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Windows 8.1 OEM Clean install BSOD looping

Last response: in Windows 8
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May 8, 2014 8:47:30 PM

This might get long. About a month ago I installed Win 8.1.

ASUS PW5 DH Deluxe, BIOS version 3002 (Latest)
Intel Core 2 QUAD 9400 2.667mhz, Southbridge ICHR7
NVidia ENG GTS450
PCI Creative X-Fi Platinum Sound Card (mobo audio disabled)

Original system ran 7 years with with no hardware issues with XP-SR3.

For the upgrade purchased new:
Samsang EVO 840 SSD 250GB (Left XP and user files on WD 1TB Black Cav. for backup)
Upgraded from 4GB to 8GB of DDR2-800 (6400)
MemTest86 ran (many hours) and passed
Tested with Ubuntu 64 12.04 LTS running for days no hardware issues

Windows 8.1 OEM DVD Full Install (Not upgrade version)

BIOS SATA mode changed from IDE to AHCI (which stopped XP from booting - but that is known)

Fresh clean install to SSD.
Issues began immediately with fresh install.
Install would continually BSOD and it took several attempts without any changes to succeed.

After install just about any application would BSOD.

Managed to get the system to stay up long enough to get all the updates from Microsoft update site.

The system seemed to improve and stabilize after updates and would only BSOD every couple of days to a week.

Installed all previous software and no change.

Samsung Smart Magician finds no errors with the EVO SSD or the old WD HDD.
Windows 8 Memory Diagnostic run and passed with no errors.

Ran acceptably for about a month.

Starting a few days ago the system began BSOD every few minutes.

The system is so unstable it can no longer be booted in Windows 8 (XP and Ubuntu still OK!).
I tried to do a refresh but it doesn't stay up long enough.

The minidump folder is full of mini dumps.

WinDBG shows a lot of the exceptions occur in disk.sys an ntfs.sys.

I am currently testing the AHCI in Ubuntu and XP to elimate in issues with AHCI BIOS support.

Can anyone suggest any trouble shooting ideas.

I'm about to give up with Win 8 on this hardware.

a c 381 * Windows 8
May 8, 2014 11:46:39 PM

when you 'Clean Installed' to your SSD did you install to Unallocated Space thus allowing Setup to create a 350Mb System Reserved Partition on the SSD? If not Setup will store your Boot files in strange places like your old HDD if it was connected during Install....
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May 9, 2014 5:16:21 AM

dodger46 said:
when you 'Clean Installed' to your SSD did you install to Unallocated Space thus allowing Setup to create a 350Mb System Reserved Partition on the SSD? If not Setup will store your Boot files in strange places like your old HDD if it was connected during Install....


Yes. The SSD started off factory default (so I'm not sure if there were utilities etc on there). After a few crashes I deleted all the partitions and left t he entire disk unallocated. This was when I managed to get the first install to work. At that stage I thought I had found the issue, but alas no!
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a c 381 * Windows 8
May 9, 2014 5:34:02 AM

Try running on one stick of RAM at a time to see if one behaves better than the other. Use different slots, too.
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May 9, 2014 10:10:28 PM

Eureka! I may have found the problem.

I went back to the beginning and checked everything. In the BIOS I found the SATA mode was not at AHCI as I thought I had set but instead it was set to "basic" so I set it to AHCI and rebooted and I have been up for over 12 hours with no BSOD.

This might explain why I was getting so many dumps pointing at disk.sys and ntfs.sys.

I'm running driver verifier.exe at the moment and I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for getting back re the memory. With memory it's always hard to say but with all the tests I've already run and the fact the same memory has been stable and is still stable with Ubuntu for 7 years now, while I can't 101% rule it out, I would like to focus on the problem in a different area.
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a c 381 * Windows 8
May 9, 2014 10:39:00 PM

WallyZ said:
Eureka! I may have found the problem.

I went back to the beginning and checked everything. In the BIOS I found the SATA mode was not at AHCI as I thought I had set but instead it was set to "basic" so I set it to AHCI and rebooted and I have been up for over 12 hours with no BSOD.

This might explain why I was getting so many dumps pointing at disk.sys and ntfs.sys.

I'm running driver verifier.exe at the moment and I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for getting back re the memory. With memory it's always hard to say but with all the tests I've already run and the fact the same memory has been stable and is still stable with Ubuntu for 7 years now, while I can't 101% rule it out, I would like to focus on the problem in a different area.

Certainly you'll get the best out of your SSD in AHCI mode, but wouldn't have expected BSODs otherwise, I've installed SSDs in quite a few machines where AHCI just wasn't available, but there you go... hope it remains stable...

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May 11, 2014 5:45:10 PM

Close but no cigar.

I'm back to square on with one or two BSODs per day.

I ran verifier.exe for 36 hours on all non Microsoft drivers and received no errors and I thought I was home free.

Then while the system was just sitting there in screen saver the BSOD popped up!!!

I'll start the memory testing now.

Since I have four DIMMS and four slots (dual channel) I'll limit the tests to four single DIMMS in slot 1 then the same in slot 2 to begin with.

I'll get back with the results. Should take me a couple of days.
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May 21, 2014 4:30:56 AM

System has 4x2GB memory sticks so I tried running the system with 2x2GB memory sticks in slots 1 & 3 and this ran for days with no problems. I then ran the other 2x2GB sticks in the same slots 1 & 3 and got a BSOD in a few minutes.

So definitely memory related. I then took the suspect 2x2GB mem sticks and placed them in another system which has been running fine for days now!

So the combination of those specific 2 memory stocks with that system and Windows 8.1 causes the problem replace any one and everything works OK. All MOBOs tested are on default clock/voltage setting (no overclocking).

I've ordered 2 more sticks of mem to get the system back up to 8GB. I think that's the simplest option rather than determine why that specific combination fails.
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a c 381 * Windows 8
May 21, 2014 5:05:12 AM

Good that you found something 'concrete' at last. Might be an idea to blast slots 1 & 3 with compressed air just in case a speck of dust is causing the problem....stranger things have happened, and you're relying on an awful lot of pins to behave perfectly...
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June 20, 2014 1:43:39 AM

Well my new memory arrived. I replaced all 8 gig of memory and windows is still BSODing 1 or times a day!!!

There is not a shred of evidence that indicates that there was ever a memory problem. The new memory vindicates this.

If after basic troubleshooting elimination the only variable causing BSOD is Windows 8 then that's where the problem lays.
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a c 381 * Windows 8
June 20, 2014 2:12:14 AM

WallyZ said:
Well my new memory arrived. I replaced all 8 gig of memory and windows is still BSODing 1 or times a day!!!

There is not a shred of evidence that indicates that there was ever a memory problem. The new memory vindicates this.

If after basic troubleshooting elimination the only variable causing BSOD is Windows 8 then that's where the problem lays.

Haven't ruled out Memory slots/controller...and the fact that you ran the 'Suspect' sticks without problems in another rig points in that direction...Remove the sticks from slots 1 & 3 and see if it BSODs then... Controller is in the CPU, which is an unlikely candidate, but you never know! And of course, you can't trust Windows completely either...

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June 20, 2014 4:47:15 PM

dodger46 said:
WallyZ said:
Well my new memory arrived. I replaced all 8 gig of memory and windows is still BSODing 1 or times a day!!!

There is not a shred of evidence that indicates that there was ever a memory problem. The new memory vindicates this.

If after basic troubleshooting elimination the only variable causing BSOD is Windows 8 then that's where the problem lays.

Haven't ruled out Memory slots/controller...and the fact that you ran the 'Suspect' sticks without problems in another rig points in that direction...Remove the sticks from slots 1 & 3 and see if it BSODs then... Controller is in the CPU, which is an unlikely candidate, but you never know! And of course, you can't trust Windows completely either...



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June 20, 2014 5:08:21 PM

Testing with Ubuntu 64 with same machine and same memory has not shown any errors.

There is a major difference between running Windows 8 for 5 minutes before BSOD and Ubuntu 64 for over 4 weeks without a single crash. Same memory, same slots (MoBo).

Also I tested the memory slots with other memory and Windows 8.1 was pointing towards the error being on the memory stick and not the slot. In earlier post I mentioned I caused BSODs by placing second set on memory sticks in same memory slots.

Also I'm running all memory under clocked (by default the P5W DH chooses the nearest lower strapping if FSB / memory freq ratios don't match. So new memory is PC2-8500 running at PC2-6400 )

Also I'm in no position to test another P5W DH mobo (i just don't have another)

At the moment I'm putting up with the 1 or 2 crashes a day. Most of them happen in the early hours of the morning when I not using the PC.
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a c 381 * Windows 8
June 20, 2014 11:36:09 PM

Probably not going to find the problem without swapping out the Mobo and the CPU which is impractical. The main difference between Windows and Ubuntu is the way Memory is managed.but I wouldn't expect that to affect transfer of data in a hardware sense. Perhaps just one of those indeterminate mis-matcjhes between older hardware and new that you're unlikely to find! Hope it continues to fail outwith normal operating hours...
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June 22, 2014 7:37:49 AM

I have tried swapping out the CPU (I have spares Q9400 & Q9650) and that made no difference.

I pretty sure it's not the/a memory slot but I cannot be sure about the Mobo (I do have the latest bios installed).

Without another MoBo my testing can only be limited,

Thanks for all your responses!
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