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BSOD just won't die after reinstall. WinXP

Every BSOD error is different.  One of them that I still have written down is:

Machine_Check_Exception

STOP:  0x0000009C (0x8054D370;0xC4104000;0x00000136

Now don't let this fool you, though, because this is one of about seven different STOP messages that come up with the thing.  I had it in for viruses, but the machine was so bad that I had no choice but to just reinstall everything, and then go in manually and kill any virus leftovers.  I'm positive I haven't missed anything.

Her AntiVirus was expired, so I put AVG on it for her.  When the BSODs kept coming, I took it off and told her to get something else for AV protection.  I just got a call today that it is still happening.  (I had thought taking AVG off had fixed it.)  It's been a couple weeks and I dont' have all of the other error messages written down any more.  After about a week or so I tend to shred stuff.

The computer is an E-Machine, which in my opinion isn't working any better for them now than it was when they brought it in.  :-(

I remember that one other error message was IRQ_Not_Less_OR_Equal.  I updated to SP2, put IE7 on it, updated all available service packs, got all the updated drivers from Gateway, checked for leftover virus bits & pieces, checked the fans, etc.  I am totally at a loss right now.  None of these error messages were coming up before I had it in.  (The original symptoms were shutting off all the time.)

(I have no idea how to rank this question.  I'm going to go 350.  If it's high enough, somone please tell me, as I'm still learning etiquette around here.)
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Yarrielle
Asked:
Yarrielle
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11 Solutions
 
CallandorCommented:
> IRQ_Not_Less_OR_Equal

This is typically a symptom of bad RAM or a corrupt system driver.  If you did a fresh OS install and it is still happening, I would say it's the RAM - replace the modules with ones that you know work.
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David-HowardCommented:
Hello Yarrielle,
Callandor's post is where you should start I think. I'm only posting this in regards to your point value statement. 350 for this type of issue is normal. However, if you and Callandor end up spending days on this, you might want to bump up the points a bit. Good luck. David
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YarrielleAuthor Commented:
First, thanks David for your points affirmation.  I'm still iffy on that whole part of it, and still hoping that the first time I delegated points I did it fairly.  

Collandor, that means that I'll have to get the computer back in here.  I'm not sure if I have RAM that will work in it though.  Is there some sort of RAM tester that I can buy?  I've been looking for one for a while but it seems like it doesn't exist.  I just want to be able to pop the RAM in and have it tell me if it's good or not.

In the mean time, I have a POST card.  I'm still not all that good with it, but I'll run that and see if it shows any errors.  I'll also see if I can get RAM to test in there.
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CallandorCommented:
Hardware RAM testers are very expensive and not worth it, considering how cheap it is to have a few spares for testing.  You can try the memory diagnostic program at www.memtest.org, but it is not guaranteed to detect all bad RAM; however, if it fails a test, then the RAM is definitely bad.
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jamietonerCommented:
The machine_check_exception is definetly hardware related(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/329284) if you dont have known good ram to test does the system have more than 1 memory module? also you could use Memtest(www.memtest86.com) to test the ram.
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davidis99Commented:
I concur that testing the RAM is a good place to start;  aside from Memtest, Microsoft actually came out with a very good memory test diagnostic a few years ago that I've found does a very good job, e.g. much better than the ones built into BIOSes wheen they're there, and much better than the one supplied by Dell on their Dimensions diags disk a few years ago.

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Memory-Tweak/Microsoft-Windows-Memory-Diagnostic.shtml
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YarrielleAuthor Commented:
Looks like I can't do any more until I get it back in here.  When it arrives, I'll try all of the above and then post back.
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YarrielleAuthor Commented:
Oh, I do not like the looks of this.  I got the computer back in today.  While she was here, she told me that not only has she been getting those BSOD errors, but that also she couldn't install Norton.  All she wants from me is to fix the BSOD and install Norton for her.

Sure, okay, no problem.

So I turn the thing on and nothing.  The fan is spinning, but there are no BIOS beeps, no HD cranking; nothing.  So I grabbed another HD off the shelf and hooked it up.  Same result.

I stuck my POST card in there, and this is where I get stuck once again, because as I had mentioned before I'm not so good with POST code error messages.  I can never seem to find the correct one on an online search, and the book that came with the thing is translated from Japanese and very hard to decipher.  Plus half of the codes are missing.  

The POST card first displays F9 for a few seconds.  Then it switches to 00 for ever, until it finally shuts itself down.  The fan IS running.  (WEll, it had been shutting itself down.  This time it's just still stuck on 00 for the entire duration of my typing out this post.  I'm about to hard-kill it.)

There are six LEDs on the top row of the POST card.  The first two are dark, the next two are lit, the rest of them are dark.  So we have Dark, dark, light, light, dark, dark.

The bottom row LEDs are like this:  Dark, Dark, Light.

Nothing shows on any monitor I hook it to.  Still no BIOS beeps.  Inside the computer looks fine.  I know it was working yesterday, because today she told me that yesterday she was getting some error every time she tried to install Norton.

I have a bad feeling that this is going to be one of those cases where, even though she DID have viruses and I DID remove them effectively, I'm still going to have to give her $ back because her MOBO just happened to die at or around the same time.

Please tell me I'm wrong.  I'm going to up the points now, I think.  This is beyone a BSOD error now.

Thanks!
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YarrielleAuthor Commented:
UPDATE:  The computer is now turning itself on all by itself.  Then it shuts off all by itself too.  Hooookay!  Either this is one of those weird BIOS viruses or the darn thing got surged.  

I'm still going to wait for input, though, because I don't know as much about hardware as you obviously do.  Maybe there's something weird that I missed.
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jamietonerCommented:
i would say your looking at a bad power supply and/or motherboard. First strip it down to only the components required to post( power cpu, memory and video) remove all pci cards, cdroms, hdds, floppy  drive. see if anything changes. if not remove the video card(if its integrated skip to next step), if still no change remove the ram, if there is still no changes reseat the cpu it could have been knocked loose in transport (you may need to reapply thermal grease). If there are still no changes, i would swap out the power supply, if that doesnt fix it the motherboard next. Its possible its the cpu but more likely the psu or mobo.
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YarrielleAuthor Commented:
I should have mentioned up before that I would be doing some simple tests like that, including the paperclip test.  I would have stripped it down to nothing, but I didn't get that far.  I just finished a few minutes ago...

First I pulled all drives, but left extra things like the USBs and all that.  Same thing.  Then I pulled the power, did the paperclip test, and found that the PSU will come on when jumped.  Just in case, I switched power connectors to the HD but didn't plug the IDE back in.  Still no cranking.  So I pulled the power lines to the MOBO and attempted to jump it directly.  Nothing happened then either.  Put the plugs back in, pressed the button, and made sure (again) that BOTH fans were spinning.  They were.  Still no change, though, so I shut it off one more time and pulled the USBs.  Pressed the power button.  Nothing.  No fan spin; no response at all.

Plugged the USBs back in, still nothing.  I'm in the process now of hooking everything back up in the hopes that I can get the fans to spin again.

Question:  Can it be the PSU even though it passes the paperclip test?  I can hook another up to it, but I was always of the belief that if they passed the paperclip, they were fine.  Am I wrong?

Any other suggestions, 'cause I think this machine is DONE.  (To this day I've never had anyone buy a new MOBO...They always choose to get a new comp and have their files transfered because it's cheaper in the long run.)
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jamietonerCommented:
Yes it can still be the psu, the paper clip test will only show you if the psu is completely dead, it wont show if the psu is giving inadaquate power(due to some failure), or if one of the voltage rails is inconsistant or not working. Try the steps in order from my last post i have found that to be the best way of troubleshooting no post situation, Thge steps you did were more along the lines of a no boot troubleshooting. Also just to add to those steps when you try and power it on during those steps all you want plugged in is the power, remove devices like the mouse, keyboard, monitor and usb devices.
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CallandorCommented:
Keep spares around if you're going to troubleshoot hardware - it takes a lot less time to completely replace a card, a module, a power supply, or even a motherboard than it takes to try to figure out was is wrong.
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cpc2004Commented:
Hi,

STOP:  0x0000009C (0x8054D370;0xC4104000;0x00000136)
 
The last bugcheck parameter 136 stands for L2 cache memory. Probably the CPU is bad. Refer the following case
http://www.windowsbbs.com/showthread.php?t=59137

Change the CPU may fix the problem.

cpc2004
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manicsquirrelCommented:
Please review http://www.badcaps.net and see if your motherboard has any bad capacitors.
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YarrielleAuthor Commented:
UPDATE:

Just letting you all know that I haven't abandoned this post.  I'm still in the process of trying everything listed here, and I've reread these responses several times.  I don't normally do hardware, and this is exactly why.  There are too many unknowns.  But I have plenty of other computers in here that I *can* fix without much effort, and I needed to focus on those yesterday.  Today I'll (mostly) be back on this one.  If anyone has any more suggestions while I'm tearing the thing apart again, I'll keep checking this.  In the mean time, I'm going to go proceed with the dissection.  
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YarrielleAuthor Commented:
Well, I followed any ordered steps in here in order.  I followed all links given.  I followed or at least checked out any advice given.  No go.  No BIOS beeps; nothing.

I even found an old E-machine case and tried her cpu in it.  Tried its cpu in hers.  No go.  After all of this, I'm thinking that the CPU and the MOBO are fried.  I never got any better results than the fans spinning.  Dead?
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jamietonerCommented:
Sounds like there was probably a power issue that took out multiple components. So yes with what has been done i would call the system dead.
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