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Win32k.sys crashes despite replacement of RAM!

Posted on 2008-06-13
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I am having constant Win32k.sys crashes. I replaced my RAM with brand new, fresh sticks yesterday and yet it just happened again.
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Question by:w3x
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21783718
Where does the RAM plug into?  Perhaps it's a mainboard issue?

That is, of course, assuming you have good reason to believe it was RAM related in the first place.  Perhaps it's a corrupt driver/file.  Have you looked into replacing that file with a slightly older/different verions?
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by:nobus
ID: 21784445
what makes you believe it is the ram?
i suggest to test it with memtest86+ from www.memtest.org.
but it can be caused by many other  things...
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Expert Comment

by:Jonvee
ID: 21784966
Yes, a win32k.sys crash can occur for a number of reasons not least if the win32k.sys has become corrupted.
You could right click 'My Computer'  to access C:\WINDOWS\System32
Then rename the Win32k.sys file to Win32k.old
Close the window, then re-open it, or do a restart.
You should now have a new uncorrupted version of the Win32k.sys file.

It can also be due to your virtual memory file being corrupted.  Take a look at this next link for details on how to 'repair' the virtual memory, with useful links to other sites>
"win32k.sys crashes ":
http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/thread-94921.php
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by:Jonvee
ID: 21784975
If unresolved, there should also be a dump of the state of your system at the time it crashed.
The dumps are normally located in c:\windows\minidump\
It (or they) will contain information about the bugcheck that was generated.
Can you paste the latest dump(s) in the "Attach File" box and we can hopefully spot the culprit.

You may need to disable auto restart:
Right click My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Startup and Recovery Settings and uncheck Automatically Restart.
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Author Comment

by:w3x
ID: 21790695
I suspected it was the RAM because when I searched for info on the problem, that's what people often guessed was the culprit.

I changed win32k.sys to win32k.old but the same thing is happening...

I've zipped the 5 latest minidumps here, as requested: http://www.sendspace.com/file/1pszib

Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21791135
Did you REPLACE the file or just rename it?

As I said, Assuming you were on the right track... don't you think it could then be the mainboard where the RAM sits?
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by:nobus
ID: 21791227
you had it several times while running firefox - can you uninstalml / reinstall it ?
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by:Jonvee
ID: 21791407
Thanks for minidumps, however windbg seems unable to recognise the format.  Still investigating this but if meanwhile you wish to analyse your own dump file, these will help>

"How to read the small memory dump files that Windows creates for debugging":
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263

The !analyze -v command will probably be your most used command.

You can download windbg from this microsoft website.
http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/default.mspx

A good article here>
"Windows system crashes":
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2005/041105-windows-crash.html
Please note the comments on page 2 "Getting the debugger".
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Accepted Solution

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Jonvee earned 250 total points
ID: 21791537
Ok, problem solved, have taken a look at two of your 5 minidumps.  Although not conclusive the result does seem to indicate a RAM problem!

Suggest you remove one of the sticks then retest.  Could be a RAM socket, so you could check a stick in both.

Are you sure your PC is not overheating, or are you overclocking the CPU/RAM?

Incidently, are the motherboard capacitors showing signs of staining or fluid leak?
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Expert Comment

by:Jonvee
ID: 21791627
Another check you could make is to locate the DrWatson log at folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\DrWatson\drwtsn32.log

If you find the size of the DrWatson log is over approx 2MB and the reason for crashing is 'access violation' at different locations, this is also the symptom of suspect RAM.

If still unresolved, this may be of interest>
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
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Author Comment

by:w3x
ID: 21794575
leew: I renamed the file to win32k.old.

Since you guys are still suspecting the RAM or mainboard issues, I will do as recommended and test the slots individually. I have 2 sticks of RAM in there so I will try one at a time in different slots and see if I can make any deductions that way.

As for other suggestions, there is no Documents folder in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users (and I searched for anything cllaed "DrWatson" to no avail). Also, if the RAM testing thing doesn't pan out, then I will try to see if Firefox could be the culprit.

Thanks for the help and I will report back in a few days with my results..
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Author Comment

by:w3x
ID: 21890626
Dropped my Athlon 2500+ FSB back down to 166mhz and haven't had a crash since. Ran fine overclocked all these years, don't know why it's bugging out on me now. Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:Jonvee
ID: 21891653
Does seem a little unusual the fact that you've been overclocking for years.   In the longer term you may want to keep an eye on that RAM.   Good luck, & thanks.
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by:nobus
ID: 21893128
>>  don't know why it's bugging out on me now   <<  because you are running cloqser to it's limits in speed, voltage and temperature
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