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P9X79 Pro - Virtual Disk Service errors randomly

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May 15, 2012 2:51:47 PM

I have an Asus P9X79 Pro with an OCZ Agility in Intel SATA slot 1 (6gb), a WD Green in Intel SATA slot 5 (3gb), and a CD-ROM in Intel SATA slot 6 (3gb, last slot). I also have a USB 3 external HD plugged in the back USB 3 slot. Of note, I have Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 2010.

Randomly, the system will lock up for a few seconds, but the mouse will still work. When I check the event log, I can see that the Virtual Disk Service throws an event ID 9, stating, "Unexpected provider failure. Restarting the service may fix the problem. Error code: 80004005@02000014."

I can also see that the VDS starts and stops every few minutes all day long. Whenever this error occurs, I can see that some drives, like the external USB, drop off the system, but are immediately picked back up. The only indicator that this happens is the system locks for a few seconds, then when it comes back, I can hear the Windows found hardware ding, and Symantec pops up saying the backups aren't available (because that drive drops), then it says they're back (because the drive is found again).

I'm thinking it has something to do with AHCI and/or the Intel chipset drivers for this board.

My OS was installed using the MBR method and NOT the UEFI method, and my OS is NOT on a GPT. This is a fresh install of Windows 7 x64, NOT a restored backup. All drivers are latest rev available from Asus as of 2 days ago, NOT the drivers from the disk.

The OCZ Agility is the system drive. It is MBR. Enable write caching is enabled, while Turn off Windows write cache buffer flushing on the device is NOT checked.

Any help would be appreciated.
a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 715 V Motherboard
May 15, 2012 4:51:46 PM

Welcome to Tom's Forum! :) 

First, I would make certain that your 'OCZ Agility' firmware is up to date and if applicable the WD Green (3TB). If any of the drives exceed 2TB then use the GPT method on all drives and not a mix-match of MBR and GPT -- RE: "Intel SATA slot 5 (3gb)" ; I assume (3TB).

OCZ Agility (several Agility models) - http://www.ocztechnology.com/ssd_tools/
WD (didn't see any firmware) - http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?level1=6&la...
ASUS P9X79 PRO (BIOS use at least v0906 6-cores & v1104 4-cores and/or extensive USB devices); update using ASUS EZ Flash 2 - http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_2011/P9X7...
ASUS EZ Flash 2 - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/289507-30-what-flash ; unzip the (.ROM) file then copy to a FAT32 Flash Drive, in the BIOS press F5 and then under "Tools" load ASUS EZ Flash 2 Utility and select the appropriate (.ROM) file.

Most folks improperly install Windows and in particular Windows 7 on the LGA 2011. Here's my guide; use GPT or no partition >2TB with MBR - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/303873-30-wont-resume...

Lastly, after the OS installs then 1st update the Chipset then the rest of the drivers. You should also go to Intel and use 'Run Intel Driver Update Utility' - http://downloadcenter.intel.com/default.aspx?lang=eng
May 16, 2012 4:50:23 PM

Thanks for the reply, but I believe I have narrowed down the issue to USB. I've been able to forcefully replicate the problem, and it always appears when something is either attached/detached from USB or I make a change to something that is USB connected. For instance, I just plugged in my phone, and it happened. Another time, I was in Camtasia Studio, and when I would go to change my recording device to a USB connected Yeti microphone, it happened. I could make it happen, over and over again, in Camtasia just by changing my recording source.

I've rerouted devices from USB hubs to the back of the board, unplugged every device, etc, and nothing seems to change.

I have updated the USB3 Asmedia controller to the latest rev I could find, which is from a month ago. However, the USB2 seems to be on the Intel chipset, and while I have updated those to the latest rev from a few weeks ago, it did not seem to update the USB stack. For instance, the rest of my system is on 9.30.1020 while the "Intel(R) C600/X79 series chipset USB2 Enhanced Host Controller" is still stuck on 9.2.3.1013 from 3/16/2011.

When it disconnects/hangs, it seems to take both the USB3 and USB2 devices with it...then a few seconds later, they all come back...even though they are separate controllers.
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a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 715 V Motherboard
May 16, 2012 5:41:28 PM

The BIOS update addresses USB issues, but as I mentioned there's only (1) one correct way to install the OS. Most (9/10) folks don't do it per my guide and end up with a huge variety of oddball issues.

I would disconnect ALL of the external USB headers and only test the I/O USB. IF that's where the problem is then you have an OS, driver, BIOS or device issue. However, if a 'known good' device still hangs on the I/O USB then: OS, driver, or BIOS.

To do's:
1. Update the BIOS & Test
2. Failure - play 'musical ports' - use different USB ports; this re-writes the registry entries. Sometimes you will get a corruption.
3. Failure again - using a PS/2 Keyboard or Mouse (Mouse is easier for most) Uninstall ALL of the USB Device Manager listed item & restart. Then re-install the Drivers.

The only issue that I've had with USB was USB 3.0 because the IMO poorly designed (needs a locking mechanism) huge header wire/connector became loose -- pushing it back in fixed the issue.

Intel USB 2.0 driver - the latest is " 9.2.3.1013 from 3/16/2011" which is part of 9.2.3.1020 (Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility (Chipset INF)). I just double-checked.
May 16, 2012 6:12:52 PM

Again, thanks for the reply.

In regards to your claim of the chipset driver difference, while I understand 9.2.3.1020 is the latest on Asus website, it is not the latest driver. In my quest to solve this issue, I went straight to Intel and grabbed the latest. If you click on the following link, you can see a screenshot of what the Intel chipset update utility finds on my PC vs what my host controller says it's running:

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb227/kylecpcs/Intel...

I do, however, see the BIOS you mention of 1104. I have no idea how I got 1103, as it's not listed on their US site...perhaps I got it from one of their Asian/Global sites when the US one wouldn't respond (which happens a lot). I just snagged the 1104 and I will update and see what that does, as it does say it addresses some USB issues.

I will try the "musical" slots method if the update doesn't work.

In regards to the hard drive formatting, I am using the two Intel 6G ports in AHCI mode, not RAID, with a single 240gb SSD, which does not require a GPT since it is not over 2TB. I also chose to install as MBR and not UEFI/GPT for that very reason and for compatibility/stability of the boot drive. The WD Green mentioned before is a 2TB drive, and is MBR as well, but a secondary data drive only and not RAID'ed.

It may take a couple of days before I can do the BIOS update, as I have a stable system for the moment and have to work off of it, but I will certainly get back to you on the results by the weekend.
May 16, 2012 6:26:52 PM

Actually, scratch that. I just downloaded that BIOS file, and while it does say it's 1104 and my old downloaded zip says 1103, I just checked both my current BIOS and the new file in the ASUS update utility and it says they're the same. See the screenshot here:
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb227/kylecpcs/BIOS....
a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 715 V Motherboard
May 16, 2012 6:47:32 PM

DO NOT UPDATE THE BIOS FROM WINDOWS!!! Use your Flash Drive and in the BIOS / Tools / ASUS EZ Flash 2 Utility. Further, I never install ASUS AI Suite it conflicts with the BIOS and causes more problems than it solves. The (2) decent BIOS versions to use are 1104 and 0906; 1104 addresses USB 'issues' whatever they supposedly are ASUS is vague per usual.

Trust me, change the Intel SATA -> RAID and watch the BSOD. IF the Intel RSTE were properly installed you would not receive a BSOD -- assuming the Start values = 0 per my guide. My good friend Tecmo34 has the same MOBO and I went through this all with him. The only reason I recommend setting Intel SATA -> RAID is it prevents the wrong root drivers to be installed.

As far as the image http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb227/kylecpcs/Intel... mine is the exact same, and I know it's up to date. Would uploading the screenshot make you feel better?

May 16, 2012 7:27:29 PM

OK, I think we re having a disconnect here...

I am not updating the BIOS from Windows, and never do. I ONLY installed the Asus update utility (not the rest of the suite) just to verify the differences, if any, between the BIOS file I already had and the one I just downloaded. I updated my BIOS before I even built the system, using the EZ flash USB method in the back of the board. Obviously, it took, as the updater shows my current version is at the latest 1104 as you mention.

In regards to the screenshot I posted, I think you misunderstand what I was pointing out. Both of those windows are from MY board. The Intel updater says I have 9.3.0.1020, which is exactly the file I downloaded and installed on my board from Intel. But my USB host controller says 9.2.3.1013. You had claimed that 9.2.3.1020 was the latest, but Intel's own website says differently...here is the link to the chipset files on Intel.com:
http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&...(64-bit)*&DownloadType=Drivers
These are the files I installed, after having originally tried the latest on ASUS' website.

I'm not sure I follow your following paragraph about BSODs. I am not currently getting any BSODs, just temporary freezes which knock the USB ports offline. I'm not sure what you are trying to get me to try with the AHCI vs RAID settings. I am not currently running a RAID. Are you saying to put it into RAID mode anyway?

As for my drivers, here are my versions:
Intel C600 Series SATA AHCI is at 3.1.0.1068 with a date of 3/15/2012
Marvell 91xx STA 6G is at 1.2.0.1019 with a date of 11/11/2011
Asmedia XHCI Controller is at 1.14.8.0 with a driver date of 2/21/2012
Asmedia eSATA is at 1.3.4.0 with a driver date of 1/5/2012
Intel Chipset is at 9.3.0.1020 with a date of 2/16/2012
Intel USB host controller is at 9.2.3.1013 with a date of 3/16/2011

And finally, my RSTe is at 3.1.0.1068 with a date of 3/15/2012 (this is the actual date of the iaAHCI.cat file inside the 3.1.0.1085 RSTe download).

I would encourage you to check all of your versions (or your friend's) and compare your driver versions and dates to mine and let me know what the differences are.


a c 207 Ĉ ASUS
a b å Intel
a c 715 V Motherboard
May 16, 2012 8:24:21 PM

I'm not going to try to analyze your driver versions, and I know all of mine are 100% up to date and correct.

One last time, IF Intel SATA -> RAID results in a BSOD with Start = 0 (see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976 ) then the RSTE is not installed properly. I have lost count on how many posts I've gone through this SAME argument. The folks that listen are happy and have moved on, but those who don't -- definition of crazy.

A 'Driver Set' especially a Chipset has a plethora of different driver versions (both new and older) which is normal; just go through your 'System devices' in the Device Manager.

The only RSTE package that I know that is validated for your MOBO is V3.0.0.2003, for mine it's V3.0.0.3011. I'd be damn cautions about downloading either a Chipset or RSTE package -- your chipset package** is V9.2.3.1020 and only use the Intel® Driver Update Utility after using the latest from ASUS. Unlike other drivers - Realtek, GPU, NIC, etc you can go to the OEM. Really bad example is going to Marvell or some 'driver site' and updating a wrong driver set that also has an embedded Firmware updater -- poof -- bricked MOBO with permanently unusable Marvell ports.

Bottom-line being safe & smart, use the latest ASUS listed drivers, you can run 'Intel® Driver Update Utility', obviously the latest GPU drivers from nVidia/AMD, Windows update, and Realtek (if needed). That's as far as I recommend you do, others are at your own risk.

--
** As I recall Tecmo34 had an issue with the Chipset from 'Intel® Driver Update Utility' -- as I recall it was because he didn't follow my Guide, but once he did it was okay.
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