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Mysterious BSOD

Posted on 2009-05-17
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have an 8 month old Dell XPS computer that has given me 2 blue screens of death in the past 2 days without apparent cause.  I have added no hardware at all since I bought the computer.  No new s/w has been installed in a while. Attached is a digital shot of the BSOD.

What is causing this and what can I do to stop it?

Specs:
Windows XP, SP3, current on patches.
DELL XPS 630i, 6MB, 3.16 GHZ, 1,333 FSB, INTEL CORE 2 E8500, DUAL CORE 6MB CACHE;
4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at RAM; 800MHz - 4 DIMMs memory
       
nVidia GeForce 9800 GT 512MB video card;      Graphics card; Vista 89XGQ-HV9YP
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio sound card      

Hitachi HDS721075KLA330, 6750GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0 Gb/s, 16MB Cache
Hitachi HDP725050GLA500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0 Gb/s, 16MB Cache

PLDS BD-RE DH-4B1S Blu-Ray DVD burner (Philips & LiteOn Digital Solutions. SATA connection, 40x CD)

Logitech Programmable multimedia keyboard,
22 inch SP2208WFP Wide Flat Panel monitor with Webcam and Mic;

2 physical drives partitioned as follows:
Drive 0 partitioned into C (50GB), V (690)
Drive 1 partitioned into D (200GB), E (100GB), F (100GB), M (80GB)
BSOD.Jpg
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Question by:WSC
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79 Comments
 
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by:skywalker39
ID: 24407475
Hi WSC,

I would test your RAM to make sure that it's not bad, going bad or faulty. Have you installed any new drivers? If so remove them which could be faulty drivers. What happens if you go into Safe Mode, same results?
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by:WSC
ID: 24407536
I have not installed anything new, drivers or anything else.  The only updates I have made were MicroSoft security patches.  I am not h/w skilled so, testing my RAM would not be free.  What does the BSOD message tell you about potential causes?  Can you interpret it for me?

Since the process is unpredictable and only happened twice, a boot to safe mode wouldn't tell me anything.  I don't know how to cause it.
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by:warsawtech
ID: 24407547
On a Dell when it boots up at the Dell screen press F12 for Boot menu...then Select F5 for diagnostics which will run through memory testing. When I've seen this before......has been video driver issues on Dell's
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NaturaTek earned 125 total points
ID: 24407562
It's obvious, look at the bluescreen:  RtkHDaud.sys is causing the issue.
First, uninstall  the existing sound drivers. Reboot a couple of times, issue gone? If so, continue on and download the latest drivers from
http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=24&PFid=24&Level=4&Conn=3&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

Should be solved, let us know.
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by:skywalker39
ID: 24407571
I see, I thought the BSOD happens all the time, that's why I thought trying going into Safe Mode. Here's a link that explains XP's BSoD codes and there meanings.
http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/Windows-XP-Blue-Screen-Death-STOP-Codes-t43519.html
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24407580
By the way, if you need help selecting the driver, its the 3rd one down.
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by:skywalker39
ID: 24407593
Realtek Audio Driver? Makes scenes possibly corrupt driver.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24407629
WSC, the stop error ends in D1, which is caused by a driver. Before scanning memory or anything else, simply uninstall your existing sound drivers. And reinstall them from the link I gave you. Probably the driver has become corrupt or believe it or not, a faulty automatic windows update took place and maybe Microsoft gave you a crap driver. I see this happen a lot when it detects some basic realtek as Sigmatel HD codec.
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by:WSC
ID: 24407771
Great.  thanks for all the good input.  It's been a nightmare trying to get this 28.5MB driver downloaded.  I've tried two browers (I use FireFox).  I have a very high speed connection and it's estimating 5 hours.  I had to eventually resort to IE to get that far.  FireFox just dumps me back on the homepage of RealTek. I could be here for a while.  I even tried to alternate method with the userid:password, but FF blocked the port (80).  The site must be having trouble.   Wait. I've just gotten FF to download and it indicates 3 hours and 11 minutes.  Great.....  Is there something tricky about this ftp site???   I can't remember the last time I had to wait longer than 2 minutes for any download.

Can you please walk me thru how to uninstall the right driver?  I take it that I uninstall, boot and reinstall (execute the file, if it ever downloads), this will remove the problem?  Correct?  

IE at 3%, FF at 1%.   Ok.  IE reports a time out error.  It stopped altogether.  Where else can I get this file?   I just checked my download speed: clocks in at 15,688 kbps.  It's not me...
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by:WSC
ID: 24407850
Oh.  I don't have my updates on auto.  I screen the patches (Window Secrets newsletter recommendations).  I did install the malicious s/w removal tool for May.  that was the only update I did this month.  The trouble did start right after that.  Could this be the culprit?

Can you all get to this RealTek file?
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by:WSC
ID: 24408472
I downloaded both files - at last.  Zip and exe.  Can you all clarify those steps, please?  How to uninstall and install.

Thanks.

WSC

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by:skywalker39
ID: 24408547
If you go to control panel, then add or remove programs, do you see a driver installed called Realtek High Definition Audio Driver? If so, click on it and remove it. Once you have removed it. If you system needs to reboot make sure you reboot. Once your system reboots double click on the .exe file, it should install the audio driver for your system. Once installed if your system needs to reboot, reboot. Once rebooted your system should now have sound.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24408760
Zip files is compressed and the .exe file is executable, meaning self installing. Forget the zip, its only compressed for shorter download. Go start, control panel, add/remove programs, look for 'realtek' something audio drivers. Uninstall it. If you cannot find it, you can try simply running the EXE install file, it more than likely will uninstall it for you and reinstall the new drivers.

Or you can click start, run, type in: devmgmt.msc
hit enter.
Scroll down till you see the category sound, video and game controllers' category
Double click on it to expand.
You'll see a list of codes, drivers..find one that says Realtek High Definition Audio
Right click on it and install.

Restart, run the exe file and let it do the rest. Restart again once it alerts you.

If the above sounds complicated, lets do it simple way first. Simply run the exe file and let it install, reboot when it asks you.

Best wishes.
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by:nobus
ID: 24409537
i would start by testing the ram, as suggested in the first post, use memtest86+ from www.memtest.org.
leave it running for 3 full passes - it should report NO errors
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by:WSC
ID: 24411243

I'm at work, so I can't check my home PC now, but I have a couple of follow up questions. I will try your great suggestions when I get home:
1.  NaturaTek: you mean to "uninstall" it this way, via Device Manager, correct?  (If I can't find it in Add/Remove prgms.)  You said "install", but I suspect that's a typo.
2. NoBus: Can you tell me how to use the "memtest86+-2.11.iso":
(a) I create a boot CD from the ISO provided;
(b) boot to the CD it creates;
(c) and there will be what options to select?  
I can't find NO "how to use" instructions on the site.  All the options under the header "About the original Memtest86 (Unchanged) "default to some "cPanel Apache web page" with no information about the Memtest product at all.  "On-line commands" refuses to display as well.
Or, does the CD automatically do what it needs to perform?  (Probably not since I have autoplay disabled.)  
3.  What error or confirmation messages am I looking for from the Memtest?
Thanks.
 
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24411784
WSC

Before spending hours in scanning memory or anything else, the BSOD clearly shows the problem. Start there before going advanced.

Yes, I meant choose uninstall. But to keep things simple, just turn on your computer if it goes into windows, simply run the .exe file, let it do the rest.

Keep it simple steps.

If after the new driver installed you experience blue screens afterwards, then we can go next steps. I'm confident your issue is with the RealTek driver, the bsod clearly show its a driver and even names the offending driver.




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by:WSC
ID: 24411861
NaturaTek:
Great.  Just for final clarification:
1.  So skip the uninstall step, just overinstall by executing the file that I (finally) downloaded from RealTek?
2. Thanks for the advice.  I did some web research and memtest can take some 20 hours to complete its testing.  Is that true?  20 hours?  Wow.  Why so long?
3. Elsewhere, somone suggested that I drop back the hardware acceleration for my RealTek audio device.  Would that be a good next step if this fails?  As you noted the BSOD clearly points to the offending driver.
4. Did M/S corrupt my driver?  
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24412076
wsc

1= I only say to skip the uninstall if manual uninstall is too much and you get lost. Running the exe file will more likely uninstall the previous version automatically and install new drivers.

2= Yes,memtest can be lengthy. And this if doesnt freeze along the way or someone accidentally shut down the pc. And in my opinion the best way to run memtest is to take out your memory and run the test one stick at a time. (assuming the machine has more than one). And personally, I simply pop in a new stick of memory if I ever think its a ram problem from my years of experience. 4hours plus running memtest compared to a new 1gb of ram costing 15$

3=Dropping acceleration. I wouldnt mess with this unless it's dragging performance on your system. However dropping the setting down if any within the realtek device/software, I would do one notch to see if it remedies anything.

4=Hard to say. MS does have a driver that it releases automatically detecting realtek as a sigmatel hd audio which doesnt work correctly. I usually get drivers for equipment directly from the manufacturers site.

Update drivers for device, don't worry about scanning memory at this point. Once you do the above, come back and post your results. If you do have problems, we'll take more steps.
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by:nobus
ID: 24412667
when you boot from the cd, it starts running.
if i have problems with a PC, i ALWAYS start testing Ram and Disk, to be sure about the basics, and to avoid followowing wrong troubleshooting paths.
also, for creating the Cd, i would use another PC.
if you like, you can also download the ubcd, it contains all the tests you need :
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24412931
nobus
Did you read the BSOD? It clearly tells you it's a driver issue and even names the driver file RtkHDaud.sys
Researching the event is a problem with some realtek users

How can you recommend a end user to waste 4hours plus in scanning memory, burning cd, etc..when the simplest solution is to be done first???

Follow the phrase instructors have used in their life KISS keep it simple stupid. There are basic steps to follow. Yes one can scan 4 hours plus memory, then do the audio driver, but why? Did the BSOD say anything regarding memory? It clearly states a driver issue. I've diagnosed and remedied tons of BSOD, not regarding anything to do with ram.

It may even be a certain part of ram corrupted unable to be addressed, and if the simplest solution does not work (reinstalling audio driver), then perhaps other measures are taken, including your memtest, rolling back to a previous known working driver, incompatible software somewhere, etc. Even with memtest, there is a proper tech advised way of doing it. He has 4gb in individual dimms. I would remove them and scan one by one, this is the most tried best quick method. Instead of scanning all and worrying about lockups and a normal user deciphering exactly which one of the 4 sticks are bad.

wsc, update the driver first, clear and simple first step. If issue persist, we'll go on to other steps.




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by:nobus
ID: 24413645
all what you say is true- but what will you say if turns out to be bad RAM ?
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by:nobus
ID: 24413664
and i have posted clearly  "i ALWAYS start testing Ram and Disk, to be sure about the basics, and to avoid followowing wrong troubleshooting paths."

but nobody is pushed to follow it, everybody is free.
Also, i do NOT comment on what other suggest, since it only makes the thread difficult to follow, and disturbs the asker. i just let him choose the path he likes
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24414297
If it turns out to be bad ram, then it's bad ram. What is more Logical and simplistic? A client brings a computer to your store, and you know its history. Brand New dell xps, 6months old, no problems only a few BSOD's lately. The BSOD CLEARLY SHOWS a IRQ Driver error ending in D1 which signifies a driver error, it even tells you the driver name RTKHDAUD.SYS.
You mean to tell me you are going to scan for ram first, which can take up to a day?? Instead of updating the Realtek driver which is 1 minute to download, 1minute to install and reboot. If the problem PERSISTS, then you go on to more troubleshooting steps, including a memtest. Now if the ram is bad after 4+hours of scanning, wouldn't you be glad you followed authentic steps to troubleshoot, and did the 2minutes first? Or you rather spend 4+ hours, and realized it was a 2minute fix?
 
And honestly if I feel something is bad ram, I pop in new ram and test, if the symptoms of whatever is memory related goes away, I'll leave the ram in. Ram is abundant and very very cheap. Of course not everyone cant afford low priced ram to have hanging around and its the time consuming steps they have to take to run a memory scan tool. In the end, if it is ram, they have to purchase it. In wsc case, his laptop is a few months old, and I'm sure he's under warranty. He'll get it for free, but his time will be doubled. Even if he runs memtest for 4 hours, the Dell tech agent will make you run their built in dell diagnostics which is another hour or more before even sending new ram.  

If you have 4gb of ram, and you have them installed as 1gb ram. How would u scan nobus? One at a time, or run memtest with all of them in there, how would u know which module is bad? There even has been bad memory modules that even memtest cannot detect, won't you agree?
Even with the Memory diagnostic tool from Microsoft http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp
They recommend taking all ram out and scan one at a time. Even mentioning it take a day to scan. Of course there are diff levels of scan in memtest and others which can multiply scan times.

Not arguing anything, its simplicity steps to take. He got a error on a driver, download, reinstall..he should be fine. 5 minute fix. Problem persists? We'll go on to other steps.
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by:nobus
ID: 24418926
if you want to address my troubleshooting techniques, i would suggest you start another question - it is NOT the topic of this one.
i will only say my procedure is caused by 30 years experience, and many times looking in the wrong area...
let's leave it at that
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24420544
Correct, let's stay on topic. Next time READ the BSOD error contents before you suggest a day in memtest scanning to a end user when the BSOD contents are not related to memory and specificly point to a audio driver.  
-end.
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by:nobus
ID: 24420672
you don't have to teach me how to do it - i have enough knowledge, and i certainly don't tell you how to do it.
leave everybody it's own ideas, and never forget there are more ways to do something.
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24420987
NaturaTek and nobus:
Thanks for all the good advice and spirited discussion above.  I learned a lot from you both.  I appreciate your styles and experience, and this is what I look for when I turn to the Experts Exchange, as I have for more than 100 questions over the past decade.   (Wow.)
 
I installed the new RealTek drivers without incident.  Since the BSOD only happened twice over the past couple of days, I guess well just have to wait and see if it recurs.  I dont know how to test it on-demand, so keep your fingers crossed.
 
BTW: I pipe my music collection through a USB audio-digital converter, so I really dont use my sound card much, at least not directly.  Im not sure if this is a factor or not.
 
Stay tuned.
 
And thanks again.
 
WSC
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24421045
If you do crash again, make a note exactly what was being done on the computer when you crashed (game, recording, music playing, etc) and the time.
We can look at logs at that time frame.

Take care.
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by:nobus
ID: 24422660
Thanks for your feedback - and i hope the pc is ok  ! just waiting a bit...
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by:WSC
ID: 24457488
Sadly, the BSOD has returned last evening, although this one is different.  

My computer did fine for several days.  I had the normal programs running I usually do: Hauppauge WinTV, CoolEdit2000 (recording music), and Winamp. Its typical for me to have these all running together and theyve done so without issue since I bought the PC. (I used Trend Micro for security, etc.  These are also running.)

My daughter got onto Firefox (latest version) to play on Webkinz, an animated kid friendly play site (http://mci2.webkinz.com//loader4.php?go=loadReturnUser&aol=0&fs=0). I was in the other room when my music suddenly ceased and I heard a cry, Hey dad&.    She got the BSOD.  It's only happened once.

1.      What does the hexadecimal tell us?

2.      I dont see any indications of driver issues.

Thanks guys.

WSC

BSOD-3129.JPG
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by:nobus
ID: 24457514
can you post the minidump?  from windows\minidumps
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by:WSC
ID: 24457707
Nobus,

Sorry.  It's completely empty.  I checked the event logs and nothing shows there either.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24457757
0x0000000A: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
Typically due to a bad driver, or faulty or incompatible hardware or software.  
Technically, this error condition means that a kernel-mode process or driver tried to access a memory location to which it did not have permission, or at a kernel Interrupt ReQuest Level (IRQL) that was too high. (A kernel-mode process can access only other processes that have an IRQL lower than, or equal to, its own.)
Stop 0x0000000A or IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL:
The Stop 0xA message indicates that a kernel-mode process or driver attempted to access a memory location to which it did not have permission, or at a kernel interrupt request level (IRQL) that was too high. A kernel-mode process can access only other processes that have an IRQL lower than, or equal to, its own. This Stop message is typically due to faulty or incompatible hardware or software.

Possible Resolutions:

A Stop 0xA message might occur after installing a faulty device driver, system service, or firmware. If a Stop message lists a driver by name, disable, remove, or roll back the driver to correct the problem. If disabling or removing drivers resolves the issues, contact the manufacturer about a possible update. Using updated software is especially important for multimedia applications, antivirus scanners, and CD mastering tools.
 
A Stop 0xA message might also be due to failing or defective hardware. If a Stop message points to a category of devices (video or disk adapters, for example), try removing or replacing the hardware to determine if it is causing the problem.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q314063
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by:WSC
ID: 24457838
What's the Windows Error Reporting tool? How do we drill down to the exact cause?  Is it possible that it's software?  (I guess so since a driver is s/w.)  The list on the M/S page you linked seems almost universal and protracted: test everything.

Really, the only change I made when all of this started was to load the latest security patches and the only one I took was the malicious removal tool.  
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24457842
I would search for *.dmp on your pc, post the recent one here if found

Other steps to take, latest directx to be installed http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/directx/aa937788.aspx

Quick question to ask again, are you running windows XP or Vista? Only ask because in your original post you have a Nvidia cards listed, and right after that I see 'vista' with what looks to me as the beginning of a Vista product key.

latest version of graphic card driver http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_185.85_whql.html
install latest version of chipset drivers

A last step, I would go directly on dell's website and look for the original stock driver or one that is a few versions before the current one. Just to rule out any new version has any incompatibility with anything else.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24457849
Try to simulate, go on webkinz yourself, play some snoopy flies across america and see if you get BSOD if so, look immediately for *.dmp and post here.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24457850
give me the exact model of your xps system.
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by:WSC
ID: 24457896
I'm running XP SP3.  I did get Vista, but paid to downgrade (have XP installed instead).  

I have a DELL XPS 630i, 6MB, 3.16 GHZ, 1,333 FSB, INTEL CORE 2 E8500, DUAL CORE 6MB CACHE; 4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at RAM;800MHz - 4 DIMMs memory.

NaturaTek:
You wrote, "A last step, I would go directly on dell's website and look for the original stock driver or one that is a few versions before the current one. Just to rule out any new version has any incompatibility with anything else."  

I haven't updated any drivers except the sound one you all recommended, so there's nothing to really roll back to.  What's a "stock driver?"  

Is there a downside to upgrading these other drivers?  I don't want to create additional conflicts if new drivers are all that problematic.

No dump files that correspond to the time of the BSOD.

What's the Windows Error Reporting tool?

I'll try some experimentation later.


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by:nobus
ID: 24458175
set your system to make dumps in device manager>advanced tab restart settings
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by:WSC
ID: 24458309
It's already set to write debugging information to "Small memory dump (64 kb)" into the Minidump folder.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24458342
Here are you dell drivers
http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/driverslist.aspx?os=WW1&osl=EN&catid=-1&impid=-1&servicetag=&SystemID=XPS_630I&hidos=WLH&hidlang=en&TabIndex=
There is a Bios update as of march 2009, took a look at the previous bios'es some has enhancement /fixes. The most current one will have the fixes/enhancements of previous bios.

On audio, theres the realtek driver. When I say 'stock', I'm saying in a sense the 'original' driver it came with. There are times newer drivers don't resolve an issue or incompatible with something else.

Double check your system is setup for dumps, 99% it already is. But dumps don't necessarily save in windows/minidump, there are times it saves in temp directory before it gets a chance to save in minidump, thats why I said search your pc for *.dmp immediately afterwards. Use the search tool from windows xp, search 'all files and folders' , Put in *.dmp in the search box, click on advanced options and check the boxes for 'search system folders' 'search hidden files/folders' 'search subfolders'..if you find one, with a recent date 5/2009, post it here.

Checking if you are setup for saving dumps:

To resolve system crashes through the inspection of memory dumps, set your servers and PCs to automatically save them with these steps:

   1. Right-click on My Computer
   2. Select Properties
   3. Select Advanced
   4. In the Start up and Recovery section, select Settings; this displays the Startup and Recovery dialog box
   5. In the Write debugging information section, select kernel memory dump

Forget the windows error reporting tool. Thats only to submit information to microsoft, a collection of data of your sytem. Supposedly to address problems/enhance future versions of Microsoft products. This is not going to help you at all, and it's really for microsoft products. They would probably only use this collected information if let's say they released a office 2009, and they have 1million crash reports submitted to them, they would take a look to solve/fix the office product. They do NOT respond back to you directly..it takes a great amount of crashes submitted to them for MS to notice is a MS product failure, and they'll correct their product in form of a patch, sp, update, or even a knowledge base article stating a incompatibility between their product and another.

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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24461178
Thanks to both of you for the input.

1.       As I read more on the STOP error from the Microsoft page, I realized that this message doesnt seem to tell us much. In fact, the cause could be almost anything based on that (useless) message. Geeze. All I know is that I didnt add any new hardware or software before it happened.

2.      Wow.  Theres a lot of drivers there on my Dell site, and I notice that some have dates that are older than my PC (9/09).  And the RealTek drivers I updated from ReakTek are newer than the ones at Dell.  I guess youd expect that.

3.      My usual philosophy is to update drivers only if theres a pressing reason to do so.  ("If it aint broke, dont fix it.") Are you suggesting that I update all of these drivers? (BIOS, directx, video, chipset, DVD, etc.)  That seems like a lot of work and risk, too.  Which of these carry the least risk?

4.      For example, do you think that the BIOS is the source of the BSOD?  Ive flashed a BIOS before, but unless we think thats the problem, is this a risky move?

5.      What are you telling me about the stock drivers?  Is this Dell site just a reference in case we figure out that a current driver has bugs?

6.      I did a C:\ wide search for dmp files.  No luck.  And I am (and have been) set up for dumps and logs. None had a time stamp near the BSOD event.

7.      Yeah, when I figured out what the Windows Reporting Tool was, I knew it was useless.  Sorry.  I should have gotten that.

8.      Sorry, Im just not clear on what steps to take.  The advice is good, but I dont want to leap or make this thing worse than it is. My computer was perfect for 8 months and something has changed.  We have to figure out what that is.  What should my next steps be?


Thanks again for the help.  No more BSOD so far.

WSC
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by:nobus
ID: 24461270
i missed somewhere if you tested the ram, and the results...
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24461639
Try to simulate the problem on your own..do something task intensive, maybe go back to webkinz and play a game.
If you do have a lot of opened applications and run a task like playing a game or something intensive you might get a crash when not enough resources, depending on circumstances.

Drivers are software based which are instructions on how to communicate with the physical hardware to windows in a sense. Manufacturers release drivers offering performance enhances, fixes, compatibility fixes and so on. This is most prevalent in the Video card arena. Video adapter manufacturers always constantly releasing new drivers offering better performance and fixes, especially among games. Sometimes a new driver just may not cut it and don't offer the stability, which is why in some cases and on some setups people will 'rollback' to a certain stable driver. This feature is also built in into windows. You can find it in device manager, if you click on your hardware item and choose properties/driver tab,  you'll see a 'roll back driver' option to rollback to a previous driver if experiencing problems with a newer one.

There are those drivers that are released but may cause incompatibility with another driver. Microsoft update usually does try to update drivers on occasion, however I never update drivers from MS, I do know on certain audiocards they release a wrong driver based on the codec. And in other cases they'll update to a 'reference' driver. One that has passed 'whql' and is known 100% stable.

Yes, if it 'aint broke dont fix it' sounds good. Personally I keep my video card drivers up to date directly from the manufacturer, I'll read the release notes of the driver and see what it offers before applying. And on occasion I'll check for drivers on my other hardware devices.

Next time you get a bsod, check the minidump folder, if you dont see anything immediately scan your pc for .dmp file, they might be in your c:\document and settings\yourUsername\local settings\temp directory .. If you crash look in that directory, there be 2 files or so created on the time you crashed. copy those to another directory before the temp folder clears out.



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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24462071
I did not test the RAM yet.  I was hoping to avoid that, as it seems to be a lengthy process.  

Which ram test program should I use? The one from MicroSoft or Memtest?  
How long will it take on my system?  Is this an "overnight" test?
I take it that this has to be run from a boot disk?
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by:nobus
ID: 24462165
i suggested one, if you care to read my post, one of the best.
it is only long if you have more than 2 GB (several hours) but you're waiting for days now, so...it's up to you
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24462174
Oh, and I do have a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD, but I've never actually used it.

If you recommend the UBD, what option leads me to the memtest? (Mainboard, Filesystem tools, Other tools, etc.)
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by:nobus
ID: 24462194
CPU/memory - but maybe you have a newer version than me.
just walk through it, you can come back too..mainboard would be my guess
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24462255
Are you saying that 4 GB of RAM will take several DAYS to test?  There's got to be a faster way....  
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24462486
It all depends on the level of scan you do, theres the  basic scan up to advanced thorough scan, the more ram you have, the longer it takes. It's like I said, professionally if I think the problem is relating to ram, I'd take out ram and pop in a new one to see if problem disappears. However this is not plausible for end users that don't have new ram laying around. You have 4gb and you would have to replace individually. Ram is cheap, you can get a 4gb kit for like 25$+

Even memtest and other ram testers arent 100% perfect. They can very well pass all tests and still have a defective module. The thing with these tests it can take a long time, and if its your only computer, most users just cancel the scan because they cant wait, some users accidentally shut the pc off after 20+ hours of scanning and have to restart. And if it discovers lets say a few errors, then it's still your task to find which one of the 4 sticks of ram is faulty. That is why it is recommended you scan each module independently, even quoted by microsoft and memtest themselves. If you was to scan, use the links nobus gave you and leave the pc alone and untouched. Only thing I recommend HIGHLY is to scan each one independtly.

With that said, you are getting a BSOD every week or so. What I would do is scan for dumps right afterwards and I would make note of the exact last thing I did on pc. I would try to recreate the problem. Perhaps its everytime you are about to use the sound via directx3d or play a midi file or something else. The stop error its related to a faulty driver right up to something failing. My opinion is it's driver based/software. ram failure you usually have a crash often a few times per day. It might be ram and might not, I gather from the information given. You started with the BSOD relating to Realtek..now the crash simply says the stop error regarding driver failure.. you went to play webkinz it happened. At this point I'd say be patient for a bit more, and keep collecting information and post it. It's a PITA when these things happened but we are here to help.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24462608
I know this is off topic, but here's another guy who having the realtek crash
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Sound_Cards/Q_24434597.html#a24462586

His happens when running dragon naturally speaking.

Run something on your computer that calls the sound card, like a music file, midi program, sound recorder software, etc..a few times, just to see if it causes the crash.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24462649
WSC
You can uninstall your existing driver, and re-install RealTek HD driver again http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/
They released a new version 2.24 of their driver. It was posted on the 18th so not sure if you downloaded that version or not
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24463007
NaturaTek/Nobus-

To summarize:

If I understand you all correctly, it sounds like that even if I go thru the pain of the memory test, that I may still miss the problem since it's not a 100% reliable.

Thus, it makes most sense to wait for more data to help us best discern the proper direction.  I'm good with that.  I'd rather take a direct shot at a known target than a shotgun blast in all directions hoping to get lucky.  As you noted, I can probably replace all of my RAM for < $50, which would be less painful than the protracted testing if we're sure that it's a memory failure.  But we don't know that yet.    

I got the RealTek 2.23.  That's fine for now!  Tell that other guy with the similar issue to check out our thread here.  I feel better.  (Misery loves company??)

And tell Bill if you see him up there in Redmond that this is why i hate him.....  
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by:nobus
ID: 24464636
>>  that 4 GB of RAM will take several DAYS to test?    <<   where did you read that?  i said you are already waiting days for a solution - testing the ram may take some hours,  not days (just do it - if it takes you too long, you can always stop it)  replacing the ram is of course faster - IF you have spare ram.

Naturatek, you are contradicting yourself, now you say it's clearly ram...
 ---------------------
nobus
Did you read the BSOD? It clearly tells you it's a driver issue and even names the driver file RtkHDaud.sys
Researching the event is a problem with some realtek users

How can you recommend a end user to waste 4hours plus in scanning memory, burning cd, etc..when the simplest solution is to be done first???
---------------------
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24465686
Nobus,

You're right. I did misunderstand the memtest time frame, but if it's not 100% reliable, perhaps it makes sense to see if the BSOD occur again, and we can glean more data from the next failure to determine how best to proceed.

How long would you guess that it would take my system to run thru 4 GB of RAM in a test?  Then, of course, I have to identify which stick is bad.  (I might have to just replace them all.) Still, Naturatek recommended testing one stick at a time, and I'd rather not open my computer case, not to mention how arduous that one-at-a-time approach would be.

From the previous BSOD, I think the best information was that the problem was driver related.  That seemed the easiest, so I did that first.  The new BSOD mentions some memory conflict along with a dozen other possibilities, so it's not nearly as helpful.

Thanks!

WSC
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by:nobus
ID: 24465904
i would just run it - as said. you can stop, and start it anytime you want.
the fact that no diagnostic is 100% should not hold you back.
it is reliable for more than 99%
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24466696
How long will it take to run the memtest given my system specs?
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24466935
nobus, for the last time, don't put words in my mouth. WSC asked about scan times and memtest, I gave him information on it, told him if he decides to do it, how to PROPERLY do it, one module at a time, just like memtest and microsoft recommends. Alerted him to scan times, alerted him that memory tests can pass 100% but still have a defective module. Alerted him to my method of ram checking IF I EVER think it's the ram, I simply pop in new ram. Alerted him if he does scan, to leave the pc alone..accidentally shutting off means having to start the scan all over.
This was all in answer to his question of ram testing and in that same comment I mentioned at this point gather the information given I still think it's driver/software related. Asked him to make notes of crash times, and check immediately for dumps, post them here. Asked him to try to recreate the problem.

MY opinion I know it's not the ram. If the author is going to follow another recommendation to scan and he asked about scan times and such, no one answered yet, I gave my input on memtest/windows memory diagnostic.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24467049
WSC

It depends on the number of passes and type of scan you use. Depending on equipment can take day/night/etc just like quoted on microsoft's site.
Some people start off with a few passes and if no errors, they'll stop there. Safer standards are between 7-10 passes. And just like I recommend (from my memory scanning days),
scan each ram stick one at a time. You can scan all 4 sticks at one shot, no problem, but if you do get a error, you will have to take the task finding out which stick is bad, either by rescanning one at a time, or start swapping sticks one at a time. Still means you'll have to wait days to see if you get a random bsod. Read the quote from memtest below:

5) Is MemTest capable of pinpointing which module or memory chip is failing?

Unfortunately, due to variations in CPUs and chipsets it is impossible to reliably locate the physical chip that is failing purely via software. If you have more than one SIMM/DIMM, you can isolate the faulty one by elimination. Run the machine with one memory board installed at a time. When errors are found the installed board is at fault.  

If each board tests OK in isolation, the problem may be with your motherboard or BIOS settings. If you have several memory boards and all fail when tested in isolation, it is even more likely that you have a motherboard problem. It might be a hardware failure, incorrect RAM timings, or an incompatibility with the brand of RAM you have.  Contact your motherboard manufacturer for help.
-------

It has been reported you can get errors based on mix/match ram (another good reason to scan each one alone), and a faulty memory controller.

Given your specs, you should be able to get by one early evening thru night. If your schedule is hectic, consider leaving one stick scanning per night before you go to bed, next night another stick, and so on.

Again, I have to clearly mention this for the 'challenged' individuals, I post this not as indicating it's the ram, but as PROPER instructions and opinion on how to scan after the author asks. If one is going to scan based on a recommendation, let him scan the right way

http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic62524.html
http://www.overclock.net/intel-memory/312116-how-long-does-memtest-take.html
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by:nobus
ID: 24467435
i don't put words in your mouth - i only copied your post.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24467460
and exactly, read what you copied:
 ---------------------
nobus
Did you read the BSOD? It clearly tells you it's a driver issue and even names the driver file RtkHDaud.sys
Researching the event is a problem with some realtek users

How can you recommend a end user to waste 4hours plus in scanning memory, burning cd, etc..when the simplest solution is to be done first???
---------------------

Where do you see that I said it's the ram? I instructed the user how to PROPERLY do a scan and answered his questions. Let's assist the user and do not correspond with me at this point. Wont work.
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by:nobus
ID: 24470562
no but you say that to me when i ask him to run a ram test, which seems to be the problem now, AFTER trying to repair the driver.
But no more of this discussion, since it clearly does not help...
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Assisted Solution

by:NaturaTek
NaturaTek earned 125 total points
ID: 24472295
I always wondered why they made a book 'pc repair for dummies' but now I know why.

WSC

Get the latest driver for you graphics here
http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_185.85_whql.html

It's safe, and offers some performance/enhances, this affects your video driver only.
And the latest DirectX
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=2DA43D38-DB71-4C1B-BC6A-9B6652CD92A3&displaylang=en

It is from Microsoft and updates your current Direct3D, DirectDraw, DirectMusic, DirectPlay, DirectSound, etc.

It's a good thing to have those 2 updated and will not harm your system in anyway only improve.
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by:John Griffith
ID: 24521495


Hi -
The bugcheck on listed in post #1 - 0xd1 is basically the same as 0xa -
0xd1 (0xae5ac858, 0x2, 0x1, 0xb383b49d), probable cause = rtkhaud.sys, timestamp  = 4729747a = Wed Oct 31 23:38:50 2007
Chances are that if you have one driver this old, there are others - and one of them is causing the BSODs.  Run the Driver Verifier - it will stress-test your 3rd party drivers and can help fin the rogue driver(s).  Follow the instructions in the link below.  Bring up a cmd/DOS prompt -
http://www.techsupportforum.com/2110308-post4.html

 
0
 

Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24521662
jcgriff2

I'm running XP Pro SP3.  Your link refers to Vista/W7.  Is it compatible?  How long does this utility take to run?  And what kind of output does it generate?

All,
I've not had any more BSOD's.  I even let my 8 year do the dreaded WebKidz page w/o incident.  BTW: I ran Secuna and came up clean at 100%.  (I know; that's more for security patches.)  I did upgrade my directx and graphics drivers as Naturatek suggested and that may have had positive effects.  

My PC is about 8 months old, so I don't think "really old".
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24524366
seems jcgriff hasn't read the thread to be informed we already know the stop error is driver related and already know realtek audio driver is at fault, and you have reinstalled new drivers, which we also know it's latest v2.23. No need to run the driver verifier tool.
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by:John Griffith
ID: 24553241
The driver verifier has the same instructions for both Vista and XP.  The link that I provided does contain the instructions for Vista -- but just to get to the correct cmd/DOS prompt.  For XP - go to cmd screen -----  START | Run | cmd | then type  VERIFIER and follow the verifier instructions.  If the driver verifier flags a driver, it will result in a BSOD and will name the driver on the stack text in the dump. If it is more of a general hardware problem (PSU, RAM, mobo, etc...), a Microsoft driver usually  shows on the stack text.  The driver named on the BSOD screen is usually a good start, depending upon the manufacturer.
Please let me know of any other questions. . .  jcgriff2
@ NaturaTek -
I must have missed your post showing us the stack text and subsequent detailed kernel dump analysis supporting your conclusion of the "absolute cause" of the crash.  Please, find a BSOD screen and take a good look at it as it contains the phrase "probably cause by...".  "Probably" means it is not definitive.
I welcome any & all help on day 1  as it can only benefit the OP.  So please forgive me for not comprehending the logic or reasoning behind  your deliberate dismissal of the suggestion to use a basic BSOD troubleshooting tool like the D/V, given the fact that you have "worked" on this thread for 2+ weeks and provided the OP with. . . ??
I guess we're fortunate that a Microsoft Windows XP Kernel component driver was not named on the BSOD screen as it often is.
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by:NaturaTek
ID: 24553322
Yes I understand. In your own comment you clearly also mentioned the rtkuad.sys file and mentioned probably an old driver. These have been covered already. I've dismissed it for now for 2 reasons. You placed a link for a Vista/win7 tool (which of course you've cleared it up with the author after he asked, that it works in xp  and how to do it in xp), and second, after author has been directed to install a newer version of Realtek HD audio driver, he hasn't crashed with a realtek bsod again. Actuality he did get one more bsod with the x0a irq not less..etc. He updated directx/graphic card drivers, has been stable for now. I am in no way have said 'absolute cause' , however I have said it's a driver issue.  Has not been 2+ weeks, the author has left this comment open..as we are waiting if he bsod's again. He may not and he may at 2weeks to 2 months from now.
Excuse my ignorance if you felt I was completely dismissing your comment. You've now gave author clear instructions and assurance the tool is valid for xp and how to run it in xp after a link for a tool which said vista/win7. It is now more plausible.
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24674650
 
Attached is a BSOD I had about 2 weeks ago that came while I was using a USB card reader for my cameras memory card to pull pictures into Adobe Elements.  Its occasionally problematic, and this time it wouldnt register correctly in Explorer.  I pulled it out and reinserted it a couple of times and ended up a BSOD.  (Truly hardware related.) That has never happened before nor since, but Im guessing it has nothing to do with the problem were addressing here.  What do you all think?  
   
   
Other than this, there have been no more BSODs.  If you all agree, Ill just close this out and open another case if it reappears.  I so appreciate everyones help.  I learned a lot and the solutions delivered additional value:  
   
As an FYI, I also had two other issues that I thought unrelated that appear to have been resolved as well, Im guessing as a result of updating my nVidia drivers.  What do you think?
   
One was with using imaging software called Active @ (ntfs.com or http://www.disk-image.net/) from its boot disk.  If youre unfamiliar with this software, you boot to a lite operating system based on Vista to engage the image utility and get a good backup of your drive outside of XP.  I was getting a BSOD on a regular basis here, but since it occurred outside of my operating system, I blamed Active @.  Since I upgraded these nVidia drivers, Ive not had a BSOD (on 4 or 5 attempts) here!  
   
I had also tried using a nice piece of freeware to burn CDs/DVDs called CDBurnerXP (http://cdburnerxp.se/).  It would crash at the end and generate a flushing device cache error.  I submitted that problem to them without resolution until recently; I noticed that another user who had the same issue updated his NVidia drivers and the problem disappeared. (http://forum.cdburnerxp.se/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6688&start=15)  After I updated my nVidia drivers, this software works fine for me too.  What do you think?  Did my driver updates fix these issues?  Normally Im reticent to mess w/ drivers unless something breaks; you can cause problems with new drivers, too.  
   
But, this was apparently the right thing for me to do.  Thoughts?  
   
Thanks again for both of you alls help.  

BSOD-0000000A-0X804E7BCA.Jpg
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by:nobus
ID: 24676406
updating your video driver surely helped in those 2 cases.
do you see any minidumps in c:\windows\minidump?
or in event viewer?
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24676981
And I updated my directx too.  Perhaps that contributed?

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I didn't check either the dumps (since cleaned out, since that folder is empty) or the event viewer.  

I just now checked the event viewers and there are several informational messages at the time of the failure but no "error" ones.   I always assumed that BSOD's were so sudden and "awful" that the O/S had no chance to recover nor log much.   That's why I didn't think to look.
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by:nobus
ID: 24677064
the BSOD is created by the OS, so it can "make" any message, or info..
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Author Closing Comment

by:WSC
ID: 31582419
As I explained in my last entry, you solved multiple problems for me with the driver/directx upgrade suggestion.  No BSOD's since then.  thanks for the great support.  WSC
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by:John Griffith
ID: 24774971
My sincerest apologies to NaturaTek as I feel my follow-up post was uncalled for and very much out of character for me.  I hope that you will accept and know that I had no other way to contact you, hence the public message now.
I also apologize to the OP of this thread, WSC, as any post made that does not contribute to the solution is one made in vein, which certainly describes mine.
Thank you.
 
p.s.  well done, NaturaTek
0
 

Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24776592
Thanks again to all for taking the time to help me with my problem.  The directx and video driver updates fixed two other problems that I had that I had no idea were related to this kinds of solutions.  I found the exchange enlightening and appreciate the feedback.  EE is a great place for help.

Sincerely,

WSC
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24779531
What do you all think of this tool?

http://www.resplendence.com/whocrashed


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by:nobus
ID: 24780298
i don' t know it - so : no comment
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Author Comment

by:WSC
ID: 24784090
Is NaturaTek out there somewhere?  Whatchathink?
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by:nobus
ID: 24785698
i don't know - he's his own master
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