Divide by zero exception error?

Just lately after Windows boots I have been getting an Exception error 00 28.xxxxxxxx in vxd.--- (yes, that's a dot and three dashes, no other information is given on what device driver it is), having been called from vxd.---

The MS Knowledge Base says 00 is the divide by zero error, caused by the BIOS (see http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q140/7/21.asp ) but it is the same bios and same OS I've always had.

Which are, incidentally:
- Award Modular BIOS v 4.51
- Cyrix 6x86 processor
- Windows 95B

The KB article referred to above offers a solution for a type of harddisk which isn't mine (I don't have much info on that to be honest, the BIOS tells me it's generic type 46 and that's about it).

Any ideas, anyone?
PolemicAsked:
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MATTCEICommented:
\Windows\System.ini may have gotten partially corrupted,most likely on a line that begins with 'device='.Open it up in a text editor and look for a string of garbage characters.

Same may have occured in your registry.Try running MS's RegClean.
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PolemicAuthor Commented:
System.ini - nothing obviously corrupt.  The most relevant bit reads like this:
[386Enh]
device=bi-di.386
device=dva.386
device=*vshare
device=*dynapage
device=*vcd
device=*vpd
device=*int13
device=*vpowerd
keyboard=*vkd
display=*vdd,*vflatd
mouse=msmouse.vxd
woafont=dosapp.fon
Paging=on

Registry - Have used Regclean repeatedly.  Each time (after the system has restarted) it claims to have something to clean up, but it never makes any differnence to the situation once the system is shut down and re-started.
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MATTCEICommented:
Try booting with the Bootlog option,then examine Bootlog.txt (search for 'FAIL').I doubt if you'll find an explicit reference to this error,but you may get a hint.
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PC-AlexCommented:
Any failure icons in your device manager (yellow question mark, red+white X) ?
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harley47Commented:
You probably don't want to hear this but I've seen this problem about 5 times and its always been with Cyrix processors. One thing to check is if there is a setting in the bios for the ram to change it to linear. If this doesn't work replace the CPU.


Bill
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harley47Commented:
You probably don't want to hear this but I've seen this problem about 5 times and its always been with Cyrix processors. One thing to check is if there is a setting in the bios for the ram to change it to linear. If this doesn't work replace the CPU.


Bill
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j_powersCommented:
What does Safe mode do? Same error? It may give some more information.

It is also possible that windows may not be reading the BIOS correctly. the BIOS can become corrupt, if it is a flash BIOS. You can reset a BIOS by either removing the battery, or through a jumper.

Let me know.
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PolemicAuthor Commented:
mattcei: Checked the bootlog.txt as suggested.  A few fonts failing plus this:
LoadFailed  = ndis2sup.vxd
LoadFailed  = vshare
LoadFailed  = vpd
LoadFailed  = EBIOS
INITCOMPLETEFAILED  = SDVXD
I looked up what info I could find on ebios and according to some information it's failing because it expects to find an extended BIOS and is not.  That reinforces harley47's and j_powers' notion (which was what I thought when I first found this out) that the BIOS may be at fault.  Though as I said, same BIOS, same copy of Windows, been running for a year without this problem.

PC-Alex: Checked the device manager.  The only thing that has a warning of any sort is the PCI to USB serial bus controller, which it says is not present or not working.  It can't find the driver amongst the cabs in Windows/Options either.  But then, to the best of my knowledge, I have no USB devices connected and all peripherals are operating okay.

harley47: You're right, I don't want to hear it! ;-)  Every time something goes wrong with this thing, people shake their heads and say "Cyrix? Oh dear..." in the way of a doctor about to tell me my life expectancy is going to run out before they cancel this season's sitcom.  I accept what you say may be right but would like to try averything else I can (including having a go at tinkering with the BIOS) before going right to major surgery.  I will see what I can find about setting the RAM to linear.  I don't recall seeing that option but I've located a manual online so will look it up and get back to you.

j_powers: No, things are okay in Safe Mode.  As mentioned above, I'm beginning to suspect the BIOS has glitched as well.  I'd be wiling to try removing the battery, but what are the risks?  Any possible downside?  I wouldn't know how to jumper it, but could give it a try if someone stepped me through it.

I'll try what's been suggested, and let you know.  Meantime, feel free to keep suggesting.  Thanks.
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j_powersCommented:
The only down side is that the settings will default, and you will have to set your BIOS back up.

As for jumpering, let me know what you have for a computer, and I'll show you what you need to jumper.

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PolemicAuthor Commented:
j_powers:  I have used the "restore default settings" or whatever similar command on the BIOS and it hasn't changed anything (except yes I do have to reset it).  Is that the same effect?

What specifically do you want to know about the PC?  Let me know and I'll do my best to get the info you need.

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PC-AlexCommented:
"Restore default settings" just sets back the settings that you have made in that BIOS screen. For really CLEARING the CMOS there's a jumper on the board that has to be shortly connected.

But I'd rather suggest you to check the board's manufacturer and product number, and then download the latest BIOS.

Anyway, you'd have to OPEN your case. Look on the Board and see what kind it is. Common Manufacturers are for example Asus, AOpen, Abit, Gigabyte, or Intel.

Tell us what you see.
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PolemicAuthor Commented:
PC-Alex:  Downloading an up-to-date BIOS was my first thought.  Alas it is an Award BIOS and Award seem to have washed their hands, support-wise, referring me to another site - Unicom or Unicore or someone.  An enquiry there, giving full BIOS details, produced nada by way of response.  Now that's what I call customer service - not.  I have tried various driver sites on the web to no avail for this particular BIOS make and ID.  I did however get a program called awdflash.exe, but no instructions.  Anyone have any idea how to use it?

I have had the case open umpteen times, the latest to install a Zip drive just a fortnight ago, but can't now remember the board manufacturer or ID.  Will try and get time to yank the back off tomorrow.

Thanks.
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harley47Commented:
the command line for awdfash.exe is:

awdflash (new bios file with extention)

Don't flash your bios unless you are real sure you have the right image file!!!!!!!!!!!! if you flash it with the wrong one your computer will not boot.


Bill
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MATTCEICommented:
I think you may be barking up the wrong tree in blaming the BIOS.The failures listed in Bootlog.txt are all normal (see MS Q127970) with the exception of "LoadFailed  = vpd",which sounds like it very well may be related to your error message.Try booting with the 'Step-by-step' option and skip System.ini ; ignore any new errors that may occur - we're just interested in seeing if the original one disappears.

So far the best bet is still a System.ini or registry error,or a corrupted file being called from same.

You could try a Windows overlay,but if it's a 3rd-party driver that won't fix it.

If you still want to try a BIOS update,see:

computertech.server101.com/awdbios.htm

to ID your mainboard.It's manufacturer would be the best place to find an updated BIOS.
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PC-AlexCommented:
I would *NOT* install any Award - BIOS that is not made especially for your Board !!!

I would consult the website of the board's  manufacturer. I had the experience that, even if the BIOS is from Award/AMI or whatever, it is customized from manufacturers. *ONE* wrong BIOS flash and you can either throw away your borad, or you'll have to consult someone who can program EPROMS.
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PolemicAuthor Commented:
mattcei:  Thanks for pointing up that MS KB article - it's reassuring to know that that long list of failures doesn't herald disaster!

I am very wary of a BIOS update, that's why I hoped Award or Unicom would be able to provide one or at least advise.  I certainly won't flash the BIOS unless I am certain I have the right one.

I will try the step-by-step technique but in the meantime I exported then imported the registry as per MS KB Q131431.  I have only restarted the once but no blue screen.  However, starting still takes a very long time and involves a lot of hard drive thrashing, which I believe is a symptom of a registry problem.  How big should the system.dat and user.dat files be?  I mean I know that's a "how long is a piece of string" question and depends on system config and progs loaded.  But the exported copies - system.txt etc - seem very large - 5.5 Mb??
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PolemicAuthor Commented:
An update.  No, the Windows registry import/export did not permanently fix the problem, but it did seem to the once, immediately after, till I shut down and restarted again. So maybe it isn't the BIOS after all, and it is the registry despite Regclean claiming to have fixed it.

mattcei:  FYI the "load failed = vpd" message doesn't seem to be relevant.  vpd is Virtual Printer Driver, whatever that may be, and my printers (laser, fax etc) are all working fine.
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MATTCEICommented:
Sorry for the delay,Polemic.Your question got lost in my dis-organized e-mail.

Looking back over the thread,I see you have an error in Device Manager for 'PCI to USB serial bus controller'.If you're not using USB,try disabling it in BIOS.Then look for 'USB Supplement' in 'Add/Remove Programs',un-install it.Do so even if (in fact,especially if) you don't have USB.
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PolemicAuthor Commented:
Thanks mattcei.  Your suggestions were really helpful and in particular your finding the reassurance that all those load failures I was getting on boot saved me hours, if not days!

Determined to fix it once and for all I did as suggested and disabled the USB in the BIOS, started the machine, installed Nortons and ran a thorough system check which showed up over 40 errors in the registry.

I fixed those, cleaned up shortcuts that were pointing nowhere, gutted the autoexec.bat and config.sys files to the bare essentials, removed a handful of unused DLLs, ran scandisk for the zillionth time, defragged, made the Control Panel change you suggested, and closed down.

I've now restarted several times and the problem is gone.  I was initially feeling very pleased with myself, having fallen 2 weeks behind on a major contract, till I realised that I could not pin down for certain which of the things I did fixed it, or even some combination of them!

In a word, "Doh!"  Sorry, I know that's probably very frustrating but I was driven to desperation by a pressing deadline and an increasingly annoyed client.

You undoubtedly deserve the points for all the help, it's just that I feel dreadful not being able to give you definitive feedback on it!
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MATTCEICommented:
Thank you,Polemic.Don't worry about the 'shotgun' repair - important thing is that it's fixed.
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