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STOP error; but not quite dead. IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL


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#1
dmguitar0

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When I say it fails to boot, I mean the computer stops resulting in a blue screen error as the computer shuts off and restarts. This occurs shortly - like within 5 seconds - after the display of the Windows splash screen. I have done alot of troubleshooting and investigation on my own, thus there is alot of detail here on what I have already done. It appears to have a fried CPU; that is, until I boot into a Linux environment, where files are accessible and movies even play! Setting the computer to not reboot on system failure, so that I can read the error codes, i get the following-

A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

If this is the first time you've seen this Stop error screen, restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

Check to make sure any new hardware or software is properly installed. If this is a new installation, ask your hardware or software manufacturer for any Windows updates you might need.

If problems continue, disable or remove any newly installed hardware or software. Disable BIOS memory options such as caching or shadowing. If you need to use Safe Mode to remove or disable components, restart your computer, press F8 to select Advanced Startup options, and then select Safe Mode.

Technical information:

*** STOP: 0x00000000A (0x00000000,0x0000001C,0x00000001,0x804FB03C)


I have attempted the steps suggested by the blue screen, to no avail. I installed no new hardware, but did install some new software days prior. Attempting to use Last Known Good Configuration or Safe Mode (I tried normal Safe Mode, Safe Mode with networking, and Safe Mode command prompt) does not get me any further in the boot process. I checked the BIOS, but found nothing to indicate I have any options mentioned in message; actually a lack of options altogether seems to be the case.

After this, I tried repairing the Windows installation, but that failed as well about halfway through the writing of the system files. Also, reinstallation of XP fails in the same way. SO....I decided I might as well accept my computer's death, and began the process of pulling data off the hard drive, using a thumb drive with a bootable Linux-based Knoppix on it. The one ray of hope is that while booted into Linux, it seems to work just fine. {edit] Its ran one night for over 12 hrs straight and I watched an episode of Californication on there with no problem; keep in mind this was all through Knoppix.

I delved further in, trying to find out what is broken. The lack of a failed hard drive led me to believe it is related to, or is, a failure in the CPU. Have so far been unable to test that theory fully without a replacement CPU, but also have been unable to disprove that theory either. I have cleaned off and replaced the thermal compound with Arctic Silver 5, and cleaned the cooling parts; removing a large amount of dust from the fan blades and the heatsink. The heatsink fins are darkened, where they made contact with the case, and the last fin got bent during its removal, but otherwise appears fine. With how quickly it shuts down, I get the feeling the CPU really is FUBAR, but then why does it play movies and access files with no problem while in Knoppix? I put all the parts back, and I found none of this has alleviated the problem or altered the results. I also swapped the hard drive with one that works and the problem continues, so I took it back out and its now back to its original set of parts.

Reattempting reinstallation at this point, praying for a miracle..or short of that some advice here from someone more experienced than I.

Edited by dmguitar0, 18 December 2009 - 09:21 AM.

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#2
phillipcorcoran

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Since the problem appears not to affect Linux, I'd be more inclined to say it was a bad Windows device driver or a Windows application that installs virtual drivers (eg antivirus, firewall or cd burning software) and not a hardware issue.

If it is something along those lines, only a process of elimination will root it out, starting with drivers or applications you recently installed when you first started getting the stop errors.
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#3
Hello71

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Try copying the dump file (%Systemroot%\Memory.dmp) using Knoppix and copying to another computer that has WinDbg installed (http://www.microsoft...ng/default.mspx) (slightly recommend installing the symbols as well, optional) and see what it prints out.
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#4
dmguitar0

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UPDATE: The computer works again under XP! Deleted partitions and fully formatted under the NTFS system, and reinstalled for success.

WHAT I FOUND: For those getting this same error, my problem was definitely Windows-related, but probably onset by the cooling issues. I chose to reinstall, but perhaps other steps could have been taken in lieu of that. I did not.

See...When the computer went kaput to begin with, it overheated I am sure, and something important was probably corrupted by that. I own an Acer laptop, which has a rep for being a bit of a furnace; generating more heat than not.

At first, Knoppix had crashed on me while moving files, so I erroneously thought that meant that the hardware was the issue. After reading my own post and examining the current behavior, I realized that it CANNOT be that my hardware is screwed up completely since Linux environments work (even though it crashed once, it had not since).

I reattempted installation of Windows after posting this, and voila! it worked. I decided once I had gotten through the EULA agreement, I would go full throttle and that it would be best to delete the partition entirely and do a full NTFS format of the drive. When I did so, I was back in business immediately. I think the installation attempts and recovery also failed due to bad sectors or corrupted data.

In retrospect, I have a suspicion that the fans being so clogged and the dead thermal paste is what stopped the installation before and caused the earlier Knoppix crash, and cleaning the fans plus replacing the thermal paste is what gave the computer a new lease on life.

To reiterate: I was so excited to get to the part where I could delete and reinstall, I just went ahead and did it (plus my data was backed up), so I therefore do not know if I could have repaired it with an XP disk without format/repartitioning.

Thanks for your help though guys - and happy holidays (especially to me since I don't have to buy myself a new laptop as a self-gift!)
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