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Can't make Vista x64 stable


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#1 Phoenix VII

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 10:54 PM

I'm having a problem with making Vista Home Premium x64 stable and have had to do an OS reinstall almost 10 times since I've gotten it so far. My problem is mostly that after a couple weeks (sometimes only several days) Windows Explorer suddenly starts to crash repeatedly and nothing I do except an OS reinstall can fix it. System Restore won't work, sfc /scannow won't work, and chkdsk won't fix anything once Windows Explorer begins crashing...and I don't have much of an idea of what the problem is. I did used to use CCleaner to clean my registry occasionally but I stopped after reading on several forums that registry cleaners often cause problems but my last OS reinstall still failed even though I didn't use any registry cleaner and only ran Disk Cleanup once. Windows Explorer most often begins its crashing when I play a movie (usually on Media Player Classic Home Cinema but also on Windows Media Player) so I haven't installed Vista Codec Pack yet on my current OS install but I don't think that's the problem since I haven't heard anything bad about Vista Codec Pack and I did get Windows Explorer crashing problems once with my web browser (Firefox). Strangely enough, Windows Explorer never crashed on me when I'm playing my games though. The only other possible software problem I can think of is that one of my games installs an older version of Microsoft .Net Framework and I don't know if that might conflict with the latest version of Microsoft .Net Framework or not but I never read that it did.

Since I can't think of any other possible software problems I'm wondering if the problem is in the hardware. I have a Dell XPS 720 motherboard (upgraded from an XPS 700 because the XPS 700 motherboards died every 3 months and so I could upgrade the processor) and I'm wondering if that motherboard doesn't like x64 OSes, Vista, or both. The Dell website doesn't offer any chipset drivers for Vista x32 or x64 and if I use the chipset drivers from the Nvidia website the OS starts to act up in that sometimes it can't load a game without rebooting and it also takes longer to boot and I'm fairly sure the problem was with the chipset drivers since when I uninstalled them the symptons left. The only expansion cards I have are the Radeon 4870, Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Music, and an Intel Pro/1000 GT network card. The first two never gave me problems, and while the network card is newer I don't think it's the problem since it's got good reviews and my network connection is stable. I need a network card anyway since the tech who installed the motherboard onto the case blocked off the on-board sound and network connections (the network card the tech put in was different from what I'm using now, btw) and I can't remove the blockers. One more thing I can think of is that I installed a Q9550 processor when I got the motherboard upgraded because several Dell representatives said it was compatible but when I looked up info on the nforce 680i SLI chipset that the XPS 720's motherboard uses I found that nvidia didn't say it was and there's a message on boot saying the system doesn't recognize the processor but then it would boot up normally and the longest I had Vista working was about 2 months. The system would however reboot if it was run for more than 12 hours and I would have to wait several hours before it could run for a reasonable length of time but I don't know if that the processor's fault or just heat. Also, the reason I haven't tried XP again is that the only XP CD I have right now is the Dell installation CD and I always ran into a wall of BSOD's eventually with it even after getting the XPS 720 motherboard which is why I decided to get an OS installation that Dell didn't mess with.

So basically, I want to ask if the problems are related to software or hardware and what I should do about. As much as I would like to just build a new computer I'm still a student going to technical school and I won't be able to afford even a cheap one until at least fall next year since I can't get a summer job this year. I do however have enough money to buy an XP OEM on newegg if that's an option and I can afford getting an E8500 so if the problem's with the OS or processor I have the money to deal with that but I can't afford to do both at the same time. Also, I'm about as sure as I can be that I don't have any viruses since I have Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 and scan regularly with both it and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Phoenix VII, 31 May 2009 - 11:04 PM.


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#2 maki2012

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 05:47 PM

Bumping.

It sounds more like a hardware problem. You seem pretty well protected. Since I'm more of a software person, I'll bump your topic because I saw it heading towards the bottom.

#3 DeathStalker

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 05:54 PM

How much RAM do you have? Did your copy of Vista come with SP1? Are your hardware driver WHQL signed? The 64 bit versions of Vista can be really picky about having WHQL signed drivers. I played hell getting my Ultimate 64 to work. I (of course) blamed it all on MS and Vista, but when I fianlly got it sorted out, it was my hardware configs.

#4 Phoenix VII

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 06:41 PM

I have 4 GB of RAM, though the manufacturer of one pair of sticks is different from the other as is the voltage. Could that be a problem? As far as I know, 64-bit Vista won't even allow you to install drivers that aren't WHQL signed, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Also, my hard drive is now 2 1/2 years old and while chkdsk doesn't show any problems, could it be going bad?

#5 DeathStalker

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 10:55 AM

Hmmmmmmm. I would definitely lean towards the two different types of RAM needing different voltages and let me tell you why. I have 8GB's of RAM, albeit all from the same manufacturer, and when I built the computer I used the default voltage and timing settings. I crashed like a big dog after eating an elephant bone lol. I actually had to up my voltages because I was using 8GB's and manually set my CAS timings.

What I would try if i were you is to take one pair of RAM out and see if that keeps you stable. I hesitate to post the next bit, but I will lol:

If that works, ie, you are stable, try the same thing with the other 2 sticks (I'm assuming 2x 1gb sticks correct?). Make sure it is stable that way. If everything is honky dory with those two sticks as well, pop in the others. Manually set your voltage to whichever pair calls for the higher voltage. Then go in an manually set your memory timings to which ever is slowest. If it crashes, try gradually bumping your voltages up a LITTLE BIT at a time until it gets stable. Do not however get into the danger zone for your RAM. My bios is color coded when setting voltages, it's green when it's good, grey when neutral, and then yellow and then red (which are self explanatory I think). Try to stay in the green, but in no way get into the yellow.

The reason I hesitate to post this, is because I don't know if you CAN run two different types of RAM. Now if they are different speeds, IE say one is 800 MHz and the other 1333MHz, then by all means DON'T run them together. I'll check though to see if you can run two different types of paired RAM. I will know before you get finished testing both pairs running alone.

One last thing. You DO know don't you that the way you use the paired ram is to put one stick of the pair in the first slot and the other stick of the same pair in the THIRD slot. When you run four sticks, you then put the first stick of the second pair in the second slot and the second stick of the second pair in the FOURTH slot. Usually the slots are referred to as slots 0,1,2, and 3.

Please list your RAM manufacturer and FSB speed. Actually is you could give me the name IE: Patriot Viper Model PVS34G1333LLK it would be better. Please do so for both pairs.

#6 Phoenix VII

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 08:58 PM

I was wrong about the voltage...they all run at 1.8 volts. 2x1 GB sticks are Samsung while the other 2x1 GB sticks are Hyundai Electronics and they're all DDR2-667 sticks. CPU-Z show that they have different timings though, 5-5-5-13-18 for Samsung and 5-5-5-15-20 for Hyundai Electronics. I'm not sure if the Part numbers CPU-Z shows is the same as the Model numbers but if they are then Hyundai Electronics is HYMP112U64CP8-Y5 while Samsung is M3 78T2953CZ3-CE6. They're in the right slots. I was planning on getting 2x2 GB DDR2-800 sticks soon so if RAM is the problem then it's no big deal but would RAM cause Windows Explorer to crash?

Also I was checking Disk Cleanup and found that System Qued Windows Error Reporting is taking up 5.75 GB. Is that normal?

Edited by Phoenix VII, 02 June 2009 - 09:43 PM.


#7 DeathStalker

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 01:25 PM

Yes. RAM problems will cause Vista64 to crash. I speak from experience lol. Given how cheaply you can get RAM, ($25 US for 2x2gb, DDR2 800Mhz) I would go ahead and replace it rather than fool around with 2 different types with different timings. I don't know where you are but if you are in the US or Canada, go to Newegg and peruse the memory listings. Just a quick look brought up teh Crucial I listed above for $25. I've seen it as low as 19.99 recently for 4 Gb's.

As far as your 5.75 GB's of error reporting. That IS a bunch, but the values of what is saved can be set. You can delete much or most of that, but unless you have to have the space NOW, I would wait until you get fixed. Most of that stuff is redundant. Since you keep crashing it is more than likely recording virtually the same data time and time again.

Did you try running the computer on just 2 GB's at a time like I suggested? if so, did it work?

STOP THE PRESS: LOL I don't know how I missed this nugget. You are using a Creative Sound card in Vista64? That don't work. Creative labs made a conscious decision to NOT have it's cards work in Vista. One of their SR. VP's stated so on their forums when a forum member was designing drivers that enabled Creative cards to work in Vista. They threatened him with lawsuits, but more importantly, the ARE on record admitting they crip[pled the drivers:

Creative Labs, makers of sound cards that still don't work properly with Windows Vista, doesn't want fixed versions of its broken drivers on the net.

In a message to "Daniel_K," who repaired their broken software, Creative Labs' Phil O'Shaughnessy claims that by restoring functionality to Vista drivers that's offered in Windows XP versions, he is a thief:

"By enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are in effect, stealing our goods," writes O'Shaughnessy at Creative's forums.


Granted, Daniel_K is soliciting donations. Furthermore, the gear's EULA specifies, as is usual, that you can't tamper with its software. But why would a company set out to prevent people from helping one another fix problems in hardware it's already sold them?

The answer is the sad one you've probably learned to expect: O'Shaughnessy admits that Creative Labs intentionally crippled its Vista drivers as a business strategy:

"If we choose to develop and provide host-based processing features with certain sound cards and not others, that is a business decision that only we have the right to make."

You can find the whole story by Googling "Daniel K drivers." But the bottom line is that XFi and Vista don't play together. Although you can sometimes get some functionality out of the cards, most of the features that you bought the darn thing for are disabled. They won't support 5.1 surround, the CMSS stuff doesn't work....... the list of features that don't work is longer than the list of features that does. Oh, and did I mention that it causes the computer to crash? LOL I also had a Xfi (Xtreme gamer for me) when I built this Vista 64 rig, it took me a lot of research to find out what I posted above, but when I took the sound card out, many of my problems disappeared. I still had to fix the RAM, but that was a separate issue. Does your MoBo have onboard sound? Most Dell computers do. Try taking your sound card out and see if your issues stop. To do so, you will have to go into the BIOS and Enable the onboard sound (or disable the add on sound card, whichever way the option runs in your BIOS). You more than likely have Realtek for your onboard. Go to their website, download the latest drivers and install them (I think the latest version is 2.25 as of this second, lol they change them often). The sound is actually pretty good.

Sorry about the delay getting back to you, I was busy lol, and DOUBLY sorry about missing the fact you are attempting to use a Creative Sound card with Vista. That should have been the first thing i saw. BTW, I have no beef with Creative, the XFi xtreme gamer in my XP machine works GREAT. I have never in my life (and I'm old lol, I graduated high school before TRS80 and PS1 came out) used a sound card that wasn't made by Creative, but it is what it is, and right now it is that Creative doesn't work in Vista 64.

#8 Phoenix VII

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 04:57 AM

Did you try running the computer on just 2 GB's at a time like I suggested?

Not yet, I'm very busy for the time being so I haven't gotten the chance to try it. I've been planning on getting faster RAM for awhile anyway, so I think I'll probably just go ahead and get it.

As for the sound, I can't try the on-board since the last tech placed blockers over them that I can't take off (and I don't know why) so I guess if my problems persist after getting the new RAM, I'll get an ASUS Xonar D1 sound card to replace the Creative one since I can at least afford that. Thanks for the help.




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