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TrevMUN

Rash of BSoDs - What Could Be the Culprit Here?

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Hey guys,

XP64 has usually been a very stable and gentle operating system, with the lowest track record of BSoDs in an OS I've ever had. My computer woes tend to be hardware rather than software related; I only had two BSoDs last year, in fact, and both were explicitly caused by XP64 running out of free pages (NO_PAGES_AVAILABLE). A major sign I need to overhaul the RAM given how much multitasking I do.

Starting on the 4th of March this year, though, something changed. I've had seven BSoDs since then and now, with the seventh one happening just recently, at the top of the hour (going by my post's timecode). Here's what WhoCrashed has to say about them, starting from the earliest to the most recent:

On Tue 3/4/2014 5:13:15 PM GMT your computer crashed
crash dump file: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini030414-01.dmp
This was probably caused by the following module: win32k.sys (win32k+0xA009B)
Bugcheck code: 0xA (0x6DF9276A1F8, 0x2, 0x1, 0xFFFFF80001036765)
Error: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
file path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\win32k.sys
product: Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
company: Microsoft Corporation
description: Multi-User Win32 Driver
Bug check description: This indicates that Microsoft Windows or a kernel-mode driver accessed paged memory at DISPATCH_LEVEL or above.
This appears to be a typical software driver bug and is not likely to be caused by a hardware problem.
The crash took place in a standard Microsoft module. Your system configuration may be incorrect. Possibly this problem is caused by another driver on your system which cannot be identified at this time.
Google query: win32k.sys Microsoft Corporation IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

This was actually two BSoDs, but WhoCrashed only recorded one, because I hadn't had Windows XP64 to not insta-restart. The computer restarted, tried to boot to Windows, BSoD'd and restarted again. Forgot to reset that option after my previous main drive died. The issue resolved itself, weirdly enough, when I did.

On Fri 3/14/2014 1:22:03 AM GMT your computer crashed
crash dump file: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini031314-01.dmp
This was probably caused by the following module: ntoskrnl.exe (nt+0x2E890)
Bugcheck code: 0xA (0xFFFFFAE053001F9A, 0x2, 0x0, 0xFFFFF800010359A2)
Error: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
file path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntoskrnl.exe
product: Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
company: Microsoft Corporation
description: NT Kernel & System
Bug check description: This indicates that Microsoft Windows or a kernel-mode driver accessed paged memory at DISPATCH_LEVEL or above.
This appears to be a typical software driver bug and is not likely to be caused by a hardware problem.
The crash took place in the Windows kernel. Possibly this problem is caused by another driver which cannot be identified at this time.

This one happened after trying to download the month's round of Windows Updates.

On Fri 3/14/2014 1:34:13 AM GMT your computer crashed
crash dump file: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini031314-02.dmp
This was probably caused by the following module: ntoskrnl.exe (nt+0x2E890)
Bugcheck code: 0x109 (0xA3A03A38293AC51D, 0x0, 0x1ED647BB8F24A122, 0x101)
Error: CRITICAL_STRUCTURE_CORRUPTION
file path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntoskrnl.exe
product: Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
company: Microsoft Corporation
description: NT Kernel & System
Bug check description: This indicates that the kernel has detected critical kernel code or data corruption.
This might be a case of memory corruption. More often memory corruption happens because of software errors in buggy drivers, not because of faulty RAM modules.
The crash took place in the Windows kernel. Possibly this problem is caused by another driver which cannot be identified at this time.

This CRITICAL_STRUCTURE_CORRUPTION happened after the previous crash, at which I restarted using Last Known Good Configuration. Several things went wrong right away after booting to Windows: Browsers wouldn't stay open, crashing or closing themselves immediately. Opera kept reporting an error in opera.dll. The Windows Update didn't install, as XP replaced the "Shut Down" with "Shut Down and Install Updates" at the shut down menu. Trying to allow XP64 to do this got me the BSoD, though the actual message wasn't an error code, but "Modification of system code or a critical data structure was detected."

I have NEVER seen that one before, not in all my years of using Windows machines. This hasn't happened again after I ran memtest86+, and (later on) dusted my computer out.

On Mon 3/17/2014 4:48:40 AM GMT your computer crashed
crash dump file: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini031614-01.dmp
This was probably caused by the following module: nv4_disp.sys (nv4_disp+0xB9C0E)
Bugcheck code: 0x3B (0xC0000005, 0xFFFFF97FFD0E1C0E, 0xFFFFFADF8A4F3150, 0x0)
Error: SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION
Bug check description: This indicates that an exception happened while executing a routine that transitions from non-privileged code to privileged code.
This appears to be a typical software driver bug and is not likely to be caused by a hardware problem.
A third party driver was identified as the probable root cause of this system error. It is suggested you look for an update for the following driver: nv4_disp.sys .
Google query: nv4_disp.sys SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION

This one happened while Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun was running in the background.

On Sat 3/22/2014 1:05:53 AM GMT your computer crashed
crash dump file: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini032114-01.dmp
This was probably caused by the following module: nv4_disp.sys (nv4_disp+0xB9C0E)
Bugcheck code: 0x3B (0xC0000005, 0xFFFFF97FFD0E1C0E, 0xFFFFFADF44382850, 0x0)
Error: SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION
Bug check description: This indicates that an exception happened while executing a routine that transitions from non-privileged code to privileged code.
This appears to be a typical software driver bug and is not likely to be caused by a hardware problem.
A third party driver was identified as the probable root cause of this system error. It is suggested you look for an update for the following driver: nv4_disp.sys .
Google query: nv4_disp.sys SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION

This one happened again while playing Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, this time while attempting to alt+tab out of the game while it was running.

On Wed 3/26/2014 4:04:10 AM GMT your computer crashed
crash dump file: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini032514-01.dmp
This was probably caused by the following module: ntoskrnl.exe (nt+0x2E890)
Bugcheck code: 0x50 (0xFFFFFADE959A2D70, 0x1, 0xFFFFFADF8F6B9132, 0x0)
Error: PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
file path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntoskrnl.exe
product: Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
company: Microsoft Corporation
description: NT Kernel & System
Bug check description: This indicates that invalid system memory has been referenced.
This appears to be a typical software driver bug and is not likely to be caused by a hardware problem.
The crash took place in the Windows kernel. Possibly this problem is caused by another driver which cannot be identified at this time.

Though WhoCrashed says ntoskrnl.exe is the likely culprit, the actual BSoD screen referenced nv4_mini.sys. The BSoD happened while playing Renegade-X, after a match ended and right in the middle of a map change. The current build of the game (as of this post) doesn't transfer to a loading screen when map changing on a server. You get the end-of-match leaderboards and voting, then the scenery goes black as it switches to the new map. That's when the BSoD happened, with hanging sound.

On Tue 4/8/2014 2:01:36 PM GMT your computer crashed
crash dump file: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini040814-01.dmp
This was probably caused by the following module: ntoskrnl.exe (nt+0x2E890)
Bugcheck code: 0x50 (0xFFFFFADE9CEB67A8, 0x1, 0xFFFFF800011A9B28, 0x0)
Error: PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
file path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntoskrnl.exe
product: Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
company: Microsoft Corporation
description: NT Kernel & System
Bug check description: This indicates that invalid system memory has been referenced.
This appears to be a typical software driver bug and is not likely to be caused by a hardware problem.
The crash took place in the Windows kernel. Possibly this problem is caused by another driver which cannot be identified at this time.

This one happened while I was checking Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars for something. I clicked on a menu option (replays menu), then tried to click back to the main menu. The BSoD instantly happened, again with looping, hanging sound.

I highly suspect that installing the Open Beta of Renegade-X has something to do with this. Correlation does not equal causation, I know, but the timing still leaves me suspicious as it was the only new program installed right around the time that I started having these problems (Renegade-X's Open Beta 1 was released on February 26, and I installed it around the beginning of March). Furthermore, there is a known issue I and a number of players experienced first hand, in which the uninstaller for Open Beta 1 deleted the entire Start Menu for the current user--a problem that affected not just XP64, but 7 and 8 as well. It leaves open the question as to whether Renegade-X caused some damage to the OS somehow ...

That unofficial DX10 patch I mentioned installing in another thread was done way after these problems started. I installed that one on March 28, and the System Restore suggested to me fixed all issues related specifically to that.

Initially an IT friend of mine suspected hardware failure: either the hard drive(s), RAM, or malware (though he ruled out malware and thinks hardware issues are more likely due to the erratic nature of these BSoDs). I haven't ruled out that out entirely; so far I've only been able to verify the integrity of my RAM via MemTest86+, as five passes turned up no errors. I haven't yet been able to verify the integrity of my hard drives, however.

EDIT: Oh, I should also add that in the case of the crashes where I referenced those other Command and Conquer games (Tiberian Sun, Tiberian Wars), I was doing heavy multitasking in both cases. Both Opera and Firefox were open, with quite a few tabs between them. These are usual computing habits for me, and as mentioned earlier, they haven't caused BSoDs like this before (save for those two from last year where XP64 had absolutely no memory left to continue running).

What do you guys think? What might be the culprit here, and what do you think I could do to fix it?

Edited by TrevMUN
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Had similar problems after installing nVidia GeForce 334.89 on 2014-02-24. Reverting to 332.21 solved the problem. Now using 335.28 (latest current driver) with no problems.

Apparently, nVidia has removed the XPx64 334.89 driver from its site. The link I saved for it now points to another driver (335.04 beta).

Edited by 5eraph
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You were getting a lot of the same BSoDs and error codes?

I'm currently using nVidia GeForce 335.28, which I updated to from 310.90 (I believe) in the middle of this rash of BSoDs. After the CRITICAL_STRUCTURE_CORRUPTION incident, in fact.

Would doing a clean install of 335.28 address the problem, you think?

Edited by TrevMUN
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Possibly. Completely uninstall the current driver, then reinstall.

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I wrote these notes to myself at the time for future reference:

Consistently causes SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION BSoD in NV4_DISP.DLL when seeking within YouTube videos with hardware acceleration enabled. Has caused same error when ALT-TABbing into Dead Space 1, max settings.

BSoDing with DS1 was the deal-breaker, forcing me to revert to driver 332.21 which never blue screened. Bearing in mind that I've never tried 332.21 with Dead Space, it needs testing.

I have disabled driver update checking in nVidia GeForce Experience for now.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff558949(v=vs.85).aspx

Quote: This error has been linked to excessive paged pool usage and may occur due to user-mode GRAPHICS DRIVERS crossing over and passing bad data to the kernel code.

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Hm. Interesting ... So, the driver update might account for the SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION BSoDs, since I started getting those when I updated the drivers after the CRITICAL_STRUCTURE_CORRUPTION BSoD? Would it likely be responsible for the PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA BSoDs as well?

I can't help but wonder if installing Renegade X may have screwed with the drivers in some way, causing this whole mess in the first place. After all, I'd been using 310.90 since January of last year, when I had to make a fresh install of XP64 due to a dying hard drive. I hadn't encountered issues until I installed and started playing Renegade X's OB1 last month.

Question: Would telling nVidia's driver installer to do a clean install be functionally equivalent to a complete uninstall and reinstall, or is this something I have to do manually? If so, how would I go about doing that?

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Haven't tried the "clean install" option. Before trusting the Experience application to update my driver, I would always remove the existing driver with "Add or Remove Programs" and reboot before installing the latest one.

Haven't played Renegade X, so I don't know if it is to blame. Often graphics drivers must be tweaked to work with the latest games; and since Renegade X is still in beta, it's possible that nVidia may need to work on its drivers to get the game to work better.

~IF~ reinstalling the latest driver still causes problems I may have another solution for you to try. But for the sake of the scientific method, let's try one solution at a time.

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Hm. Interesting ... So, the driver update might account for the SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION BSoDs, since I started getting those when I updated the drivers after the CRITICAL_STRUCTURE_CORRUPTION BSoD? Would it likely be responsible for the PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA BSoDs as well?

Thought that I might address this separately. The bad nVidia driver definitely causes SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION for me, but I received no others. I suppose it's possible that it could cause the others, but I have no way of proving it. The best way to proceed is to eliminate the problem we know first, then perhaps we can work on the rest.

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Also an sfc/scannow in case some system file(s) is/are corrupt could be recommended.

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I was wondering about that, actually: If I do an sfc /scannow and it results in a number of files getting copied over from the install CD, how does that affect any that have been patched by Windows Update? Or, I guess I should say, how do Windows Updates and hotfixes mesh with using sfc /scannow?

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The Windows Update files are stored in the "dllcache" folder and sfc can find them there, if you have the "dllcache" untouched there won't be any problems. The same goes for the Service Pack files and the same named folder.

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Alright. I'll give it a look-see as the next step.

XP64 finally decided it was done with downloading the last official updates, so I took the restart after installing them as an opportunity to get the nVidia drivers sorted out. I manually uninstalled them from Add/Remove Programs and restarted.

... Only, XP64 automatically reinstalled drivers for them once I had restarted: Version 310.90. It must have done that because the installer for that version is still in an Installation Files folder I keep on C drive, but I had downloaded 335.28's installer in preparation for this and had it in my Downloads folder of My Documents ...

Well, I decided to let nVidia Experience re-download the latest drivers and had it perform a Clean Install. I'll see if that changes anything.

If it doesn't, I'll need to figure out how to keep XP64 from automatically installing the older drivers when trying this again. Move 335.28 into the Installation Files directory and temporarily move the older installer elsewhere?

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Check the folder \windows\system32\etc\drivers (I think that's the full path) and see if the nVidia driver that keeps reinstalling is nested in there.

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Download Memtest86 and make a boot disk.

Pull all of your ram out and test the ram in pairs until the all the ram is tested. Memtest86 will let you know if you have bad ram, To me it sounds like you have a bad stick of ram. Page faults are memory issues. After you ran memtest 86 on your ram the way I said if it passes than your video card is bad. If your video cards memory is bad no amount of driver is going to fix that. so its just bad if memtest86 passes all your sticks of ram like i said.

Edited by oldskool
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Check the folder \windows\system32\etc\drivers (I think that's the full path) and see if the nVidia driver that keeps reinstalling is nested in there.

I poked around and nv4_mini.sys in the drivers folder. The curious thing is, its Date Modified information says Sunday, March 09, 2014, 3:35:55 PM, right in the thick of all those BSoDs I was getting last month. However, I had updated the drivers on March 14th, not the 9th ... and given its modified date, it doesn't look like it was recently put there by the uninstall/reinstall.

Download Memtest86 and make a boot disk.

Pull all of your ram out and test the ram in pairs until the all the ram is tested. Memtest86 will let you know if you have bad ram, To me it sounds like you have a bad stick of ram. Page faults are memory issues. After you ran memtest 86 on your ram the way I said if it passes than your video card is bad. If your video cards memory is bad no amount of driver is going to fix that. so its just bad if memtest86 passes all your sticks of ram like i said.

This was already done, as mentioned in my opening post, but not to that thorough of an extent. Five passes turned up no errors.

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