Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Atheros driver: "IRQL not_less_or_equal" error and BSOD with complications in solving

Last response: in Windows 8
Share
December 30, 2013 8:56:39 AM

Ok, so I built my own AMD PC this past weekend, and last night the computer shut down after sleeping and restarted. Every time I now put it to sleep, it crashes. Upon startup, it immediately informs me of a dump file it created and that it crashed due to some error.
I did encounter the BSOD once, when attempting to solve the problem the first time, and I haven't seen it since, and the only problem is now when it sleeps. Restarting manually causes no error.

I used WinDbg and the dump file to come up with the first "solution," which is that a file called "athwnx.sys" was not returning correct values (as shown by the stack trace in the dump file). This is the driver to my TP-Link TL-Wn951N Wireless adapter and it is by Atheros. I reinstalled the driver and the hardware, and updated everything. It still has the error, and the dump file reads the same problem. Is this device simply unusable with Win8 perhaps?

Also, my system did beep codes to indicate that there was a memory error when installing Windows 8, but later diagnostics with BIOS and a system check utility did not indicate that anything failed, nor was this driver problem happening the first day the system was running. Also, the hardware is all compatible and functional, as I tried it with Linux Mint and Ubuntu prior to installing Windows. I did accidentally bang up the RAM a bit upon installing it (pushed a little on it when it was misaligned by a hair, it scraped a little on the slot), but it didn't seem to be damaged at all, and registered fine.

Any help with this baffling problem would be appreciated. I'll get you whatever extra information you might need.

My system:
Windows 8
Gigabyte GA970-UD3P MoBo
AMD FX6300 CPU
8Gb G.Skill Sniper RAM
1TB WD Black HDD
TP-Link WN951N Wireless-N Card - I got this last year, so it is old.
ASUS GTX 650 ti 2Gb GPU
Corsair CX600 PSU
Rosewill Challenger U3 case
a b * Windows 8
December 30, 2013 9:23:32 AM

Simple solution: don't put your computer to sleep/disable hibernate.
I work at a computer repair shop and the majority of these sleep related issues are intermittent and difficult to diagnose. It could be an issue with the hibernation file on the Windows end or solely to do with the Atheros driver; however if you have updated the driver to the latest version and the problem still persists, I would suggest that it could be to do with incompatibility between Windows 8 and the TP-Link wireless card.

Let us know how you get on.
m
0
l
December 30, 2013 10:00:07 AM

joesklar said:
Simple solution: don't put your computer to sleep/disable hibernate.
I work at a computer repair shop and the majority of these sleep related issues are intermittent and difficult to diagnose. It could be an issue with the hibernation file on the Windows end or solely to do with the Atheros driver; however if you have updated the driver to the latest version and the problem still persists, I would suggest that it could be to do with incompatibility between Windows 8 and the TP-Link wireless card.

Let us know how you get on.


Thanks for your input joesklar,

I think that disabling the sleep function would not be the ideal choice, as that is the primary way I conserve power and keep my computer ready most of the day. I would ideally just buy another wireless card, and that should solve the problem, but the odd thing is that the driver works for all of the current card's functions. I think I will keep trying my options and searching for an answer before I buy anything or disable features.

Just to call on some of your past experiences, do you happen to know anything about how to troubleshoot the sleep function that might help in this context? (programs, directory files, etc.)

Thanks again!
m
0
l
Related resources
a b * Windows 8
December 30, 2013 10:07:58 AM

You can always run SFC to make sure all of the system files are as they should be.
Close all programs and open a command line as administrator.
Type SFC /SCANNOW
Wait for the process to finish (can take up to 4 hours).

Just FYI, I am currently running a TP-Link Nano USB wireless device that only cost me £7 ($11). It runs perfectly and I have had no issues yet.
It's a great investment as even if your problem persists, you will have a spare wireless device that can be used in any PC.
You can find one HERE
m
0
l
December 30, 2013 12:16:30 PM

Ok, so I ran the SFC and everything checked out. I think something I did in the earlier steps changed the problem though, as now with the updated drivers I get a BSOD with every restart. I have grown the problem back to what it was before.

My only hesitation with getting a new card is that I might run into the same problem if the driver is not the only thing that is causing the blue screen. I am going to try and start the computer without internet and without any network drivers and see if i still get the crashes. I guess thats the last step.

I would really like to find out if the driver really can't be fixed at this point though, after all of this work...
if I get a new card and never find out it wouldn't bother me too bad anyhow!
m
0
l
a b * Windows 8
December 30, 2013 12:20:58 PM

Delete all of your current network drivers and install THIS one

See what happens and post back.
m
0
l
December 30, 2013 12:33:13 PM

Well, we are getting somewhere.

When I tried uninstalling all of the drivers and rebooting (something I should have thought to do earlier), I discovered that I still had the BSOD... but for a different reason.

The memory error that I experienced before has returned, and I think that it is the main problem.
SO, now that the wireless card is fixed and has the most current drivers (with a proper installer thanks to joesklar) I need to solve this:

memory_management error

that I now get with the BSOD upon startup...
m
0
l

Best solution

a b * Windows 8
December 30, 2013 12:37:35 PM

Okay, this is a fairly common issue and can be resolved by running the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool.
Do you have access to Windows at all?
Share
December 30, 2013 1:24:20 PM

I have full access to Windows. It goes into the BSOD and then reboots into a perfectly working computer. It's only problem is booting and sleeping causes BSOD to occur. I ran the diagnostics and the utility found no ram problems. I could reseat the Ram, check them one part at a time for problems, starting with the one that I banged up a bit. Also, I read that the CPU could be seated wrong. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be the case for me, but it could and I have all the alcohol and extra thermal paste to reseat it so I could try that too...
m
0
l
a b * Windows 8
December 30, 2013 1:39:35 PM

I highly doubt that it's the CPU.
I'm almost 100% certain that it is memory related now. When your PC sleeps, it stores a large amount of data into a hibernation file that is hosted in your temporary memory (RAM). If there is an issue with the RAM, it could easily make the system blue screen because the hibernation file isn't being accessed correctly.

Try one module at a time like you suggested, or just try new RAM.

m
0
l
December 30, 2013 1:55:41 PM

Ok, this might sound weird, but it went away. ALL the problems went away.

After the memory diagnostic the entire system starting booting without any problems. I booted three times, put it to sleep twice, and still there is no BSOD.

This is the weirdest problem I've ever seen. It might have been the driver also, because I haven't booted it since the install.

Thanks very much joesklar.
m
0
l
a b * Windows 8
December 30, 2013 2:07:59 PM

Glad it's resolved now.
Hopefully this issue won't come back!

All the best

-Joe.
m
0
l
!