WinXP BSOD message insinuates RAM problem ...

  Heefie 11:41 14 Sep 2006

... but I don't think it is.

Up until going to bed Tuesday night, my PC was going like a dream. On Wednesdat morning it was resetting itself constantly, but never until somebody signed in to Windows. Then it may be a minute or 5 minutes, but it would reset itself again.

I managed to be logged on long enough to turn off the automatic rebooting and produce a BSOD & I was getting the error "STOP: 0x0000008E" ... after Googling, most sites were insinuating that this was caused by faulty RAM, but I can log on in SAFE mode & be on for ages with no problem.

I ran Spyware Doctor, Ad-Aware, BitDefender, AVG, Kaspersky and something new that I found, PrevX. Considering that I have Windows Defender, Spyware Doctor & AVG running all the time, plus I run A-Squared, Ad-Aware & Spy-Bot regularly, I was astounded at the amount of rubbish that was on my PC ... I assume this is due to my kids using Limewire so much !!! I also deleted 2 files that were flagged as viruses, one of them wwas something like gbbkdngh.exe & the other was nvvid.exe, I cleared my recycle bin & rebooted.

Everything was fine, I used the PC last night to win a few bob on the footy, send a few insulting E:Mails to fellow football fans and generally do what I do on the PC.

When I got up this morning it seems to be doing it again !!!!!!!

I'm in work now, but I left it in SAFE mode, running the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool, so I'll see if that's found anything when I get home tonight ...

Now, after setting that scenario, my questions :

Am I right in believing that the RAM must be fine if the machine runs perfectly OK in SAFE mode ?

Could I be infected with something that has replicated these dodgy files, yet not be found itself by all these anti-virus & malware programs, I'd have thought it unlikely ?!?

  Fingees 12:19 14 Sep 2006

As it seems to be the mornings that problem occurs, it could be the variation in temperature overnight.

This may cause a high resistance of the ram contacts, particularly if they have very slightly corroded over a period of time.

I would suggest you try to reseat the ram by just moving it slightly.

This may clean any dirty contacts.

Make sure you discharge any static by touching the case, Also make sure mains is off, or unplugged before touching the ram, or wear a wristband.

  Heefie 14:57 14 Sep 2006

There shouldn't be any temperature variations to speak of, the PC is on all the time, but I'll give it a try.

I'll have to dig out my anti-static wriststrap and see if it still fits my fat wrist <s> !!!

  Heefie 23:42 15 Sep 2006

I not only re-seated the RAM, I cleaned everything, I even tried a stick of RAM from another PC

... and got exactly the same result !!!

I've run Memtest, not for any real length of time yet, 40 minutes earlier, 90 minutes a while

ago, and no problems reported.

Every time I log on / re-boot, I get a "Microsoft Windows" window that states "The System has

recovered from a serious error" ... " A log of this error has been created" ... blah, blah, blah

!!! And no matter how many times I click on "SEND ERROR REPORT" or "DON'T SEND", I get the error

window straight back again. This on it's own is doing my head in !!!

The automated response from Microsoft if I do send the report is that the problem is due to a

video driver, so I deleted it & just ran on 800x600 for a while, but it seemed to re-install

itself somewhere between re-boots <eek> !!!

One VERY weird thing is that when it re-sets, 50% of the time it doesn't recognise the Primary

HDD !!! I have to physically reset it to get it to boot properly, and even then it may take more

than one attempt !!! Remember, I've just cleaned & re-seated everything !!!

This was running like a dream on Tuesday, what the hell has happened ?!?!?!?

Would a Hijack-This log help ?!?!

  DrScott 00:00 16 Sep 2006

a windows update has disrupted your drivers, but problems that are this intermittent can be down to all number of things. The fact that safe mode runs safely, however, implies driver problems.

In which case, you need to download all the lastest drivers for your hardware - video card in particular.

The other possibility is that your HDD is failing - go to run from start menu, and type chkdsk /f. Make sure all your data is backed up soon btw!

  Heefie 09:42 16 Sep 2006

The HDDs are all fairly new, the M/B & processor are new, the only thing that is not new is the RAM (and it's not exactly old !!!), but swapping it and finding the same problems has not amused me one iota !!!

I am torn between a driver problem & virus/infection ... but I have run so many (supposedly good) programs (BitDefender, SpyWare Doctor, ESET & more) that I'm not sure it can be software ... but surely a hardware problem would occur in SAFE mode just as regularly ?!?!?

I've run Memtest overnight, it got to 2600% with no errors !!!

Oh, and another strange and VERY suspicious thing, is that I have some windows updates waiting to be installed ... if I click on the INSTALL button, no matter how long the machine has been running for, it crashes as soon as it starts installing the first fix !!!

  Newuser4165 09:59 16 Sep 2006

Why don't you run System Restore using a point prior to Tuesday and see what happens.If the pc is OK then it' happened since then and is probably related to Windows Update as mentioned by Dr Scott.
Download them all again but don't install the first "fix" - there are still problems with one patch.

  DrScott 10:37 16 Sep 2006

you still need to install the latest drivers however new the hardware is - often hardware is supplied with drivers that are up to a year out of date, and windows XP is very sensitive about such things. Spyware scans will not tell you if your drivers are up to date or not.

Safe mode turns off an awful lot of drivers, which would be why you wouldn't see the problem there. Another option is to boot into VGA mode only and that will tell you with it is your video card drivers that need updating - tbh they usually do!

A system restore to a previous point would seem like a very good idea. You will not lose files, but maybe some desktop shortcuts and bookmarks.

  Heefie 11:31 16 Sep 2006

I did initially try a System Restore, but only to Tuesday, I'll try again, to a previous point, don't suppose it can do any harm ... or any more harm, anyway !!!

Good point about the drivers in SAFE mode, and that would explain things.

I'c currently running a LavaLys Everest system stability test (in SAFE mode), putting stress on all my hardware & there are no problems so far ...

Another thing I noticed a little while ago, is that my SATA drives have disappeared !!! They are recognised during the boot sequence, but the "WinXP Promise SATA378(tm) IDE Controller" says it cannot start ... bloody hell, everything was working great last week !!!!

Something probably unrelated but weird nonetheless, is that when in SAFE mode I can access the internet and download Mail, but after a while, although E:Mail still works, I can no longer access the internet, I just get Cannot find Server messages !!! This happens every time I use SAFE mode !!!

  Heefie 18:37 16 Sep 2006

I tried to restore but it wouldn't let me, it spent ages saying it was restoring files, then it rebooted & said that it couldn't restore the that point in time ... 3 times it did this so I gave up !!!

I then updated to the latest Nvidia Geforce4 MX440 video drivers but it made no difference.

I then updated the Realtek AC'97 sound drivers and since then I am getting different error messages ... still that bloody BSOD though !!!

First it was "PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA 0x00000050" and then it was "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL 0x0000000A" and once again, on googling, these errors, certainly the second one, insinuate dodgy H/W !!!

  DrScott 09:36 17 Sep 2006

Unfortunatel graphic cars etc do fail however new they are, though the number of different driver errors you are getting is a bit strange.

You can actually force a system restore by using your windows XP cd to get into the recovery console. Boot into the CD and press R when prompted. From here follow the instructions given here:

click here

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