I have a refurbished Dell 960 which is randomly crashing. It has Windows 7 installed, and is fully updated using Windows Update. I suspect a bad driver or other OS configuration issue but due to the random nature of the crash I am having trouble sorting the problem out.
Dell diagnostics were run, including the full and lengthy memory tests, and everything passes. So I'm assuming there are no hardware issues.
Sometimes I get a minidump crash report, sometimes I do not. When I do, I see the following or something similar:
Problem signature: Problem Event Name: BlueScreen OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.256.48 Locale ID: 1033
Additional information about the problem: BCCode: 1e
BCP1: 0000000000000000 BCP2: 0000000000000000 BCP3: 0000000000000000 BCP4: 0000000000000000
OS Version: 6_1_7601 Service Pack: 1_0 Product: 256_1
Files that help describe the problem:
C:\Users\Windows 7 x64\AppData\Local\Temp\WER-41028-0.sysdata.xml
Apparently the mindump files get cleaned out at some point, because yesterday I had 2 or 3 and today, after a new crash, there is only 1. Windows prompts me to 'search for a solution to the problem' but after displaying a progress bar simply disappears with no result message, not even the expected 'solution not found'. It just goes to la la land.
I have verified that the bios is up to date (A17). Based on the random crashes I'm guessing there is a software memory management problem likely associated with my unique configuration.
Suggestions on how to proceed with troubleshooting are appreciated. This is a very nice computer when it's working, would like to get this sorted out and keep it. I'm trying to avoid the 'when all else fails re-install the OS' approach, which I'm not sure will do much other than keep me fully occupied for much of a day.
Since you indicated you're not seeing a hardware problem, I'm going to move your message to the operating system forum.
Try the Online Diagnostics and see if it helps. Choose Symptom -> Blue Screen Analyzer. Based upon the results of this analysis, you may choose to run the trouble-shooter to fix these errors.
If the issue persists, then please share Stop 0X0XXXXXXXXX error code. Would also like to know if you have made any recent software or hardware changes to the computer. Did you install any new program in the computer?
Thanks for the reply.
I did modify the machine, with a second 1TB hard drive, additional memory to bring it to 8GB, and adding an NVidia graphics card. I have removed the graphics card, and determined the problem persists, but for now have left it out of the machine, so it's running off the on-board graphics. Google searches led to a suggestion that bad memory can cause my problems, so even though the dell diagnostics test the memory fully and report everything OK, I went ahead and pulled out 2 DIMMs.
Thought this nailed the problem -- as I tried the 2 pairs separately and found one set of 2 DIMMs made the system horribly unstable with boot failures. I'm now running with the good DIMM pair and only 4GB RAM, and the system is much more stable. I have not seen a blue screen, but my problems are not quite solved yet (though much better) because now I see occasional crashes when the system wakes up after sleeping.
So ... on to your suggestions:
Ran both the blue screen specific diagnostics which indicated 'blue screen critical problems' and the general full suite of diagnostics, which, oddly enough, tested fine. The action list to resolve the blue screen issue is pretty vague, indicating I should:
1. Check for viruses (done)
2. Install latest manufacturer drivers (in progress)
3. Check for Bios update (done)
4. Go back to a restore point. (re-installed the OS)
As this problems was severe, I have already re-installed the Win7 64 bit SP1 OS, and applied all updates using Windows Update. This is a clean install, and the problems persist. I reformatted the C: drive prior to installation. AVG Free virus protection is installed, and a scan indicates no viruses. The bios is current. Going back to a restore point isn't meaningful, as I have a clean install, with minimal apps and new drivers.
I'm working on the driver assessment, as there are a bunch of recommended driver updates. From the beginning I suspected a bad driver of some sort, but thought my drivers were current. Seems not to be the case, using the Dell online driver check, so perhaps this will provide the complete stability I'm looking for.
Thanks for your help, I'll let you know with another post update on how things go with the driver updates.
Thank you for the update. Let me now how it goes after driver updates.
If you experience the same issue, then you may provide me the minidump files. Please follow the steps listed to provide the minidump files. We will decode this folder to understand the root cause of the issue that you have been facing:
- Navigate to C:\Windows\Minidump and tap <Enter>
- Copy all the 'Minidump' folders and paste them to your desktop screen
- Please attach these folders in your next reply.
- Let me check the 'Minidump' folder with a debugging tool to see if we get decisive results
Note: The minidump folders will be .exe folders. You will not be able to attach .exe files on this forum. Right click on each .exe folder and select 'Send to' and then select 'Compressed (Zipped) folder'. A zip file will be created which you can attach here.
In case you are unable to attach the dump here, then email me dumps on the email address. I have already sent it to you via private message.
Good progress with the driver update. Haven't used the machine heavily, but it has seen some use on and off for the last 3-4 days with no issues, including numerous times when it went to sleep and restored the windows session successfully.
Thank you for your help and good suggestions.
Thank you for the update; appreciate it emoticon.BigSmile.title
Please keep the computer under observation. Let me know if you come across any issues.