TechSpot

Another Win7 64-bit BSOD victim..

By mhowie
Mar 25, 2010
  1. Thanks in advance for analyzing and suggesting where the issue(s) might lie. Things ran very well with Win 7 64-bit for about three months but now I get these seemingly random blue screens quite often.

    Interestingly, I am unable to perform a system restore as although I have a multitude of past points, whenever I go through the process I am advised at the very end that the system restore activity was unsuccessful. Not only have I disabled A/V during these attempted restores, but I actually uninstalled on one occasion-- still didn't help.

    I've run Malwarebytes and everything came up clean...I've done the same with A/V software and am vigilant in this area so I am quite confident that infection is not a contributor. I ran MemTest for 10 hours without any errors as well.

    Again, I appreciate you advising what the "minidump autopsies" might reveal.

    Regards,

    Howie
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Hi mhowie, could you please take your individual minidump files and place them in one Zip file. Thanks.
     
  3. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    I hope I did that correctly?
     
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Yes, you did. I'll attempt to read them for you.
     
  5. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Your issue is corrupted memory and thus you need to run Memtest on your RAM.

    See the link below and follow the instructions. There is a newer version than what is listed but either one should work. If you need to see what the Memtest screen looks like go to reply #21. The third screen is the Memtest screen.

    Let it run for a LONG time. The rule is a minimum of 7 Passes; the more Passes after 7 so much the better. There are 8 individual tests per Pass. Many people will start this test before going to bed and check it the next day.

    If you have errors you have corrupted memory and it needs to be replaced.

    Also, with errors you need to run this test per stick of RAM. Take out one and run the test. Then take that one out and put the other in and run the test. If you start getting errors before 7 Passes you know that stick is corrupted and you don’t need to run the test any further on that stick.


    Link: http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic62524.html


    * Get back to us with the results.
     
  6. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    As noted I had conducted a MemTest test prior but went ahead and did it again last night/this morning... 12+ hours... 500%+ on the test progress meter... Zero errors reported.

    That's good news on my RAM front but doesn't help so much as it relates to the Minidump analysis that my memory is corrupted?
     
  7. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Check in the BIOS what your motherboard has set the memory voltage to and compare it to your RAM manufacture's voltage specs. Do they match? If not set to the manufacture's voltage.
     
  8. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

  9. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Here's yet another from this morning. Am I suffering from the same problem as earlier suggested from the dump analysis or was something else going on this time?

    How much value might a Windows Repair installation provide?

    Can a definitive answer be made around whether my woes are hardware or software related? I don't want to repair/reinstall Win7 if, for example, my motherboard is flaking out intermittently. Does the Minidump information rule out one or the other?

    Thanks,
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    0x3B and the driver cited is the Windows dxgkrnl.sys which is a Microsoft Direct X Graphics Kernel.

    I suggest running Driver Verifier. See this link: http://www.techsupportforum.com/2110308-post3.html


    Also, in the PROCESS_NAME section of the minidump the executible dwm.exe was cited and this is part of the Windows Aero process. This is NOT to say this is the cause of your issue but it does require a lot of memory and memory has been one of your issues.
     
  11. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Thanks again for the deciphering and I will plan to run the Driver Verifier- hopefully this evening.

    Question in the interim...is there any chance the memory problem could be Video Card RAM? I ask as the Aero reference got me thinking along these lines... while I am running the latest drivers for it, and the NVidia 7600 GT card is supposedly Win7-worthy, perhaps it is actually under-equipped or failing?

    The Minidump analysis may not include video cards or the analysis may have already excluded but I thought I would ask.

    BTW, I am running 6GB of DDR2 800 Corsair RAM in a dual channel configuration (2+1) + (2+1) = 6GB

    Regards,
     
     
  12. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Video RAM can absolutely be an issue. The 0x50 error can be caused by this (though we haven't come across any in your dumps). It could be time for a new card as that 7600 of yours is old by today's standards.

    If you upgrade make sure your PSU can supply the power need. Also, did you set the RAM voltage manually to the manufacture's specs?
     
  13. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Yep, set the RAM voltage according to Corsair's specs.

    If a VC upgrade is in the offing I will certainly keep the PSU rating in mind. I have an Antec EA430...which I'm told is an above average PSU from a clean, efficient power standpoint.
     
  14. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Another question...and building on some of your remarks...could an overwhelmed power supply result in the errors I have been experiencing? I don't suppose the Minidumps would point to PSU deficiencies, etc.?

    Thanks again,
     
  15. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Excellent question. The psu is the backbone of a system but often people will sink all kinds of money into system parts and to save cash willl go cheap on a psu resulting in system instability. I am not saying you did this but often in pre-built systems or cases that come with a psu that psu is garbage.

    What is the make, model, and amount of wattage of your PSU? OOPS! Never mind, you gave it in your previous post.
     
  16. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Agreed on the junk PSUs in stock systems...mine is a home-built and most of the components superior to those in a retail box.

    Mmmm... I've run a couple of online PSU calculators and have received some interesting info. One calculator recommends 399W and the other 409W. My PSU is rated at 430W. It is a couple of years old...don't know if they lose some of their "oomph" over time?

    I just wonder if there is any value in replacing this based on the Minidump info, anecdotal happenings, and the like? Or...would there be a high probability of it being replaced only to discover the issues noted remain?

    Perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel is emerging?!
     
  17. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    An easy way to determine if the PSU is supplying what you need is a multimeter. I have a $20 craftsman and love it. Its perfect for checking a PSU power output.

    Looking forward to reading what the Driver verifier says.
     
  18. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Upon arriving home earlier this evening I was greeted with a frozen system. My monitors were black (typical for sleep mode), but were not receiving a video signal as the LEDs were both blinking. My computer, however, was running (fan, etc.), so I turned it off and back on and it rebooted. The past two nights I had been greeted to my Windows desktop askew (most of the taskbar icons missing), so I have become accustomed to rebooting nightly as of late. Just some additional datapoints.

    I ran the Driver Verifier process and followed the instructions step-by-step. I encountered a BSOD upon reboot and the file identified is timntr.sys. I have traced this file to a driver from the Acronis True Image program. I installed this program back in November, ran it once (created an image of my HDD after installing Win7) and haven't thought about it since.

    I then booted into safe mode and attempted to restore the "system restore" point I had created ten minutes earlier. As had been the case for the past month, I was unable to return to an earlier system restore point. I again received the message that system restore was unable to complete and suggested it might be because A/V software was running, etc., etc. (see my original post for more detail).

    So, I then thought uninstalling Acronis True Image would be prudent as the offending driver was tied to the program. In safe mode, I attempted to uninstall but was unable. I received an error message indicating it could not be uninstalled as the Windows Installer program was either not available or not installed properly (I can't recall exactly how the message was worded).

    Caught in a loop at this point...booting normally into windows offered the BSOD and unable to remove Acronis True Image, I was able to get a command prompt window within Safe Mode and turned the Driver Verifier off.

    I have since booted back into my Windows 7 Pro 64-bit environment and wanted to type this post before attempting to uninstall Acronis True Image once again (hoping I can successfully do so from a "normal" (not Safe Mode) environment.

    If successful in removing that program, I hope my machine doesn't go down...time will tell and I will report back. -- EDIT: I successfully removed Acronis, however the timntr.sys file was not removed as part of the uninstall routine. After rebooting post Acronis uninstall I renamed that file within the Windows/System32/Drivers directory.

    Regarding this timntr.sys driver file... I saw somewhere else that it might be malware disguising itself. I have run an anti-malware program and it wasn't identified as such but I will attempt to scan that particular file before uninstalling the program. -- EDIT: Malwarebytes reports this file is NOT malware...

    Could this driver be causing all my problems? That seems unlikely...I don't know when that file would run other than when that program were invoked? I will quickly post this and then edit to attach any new Minidump files which may have been created through all of this.

    Where do I go from here on this exploration!?
     

    Attached Files:

  19. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    And the hits just keep on coming... another BSOD... this time something called "APC Index Mismatch".

    Minidump attached.

    Thanks,
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Your last minidump was the very rare 0x1 and it only cited a Windows driver. I wouldn't be concerned with this error code.

    The other three are 0xC4: DRIVER_VERIFIER_DETECTED_VIOLATION
    This is the general bug check code for fatal errors that the Driver Verifier finds. It is a bad driver causing issues.

    In all three it is timntr.sys and, yes, one driver can cause the issues you are experiencing. Here is a opersonal example: Right now I cannot update IE to either 7 or 8 on my second because my son had installed awhile ago Google Toolbar. It flagged IE 8 as incompatible and shut out any install of either version. The executible refused to be removed even after I unistalled the toolbar. Even though I might have removed it, I still can't update.
     
  21. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Would a driver "behave" for several months and then suddenly start causing chaos-- especially if the program associated with the driver had not been opened at all during that timeframe? Just trying to make sense of all this.

    I will be interested to discover if my machine is without issue tonight...as mentioned earlier I have been greeted the past few nights with either my Windows Aero desktop a mess (taskbar icons missing, etc.) or the monitors shut off and the system unresponsive (although the computer was still on with the power and HDD LED illuminated).

    I recall a couple weeks ago additional random errors with the Windows Aero Desktop- Gadgets were missing or not rendered properly. RAM? VC? PSU? Rogue driver?

    If the problems persist, I guess uninstalling a couple RAM sticks might be in order...followed by a different VC...followed by a new PSU (or vice-versa on the last two)?

    If the removal of the identified driver doesn't cure all ills, I would ask if it "feels" like software is where my problems lie (perhaps a corrupted OS and I'm headed down a path for a total reinstall) or hardware (replace component by component until we find the answer)?

    Thanks,
     
  22. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Yes, drivers can cause all kinds of issues. For example, early last year I was helping a poster who was having numerous crashes affter several years of stability. The culprit: A Norton driver but here is the thing, she had uninstalled Norton 6 years prior. A left over driver (which Norton is notrious for) decided to act up after years of dormancy by trying to engage its task.

    Disable Aero. What are the resilts?
     
  23. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    I thought I was going to make it through an evening without a blue screen...but that was not the case. After about one hour...wham...blue screen once again. I noted win32k.sys on the blue screen before the reboot began. I have attached my Minidump from this evening. Any insight from it?

    I will disable Aero and see what happens.

    Thanks,
     

    Attached Files:

  24. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 12,168   +37

    Your error is 0x50:pAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
    Requested data was not in memory. An invalid system memory address was referenced. Defective memory (including main memory, L2 RAM cache, video RAM) or incompatible software (including remote control and antivirus software) might cause this Stop message, as may other hardware problems (e.g., incorrect SCSI termination or a flawed PCI card).

    The Windows OS driver win32k.sys was noted as the cause but the problem with OS drivers is they are a) usually too general to be of any help and b) function more as pointing out there is a problem.
     
  25. mhowie

    mhowie TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Thanks for interpreting again! Yikes...sounds like it could be almost anything. That makes sleuthing next to impossible...

    When you say "other hardware problems"... PSU included here?

    I've pulled two sticks of RAM...down to 4GB. I am hoping the two 1GB sticks...although matching the 2GB in terms of spec and manufacturer...were all of a sudden not behaving since they weren't congruent size-wise with the 2GB sticks...probably a long shot.

    Wow...L2 RAM cache-- the CPU memory could be corrupt?

    I guess if the main RAM experiment doesn't work I might consider a new video card.

    I am running the Microsoft Essentials Security program so I hope it is not A/V related...

    I would consider building a new machine (motherboard/CPU/VC)... but if it IS software related...I'm back to square one?

    Conversely, if I were to reinstall Windows 7...and it is a hardware issue... huge waste of time.

    I'm certainly open to guidance concerning next steps in the troubleshooting exercise!

    Thanks,
     
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