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Skips, freezes, and blue screens, oh myFollow

#1 Jun 23 2010 at 1:21 PM Rating: Good
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I think my computer is undergoing a death spiral.

Yesterday, around 1PM, my cat Weaver leapt onto my desk, and knocked a full mug of hot tea over. The majority of the tea landed on my controller, then splashed onto the wall behind the computer (leaving lovely stains which I had to paint over). At first I was terrified that some had dribbled down into the inner components of the PC, but the back of the case *seemed* to be dry.

I cleaned up the mess as best I could. The controller was ruined; it had little airholes in it and the tea was dripping from them for hours. The rest of the case was wiped down.

I was playing FFXI at the time, and shortly after the accident, my game started freezing up like it did back in January. At the time, the issue was resolved when I changed ISPs, but I don't see any reason why it would start freezing up now when it's been going great for almost five months.

When I went to reboot after the first freeze up, I noticed a big Microsoft patch had downloaded, such a vital one apparently that it caused the system to reboot itself to install additional components. I checked for additional patches, and found one had failed to install. I installed it.

I also installed the latest release of nVidia drivers, from June 15th, and ran nTune.

The next time I attempted to run FFXI, the computer not only crashed the game, but the whole system locked up and I had to do a hard power cycle on it. This continued on during normal websurfing even when FFXI wasn't running. Speedfan says the GPU was at a relatively arctic 18C when the last freeze up happened, so it's not an overheating issue.

And then, the blue screens of death began. "Page fault in nonpaged area" it says. That usually points to an issue with hardware, but all the usual diagnostic tests came up clean.

The final clincher that it's probably software and not hardware related is that I'm running just fine in Safe mode with networking right now. When Windows was started normally, I ran into crashes within five minutes.

I'm going to uninstall the Nvidia drivers and roll back to the April release I was running previously. If that doesn't fix it, it might be time for a clean install of Windows 7.

My question is this: Could the downloaded Microsoft patch have caused the initial system freezing even before it was installed, and it was coincidence that it happened precisely at the same time I had a potential hardware disaster?



Edited, Jun 23rd 2010 3:23pm by catwho
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#2 Jun 23 2010 at 1:39 PM Rating: Good
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Even if you run nTune, if it is tea and it splashed on components such as the HDD, it could be a part of the magnetic ribbon that is damaged which nTune is unlikely to detect.

It might not be a spill but rather a knock when the HDD was being written to on a file that is vital to running windows was being written to.

1st thing i would do is swap out the HDD or reformat or reinstall windows.

I've had something like that happen to me once on a external HDD, knocked it over when writing. Drive came back with errors and anytime it tried to access that part of the disk I got a BSOD.

Had to reformat that thing and it works again just has a bad sector.
#3 Jun 23 2010 at 2:12 PM Rating: Decent
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Windows patches have been known to mess up computers. A roll back should help and or a format.
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#4 Jun 23 2010 at 2:56 PM Rating: Good
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Considering it can't even make it through a system restore point without crashing, I think that a clean install of Windows 7 may be the next best step. I'm going to try that next. I unfortunately don't have a spare SATA drive around, but that'll probably be the first component I replace if I have to rebuild the system, since it'll be the cheapest and I can always recycle it into a new system if I have to.
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#5 Jun 23 2010 at 8:07 PM Rating: Good
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Running on a clean install of 7 right now. Took the opportunity to switch to Google Chrome. (Ugh, hello ads!) Rolled back to the April release of the Nvidia drivers.

So far, it's running as smooth as silk, but we'll see how long that lasts.
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#6 Jul 05 2010 at 10:27 AM Rating: Good
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Sorry you had to do a rebuild, but there are a few things you could have tried that may have resolved it. Hope you didn't have a lot of stuff to install again.

Page fault in non-paged area is a misleading error. Without going through bugcheck to decipher the parameters of the error, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what tripped it up. And even then..you still may not really know just what happened. Could have been a bad driver call, bad VM swap (paging file corrupted), bad program call (can happen a lot in Jave VM's), problems with RAM....the list goes on and on.

Could have tried rebuilding the swap file by editing the registry entry to change the default name of the file and rebooting then deleting the old one (or toggle swapfile usage off, reboot, toggle on and reboot again).

Reseating RAM is sometimes a good idea. Chip creep isn't such a problem these days with the locking clips on the slots, but you still have the issues of corrosion. The simple act of pulling the chips and reseating them can clear some of the oxidation that can build up on contacts in areas where humidity fluctuates a lot.

Also could have run a chkdsk /R (forces check with repair/recover data and locate bad sectors) on each of your logical drives until they found no errors. If you got file corruption because of a weakened sector last time, you may run into it again this time around--may want to go ahead and run chkdsk just to be sure.

Raist
#7 Jul 06 2010 at 11:38 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, the chkdsk came back with no errors.

The best suggestion that I heard was that the act of my cat leaping onto the computer at the exact moment I was doing a memory intensive activity (FFXI) caused a write error in the swap file. At first I was like: "Naw, I don't have a swap file any more, I have 4 gigs of RAM on this machine . . . . oh wait, I upgraded to a 64-bit OS . . . .crap."

On that note, one of these months, I am going to replace my 4 1 gig RAM sticks with 4 2 gig RAM sticks, and max it out again.
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
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