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Old 09-06-2005, 06:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Weird Win XP crash

Hi all, I would like some help with a very bizarre crash my Windows XP Pro (SP2) has.

I recently did a complete reinstall to get rid of this crash but it appeared again.

The crash
My install has only 1 user, so the screen to select the user is skipped after the black animated screen (with the colored bar) and I immediately get 'Welcome' after which my dekstop shows.
If I boot my pc, it crashes at that exact spot when 'Welcome' should have shown.

Possible ways of crashing:
-pc simply shuts down without any feedback
-pc reboots
-pc simply hangs (numlock frozen)
-pc gives a light blue screen (not a BSOD), after which it crashes/reboots
-pc has a black background and a window warning message saying 'the application could not be executed' without saying which one, but it mentions a stupid hex number, I guess a pointer to the program or something else. After 1 sec the pc shuts down/reboots.

Here is the weird part: If the pc reboots, it would get right up to the same point and have one of those above behaviours until at some point the pc just shut down. If I were to reboot the pc at that stage sometimes it would boot fine, but mostly it would do a 'crash' again.

If I pull the electrical plug after a crash (& shutdown) for 2 seconds, put it back in and boot the system works fine for about 95% of the cases. WTF???

Bottom line: PC crashes/reboots => shuts down. I pull the plug briefly, reboot and everything is just fine.

This is just plain stupid.

My pc itself is a (newly installed) blackviper.com tweaked clean pc. No spyware or whatever, nothing of the kind.

I remember that this behaviour started when I added a Voodoo3 3000 PCI card (GeForce MX420 AGP installed already) and turned on dual screen support (with the desktop extended to the other screen). But when I removed the PCI card later the behaviour stayed, perhaps the windows dualscreen subsystem stayed loaded all that time?

The real problem I have is the fact that nothing says what crashed or why it did so. I turned on bootlogging (giving a ntbtlog.txt in the system root) but I could not figure out which thing crashed: The last entry in it, or the entry that should have normally come? I tried disabling both, but those entries are system drivers, and for a lot of those windows simply copies a backup when it detects the driver is gone (renamed, in fact). So I can't say for sure it is such a driver causing the crashes or something else.
I know there is a log system at the control panel (system management > logfiles I guess, I have a dutch install) where I could see a crash of my TOPCOM modem driver, so at that point I though I have found the error, but removing the driver completely (and disconnecting the device) never stopped the problem.

(The modem error has a red circle with a white cross in it, at the exact timing the pc always crashes, and the 'Service control manager' is the source of the error. Some more info is given for this error but nothing seems to be of any use.)

So my problem is, can anybody guess what is wrong with my system, or help me find a more detailed logging system.

Using linux primarily makes me furious about the closed black box windows is, in linux I have dozens of log files I can inspect and mostly can solve stuff on my own.

(Another strange thing: even Knoppix fails to boot on this particular pc sometimes. After the 'autoconfiguring devices' normally it detecs the system devices one by one and gets into X, but 4 out of 5 times it suddenly warns 'no more services in this runleven, shutting down' after which it gets to runlevel 0 to shut down. Very very bizarre and might be related.)

PS. I'm kinda a computer expert, having used DOS, Win 95 (plain&OSR2), 98, Me, 2000, XP and Mandrake 8.2, SuSE 8.2, Knoppix 3.2->3.9 and my current primary desktop is Mandriva LE 2005. Just so you guys know.
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Old 09-06-2005, 07:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I doubt its a driver or piece of software causing these problems, download memtest 86, burn to disk and pop it in, ull boot from it, to see if memory is bad, you video card could be dieing and or your PSU is dieing or insuffcient.
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Old 09-06-2005, 09:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You might want to start rebuilding your pc and using only the bare minimum to let it start. You might also want to try doing a complete delete partition and repartition and then reinstall
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ste
download memtest 86, burn to disk and pop it in, ull boot from it, to see if memory is bad, you video card could be dieing and or your PSU is dieing or insuffcient.
A friend of mine already suggested to check the memory, I did it with the memtest you mention but it did not give errors. (At least I went to 100% in the test, but it started again at that point, seemed pretty useless. And if there would have been an error those insane amount of tests should have found it already, it took incredibly long.)
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Warez Monster
You might want to start rebuilding your pc and using only the bare minimum to let it start. You might also want to try doing a complete delete partition and repartition and then reinstall
Completely building the pc from scratch would indeed be a good way to find out, but I'll do that if I find no other solutions.

About the partition: When I install an OS, I completely reformat(the fast format that is)/repartition/whatever. I know too well how operating systems work and never intend to install one inside an already used partition, which kinda throws away to advantage of reinstalling the OS. I always start pure so I don't have huge piles of junk still installed on the system. And I do mean at the places where it is impossible to figure out what stays or goes. (The windows systemroot gets up to 2GB if one isn't carefull (as it is now, dammit!) and I don't remember how much a fresh install is in size.)


Nobody has a clue why pulling the plug solves the issue? I always considered pc's booting doing the exact same sequence, for which a dumb thing as pulling the plug would not be able to change a thing. This made me think it would be a hardware problem from the beginning actually.

Having thought about it, the crashes I list do seem to suggest it's a definate graphics card problem, I should investigate more on that topic.

(Hopefully it won't require me to reinstall everything over again, it's the exact cause why I became to dislike windows in the first place, being a 95% linux guy. The crashing pc actually belongs to my brother, but I'm the 'sysadmin'.)
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Old 09-06-2005, 04:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by PieterVanNuffel
A friend of mine already suggested to check the memory, I did it with the memtest you mention but it did not give errors. (At least I went to 100% in the test, but it started again at that point, seemed pretty useless. And if there would have been an error those insane amount of tests should have found it already, it took incredibly long.)
thats not true at all, I ran it over night, 27 total completions it found 2 errors on the 19th and 25th time. 1 pass is not a enough. if you want to be sure its not memory do it over night, 1 error is one to many. 1 error is enough to have your computer freeze like you stated in your problem, error may not occur very often but when it does u wanna know why. I only had 2 mem errors, but when my computer freezes I know why and 1 freeze is 1 to many its unacceptable to me to have a computer that doesn't function 100% all the time.

Trust me youll want to run it longer.

on the other hand, some guy i knew, ran the test 1 time no errors after the second time it had 47 million errors. so once is not enough.
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Old 09-06-2005, 07:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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it sound like a failing power supply.
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Old 09-07-2005, 03:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had a problem very similar to this one. Check all the drivers on your PC, and if they're all good, check the memory and if all else fails, completely rebuild the PC.
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