Frequent BSOD's

  Nosmas 18:47 15 Oct 2008

My system is Windows XP Home SP2 fully up to date with MS Updates. About three years ago I updated the system by installing a 40 GB HDD and a new motherboard Matsonic MS8147C which came (from Novatech) with a pre-installed AMD Athlon Processor and 2 x 256 MB memory (DDR PC3200) modules in slots 0 and 1. Recent system messages to close an application because memory was short, prompted me to install a 1 GB module of Crucial memory (DDR 400 SDRAM matching the existing modules' speed). I moved the existing 256 MB module from slot 0 to slot 2 and installed the 1 GB module in slot 0, but the system would not boot. Crucial Support suggested removing the original modules and rebooting with only the new module and this worked OK, although shortly afterwards the system crashed with a Blue Screen. (I cannot be sure, but think it was at this stage that it mentioned that file win32k.sys was either missing or corrupted). Crucial Support said the BSOD was most likely due to 'virtual' memory problems i.e. the Pagefile size, and advised re-setting the initial and maximum sizes for the Pagefile. This appeared to work but when I re-installed the 2 x 256 MB modules again the system would not boot. Reading through the motherboard manual I found that only TWO modules of DDR 400 were supported so I removed the one in slot 2 and then I was able to reboot.

Since then I have had about six system crashes with BSOD's giving various causes such as IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL, PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA and DRIVER_NOT_LESS_OR-EQUAL and in the technical info at the bottom, reference to addresses for win32k.sys. I believe that the Pagefile area of the HDD is only used as 'virtual' memory when there is insufficient physical memory. Logically therefore with installed memory of 1.25 GB as opposed to 0.5 GB previously, there should be much less need for Pagefile usage. Having reset the Pagefile initial size to 1280 MB and maximum to 2560 MB, I fail to understand why I should be getting such frequent BSOD's - something I have never experienced in the past.

I have installed PageDefrag v 2.32 (see click here) and set it to run on every reboot. This program is able to defrag the Pagefile and Registry Hives which conventional defrag programs cannot do. Each time my system has crashed it runs Chkdsk and then PageDefrag which takes about 20 - 30 minutes, whereas on normal reboots it states "Pagefile is as contiguous as possible." In case the problem lay with file win32k.sys I thought it would help to restore that file from my last Acronis True Image backup on an external HDD, but when I searched on my system I found no less than 16 folders allegedly containing that file. The paths for all folders were C:\Windows\ followed for example by System32 or $NtServicePackUninstall$ or $NtUninstallKB890859$ and various similar paths.

All suggestions for overcoming the constant BSOD's will be greatly appreciated, and also any ideas as to how and to where file win32k.sys should be restored.

  MAT ALAN 18:54 15 Oct 2008

Couple of schools of thought

CPU is overheating whereby you need to do a bit of housekeeping on your heat sink and fans (make sure they are working..


your memory is possibly corrupt

click here

the link will help with that...

  DieSse 19:26 15 Oct 2008

"I believe that the Pagefile area of the HDD is only used as 'virtual' memory when there is insufficient physical memory."

That's not correct. Windows is a paging operating system. It uses the pagefile all the time - though less if you have more real RAM.

It's not a great idea to mix RAM for best stability. I would run with either the 1GB stick only - or get a matching extra 1GB stick.

I run with 1GB of RAM (2 matching sticks) and NEVER have BSODs.

Otherwise suspect heat - the actual RM stick - or a budget motherboard. Also it will pay you to run some good "cleanup" software. I use Wise disk and registry cleaners - CCleaner is also much recommended.

  Nosmas 22:04 15 Oct 2008

MAT ALAN Thank you for your contribution and link to Mem Test. I downloaded that program and started the test. After nearly one hour it had tested about 40% of the memory and had discovered over 60 errors! To me this implies a lot is wrong with my memory modules - either the new 1 GB from Crucial or the original 256 MB - but I am puzzled that if it is so bad how can any application run on my system?

However having run as stated above, I suddenly got a BSOD with the message BAD_POOL_CALLER. When I rebooted Chkdsk ran without trouble but PageDefrag again ran for about 25 minutes which I think implies that there must have been a lot of pagefile swapping to have so badly fragmented the file.

  Nosmas 22:11 15 Oct 2008

DieSse Thank you also for your contribution. I think I will try your idea of running with only the new 1 GB module and see if that makes any difference. Too late to start fiddling tonight so will have to try tomorrow.

I must say that ever since I installed the motherboard some three years ago I have had very little trouble from my system, and it is only since I installed the extra memory that all these problems have occurred!

  MAT ALAN 21:04 16 Oct 2008

A fair test at this stage would be to swap out your memory to see if it makes a difference

  Nosmas 23:43 17 Oct 2008

Sorry for the delay in coming back, but I had some urgent work to do and have not had time to try the memory changes. Will try to do so over the weekend.

However a couple of curious events have occurred. Normally I keep my system running 24/7, and after my last post on Wednesday evening I closed all the running applications. The only 'active' programs were Sygate Personal Firewall, Windows Defender and iPester (an appointments reminder program), so virtually nothing happening. On coming to my computer next morning I found a BSOD and from Sygate's activity log I discovered the system crash had been at about 01:45 hrs. The blue screen did not give any clue as to what had caused the crash. In view of the lack of system activity would I be right in thinking that overheating of the CPU is unlikely to be the cause of my problem?

When I rebooted, Chkdsk ran and then PageDefrag which after about 20 minutes gave the message that the Pagefile defrag had completed and that the fragments BEFORE were 2371 and AFTER 224. I was in the middle of browsing the Internet (with IE6) when another BSOD occurred. Again I rebooted and this time the Pagefile defrag completed with fragments BEFORE 2687 and AFTER 199. So in something less than an hour the Pagefile activity had been such that it was again badly fragmented.

This morning, nothing unusual had occurred overnight and I deliberately rebooted and PageDefrag reported "Pagefile is as contiguous as possible" which is the usual message I get on rebooting. So far, some 36 hours have passed without any further BSOD's (touch wood!). Does anyone have any further ideas as to the cause of the problem?

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