The dreaded XP "Blue Screen" what it means?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Don't know how much you guys can help
    as I wrote nothing down during the last
    blue screen occurance.

    Anyhow....

    My computer had a few "blue screen"
    occurances recently saying that XP
    was doing a memory dump.

    I recovered okay each time, and recently
    I did a complete format of my system only
    to notice the "blue screen" happening
    again.

    While it's not a daily occurance I am
    concerned as to what may be causing these
    random memory dumps.

    Appreciate the help.
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Ron,

    If it happens after a clean install, it's likely a hardware issue. Are you running SP2? It might be some sort of compatibility issue. Have you checked your mobo manufacturer to see if there is a bios update?

    First impression: If it happens after reinstall, then it's likely something in hardware. This could be one of several things, but strong candidates include:
    - HEAT issues (check your fans and vents to make sure they're not crudded up with dirt and hair). Check CPU fan and Video Card fan.
    - Hardware compatibility problems that might be resolved with a bios flash. I have had BSOD because of read/write errors from drives that were fixed by bios flash.
    - Hardware failing, which, obviously is the most serious and would involve replacing components. Usually BSOD is hardware related, in my experience, either shitty driver conflicts or failing devices-- but a clean install leads me to believe failing/overheating hardware. Although the good news is, it could be ram which is easy to swap out.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Vince,

    Thanks for this.

    Question: Any way to test ram to see
    if it is failing or not?
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    There might be: if it's a dell they have a diagnostic utility you can run that will test lots of stuff, including memory read and write. However, last i checked, it requires booting to a floppy (and some machines no longer have a floppy). If you have a machine that can boot off USB- a usb device could be loaded with the utility...

    If you don't have a dell, i'm sure there are other diagnostic utilities you could run (not my specialty, but maybe someone could chime in with a link).

    -V
     
  5. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    BSOD explained

    Being a lowly desktop support technician, I can say 90% of the BSOD's I've encountered that aren't related to software, drivers, or recent hardware additions wind up being related to a dying hard drive.


    Unless of course your blue screen looks like THIS, then I wouldn't complain. [​IMG]
     
  6. JoshGivens

    JoshGivens Stunt Coordinator

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    If you have an XP or Windows 2000 CD, you can run the recovery console from boot up and run Checkdisk (chkdsk /r) to try and resolve some of the issues. This will also tell you if you have bad sectors on your hard drive.
     
  7. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Ron:

    One of the first things you are going to want to do is look at the event log that windows XP keeps.

    Right click on "My Computer" select "Manage" and you'll get the general overview MMC panel.

    From that, select "Event Viewer" First, look at your system events.

    You're looking for red "stop" or "fail" events first. Look to see if you have a pattern, particularly service failure, disk warnings, etc. This will give you a clue as to what stopped before you generated a BSOD.

    After you've done that, you can try to check your RAM with several of the free online utilities. The most reliable one (IMHO) is Memtest86, a free utility you can download here:

    http://www.memtest.org/

    Memtest is free and can be downloaded in a bootable ISO format or floppies.

    Before you get to that, though, you would be well advised to check your log. If you did have a memory error, you would normally be crashing far more often then "rarely".

    You might also check general maintenance issues.. is the CPU properly cooled? (fan running correctly, not overly dusty, etc.?) video card fan working properly? Good ventilation? Is the power supply ready to uphold the load you're asking of it? Is there a rogue application (noticable via event viewer) that routinely crashes?

    Anyway, good luck with whittling down your choices. You can always run a Belarc or Everest (http://www.belarc.com/ or http://www.betanews.com for the latest version of everest) to get a detailed spec of your PC to find out how you're doing on some of those issues [​IMG]
     
  8. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    yeah its usually because of a hardware problem, i was getting this recently myself and it turned out my data drive was dying on me. yes there is a way to test your ram, do a google search for a program called memtest85, look for the bootable cd image
    of it. and boot from the cd to test your memory.
     

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