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Windows XP Random Crashing

Posted on 2004-10-07
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Last Modified: 2008-01-16
I'm having some problems with my PC and Windows XP Professional. I first noticed a problem when Windows would reboot at random, which is when I unchecked the 'Automatically Restart' option in my system settings. The first BSOD message I saw was IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL, and after searching through a few forums and a few further tests I figured it was my RAM. Replaced it with 512MB Kingston PC3200 ValueRAM, but was still getting BSOD's. This time I was receiving PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA messages and sometimes the same message that I was receiving earlier. Tested my new RAM and once again there were many errors being reported, so I'm a little puzzled as to what could be wrong. I've run full system virus scans and searched for spyware and everything appears to be clean, although the full system scan crashes at random points. Most RAR/ZIP archives that I download won't extract due to CRC errors and on the rare occasion that Windows SP2 extracts without errors I am given mismatch errors while installing. I'm desperate for some guidance as to what I should do next, my current idea is to replace my motherboard since I've already replaced my RAM.

System Specs:
ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe
AMD Athlon XP 3200+
CoolerMaster Aero H/S + Fan
512MB PC3200 Kingston ValueRAM
128MB ASUS ATI Radeon 9600SE
160GB Seagate IDE
160GB Seagate IDE
200GB Seagate SATA
LG 52x32x52
Lite-On 401@811s
SB Live! Value
450W MGE P/S
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Question by:phunkster81
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12 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:phunkster81
ID: 12248557
Was also getting following errors before I formatted:

0x0000044
0x0000080
c000021a

Forgot to write down any further information
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Expert Comment

by:fallenknight308
ID: 12250687
I would think that a software issue. But you say you have reformatted?

http://www.mvps.org/marksxp/WindowsXP/bsod.php
http://kadaitcha.cx/stop_err.html
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/Windows/XP/all/reskit/en-us/Default.asp?url=/resources/documentation/Windows/XP/all/reskit/en-us/prmd_stp_mbps.asp

Don't go and replace your motherboard untill your sure thats it.
SP2? is it a "clean install" of SP2?
By clean I mean a slipstreamed image, brand new install.
SP2 has some ups and downs and a clean install is best.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;ln;xpsp2swhw
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Expert Comment

by:Kenneniah
ID: 12252809
First question, is your 512MB on one stick, or 2. If 2, is your system running them in dual channel mode? If so, not all memory is good at running dual channel.

I'd also check your RAM timings in BIOS. The A7N8X boards have occassionally have been known to incorrectly set the timings (such as CAS etc.) for some kinds of memory.

Also, what BIOS revision is your motherboard using? Version 1008 was supposed to fix some compatability issues with different types of memory.
http://www.asus.com/support/download/item.aspx?ModelName=A7N8X-E%20Deluxe&Type=Latest
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Author Comment

by:phunkster81
ID: 12255171
Thanks for the advice, however my M/B BIOS is currently 1012, RAM is one 512MB stick so it's only running in single channel mode. Timings in BIOS are 3-3-3-8. As far as SP2 goes, I've downloaded the large .exe file around 4 times and tried updating a clean install of Windows XP and even Windows XP SP1 but nothing seems to work. This is why I'm led to believe that it's not a software issue, since I've formatted and reinstalled Windows at least 5 times in the last three days.
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Author Comment

by:phunkster81
ID: 12255197
BTW it's not just SP2 that's giving me problems, Internet Explorer crashes frequently, I don't even bother gaming anymore as they generally die within 5 minutes (tried a different card, still same problem). My PC is generally unstable and has been for the past few weeks, however it's been getting exponentially worse (this is the 4th time I'm trying to post this message before IE crashes).
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Expert Comment

by:Kenneniah
ID: 12256976
Which program were you using to test memory with?
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Author Comment

by:phunkster81
ID: 12258191
memtest86+
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Expert Comment

by:Kenneniah
ID: 12260728
Good, that tells us the memory error aren't a software issue, or a OS or drivers issue since memtest86 runs from a boot floppy.

Your problem is still most likely the RAM, but it is possibly the motherboard.
You said you replaced the RAM already, however you might try some better quality memory. Some motherboards and chipsets can be picky about memory even when not in dual channel. Were you using Kingston ValueRAM before?
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Author Comment

by:phunkster81
ID: 12260899
I was using hyundai before, but it was running fine for a few months...I've disconnected the SATA hard drive and it appears to be running a little better, less time between BSOD's and IE hasn't crashed either...now i'm really puzzled...
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Accepted Solution

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Kenneniah earned 125 total points
ID: 12262203
Finding the answers to these kinds of problems is always a pain, since it can possibly be so many different things. Memory could be bad or be slightly incompatible with the motherboard, cpu my be a little flakey corrupting data, motherboard itself might be having problems, heck even a flaw in the power supply can cause strange problems. The fact that you get errors in memtest leads me to believe if you can get those errors cleared up, your Windows problems will go away as well.

One thing you might try is disabling anything you aren't using in BIOS. If not using serial ports disable those, same with firewire, the 2nd network card. In effect clear up as many IRQs etc. that you can. IRQ and memory address problems are less likely with XP and newer systems, but still not unheard of.

If nothing works, my best advice is to try replacing one thing at a time. Memory again if you can, if you can get your hands on another CPU give it a try. If you have another power suppy give it a shot. Last would be motherboard since it's the most painful to swap.
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Author Comment

by:phunkster81
ID: 12269269
Thanks Kenneniah, I swapped the CPU and everything works fine, now I just have to see if I can get mine swapped since it's still under warranty...I'm just glad the problem has finally been identified...
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Expert Comment

by:Kenneniah
ID: 12284702
Glad the problem is figured out!
Hopefully getting CPU replaced isn't too much trouble. If it's a retail boxed version, it is usually very easy to get replaced directly from AMD. Good luck!
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