(huge post) Crashes/freezes/BSOD's, for months!! (minidump help please)

By Kellnos ยท 6 replies
Nov 28, 2005
  1. Custom built (by a company online) computer that my brother sold to me...

    P4 hyperthreaded 2.8 gig processor
    1 gig PNY ram (or 1.0 gig PNY, plus another 512 mb of unknown, will explain later)
    400-450ish watt Antec power supply
    abit vt7 motherboard
    creative audigy gamer sound card
    geforce fx 5700 ultra video card
    ....all the latest drivers I can find

    About 11 weeks ago I was putting new ram in, but apparently the ram was bad and fried my old mobo (I put the ram in correctly, with all power off and plugs out and while I was grounded, but still my computer got screwed). The computer at first rebooted after the new ram was put in, and simply wouldn't start.

    Thinking maybe the new ram was bad, I pulled it out and rebooted again, and this time my comp beeped and had a hot/burn smell to it. Thus, in order to get things working again in time to get back to my college assignments, that night I went and bought a mobo (abit vt7) and drove to a friend's house where he put the mobo in (he built computers for the navy).

    After having the new mobo put in, the computer still wouldnt start. Eventually, I took my computer to a repair shop, and the shop copied over some files/reinstalled xp/etc, and sent my computer home.

    The first night of the computer being back, it rebooted by itself, but I thought perhaps it was just a random one time thing (and I didn't exactly have the money to pay the shop again for more labor).

    I then had a multiple week period where my computer would randomly freeze, reboot, go BSOD, etc. Both sticks of ram in my computer were bought after the initial incident, and both have been tested for multiple passes in memtest86, with no errors found.

    ...Eventually I found a flash utility for clearing my cmos and flashing my bios, so I used that utility. My computer was fine for about two days, but then it started doing weird things again (though less than before the flash utility was used). Since then I have checked various forums, sent in windows xp errors, etc., but I have been unable to solve the problem.

    As I mentioned above, I have downloaded and tinkered with the latest video card drivers, sound card drivers, mobo drivers, etc. I have tried completely uninstalling my sound card drivers, and letting my mobo handle onboard sound, but this didn't help.

    I also have taken the side of the case off of the computer, and put a fan a few feet from it so that cool air was blowing on the internal area, but this did not help either.

    I am by no means a computer person, but over the last two and a half months I have spent literally at least 100 hours trying to get this to work. I have read countless forums where ram is thought to be the culprit, and on many of these forums the person having the problem has no ram issues that they can find (like myself). Likewise, I have checked in my windows settings for device conflicts, I have reset my swap file, and I have scandisked/defragged/virus checked more times than I care to remember.

    At various times I have turned off the auto-reboot option (I keep it on for fear my comp will go weird while I am sleeping), and I have gotten various messages, such as the irql equal (something like that) message, as well as numerous mesages from windows that a device driver is causing the conflict (when it does create a minidump file, it tells me this in the "send in error" box).

    I have tried to scan the minidump files for anything in particular that jumps out at me, and the only thing I notice is that EAX is mentioned sometimes (this being a feature of my sound card). However, as I mentioned I have completely uninstalled my audigy gamer drivers in favor of letting my mobo handle the sound, but still I have reboots/BSOD's/locking up (sometimes with looping sound)/etc. My sound card drivers were always finnicky before the major incident happened, but never THIS finnicky.

    Also, I have let various programs run to monitor the temperature of my comp (including one program that came with my mobo), and all of the temps I get seem to be in normal ranges.

    Now, in the last few weeks I had managed to get my problem to mainly be BSOD and/or reboots when playing games online. Tinkering a bit, I got my BSOD and/or reboots to be limited to about one every 2 hours of gaming by turning sound acceleration to basic.

    However, the other day I was using limewire, and my machine simply froze. Not BSOD or reboot, just froze. I rebooted the comp and opened limewire, and after a few minutes it froze again...For the rest of the night I kept re-running limewire, only for it to keep freezing, with the only thing I noticed being that it would freeze when I had a lot of different users that I was downloading from (from over 30 different users in some cases).

    ...So, I now had BSOD every 2 hours of gaming, and a program that I could make freeze on command if conditions were right. Odd as it sounds, something about this made me think about a ram stick on my desk. At the time of the initial incident, I had two sticks of ram, the one in my comp, and the new one I put in. The new one had scorch marks, and I took the computer shop at it's word for saying the old one was bad as well. However, given that many of my errors over the last few months have been problems that "typically" relate to ram, I was curious if perhaps the shop told me my old stick of ram was bad simply because of some of the BSOD's they were bound to be getting in their own work on it.

    As such, I put the old ram stick in, and my computer started fine. I surfed the web and listened to music, still fine. I played a game online....twenty minutes went by, not a problem to be had. However, in the middle of a round, my computer went BSOD. It told me something along the lines of sysaudio.sys failed, or had a problem, or something like that.

    Now in my experience, putting new hardware (the old ram) in a computer, and getting a new error, tends to be a good bet your new hardware is involved....so I am aware that if I pull the old ram (that I put in today) back out, I should probably be able to get back to my one BSOD every 2 hours of gaming. However, given that it is sysaudio.sys, and that when my comp often freezes I usually get a looping sound, and that I had to turn my audio acceleration to basic to reduce the BSOD's, freezes, etc, I am wondering if maybe it is all related to sound in some way.

    Another important piece of information is that I have no way of reinstalling or restoring xp. The hard drive in my computer is a maxtor 80 gb drive that came with an hp system that my dad bought around 2 or 3 years ago. At the time I didn't know anything about computers, so I didn't care that my computer didn't come with an XP disk, as the place that sold it said "XP Recovery means we don't need to give you a disk, since you can just recover it from the drive itself." If I could just get my hands on that sales person now.....

    Anywho, point being, I have no XP disk. In fact, I can't even system restore my hard drive anymore, as since the initial crash/boom/death 10 weeks ago, my comp won't even let me use the restore feature. On top of this, I can't risk getting a windows XP oem disk......

    What I mean is, the computer repair place said they would have to charge me if I brought my comp back in, because they said my reboot, even on night 1, isn't necessarily something they did, so they would charge me for looking at it again. Ok, that isn't an option. However, if I get an OEM disk of XP, and reinstalling it doesn't work, don't I run the risk of the OEM key being useless once I start swapping out cards and such to try to figure out what the problem is? (assuming I could get a new sound or video card for the holidays that is)

    The main problem I have with this whole deal is that from all of the effort I have put into this, what I have learned is that it could be ANYTHING on my computer. Speaking as a poor college student (yeah, aren't many of us that person at some point :p), I really don't have the money to buy a new sound card, a new video card, even more new ram, a new power supply, a new hard drive, a new retail copy of windows, etc, just so that I can keep swapping them in and out to see what, if anything, fixes the problem. (I feel a bit like I did when my car kept losing power, and the mechanic told me that a wire was probably loose somewhere.....I asked where, and he said "well basically anywhere there is a wire in your car is a possibility, we would just need to take it apart and look around".......REALLY, gee, thanks for the help!)

    So here I sit, none the closer to personally being able to solve this problem than I was 10 weeks ago. I am asking, nay, begging for assistance! I have bookmarked 8 other forum sites where I posted something similar to this message, and nowhere have I gotten any reply other than "it is probably bad ram", or "we have no clue". Any tips? Hints? Suggestions? Questions?......I have minidump files (several) that I am glad to post if need be (aside from the ones I have already posted), plus I am willing to go through and find/type out all the instances of events logged in event viewer (tcp/ip limit reached, system error, etc). HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    p.s. this whole message is a copy and paste job from another forum I visited...since the day I composed it, I switched some of the cards around, as I had IRQ conflict/sharing going on with cards in my comp. I managed to make the only sharing be between my vid card and an ohee compliant thingy. Still though, my comp is giving me random problems!
  2. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    you really need to reformat and reinstall XP. if you are a college student you can get XP for next to nothing thru your college.
  3. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    Most of your minidumps are crashing with a bugcheck of 7F. This is most likely caused by a hardware problem.


    One of three types of problems occurred in kernel-mode: (1) Hardware failures. (2) Software problems. (3) A bound trap (i.e., a condition that the kernel is not allowed to have or intercept). Hardware failures are the most common cause (many dozen KB articles exist for this error referencing specific hardware failures) and, of these, memory hardware failures are the most common.

    I cannot tell you which hardware is faulty. It could be your ram, but then again it could be something else.

    Make sure your ram is compatible with your mobo.

    Make sure nothing is overclocked.

    Check all cables, and connections.

    Check that your psu is powerful enough for your system. Look HERE at this psu wattage calculator.

    Run a disk check. chkdsk /r /f

    Try running your computer with the bare minimum of hardware. See if this solves the problem.

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:
  4. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Try and borrow someone else's CPU. Take it out anyway, check there are no bent pins, reseat it properly and apply thermal paste before you put the cooler back on.

    Alternatively, return it to your brother and ask for your money back.
  5. Kellnos

    Kellnos TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I go to a rather small local community college, and I already checked with them about getting a new disk....no dice on that one as they don't do it.

    I have run chkdsk a few times, and it never reports any problems. I don't overclock, and I have used the wattage calculator before....according to it I should be fine.

    I have checked cables and such via visual inspection, and everything seems ok. Aside from this, all of my cards and my ram seem to be seated properly.

    I checked on the ram I have being compatible with my mobo, but Abit's site didn't list my ram in particular. I don't know if that means it necessarily is or isn't compatible, and the list was rather small to begin with.

    I don't know anyone else that has a CPU that I could borrow. My stepdad is the only person I know that even has a computer (I admit to having no friends and no life, so sue me! :p), and his is like 10 years old, so I don't know if it would even be possible, let alone helpful, to start putting my stuff in his (that is assuming he would even let me, which he wouldn't).

    Finally, as much as my brother has put me up a creek on different matters at various times, I don't think I would feel right about asking for my money back on a computer I bought from him that worked fine until some bad ram killed it :p.

    The tips/thoughts/etc. are appreciated though, thanks! :)
  6. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Try and 'restore' the PC to one with only the original parts, same as when you got it first.

    You can make a copy of anybody's XP disk, as long as it's the same type (Home or Pro) and version (OEM or not).
    Depends on the original key that (hopefully) came with it from your brother.
    When you burn one, slipstream SP2 into it, before you burn it.
  7. blaacksheep

    blaacksheep TS Rookie Posts: 70

    another thought.... try 'relaxing' your memory settings - even going as far as setting your memory manually in cmos to the next speed down if increasing the latency doesn't do anything. I think the sound card error is just a symptom of a data error in memory. It won't take very long to check this.

    Also, you could lower the FSB speed slightly. I know all this will decrease perfrormance, but once your machine runs, you can crank settings up individually to see what's messing things up.

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