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Old 12th Aug 2011, 03:33 PM   #1
Jacks:Revenge
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[BSOD] how do you diagnose blue screens?

my main rig has started giving me blue screens after it ran for over a year without a single hitch. we built it from scratch at the time. it first happened when I had been gaming for about an hour. I had actually just finished, and went to quit, and while the game was quitting the image froze for a second and then blue screen'd.
it has since happened at other times. like when I was just browsing the internet and/or playing music and using Photoshop. but it doesn't seem to happen unless the computer has been on for at least a few hours.

the blue screen itself says something about "memory management."
I've run the built-in Windows memory diagnostic but that yields nothing. it says everything is dandy. DXDiag says everything is working just fine. registry and hard drive scans show no errors. I also updated my display drivers, but now I don't know what else to try. trouble shooting is not my area of expertise.

upon restart from a blue screen, the computer tells me that it has dumped some files somewhere that contain all the information about what might have led to the crash. but I can't seem to find these, and even if I did it's not like I would know how to read them. I assume they contain a bunch of technical jargon and numbers that are useless to the layman.

all my important **** is backed up, so I could probably just wipe the machine and reinstall the OS as a last resort. but before trying something like that I would love to know if these BSOD's were related to a specific piece of hardware or software.
someone told me that it could be caused by a power supply unit that's going bad. and since he brought it up, it gives me pause because the PSU is actually the oldest component in the box. it was the one thing we transplanted from the computer before it. it's 550W which always seemed to run everything without issue. my GPU requires 450W and I don't know what other components really need that much power.

but if an aging PSU can cause such issues, well it's certainly getting old.
like I said, short of that I dunno what else to try.
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Old 13th Aug 2011, 05:35 AM   #2
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could be overheating. is your room hotter than usual from this summer? have you verified all of the fans are working and their heatsinks are clean? also might want to reinstall your video drivers
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Old 13th Aug 2011, 06:07 PM   #3
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room isn't any hotter. the only window in my room faces South, never gets direct sun, air conditioning is on most of the day.
all the internal fans appear to be working. I gave the inside of the case a once-over with a compressed air duster, so vents and heatsinks are clean.

like I said, I've already tried reinstalling and then updating display drivers.
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Old 13th Aug 2011, 06:51 PM   #4
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What's the brand of your PSU and did you try running memtest on one stick of RAM at a time yet?
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Old 13th Aug 2011, 09:05 PM   #5
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Does the blue screen have an error message in all caps? That tends to be the important factor for determining where the problem COULD be.
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Old 13th Aug 2011, 10:02 PM   #6
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Well even if the memory diagnostic comes out fine, I would remove a stick of RAM and then try playing games for a couple hours and see if it happens, if it does, then try the other stick. If it happens with both sticks (or all if you have more) well then this trial and error isn't much help. xD

If it only happens with one stick than it's a faulty stick.

This is what happened to me once, this is how I figured it out and I had to buy a new stick, just sayin.

Of course you could always just buy some new RAM and hope for the best if you don't care about possibly wasting $50.

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Old 13th Aug 2011, 10:16 PM   #7
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yea do what SleepyHe4d said and while you're at it, take all the ram out, the vid card out, and any other periph card out and blow out their sockets w/air. check the terminals on the cards. if any seem unusually dirty you can clean them (carefully) with a pencil eraser

if that (including sleepy's method) doesn't work I guess reinstall the os... if that doesn't fix it then get a new vid card and psu. because if that still doesnt work, you'll at least have a new vid card and psu for the new system you'll be getting
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Old 14th Aug 2011, 12:14 AM   #8
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I've had a few BSODs, but those were a result of trying to push my rig to do too much at once

I'd suggest next time it BSODs, grab a camera and snap a pic of the screen t hen google like mad
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Old 14th Aug 2011, 03:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkaarjMaster View Post
What's the brand of your PSU and did you try running memtest on one stick of RAM at a time yet?
the PSU is a Rosewill.

I have not tried memtest on individual sticks.
Quote:
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Does the blue screen have an error message in all caps? That tends to be the important factor for determining where the problem COULD be.
I think it does, but I'm not positive.
as others have mentioned, I'll definitely try to get a picture of the blue screen if/when it happens again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepyHe4d View Post
Well even if the memory diagnostic comes out fine, I would remove a stick of RAM and then try playing games for a couple hours and see if it happens, if it does, then try the other stick. If it happens with both sticks (or all if you have more) well then this trial and error isn't much help. xD

If it only happens with one stick than it's a faulty stick.
sounds like a lot of work

just kidding.
I'd much rather do trial and error than simply going out and buying new memory just to find out if that's the problem. don't want to spend money on it if I don't have to.
since it's harder to troubleshoot the power supply, I'll go ahead and work with the memory for now. this week I'll try running different sticks, testing them individually, etc.

thanks for the suggestions people.
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Old 14th Aug 2011, 11:56 PM   #10
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There should be a large dump file associated with your latest BSOD (mine have averaged around 200 megabytes) in your Windows directory, as long as you haven't shut off the related service, or deleted it since then.

You'd need someone who knows how to view them and make any sense out of it to get information. Not that they really tell you much.

I feel your pain though, my motherboard is practically new and has been flaking on me
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Old 29th Aug 2011, 02:57 PM   #11
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good news.
the blue screens haven't occurred for a few weeks now.

all I did was ensure that all my drivers (not just display) were updated to latest versions. and aside from cleaning the dust off of my fans, I then took apart the whole case and just sort of unplugged and reattached every major component to make everything nice and tight.

I guess whatever kinks were in the system have worked themselves out because the machine is running flawlessly again.
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Old 31st Aug 2011, 02:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacks:SmirkingRevenge View Post
good news.
the blue screens haven't occurred for a few weeks now.

all I did was ensure that all my drivers (not just display) were updated to latest versions. and aside from cleaning the dust off of my fans, I then took apart the whole case and just sort of unplugged and reattached every major component to make everything nice and tight.

I guess whatever kinks were in the system have worked themselves out because the machine is running flawlessly again.
good job
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Old 6th Oct 2011, 06:38 PM   #13
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BSOD 101... turn off automatic restart & write down the BSOD info & look it up, [on another machine, duh]
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Old 8th Oct 2011, 04:51 PM   #14
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I solved mine by replacing my RAM sticks a few weeks ago.

My Bsod's weren't very informative (one of the lines didn't have any information), so I couldn't tell if it was even a driver issue.
But after weeks of updating every possible driver, burning my video card (to see if it was a heat related issue), and even reinstalling Windows, it turns out my ram sticks were junked.

Good thing that stuff is cheap; i decided to double it in the process.
No problems since.
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Old 18th Oct 2011, 09:53 PM   #15
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BSODs are usaully caused by the color of the screen, get a monochromatic monitor (not blue) and it will go away.
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Old 30th Oct 2011, 04:27 PM   #16
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