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Hardware Malfunction - NMI Parity Check / Memory Parity Error

Posted on 2011-03-17
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a Dell Precision 210 (2-PIII processors, 600mhz, 4x128MB ECC RAM) Rrunning Windows Server 2003.

Almost every day, it blue screens with the message:

Hardware Malfunction
Call you hardware vendor for support
NMI: Parity Check / Memory Parity Error

Memory passes the recommended Windows Memory Diagnostic found here: http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

I've replaced the memory (they are all matching sticks), run the memory tests, and I still get the blue screen.

I've replaced the box (moved drives and memory to a new Precision 210 box), run the memory tests, and I still get the blue screen.

Any ideas?
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Question by:nasupport1
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by:John Hurst
ID: 35156315
So you replaced the memory (and continue to use the new memory) and moved the new memory and existing hard drive to a new box (different motherboard and peripherals) and get the same error.

So it must be the operating system throwing up this error. Try downloading and installing all new drivers for this OS (video, audio, network cards, chipset and so on). ... Thinkpads_User
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by:cavp76
ID: 35156324
Have you used memtest86: http://www.memtest86.com/? It has many options for configuring memory tests... definitely there's a bad module, if there's no error detected, try booting the machine taking one stick (or two, up on if it supports an odd number of RAM sticks) and seeing if it gives again the BSOD.
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by:Phoenixke
ID: 35156344
Might be a long shot but have you tried looking for upgraded BIOS firmware and drivers?
I only suggest it because you've already done the heavy lifting and changed motherboard/ram...
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by:John Hurst
ID: 35156370
I am not sure about the overall fit for System File Checker and this situation, but in addition to drivers (my earlier post), try running (from a command prompt) SFC /SCANNOW. Let it complete and restart.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:nasupport1
ID: 35156622
@thinkpads_user - It could be the OS, or an application that's causing it.  I'll explore updating drivers for the hardware, but despite it's age, it's up-to-date.  I'll try the SFC, as well.

@cavp76 - I have a copy of Memtest86, and I guess I'll try it.  It doesn't seem to be a memory issue despite the memory error.  I've systematically removed and replaced RAM, and I still get the message.  In fact, I can remove and reseat the RAM, and it will boot up.  Then, maybe a day or two later, it blue screens again.

@phoenixke - I'll try the driver updates, but the BIOS may be tough - it's an older server.
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by:cavp76
ID: 35157186
That's different... if you say one or two days and it BSODs again, I'll go for a power supply / energy problem; we're talking about machines older than 10 years, leaky capacitors could be throwing a fit, try replacing the PSU. Is this server behind a UPS?
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by:nasupport1
ID: 35157583
Running Memtest-86 v3.5 now - no issues through the first 5 tests.

All capacitors look fine in both of the boxes (old and new), and it crashes on both PSUs.  I can see if I have a newer PSU to try.  It is plugged into an older APC Back-UPS Pro 420.  I'll see if swapping that out makes a difference.
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Author Comment

by:nasupport1
ID: 35157996
Running Memtest-86 v3.5 now - no issues through the first 5 tests.

All capacitors look fine in both of the boxes (old and new), and it crashes on both PSUs.  I can see if I have a newer PSU to try.  It is plugged into an older APC Back-UPS Pro 420.  I'll see if swapping that out makes a difference.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 35158454
I struggle a little bit that this is a hardware issue. Why? You replaced the memory and changed machines. You would have to have the same hardware error in both machines.

More likely, I think, is an operating system corruption.  ... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:nasupport1
ID: 35159433
@thinkpads_user - I'm not ruling a corrupt OS out, or an application causing the error.  I started with hardware troubleshooting because of the nature of the error message: "Harware Malfunction".  But I do see what you're saying - the hard drive is a common denominator.  Event logs don't indicate anything out of the ordinary for this behavior.
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by:cavp76
ID: 35159571
Agreed... try smartmontools; it will give you all the information it can extract from the disk about S.M.A.RT. status; usually the examples are enough to get a quick view of the status of the HDD
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Author Comment

by:nasupport1
ID: 35182900
The server has a RealTek Gigabit ethernet card that does not include Server 2003 as a supported OS, despite it installing drivers for it.  It appeared to install correctly, and has worked normally.  I have disabled it to rule it out as a culprit for this issue.  I will keep the ticket updated.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 35409123
I think we gave a decent answer here (corrupt OS).  ... Thinkpads_User
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Accepted Solution

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nasupport1 earned 0 total points
ID: 35437922
My apologies....I have been away.

The server in question has been functional since the removal of the NIC, which it turns out is not supported by the OS.  I will close this question.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.
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Author Closing Comment

by:nasupport1
ID: 35458592
I investigated the system requirements of the Realtek Gigabit NIC, and it does not support the currently installed Operating System.

Since removing the incompatible NIC, the system has remained up and functional, with no more blue screens.
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