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Random BSOD->CRASH->REBOOT - There seems to be no reason for it&


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#1
Vindivara

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Okay,
So here is the deal.
Recently whilst playing Civilization IV against my Girlfriend over a LAN, my PC has been periodically jumping straight to a BSOD then it reboots and then starts windows up again, often with mixed results sometimes doing a CHKDSK sometimes not registering there's been any problem at all.
Now what is particularly strange, is that this has just happened recently.
And I have placed no new hardware on my PC nor really any new software, one harmless program was added and I got rid of it, but I think the errors were there prior to this program anyway.

I know you might think "this is a specific problem with Civilization IV - go sort it out on their sites" but I don't think that is the case. I do think it has ONCE done the same thing when my PC was idle for a while at some point over the last few days.

I turned off the auto-reboot and took a look at the BSOD error message.
It tells me NOTHING of any use. It looks like some generic one saying basically "we haven't a clue what is wrong" message - it just talks vaguely of checking new hardware, drivers etc, not even any real error codes.
The only code I get is 0x00000007f (0X000000000 etc....)
Now I looked this up, and it seemed to be connected to any wide number of things most likely though, a graphics card. HOWEVER - I had an issue with a graphics card a while back, like 14 months ago, when I first purcahsed Dawn of War, I got something similar to what I got now, bascially my Laptop overheated BSOD'd and reboot or just hung, I fixed that by updated my nVIDIA drivers and installing RivaTuner - and underclocking to 400 (well 402 on my system but it read as 400) and this solved all my errors on all games or any graphics hungry program and I have not looked back since. And also at the time the BSOD talked of the nvdisp.dll driver.
This new BSOD talks of nothing.
So I doubt it is graphical, I did roll back my driver a couple of months ago and then updated it again a couple of weeks ago but this problem is brand new only 3 days old, and thus is rather confusing why it would start now. I am using a laptop so in order to update I just use the 'hacked' (i think that is an over the top expression - edited is more realistic) drivers of laptopdrivers2go (or whatever they are called) and got the most up to date driver.

So I know this is a lot of info but i'm trying to narrow down 'back and forthness' so people can see what i've done so far. I've run spybot s&d, and no spyware, i've run hijackthis and nothing seems out of the ordinary and i've used a registry cleaning tool (and been using it for ages so i know its a nice one and not one of those 'spam' styled ones). So the laptop is checked over and i've run AVG free antivirus and found nothing.

The thing that has REALLY confused me is the lack of info in the admin tools --> event viewer.

After it crashed each time, I quickly went to the event viewer to see what it could be, each time i aded through stuff and found something that kept cropping up, an 'sptd' event, something about it trying to read something or so on, it came up as a bit of an error, did some research, apparently connected to the Alcohol 120% program, i used it briefly about 7 months ago but got rid of it, more trouble than it was worth and most of the stuff it can be used for is basically illegal so I just couldn't be bothered with it. I checked out the sptd.sys driver in my drivers and deleted it and some people suggested though all problems online suggested a 'hang' upon booting up a pc, i was having a different problem. Anyway, this seemed to do some trick, but sure enough another 2 hours into a game it died again, I went to event viewer, and this time NO error messages, it was just telling me 'stuff' lots of events starting etc. A new thing coming up was b57w2k (which is odd, because I checked and I have only got b57xp32 in drivers), this thing seemed to initialize around the time of breakage, a bunch of events followed but nothing of note. I had not heard of this driver but apparently it is linked to the broadcom gigabit ethernet hardware etc, which i do believe i am using to connect across my LAN. Now I am yet to have the time to play a good deal of games on my own (work etc) to test if its a video issue, but my thoughts lead me to think it is to do with this, with the ethernet stuff, because it has now broken on a bunch of LAN sessions when gaming against my girlfriend. I also noticed the name 'duplex' being mentioned in the info about the file in the event viewer and this name came up as a company that had made the sptd.sys driver too, ... coincidence? Probably but it could mean something. Also upon restart I got an error aabout sptd.sys, However i never saw any error and the laptop was fine i just noticed it was grumbling in the event viewer about it but i have heard no more on it. So that is the long story, and I could really do wit h some help, what angers me is I have simply no idea what this is, and the system is offereing no help.
If it is driver issue I want to know what to do, and also it was so sudden out of nowhere.
Any help would be fantastic, if you need more info please ask me, i'm quite computer literate so will be fine being asked to search for detailed info i think.

Thanks in advance people, this is really making things difficult for me!
Cheers..
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#2
Ztruker

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Excellent summary of what is going on with your computer, but :) (always, right?) you did not specify the make and model of your computer.

One question. Why are you using drivers from laptopdrivers2go rather than the computer manufacturer or Nvidia web site? What happens if you load the latest video driver from either of the above?

You also said you have a broadcom gigabit ethernet card/chipset, what driver are you using for it and where did you get it?

One debugging suggestion I have is to boot to Safe Mode with Networking and try the game from there, see if it fails. If yes then that pretty much eliminates everything except hardware (though not completely).
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#3
Vindivara

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Hey thanks for that
Obviously it is late Christmas eve but I just thought i'd give a quick reply so it doesn't look like i'm daed :) -
My computer is:
An Acer Travelmate 4651LMi
Windows XP Professional
Version 2002
Service Pack 2
1.7GHz Processor Speed
512MB RAM
nVIDIA GeForce 6600 Go Video Card
Audigy Sound System
etc....

I use the modifed drivers because nVIDIA doesn't (from my knowledge) regularly update or take care of it's 'go' (similar to the ATi Radeon 'Mobile') video cards and are in fact almost never supported. I have trawled through their site and come across nothing except the basic driver, but I really should as I am always told get the latest, so whilst my fellow PC users using the nVIDIA GeForce 6600 sister card to my 'go' one are updated to something like 162.1.8.0 (or whatever it is) i'm still down on 62.1.3.0 etc.
Apparently the only difference is for some reason nVIDIA actively REMOVE the support for the 'Go' cards. I'm not sure of this for certain, I do not work there and am not an expert, I just read what I read and assume it is largely correct since many sources including some very reputable sites have made this claim and it is indeed annoying and frustrated. So the 'hacked' drivers simply have the support added back into the original driver, that is the only difference. So I update like my fellow PC users, there are no further alterations and have NEVER (i guess until now) had a problem since using them, and in fact had games failing on me left, right and center before I was finally able to update using the altered drivers.
So that is my reasoning for that, if you know something I don't (probably!) then please let me know, I do find the nVIDIA site so awful to get around and they do tend to 'obsess' over some cards/drivers and totally neglect others, but this is turning into a 'nVIDIA' rant! (I've always had them, but always envied my friends with hi-spec ATi Radeons which never seem to have problems...)

As for the Ethernet stuff, I must be honest, no idea what the driver is, it's one of those that 'came with the laptop' I believe - i've bought many cables in my time, and connected to many things and never actively remember installing drivers for them - I must be honest, I tend to terribly neglect all drivers bar my video card, but this has never (until potentially now) been an issue in my life.

I have used the most up-to-date driver from the unofficial 'go' site (which by the way is specific to dealing with and helping laptop uses with nVIDIA cards) - it is not WHQL supported, and i'm not sure if my last one was - but a lot of the drivers are WHQL supported, however i'm not really sure how much of a difference that makes.
I have not got the latest driver of the nVIDIA site because, last time I looked, it was the same damned one I had when I bought my laptop, 2 years ago.

I have not tried playing in safe mode and probably won't until the 28th (back to uni early just for fun....) but I might try earlier, problem is, it is never a fun thing to test, because it can happen instantly or take 2 hours, every turn, on tenderhooks wondering if it will crash or not! There was a similar problem as I said like last year, which a lot of people were experiencing with the new Dawn of War Dark Crusade game, and me and a few others found a fix for it (which happend to fix a HUGE number of related problems for people on other games too and in fact we just went on various forums linking to it) which involved using RivaTuner to underclock to 402 which worked across the board on all computers etc, quite satisfying since it hit so many different specs and types that there seemed no common ground and it was quite simple - so (this has a point) - I NEED the RivaTuner program thingy running or at least able to do its thing, and I am unsure if I can do that in safe mode. So i'll have a go, but if the tuner can't be on, my game will crash anyway for a different reason. The point is it is NOT the same problem, I checked that - and i've been playing Civ for a long time and no issues. My specs don't look that impressive but i've not found a game I can't run on full spec yet, including CnC3 which can bea killer.

Anyway I hope this information was more useful, I don't expect a reply too soon obviously! So anyways happy Xmas (if you celebrate it) and cheers!
Thanks in advance...
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#4
Ztruker

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Try the video (It's called VGS Driver on the web site) driver from here, see if that makes any difference: http://www.acerpanam...FTOKEN=61447014

What about using System Recovery to go back to before the problem started happening?
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#5
Vindivara

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I have tried the update on the site you suggested, the drivers are older on that site than mine, in fact they are 2004 old, and have never been updated apparently. I got updated using some other drivers, and got an update to my ethernet driver, (it looks very complex to do and I think I did an 'over simple' job of installing it - since for some reason there is no 'installer') BUT I have had no problems as of yet, I played a game last night and all was well, but as I have said, it can go for some time without crashing. I will not use the system restore unless it happens again - I will continue to keep playing and will report back if it breaks again - and when I've tried the system restore. Thanks for now - I'll also post back if it is fixed.
Thanks
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