Frequent unidentifiable blue screen crashes

  Vandermeer 16:37 25 Mar 2018

Hello, since this Thursday my laptop is getting frequent blue screen and reboot problems which I cannot seem to locate the source of. I've had a couple of random bluescreens on the machine before, but the events were really rare, - maybe once in 4-6 months, so I did pay it no mind, since it also never happened around anything important I was doing. Now however the issue randomly appears after 30 minutes to 2 hours of runtime. The laptop is now slightly over 6 years old, and I am wondering whether it could finally be the harddrive announcing its farewell. Interestingly the laptop survived a whole night where I secured my whole harddrive contents to an external one, but if I do almost anything else, it will soon fail.

Of course I have tried some things in the past days:

1 - Since every crash has had a short moment of the dvd-drive doing working sounds to foretell its arrival, I deactivated and also uninstalled the drive. I've had the drive making very occasional working noises (about once per day) for quite some time, but never tried to fix it. Maybe this grew into this new problem, or there is a root cause to both of these. It is definitely suspicious, because even before deactivating it, the dvd drive was sometimes not shown as a drive letter. Now it always disappeared right before a crash.

2 - Since I have read that the new Firefox version has some crash causing interferences with windows' accessibility funcitons, I deactivated those in Firefox.

3 - I ran Malwarebytes Anti-Malware in full scan mode, but since that takes about 5 hours to go through, it crashed wayy before the end. So I started it again in protected mode, which has done the trick for me two times before where a virus tried to interfere with the scanning, and was then cleanly identified and removed. However! : This time it even crashed in protected mode, growing my suspicion that it might indeed be a harddrive problem. I finally got at least a hyper scan through (scans running programs, startup, and then some), which removed one key for me, but then soon crashed again when doing the more elaborate threat scan, so that wasn't it.

4 - After one crash, the computer itself made a harddrive test to scan over potentially damaged sections. It only found one, which it said was corrected, but the issue held on, so that was probably more about symptoms than causes.

That is as far as my Latin goes. I don't know what to do from here, and the problem still persists.(crashed one time on writing this post already) The fact that it crashes much earlier (only 20 minutes max) when doing a virus scan seems to point me into the direction of malware. However, it could also just simply mean that the harddrive is broken at a certain section, and everything goes down as soon as that portion gets touched? (which would of cause happen sooner with a comprehensive scan) Just watching videos on Youtube leaves me with up to 2 hours, while it has never crashed when just idling or using programs like Photoshop for a couple of hours.

Mysterious. Too arcane for me. Please help. :)

  Vandermeer 16:57 25 Mar 2018

As a quick addition: I've just run "WhoCrashed" which is a program that is supposed to find recordings of windows about the bluescreens. (which pass far to fast for me to read anything btw) I have logs from past crashes, - a couple in 2014, then one in 2016, and three in 2017 (last one in September). ...There are no records at all about the series of recent crashes since Thursday, when there should be about 10.

  wiganken2 18:04 25 Mar 2018

Heat is a killer for computers and your laptop is 6 years old now. It may have collected a lot of dust in that time so try taking the back panel off to expose the internals (but do not touch anything) and spray dry compressed air (use a can of "Air Duster") into it to blow out any dust. Ensure you concentrate on the CPU and graphics card as well as fan inlets. Ensure all vent holes are clear and refix the back panel. After doing this, if the system is stable enough to allow you, then open a Command window and type "sfc /scannow" (without the quotes and note the space) and hit the "Enter" key. This will scan all your system files and if any are corrupted it will try to fix them. It may take 20 minutes for the scan and fix to finish.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:07 25 Mar 2018

I would be tempted to give it a good clean out crashing without error messages could idicate a heat problem.

Fan and heatsink may need cleaning, make and model of laptop?

  Vandermeer 18:21 25 Mar 2018

This is an Asus N55S with i7 2630QM processor and GT555M graphics card.

I don't think it is the heat, because it also crashes when doing very little (like videos or virus scan), and the fans never act up during that. In fact, running Stellaris where the graphics card is used and fans notably work, never crashes for some reason.(or at least so far) I have had screen problems around 2014 where the card was indeed overheating constantly until the computer couldn't hold it anymore. I took apart the whole laptop, gave it new good cooling paste and cleaned everything out. Since then I made it a habit to blow out the fan with a can of compressed air once in a while. There have been no further issues since then. ...(I checked, and "SpeedFan" agrees there is no problem with heat)

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 20:06 25 Mar 2018

Next step then is to run a memory test.

  Vandermeer 07:38 26 Mar 2018

Okay, I did the memory test, but everything was fine. I also did lengthy harddrive checks from the windows options with again no result or apparent error. However, the check for the OS partition went overnight, and I found the laptop this morning having crashed after the restart following the operation. Though finishing the scan starts some extra programs on bootup, it may mean that it can also crash while idling.

  wiganken2 09:09 26 Mar 2018

When you say you ran "lengthy harddrive checks" do you mean you ran CHKDSK with the fix switch option? If not then open a command window and type (without quotes) "chkdsk /f C:" (note the spaces before the / and after f) and hit the Enter key. This will check the disk itself for errors and try to fix them. See click here . It takes a while so hopefully your PC will hold up while it runs. Also there is a free program called "Speccy" which tells you the status of your PC components. See click here . Your harddrives appear under the "Storage" tab and show the S.M.A.R.T status of the drive. And, yes, it may be that it will show your drive is failing but at least you will have visual proof then.

  wiganken2 09:12 26 Mar 2018

Oh, forgot to add: - Did you carry out my suggestion to open a Command window and type "sfc /scannow" (without the quotes and note the space) and hit the "Enter" key. This will scan all your system files and if any are corrupted it will try to fix them. It may take 20 minutes for the scan and fix to finish.

  Vandermeer 09:24 26 Mar 2018

Ah, yes! Thank you, I also forgot to report that I did it this morning, but I am not sure if something came up. The scan took a while and closed on its own before I saw any kind of report. So far the laptop hasn't crashed on this day, but I will see if that holds up.

  Vandermeer 19:33 26 Mar 2018

Okay, everything looked very promising with the laptop not crashing until just now for the whole day. It seems it was just luck though, because now it has crashed while standing basically idle for 30 minutes after watching some videos.

I have not yet mentioned that the system doesn't actually successfully reboot after every bluescreen crash. Instead it tries to do it but then shows some text akin to "please insert a drive or disk to boot from. press button to continue". I have to force the off switch and then restart for real to get it work, because the button press just repeats the message over and over.

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