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XP Boot Trouble on Dell Inspiron 9300


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#1 RickBlaine

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 05:35 AM

Thanks in advance for any help offered.

So, long story short:

My brother gifted me a PC game (Elder Scrolls: Oblivion) and I started it a few days ago. My laptop, a six year old Dell Inspiron 9300 (running XP Pro) was above the minimum system requirements but the game kept crashing (specifically getting BSODs with inconsistent error messages). I kept trying to fiddle with things in the game and on my computer (preventing an HP printer process from initializing on startup, turning down my Sound Acceleration, and even attempting to remove some old proprietary spyware [Starforce?] with an officially sanctioned removal tool). The Blue Screens kept occurring though (the common explanation is faulty memory which may be relevant). I finally hit a BSOD that gave me an "IRQ NOT LESS OR EQUAL" error.

Upon rebooting my computer I noticed that the taskbar did not load (nor did any icons). This is actually a problem I have from time to time but normally just rebooting again (and sometimes once more) will fix it. However, this has not been the case this time around and, in fact, I am unable to perform a normal "Restart" and instead must perform a hard shutdown to reboot. Whenever I am prompted to perform a "Restart" the computer lags and gives me an error message about "explorer.exe" being unable to close and Do I want to "End Now", etc. Even when I select End Now, I just hang on the desktop indefinitely. To solve the lack of a taskbar, I first tried to do the obvious fix which is starting "explorer.exe" from the Task Manager (opened with Ctrl-Alt-Delete). This, seemingly, did nothing. I then tried to perform "sfc /scannow" from the command prompt. Oddly while I was waiting for the sfc scan to start/finish, the taskbar and desktop icons loaded on screen in the background. In addition, a My Documents window opened (twice) for no apparent reason. I'm not sure if the appearance of the task bar was a delayed reaction of trying to start explorer.exe or the sfc scan but I WAS able to replicate it. The problem, however, is that while the taskbar and all associated content seemed to load, two important items did not (both times I replicated this): My Sound Device (SigmaTel C Audio) and my Wireless Internet Device. When poking around in the device manager, I saw that both devices were displayed as being functional (no question marks or exclamation points), but whenever I tried to open the audio volume menu or "Network Connections" the computer would spit out an error message saying the the devices had either failed to initialize or failed to be found at all.

I then tried the much lauded CHKDSK function from the command prompt (specifically CHKDSK /r, though I'm actually not sure if that's the one that fixes things) and on my first attempt, the CHKDSK was executed at startup and the computer booted normally! Everything seemed to be fine (I had internet and sound). While trying to clean some things up and do some maintenance (after deleting the game), I rebooted the system again with no trouble BUT was faced with another empty desktop upon startup. Since then, I've been able to get the non-Sound/Internet taskbar to reappear but never the fully functional one. I thought that perhaps the CHKDSK was what fixed it (albeit temporarily) but I've been unable to get CHKDSK to run on startup anymore. I've tried to recreate the exact conditions but it refuses to run (both CHKDSK /r and /f). It might be related to the boot.ini?

Since then, I've added the devices that I disabled from startup back (in an attempt to make things how they were before this started happening) and have had no real luck figuring out what to do next. Oddly, I've managed to get Safe Mode working (with networking enabled) so, still soundless, I'm actually writing this on the machine in question while operating in Safe Mode. I guess this means that there's a particular device or part of the boot.ini that's causing the problems when I try to boot normally? One final note, XP came pre-installed on my laptop and I'm almost positive that I never received a recovery disc of any kind, so attempting to repair from the recovery console doesn't appear to be an option presently.

I know that's a lot of info but I wanted to be thorough and give a clear picture of the situation. For anyone who has any help to offer, let me know if you need any more information and thanks again.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 11:14 AM

System specs, http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/corporate/press/20050224cwd_9300.pdf ? Just how much RAM is installed? How much free space on C: partition?

The game mentioned seems to be a popular download target...which makes it very good for installing malware onto a system, IMO.

If that system had been brought to my doorstep by a friend/relative...those factors would point me straight to the factory restore/recovery function...before proceeding with any guesses re hardware problems.

Pages 77-78 of the system manual...cover recovery/restore options, http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins9300/en/om/om_en.pdf

That said...let's try this.

Download/install BlueScreenView, http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html .

Double-click BlueScreenView.exe file.

When scanning is done (occurs automatically), click Edit/Select All...then File/Save Selected Items.

Save the report as BSOD.txt.

Open BSOD.txt in Notepad, copy all content and paste it into your next reply.

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 15 July 2011 - 11:17 AM.


#3 RickBlaine

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:09 PM

Hey Louis,

Thanks for the super prompt reply.

One quick note, maybe I'm being naive but the game was legally purchased and downloaded from a seemingly secure and popular service (Steam) so I'd be surprised if Malware was involved as I've used the service for years and never had any problems with it.

System Specs (let me know if I leave anything out):

Processor: 1.86 GHz
Ram: 1 GB
OS: XP Pro, SP 3
Video Card: Nvidia Geforce Go 6800 (horrible driver support for this one...)
Hard Drive: 80 GB max, currently about 20 GB of free space

Ran Blue Screen, here are the results:

==================================================
Dump File : Mini071411-02.dmp
Crash Time : 7/14/2011 7:47:31 PM
Bug Check String : IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
Bug Check Code : 0x1000000a
Parameter 1 : 0x00000015
Parameter 2 : 0x00000002
Parameter 3 : 0x00000000
Parameter 4 : 0x805073af
Caused By Driver : ntoskrnl.exe
Caused By Address : ntoskrnl.exe+303af
File Description : NT Kernel & System
Product Name : Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
Company : Microsoft Corporation
File Version : 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)
Processor : 32-bit
Crash Address : ntoskrnl.exe+303af
Stack Address 1 : ntoskrnl.exe+c6aa3
Stack Address 2 : kmixer.sys+1378
Stack Address 3 : kmixer.sys+1f17
Computer Name :
Full Path : C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini071411-02.dmp
Processors Count : 1
Major Version : 15
Minor Version : 2600
Dump File Size : 98,304
==================================================

==================================================
Dump File : Mini071411-01.dmp
Crash Time : 7/14/2011 5:36:47 PM
Bug Check String : SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED
Bug Check Code : 0x1000007e
Parameter 1 : 0xc0000005
Parameter 2 : 0xb78ec988
Parameter 3 : 0xb51a1be8
Parameter 4 : 0xb51a18e4
Caused By Driver : kmixer.sys
Caused By Address : kmixer.sys+988
File Description : Kernel Mode Audio Mixer
Product Name : Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
Company : Microsoft Corporation
File Version : 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2108)
Processor : 32-bit
Crash Address : kmixer.sys+988
Stack Address 1 : kmixer.sys+13127
Stack Address 2 : kmixer.sys+1e9d
Stack Address 3 : kmixer.sys+22a7
Computer Name :
Full Path : C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini071411-01.dmp
Processors Count : 1
Major Version : 15
Minor Version : 2600
Dump File Size : 98,304
==================================================

==================================================
Dump File : Mini071311-01.dmp
Crash Time : 7/13/2011 12:27:30 AM
Bug Check String : IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
Bug Check Code : 0x1000000a
Parameter 1 : 0x00000053
Parameter 2 : 0x00000002
Parameter 3 : 0x00000001
Parameter 4 : 0x80500d02
Caused By Driver : HSF_CNXT.sys
Caused By Address : HSF_CNXT.sys+9693c
File Description : HSF_CNXT driver
Product Name : SoftK56 Modem Driver
Company : Conexant Systems, Inc.
File Version : 7.12.09 built by: WinDDK
Processor : 32-bit
Crash Address : ntoskrnl.exe+29d02
Stack Address 1 : ntoskrnl.exe+29f67
Stack Address 2 : ntoskrnl.exe+28ce0
Stack Address 3 : ntoskrnl.exe+28e9f
Computer Name :
Full Path : C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini071311-01.dmp
Processors Count : 1
Major Version : 15
Minor Version : 2600
Dump File Size : 98,304
==================================================

==================================================
Dump File : Mini071111-01.dmp
Crash Time : 7/11/2011 3:24:40 PM
Bug Check String : UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP
Bug Check Code : 0x1000007f
Parameter 1 : 0x0000000d
Parameter 2 : 0x00000000
Parameter 3 : 0x00000000
Parameter 4 : 0x00000000
Caused By Driver :
Caused By Address :
File Description :
Product Name :
Company :
File Version :
Processor : 32-bit
Crash Address :
Stack Address 1 :
Stack Address 2 :
Stack Address 3 :
Computer Name :
Full Path : C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini071111-01.dmp
Processors Count : 1
Major Version : 15
Minor Version : 2600
Dump File Size : 98,304
==================================================

I'd already checked around about kmixer, which is audio related (not sure if that means anything). Again all of the support threads I'd searched for the game seemed to suggest that a variety of error messages was indicative of a memory related thing, if that helps.

Also, thanks for the tip about the MEGA RESTORE (F11) function. I could never find anything for people who didn't receive a Recovery CD. Bummer that it looks like there's no "Repair" option, just a clean install...

Thanks again and I look forward to hearing your thoughts (at your convenience, of course).

#4 abauw

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:24 PM

please dont miss BSOD that Conexant SoftK56 Modem Driver cause...

and MEGA RESTORE (F11)you told...does it factory setting restore? if yes please back up all of you data to different hardrive because it will ERASE ALL of your data, software and maybe partition that have you create...after you use MEGA RESTORE (F11) your laptop software will back to original (factory) setting...just like at first time you buy it...
but sometimes MEGA RESTORE (F11) couldnt run if something happens to hidden partition (sometimes not hidden) has changed...if it changes you couldnt use MEGA RESTORE (F11)...

update your Conexant SoftK56 Modem Driver first and see what happens...

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#5 hamluis

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:31 PM

Have you seen http://blogs.technet.com/b/asiasupp/archive/2011/03/23/stop-error-0x0000007f-or-0x1000007f-after-installing-ms11-011-kb2393802.aspx ?

Your BSODs point to a modem driver, an audio driver, and a key system component of Windows.

I'm certainly no expert...but if I had any idea that a RAM problem was responsible...I'd certainly run the appropriate diagnostics on my installed RAM modules.

Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool - http://www.memtest.org/#downiso

Memtest86+ Guide-How To's - Overclockers Forums - http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=409152

The guide points out the basic procedures to be used and to what extent.

I would also run the appropriate hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic...since such errors might also arise from such.

Since this is a Dell system...the Dell Diagnostics package should certainly be run any time that a hardware problem is suspected.

Dell Diagnostics - http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?c=us&dl=false&l=en&s=gen&docid=A9E3A15597A04AFBB02EE16785D39C5C&doclang=en&cs=

I am moving this from XP to Internal Hardware, since the nature of your problems seems to point to hardware, not XP.

Louis




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