Help diagnosing Windows 7 BSODs - minidumps

By EXCellR8
May 14, 2011
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  1. I built a HTPC for a good friend of mine around 8 months ago and he's having some issues with blue screens. I know he doesn't use the machine too much but these BSODs started occurring about a month ago. These crashes seemed to be tied to his network adapter but I haven't been able to fix them. The tcpip.sys file was the first one I tried debugging and it continued after installing a newer more compatible driver. The next blue screen I encountered flagged the win32k.sys file so I checked BIOS and made a few changes to the RAM timings. His system isn't overclocked at all and he has already updated to the latest graphics and chipset drivers. Here is the full spec:

    Intel Q6600 G0 @2.4Ghz
    ASUS P5G41C-M Green
    4GB Super Talent DDR3
    VisionTek Radeon HD4870
    X3 600w power supply

    OS is Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

    I'm testing out the RAM now and will post additional minis when i can... I've already tested the power supply as well and it checks out fine. Any ideas?

    Attached Files:

  2. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,889

    One dump file is little to go on but this one suggest a system service, drivers or memory. If the memory test comes up clean follow the guide below to check the services.

    What are you using to test the memory? The best test is to run the PC on one stick at a time and use memory intensive programs for several hours. Memory testing software does not test the memory in the same way that windows uses it so using software can miss minor faults.

    If all the tests come up clean then running driver verifier will be next.

    Let me know how you get on.
  3. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    My bad on posting in the wrong forum...

    Anyways I used Memtest86+ to test the modules for several hours and while they passed I'm thinking it actually is one of the sticks. I replaced the 4GB DDR3 with 2GB DDR2 (this board supports both) and so far there have been no blue screens or crashes. I know the DDR2 kit works fine so my best guess is memory corruption triggered by a background service.

    All of the drivers are the best possible matches for his hardware. The only problem I ran into was his antivirus and malware protection, for some reason, were acting kind of funny and I was forced to reinstall both. They are working fine now so I have no idea what caused them to stop working properly.
  4. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,889

    Sounds like you have found the problem, memory is very often the cause of BSOD's. Memtest unfortunately does miss minor faults which I have seen several times in the past and you have just proved that once more.

    In such a complex machine it is not suprising that from time to time some software gets corrupted and needs to be reinstalled especially when there is a memory fault present.
  5. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    yea i still don't have a clue as to why the AV software became corrupt, but they were directly causing the system to have a huge decline in startup speed and I couldn't start the services manually. after reading a few articles i decided it would be easiest to just reinstall both packages, and that seemed to fix it completely.

    as for the RAM, my best guess to the cause is heat... his chassis is a relatively small HTPC case so it's possible that one of the modules was just running to hot. even though the case is vented quite well for it's size, there could still be a heat issue due to the oversized graphics card and CPU cooler i suppose.

    thanks for the help
  6. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,889

    What anti virus is running here. Two AV's is not good if they are both actively scanning at the same time.

    Some Ram is only rated at about 55ºC but some go a lot higher 100ºC+ all depends on what is fitted. Even if it is reaching into the fifties that would suggest the CPU must also be running hot to produce such high temperatures inside the case or simply from the heated air blowing off the heatsink onto the RAM modules. I would run this software to see what the core temperatures of the CPU are running at. They should idle in the 20 to 30 range and may be up to the 60's when gaming.
  7. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    sorry i should have specified... AV software is Avast 6 and the other is Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. Thanks for the download link I'll give that a try.
  8. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,889

    Is the Malwarebytes the full "paid for" version. If so I would suggest you either uninstall (not just disable) that or the Avira. Two active anti virus programs can cause conflicts as they are both trying to do the same thing, that could be the reason they became corrupted. The free version of Malwarebytes, on the other hand, is only for running scans so would not be a problem.

    I personally use the free version of Malwarebytes just for running scans and have the free version of Avira which is excellent.
  9. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Like Mark56 I run Malwarebytes the same way. It is a powerful addition to SuperantiSpyware.

    F.Y.I. - There were some real stability issues with the Avast 6 initial release version but the latest version has corrected the problem.
  10. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    Yea both pieces of software seem to be getting along, and I run them on most of my computers simultaneously without error. I'll keep an eye out for conflicts but it seems that they are fine. I really like both programs so I recommend and install them for most of my clients, friends, and family. My dad's computer was plagued by infection a few weeks ago and since Avast was installed he hasn't seen a single symptom.

    All Avast versions have been updated to 6.1
  11. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,889

    Well, if it works ok on so many systems that must prove the two anti virus progs get on ok with each other but as a general rule its not a good idea.

    I had used the free version of Avast for a while and was very dissapointed with the amount of minor infections that got past it, since changing to the free Avira version I have seen it block several infections before they got into the system. I also use Spybot Search and Destroy which seems to do a good job.

    Anyway, back to the thread subject. It will be interesting to see what the core temps are running at. I would actually be suprised if the faulty RAM is due to heat. Ram failure is quite a common problem and I've not seen it heat related before.
  12. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    Funny you mention those two alternative AV programs specifically, because that's exactly what my dad's computer had before I changed to Avast and Malwarebytes. It seemed like Avira would detect infections but they would just keep popping up even when quarantined or deleted. Spybot on the other hand I felt was doing absolutely nothing, but perhaps the damage had already been done by the time I uninstalled that. Both pieces of software would flag malicious items but they would keep getting into the system and screwing everything up. I finally had enough of fixing everything so I switched and alas... no problems.
  13. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,889

    Yup, I am sure we all have different tales to tell about the AV's we use. My biggest dissapointment was with Microsoft Security Essentials, that seemed to let quite a few into my system. All AV's will let some Malware through as none of them are 100% and some Malware is very difficult to get rid of no matter what AV you have as the Malware will reproduce itself.

    I've had a few nasty ones and Malwarebytes free scanner has always done the job.

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