• Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 787
  • Last Modified:

win32k.sys error + auto reboot on NT 4.0 server

I'm running a WinNT4.0 SP6 with SBS4.5 server.
After I get the logon screen I receive a blue screen with a win32k.sys related error message. After a few seconds the server reboots. Because it keeps on rebooting I can't have a close look at the error message.
On Microsoft Technet you can find a lot of win32k.sys error message back but always with the same solution: install the latest service pack. How can I do that if the server is in a reboot loop? I've replaced the win32k.sys file but with the same result.
How can I fix this problem?

  • 10
  • 9
1 Solution
Can you start into VGA mode? If you can, then odds are it's video and/or NIC conflicts - possibly a hardware (IRQ and/or I/O address) conflict... Can you remember loading anything prior to this? One culprit is pcAnywhere....

Other possibility is that you've developed a bad sector right in the middle of your swap file area. If/when you get into VGA mode, try opening a command prompt and run "chkdsk <drive>: /R" (replace <drive> with each drive letter in turn) - you will have to restart in order to do this on the system drive...
quintynAuthor Commented:
I can't start into VGA mode. I've installed the harddisk as slave so I suppose it will be possible to run the chkdsk command?
I remember I changed the keyboard settings. According to Microsoft it's a known problem and you should install the latest service pack. Because of my reboot problem that's not possible.
quintynAuthor Commented:
I've ran the chkdsk command on the C:\ partition. It didn't report any errors:

Adjusting instance tags to prevent rollover on file 15683.
CHKDSK is verifying file data...
File data verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying free space...
Free space verification completed.

  2096450 kilobytes total disk space.
  1780070 kilobytes in 19849 user files.
     5640 kilobytes in 1182 indexes.
    33363 kilobytes in use by the system.
     4096 kilobytes occupied by the logfile.
   277377 kilobytes available on disk.

      512 bytes in each allocation unit.
  4192901 total allocation units on disk.
   554755 allocation units available on disk.

The chkdsk command didn't change anything.
I removed some hardware (second nic, isdn card, tape drive, modem, cd-rom) and tried to boot up the server but no luck. After I changed the video card, the server didn't boot up. Is that normal?
Cloud Class® Course: Microsoft Azure 2017

Azure has a changed a lot since it was originally introduce by adding new services and features. Do you know everything you need to about Azure? This course will teach you about the Azure App Service, monitoring and application insights, DevOps, and Team Services.

To answer last question first, yes, that is normal. Video drivers work at a very low level, due to the interaction with the mouse and interrupt handling.

Removal of hardware that was present during the INITIAL build must be done with caution... there may be some dependencies (that would take too long to get into here...) but try removing (one-at-time) anything that was added AFTER initial NT load...

Actually, CHKDSK did report an error, right on the first line - you can get cases of a file's pointers being messed up enough that the end points back to the beginning... and so on, and so on, and so on.....

When you say that you can't start in VGA mode, do you mean that you're able to see the boot menu, select "Start in VGA Mode" choice and it craps out?
quintynAuthor Commented:
Yes, the same thing happens when I select the VGA mode.
Everything goes well until I receive the logon screen. After a few seconds the blue screen appears and the server reboots.
I took a photo of the blue screen so now I can give you the exact error message:
STOP 0x0000001E (0xC0000005,0xA00199CB, 0x00000000, 0x00000014)
KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT HANDLED*** Address a00199cb has base at a0000000 - win32k.sys.
If needed I can sent you the pic of the blue screen.

I've tried to remove only the hardware that was added after the intial build of NT (second nic+cd-rom), but no luck.
Trick is to get system to a point where you can do something aside from ARRGGHHH!!!

Another question -

Have you tried to reboot with no network connectivity and selecting/typing \\servername (use the \\ UNC convention for domain controller, omit for member/standalone server) -

The timing of the blue screen makes me wonder about your network stack having gotten corrupted when you added the drivers for the 2nd NIC (it happens, don't take it personally... we're dealing with a pretty complex piece of software here).

My thought is that if you
a) login using VGA choice (which offloads a lot of stuff) and
b) you're not connected to the network and
c) you explicitly login locally

that you might get lucky... idea would be to remove ALL nics and network drivers, reboot, and see if things still crap out. If not, with system booted up in "normal" configuration (all removed hardware back), THEN sequentially add back the nics... (forcing a reload of the network stack) - after first nic, install 6a... second nic install, reinstall 6a ...

quintynAuthor Commented:
I don't have a local account in this machine. In the domain menu (at the logon screen) I can only choose the domain name and not the computer name of the server. So I suppose a real local logon is not possible? I removed all nics but that didn't change anything.
Now I receive a new message before the blue screen:
PCanywhere has a compatibility problem with your system. AW_Host.sys has been disabled.
If I click OK the server gives me the fu** blue screen and reboots. If I don't click OK I get first the logon screen and the usual (blue screen + reboot).
I installed the second nic 6 months ago and never had a problem with it.

Awwright!!! NOW we're getting somewhere....

Recall that I had asked you about pcAnywhere... Problem with that program is that it REPLACES certain video and network DLL's and redirects loading via the registry. (A competitive product called NetOp runs 2-3 times as fast and does not intrude as much into your system's setup - highly recommended - talk to John Pallaria at CrossTec)  Problem usually occurs after some sort of upgrade or change to your system.

Best solution is a basic NT4 PARALLEL install (say into C:\Winntnew).... (so you don't mess with original).

Look at

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q158/6/36.asp for one approach/cause.

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q195/0/27.ASP is related, and gives more links...

You want to get to a point where you can reboot into your original setup, remove pcAnywhere, continue cleanup and all hardware and/or patch installs, get a stable installation, CREATE YOUR RECOVERY DISK, and then reinstall pcAnywhere. Rule of thumb I use: before making any changes to a sysytem, I uninstall pcAnywhere... and reinstall after taking safeguards. I've gone through your grief about a half-dozen times - the last five because I knew how to fix someone else's mess <sigh>...
quintynAuthor Commented:
Remember it's Microsoft Small Business Server 4.5 we're talking about. So it installs a modified NT4.0 OS with several SBS4.5 elements on top.
Should I install the basic NT4.0 or the SBS4.5?
Hmm... I believe there's no real difference at the level we're talking about - but if you've got the hard drive space, let's be safe (and minimize confusion) and install SBS...
quintynAuthor Commented:
I have already installed SBS on another disk. Can't I use that? On the original harddisk there only about 300Mb left. That's not enough to install SBS.
Set the original harddisk as slave and change the boot.ini file on the current SBS?
Actually, if you can make a copy of the original boot.ini (for safety reasons) on both of the drives and then ADD to the one on C: two more lines i.e normal & VGA mode (basically just a copy of the existing two lines with drive incremented by 1[?] ), pointing to your second install, you should not have to mess around with drive setups much more - that takes time <sigh>.

Idea also would be to add (say) the word TEST on the second set so you keep things straight. What your partition arrangements are would affect which boot.ini lines you copy - probably (I hope) both files would be identical.

Best part about this plan is:

 a) you have fallback in case we've guessed wrong and you have to mess with partition number values to wake up your second install....

b) If/when you get second install working, you can make changes in stages to your original crapped out install (TAKE NOTES!!!) as per the knowledgebase articles...

REMINDER: you have to remove R/O attribute to modify the BOOT.INI contents and/or name, but only the one being used has to have the attribute put back...
quintynAuthor Commented:
so I should edit the boot.ini file of the not working SBS?
hardisk with not working SBS set to master on first IDE controller? hardisk with working SBS set to slave on first IDE controller?

original boot.ini:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT.SBS="BackOffice Small Business Server" /NoSerialMice:COM1
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT.SBS="BackOffice Small Business Server [VGA mode]" /basevideo /sos /NoSerialMice:COM1

modified boot.ini:
just copy the normal & VGA lines and add for example the word TEST to the OS description.
multi and disk remain (0)?
change rdisk to (1)?
partition remains (0)?

Stef: First off, bookmark and/or print following explanations - easiest to read:


To answer your questions:
1) Try to get to point where when (not if - let's be optimistic!) you get bad SBS up and running, you don't have to change jumpers etc. afterwards (You want to end up with the now-bad SBS C: as first drive...) Depending on whether your C: drives are NTFS or FAT, you may have to shuffle drives to be able to edit the boot.ini files
2) the multi(n) stays the same IF it's master/slave on the same controller as you indicate. (Otherwise, you change multi(0) to multi(1) in the second set of lines...)
3) If you are working with one controller only, you change rdisk(0) to rdisk(1) to access second SBS.
4) Partition USUALLY won't change, unless you've got diagnostic partitions lurking about....

Here's the key tip: DON'T run Disk Manager while you're doing these diagnostics - for reasons I don't completely understand, NT may end up reordering the partition sequence, giving you the dreaded "Not found..." message on boot up (which usually requires messing with the BOOT.INI partition value). Have personally seen cases where (despite what a utility like PartitionMagic says) NT says first partition on a drive is second, etc.

quintynAuthor Commented:
I will have a look at the URL links you gave me. before I start I will also make an image of the harddisk with the bad SBS. the drives are all NTFS (4 partitions of 2.1Gb).
I'll be using the master/slave config + first IDE controller.
it will take me some time to get this thing working
That's OK - regardless of pressure, you sometimes have to REALLY slow down to make sure it gets done right the first time... rebuild usually takes much longer... Have fun (!?)...
Thanks for the points - what was the final outcome? (if only to help others...)
quintynAuthor Commented:
I never got it working again. the disk is not formatted yet, so if I find some time I'll get back to it.
quintynAuthor Commented:
I never got it working again. the disk is not formatted yet, so if I find some time I'll get back to it.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

Join & Write a Comment

Featured Post

Cloud Class® Course: Python 3 Fundamentals

This course will teach participants about installing and configuring Python, syntax, importing, statements, types, strings, booleans, files, lists, tuples, comprehensions, functions, and classes.

  • 10
  • 9
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now