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Can't make Vista x64 stable

Last response: in Windows Vista
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June 1, 2009 1:30:28 AM

I'm having a problem with making Vista 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.

More about : make vista x64 stable

June 3, 2009 8:56:17 PM

Ok Ill try to help.
I didnt see this post before or I would have earlier.

The first thing I can suggest is in future posts please try to seperate thoughts and symptoms because one real long paragraph is real hard to read and thus break down into troubleshooting steps.

Lets start with the basics.
Is the disk that you are using to install Vista a Dell disk or a retail MS disk?
If it is a Dell disk, is it the one for the original 700 MB or the new 720 MB?

Please list your system specs. or give me a link to the system specs because with only a quick look I only found the sales sheet that didnt contain enough info.
Specifically if you have any info on the differences between the 2 MBs and or any integrated features eg. video, sound, network.


Also could you elaborate on this that you posted above
"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."
What do you mean BLOCKERS?

Please post back as I will be more than willing to try to help.
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June 4, 2009 5:17:40 AM

I'm guessing he's referring to the back plate. Two things I can suggest are Memtest and updating the BIOS.
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June 4, 2009 7:05:41 AM

Quote:
The first thing I can suggest is in future posts please try to seperate thoughts and symptoms because one real long paragraph is real hard to read and thus break down into troubleshooting steps.
Ok. Sorry about that.
Quote:
Lets start with the basics.
Is the disk that you are using to install Vista a Dell disk or a retail MS disk?
Retail MS disc. I tried to get a Dell disc but they wouldn't offer one.
Quote:
Please list your system specs. or give me a link to the system specs because with only a quick look I only found the sales sheet that didnt contain enough info. Specifically if you have any info on the differences between the 2 MBs and or any integrated features eg. video, sound, network.
I don't know the specific motherboard specs either or how to get them and I've looked for them before. I do know that the 720 motherboard supports on-board Gigabit Ethernet and on-board 5.1 sound.
Quote:
What do you mean BLOCKERS?
He placed some sort of blockers on top of the on-board sound and network connectors so you can't plug anything into them and I can't remove them.

I'm running the latest BIOS and the Memory Diagnostic tools that comes with the Vista DVD shows nothing wrong, but I can check with Memtest as well when I get the chance. Also, someone on another forum mentioned that the cause of my problems could be that my memory could be incompatible with each other since since I have 4x1 GB RAM sticks, 2 from Samsung and the other 2 from Hyundai Electronics which run at the same speed with the same voltages but different timings. Is that possible?
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June 4, 2009 1:57:33 PM

Its strange about the blockers. I wonder why he did that.
But it is what it is.

First a quick clarification. Is your board a XPS 720 or a XPS720 H2C ?
You mention that you are running the latest BIOS.
Did you install them or the other guy?
If it was you did you get them from here?
http://dell.driversdown.com/dell-drivers-list/s_436_3.s...
They are at the bottom of the page.

Im not looking for you to get new Bios, Im just trying to be certain that I am looking at the same MB as you.
I think you are going to need the system drivers to get stable and I want to make sure that we get the correct ones.
Its possible that the differences in the boards may require different drivers and the Vista disk is only going to give generic drivers which may not be good enough.

Also If you have a link to the specs. of the MB please provide it as the one I quickly found wasnt great.

As for the ram and the timings.
Though it is a possibility that a mismatched set can cause trouble the system should default to the slowest one and we can check that out.
See if you can look at both of them and write down exactly what it says on the decal on the sides including specific models, timings, and voltage.
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June 5, 2009 10:32:09 AM

Quote:
First a quick clarification. Is your board a XPS 720 or a XPS720 H2C ?
XPS 720.
Quote:
You mention that you are running the latest BIOS.
Did you install them or the other guy?
The motherboard came with the latest BIOS, A06.
Quote:
Also If you have a link to the specs. of the MB please provide it as the one I quickly found wasnt great.
I can't find any unfortunately.
Quote:
As for the ram and the timings.
Though it is a possibility that a mismatched set can cause trouble the system should default to the slowest one and we can check that out.
See if you can look at both of them and write down exactly what it says on the decal on the sides including specific models, timings, and voltage.
The 2 Samsung sticks have a 1.8 Voltage and a 5-5-5-13 Timing, while the 2 Hyundai Electronics sticks have a 1.8 Voltage and a 5-5-5-15 Timing.
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June 6, 2009 2:15:49 PM

Sorry that it took some time to get back to you.
The kids are out of school now so my schedule is changing a bit.

Here is a link that I found. Is this the one?
I thought that the one I saw the other day was a AMD setup but maybe I just thought it was due to the Nvidia setup.
http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.asp...

Here is a kink that should get you the manual if you dont have it.
http://www.retrevo.com/support/Dell-720-Desktops-manual...

Also found this so it would seem that your board can support Vista.
Im still looking for drivers for Vista through Dell but I wonder if this is required to get them.
http://dell.driversdown.com/dell-drivers-downloads/Dell...

Here is a excerpt of an article that I am trying to do some more research about.
It would seem that the 720 and the 720H2C are the same with the exception of the cooling, so it would stand to reason that the drivers will be the same.
The major difference seems to be that the H2C offers the Vista drivers.

"12/11/07 – Dell's certainly has some rocky performance system launches with he XPS 700 and 710 models. Thankfully many of the issues from those systems have been cleared up with the XPS 720 and 720 H2C models. While their may not be as much flexibility in the configuration of the 720 H2C, the standard 720 has many more options for a more affordable system. The main difference between the two is the emphasis on performance with the 720 H2C thanks to its hybrid cooling."

I am going to look into this further and possibly you can also. Did you get a service number with your new board? If so Dell has a live chat that you can speak with them and ask them if they can be used.
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