to memory. I tried Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool but it did not finish. It hung, but was displaying a 'Hardware problems were detected' message...

My system had been overclocked. My RAM runs at an incorrect speed, unless I activate XMP in the BIOS. I'm a lazy overclocker and used my BIOS's built in overclocking tool 'OC Genie' to overclock the CPU automatically. It was running at 3.8GHz, seemed fine. However, the BIOS won't let me enable XMP with OC Genie on, so I either have overclocked CPU and slower RAM, or RAM at the right speed (3200MHz) with a slower CPU. I ended up using OC Genie and then the 'Memory Try-it!' function to find a profile that fitted my memory at the correct speed. Things seemed great, overclocked stable CPU and Memory at the right speed!

However, I now fear this may have had some kind of detrimental effect, as most of my issues appear related to memory. I did try putting my RAM in different RAM slots, but I couldn't remember what the preferred layout was for my motherboard to link the channels. I only tried one different configuration and my PC didn't even start. I panicked, put the RAM back in the slots it was to begin with, reset my BIOS and now I'm here.

Is anyone able to guide me on how to diagnose and (hopefully!) fix this issue? Please do feel free to ask me any other questions. I appreciate any help/insight you can give and apologise for the massive essay!

Many thanks,

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 Multiple/frequent BSODs, USB Ports not recognised, driver issues?

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