I came across a new driver for my Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Music sound card, so I downloaded it and had the opportunity to install it yesterday evening. Little did I know the trouble I'd have.
The installation seemed to go okay at first, but the control panel would not respond to my commands-for instance, changing the mode from Gaming to Entertainment, etc. Something was obviously wrong with the install, so I tried rolling back the driver, to which I received a warning from Microsoft about doing so, can't recall the exact message but it was akin to the world coming to an end if I did so, so of course, I didn't do so. Not knowing what else to do, I tried System Restore, and at that point, my KVM switch went on the blink-I had both systems running (had been doing a full system scan on my other computer) and the KVM started to switch itself back and forth between the two (it sometimes does this, don't know why) and I lost access to both machines. The system I was restoring went blank (screen, that is) and I had to do a hard shutdown of the other system (held in the power button), hoping that it would restore function to my keyboard and mouse. It didn't, and the KVM just kept on switching. I waited a good long time, figuring it would give the other system a chance to finish its restore, and then did a bad, bad thing, but the only thing I could do-disconnect the power. It didn't seem to hurt it any-when the computer powered back up, all went well, but it told me that it couldn't restore to the point I had chosen. Okay, I chose an earlier day-the next day before-and it went on its way. That failed as well.
I dug out my original installation disk for Soundblaster, and uninstalled (from Add/Remove programs) all of the associated software and drivers for the sound card, thinking I'd just do a reinstall of the original, and I think that that is when I started getting the BSOD. The first message mentioned something about ctoss2k.sys, address B1D464F7, base at B1D39000, date stamp 437096bf. It gave me the option of shutting down and then restarting in safe mode to find what was causing the problem, which I did-I had figured it probably had to do with the fact that I'd uninstalled the above-mentioned for the sound card. I started in Safe Mode and tried installing the original software and drivers for the sound card that way. Course you have to reboot for the changes to take effect, so I did, and again, I got the BSOD, this time with the message Bad_Pool_Header, and blah blah blah, with this down below: Stop: 0x00000019 (0x00000020, 0x87c5c2b8, 0x87c5c890, 0x0abbooc). I restarted again in safe mode and checked the driver for the sound card, only to find that it had not changed...it was still dated for the new driver. What the...??? I think I may have tried to reinstall the original stuff again, reboot, and again BSOD. Can't tell you how many BSODs I saw last nite. Finally, at some point, I realized that I no longer had my little volume icon in the systray, and when I tried initiating my Audio Console from the shortcut on the desktop, noticed that it was totally grayed out, indicating there was no sound device. I also had no sound at all. (DUH, right?) I did, at some point, also disable Soundblaster in Device Manager, rebooted, and voila! No BSOD....but no sound, no sound device, nothing. Tried reinstalling the software again, rebooted without problem, and went to enable Soundblaster, and the very second I did, I got the BSOD. Same messages, bad pool header, same Stop codes, etc. Back into safe mode. Check the device in DM. Soundblaster was red-x'd out. So figuring I couldn't fubar the thing anymore than I already had, I uninstalled the device. Within seconds, Windows (I assume) "found" the device, moved it to its original spot, and un-x'd it. When I looked at the driver info, well I'll be....the original driver software date was in place, and my system had sound, and everything seemed right in my world again. But WHY??? It was 1:30 in the a.m. by this time and I was wiped, so I shut the system down (ever so grateful to hear Windows playing its little exit tune) and hit the hay.
This morning I tried researching that bad pool header stuff on the Microsoft site (as suggested in a book I bought from CompTIA) but it pointed towards information regarding Server 2003 or something like that, so it was no help to me. I'm hoping somebody here might have some knowledge as to what I did wrong. I KNOW I had the right driver update from Soundblaster, BUT...
I have a Dell XPS 410, and from my experience with my older HPs, I have to wonder if downloading the software directly from Soundblaster's site was the cause of my problem. I don't understand why, but I know that HP insists you download driver updates from THEIR site (and even certain device manufacturers will tell you so), so I assume that perhaps Dell is the same. However, on checking Dell's site, this driver is not listed, even though it IS the right driver for the card, I'm 100% sure on that. It's a pretty new driver (3/14/08), so it might be just an issue of it not hitting the Dell site yet. Still, I don't understand why one shouldn't be able to download a driver directly from the manufacturer's website-is my card "special" in some way, made specifically for Dell? Is it a true Soundblaster card, or is it a cheap imposter?
As an aside, I also happened upon new drivers/software for my nVidia GeForce 8600 graphics card. Do I dare?????
Thanks for reading this far. I hope somebody can give me some clues as to what I screwed up, what I should or should not have done... what might have been going on with those BSODs-maybe somebody out there recognizes that bad pool header and stop code. I'm thankful that things seem to be working now, but I really would like to understand just what went wrong.