BSOD - probable cause?


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
I have an AMD 1600 based "low profile" system which is about two years old. Lately it has been hitting progressively more and more BSOD errors but I am not certain of cause. Rewcently I tried swapping out a 256 MB stick of RAM and leavign a 512 in place - this seems to have made things worse so I am thinking of swapping them back over.

I am aware the thing runs a lot hotter than I might like, but being a low profile system there is not really any scope to improve that - although I am wondering if the thermal compound could be deteriorating after a year or so of fairly heavy useage and running hot?

I thought I would ask here where people have plenty of experience - do you guys think my next step is to remove the heatsink and reseat it? And if so any helpful tips for doing so?

Many thanks


Moozically Con~foozed
get some thermal arctic silver 5 compund ... you only need a bit about the size of a grain of rice (uncooked).... anyhow ... this stuff really does improve the conductivity ...

but i doubt thats whats causing your BSOD ...

have you changed any drivers or anything recently.?


more info please.!


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
I probably should have said - these BSODs can occur at any point, they are definitely not related to any particular app. I was thinking they were temperature related, and so recently was experimenting with MBM5 alarm temperatures - but at one point there the BSOD occurred again on a reboot after some time for things to cool.

Right now I am running mtest86 on the remaining RAM stick - to try to see if there's any point swapping back (have in the past found some RAM to be temp sensitive). However the RAM in there is Crucial - so I am expecting it to pass.

For the first year of it's operation this system gave virtually no BSOD - so I would like to get it back to decent order.

Error codes are variable - but more often than not point to IRQL_ errors that are diagnosed as being caused by device drivers. Earlier today there was another one diagnosed as CPU failure :eek: but it rebooted back from that.

I do not easily have the option to reformat because this has other users accounts on it - it is largely used as their machine now - and came with the XP OEM'd onto a hidden partition. So doing anything like that really is a last resort..... (Oh and although I have firewire and external HD available to me there's no room inside for another HD - being slim profile system)


Moozically Con~foozed
ok, so IRQL_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL is a definate driver realted error but it can also occur if a card is not seated fully (check AGP card as they have a habit of popping up at one end).

CPU error message, now thats not so good. have you ever o'c your CPU ... or have a turbo setting in the bios. the cpu failure bsod is normally a sign that the CPU has been fried in the past.

my first step would be to reset bios defaults and run at the safe values ... if it still happens then let me know.


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
OK - I am having a lateral thought now - given the majority of these BSOD's report the old IRQL_NOT_LESS.... error which certainly points to a driver, but I have no knowledge of the errors starting wth any particular drivers installation - is there any chance I can run something to clear out my drivers and add them one by one? I'll have to be careful here, given this is not my own build (it's an HP (read NEC) iDesign 190 system) - or maybe there is some wonderful utility that will run and update all my drivers (thinks to self, wasn't XP update meant to help with all this?)


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Mooz said:
...check AGP card as they have a habit of popping up at one end)
- no AGP card in this sucker - it's low profile and never had one.

... have you ever o'c your CPU ... or have a turbo setting in the bios. the cpu failure bsod is normally a sign that the CPU has been fried in the past...
nope - never. This error only came up the once, recently, and is what made me first wonder about the temperature issue. I will reset BIOS to defualts and see how I get on - going to interrup that mtest86 now - don't think it is going to find any trouble with the memory....


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
OK - just reset BIOS to defaults and it ran for maybe twenty minutes and a bit before another BSOD ocurred - I also tried uninstalling awhole raft of apps that are dubious and am wondering about taking out the Roxio WinOnCD set (they introduce some virtual devices). I am pretty sure everyone is advice is going to tend to a reformat - but like I said this will be a propietary recovery and a major pain in the neck.....

This machine has XP Home on it and I do have a separate XP Pro CD - could that help me to run recovery console or something? And if I do would that give me a repair windows option and would it help does anyone think?

[EDIT] Updated the onboard S3 Pro Savage video drivers - on a hunch, hopeful that may have had something to do with it - or that the update might stop a clash with another driver.... will post results here either way[/EDIT]


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Nope - despite updating the video drivers no joy - should I enable mini-dumps? Would that help me to find out the driver that is responsible (if it is one) - may go and see if I can find any more drivers to update now...

[EDIT] This time it is pointing to my Graphics display driver and the M$ KB suggested disabling all hardware acceleration and write combining for my graphics - so I tried that, rebooted, and it gave a BSOD 8E before I could do any more than see my start up apps begin :( - taking a rest now... [/EDIT]


Moozically Con~foozed
pst do you find it only crashes when you are listening to abba ??? bizarre?? lol

anyhow ... mini dump may help.

have you a spare G-card knocking around that you could run on... to test the theory of it being card driver related.???
1) I'd clean out the systems really well, pull cards out and clean contacts etc. Then make sure everything is back together tight.

2) Go to roxio's site about a full removal of winOncd. If it's anything like CD Creator, it can cause system chaos when partially removed. The instructions for a full removal of CD Creator are about 4 pages long.


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
I will do the complete system clean out if I go in again to swap RAM sticks for the last time.... Have just removed WinOnCD - it is a derivative of EASYCD with the infamous DirectCD bundled in its last incarnation - I had those four pages somewhere having been through a lot of trouble trying to get it to burn useable DVD's.....

But sound advice - thankyou...

I guess the real thing I was interested in was whether the BSOD's could be a heat issue (having read plenty of posts where cooling resolved BSOD issues) or if I should be looking towards software issues... Perhaps I answered it myself - could be either.

PS at the moment have managed one hour up-time with 40% load running folding.... this after removing more apps and hopefully system more stable now.


Mooz said:
pst do you find it only crashes when you are listening to abba ??? bizarre?? lol
That's odd as when I was listening to my ABBA gold cd a few years back on WinME I also got a nasty BSOD :(


OSNN Veteran Addict
I had a similar problem. It turned out to be a sound card that was dieing. It could be any device in your system using interrupts, a plugin card or a built in on the MB.

Start pulling cards or disabling MB functions one at a time then run it until it dies again or you decide it's working. Do not put anything back in until the problem is isolated. Then put them back in one at a time.

Yes, that will remove capabilities but until you find the problem the system is worthless anyway. If it still acts up when everything has been pulled but the CPU, MB and RAM it is probably the MB

Start with the sound. I've had sound go bad on a MB and on an add-in card and in both cases it caused BSOD problems.

Note - since it is getting worse as summer goes on it may be temperature related (or power line quality, it drops in summer).


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
LeeJend said:
...Start with the sound....
looks like a top tip! I just updated onboard VIA drivers and flashed the BIOS - managed about two hours so far at 75% CPU load.... going to leave it running tonight - if it manages to get to the morning with no BSOD then I think I may have cracked it.... weird that it only started conflicting after some time, then again maybe I am just getting lucky at the moment....


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
.... and I spoke too soon.... another BSOD - just wondering whether to try a low profile graphics card on the machine because my latest hunch is that the on board graphics might be the problem..... it's a pig the mahcine being low profile though - wonder what the cheapest card I can find for it might be?

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