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(Solved) Unable to boot into safe mode

Last response: in Windows 8
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January 29, 2013 12:11:23 AM

Hi,

First, a little background on how I'm in my current situation:

I'm dual-booting Windows 8 64-bit and Mac OSX Mountain Lion (Hackintosh). Recently, within the past few weeks, my computer started randomly rebooting. No error messages or blue screens, the system would just suddenly turn off and start back up again. If I was playing a game at the time, my screen would go black, but I could hear sound, and then the system would just go off. It didn't seem to matter what I was doing, sometimes it would happen within minutes of turning on the system, sometimes days.

At first I thought my hard drive might be dying, but after running several diagnostic and health tests on it, it seemed to be fine. I downloaded WhoCrashed (a program that displays the dump files after a crash), and it told me it was my graphics driver. I'm running a fairly brand new (couple month-old) EVGA Geforce GTX 680. I checked for updates, and found I'm running the latest version. After doing some digging, I found that the driver (version 310.90) can cause crashes in Windows 8. I tried uninstalling and deleting the files with Driver Fusion, and installing an older version (310.70), but after rebooting all I got was a black screen.

So, I've been trying to boot into safe mode. Because I couldn't boot into the OS, I tried accessing the advanced recovery through the shift-f8 repair menu but instead of rebooting and presenting me with boot options, it just immediately presented me with an error saying something like it was unable to access the recovery tools. I ended up using a system restore point and tried to boot into safe mode via the safe boot mode in msconfig, but for some reason the OS list on the 'boot' tab is empty and the safe boot options are greyed out and unclickable. I tried running the bcdedit command in a command prompt, but I get 'The boot configuration data store could not be opened. The system could not find the file specified.'

I think this is the reason I can't boot into safe mode, but I've tried following several guides (such as this one: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ht/rebuild-bcd-store-windows.htm)on rebuilding/recreating the BCD file, and I got stuck on 'Successfully scanned Windows installations.
Total identified Windows installations: 0'. The guide says this is okay, and to move on to step 5: 'bcdedit /export c:\bcdbackup' but I just get 'the store export operation has failed. The system cannot find the file specified.'

I'm completely lost. I've tried everything I can think of, including trying to unhide the recovery partition, but the partition type isn't as expected - it's 'EE' for some reason and not an accessible volume, so I can't assign a drive letter. Anyone have any ideas?
January 29, 2013 5:28:23 PM

Well, I've managed to fix it. The issue was my Windows partition, for whatever reason, wasn't marked as Active, so the repair tools couldn't find my installation. I used my Windows 7 install disk (since I don't have one for 8 - I downloaded the upgrade using a key) to run diskpart, and after marking the partition as active I ran the the bcdedit /rebuildbcd command and it's working fine now.
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a b * Windows 8
January 29, 2013 8:02:38 PM

Active boot partition flag will not cause your first problem. Your first problem sounds like a brown out in your power supply causing a reset to your CPU because of a low power state. I would check your power supply and/or see if your motherboard or graphics card is pulling too much power.
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January 30, 2013 12:59:21 AM

johnbl said:
Active boot partition flag will not cause your first problem. Your first problem sounds like a brown out in your power supply causing a reset to your CPU because of a low power state. I would check your power supply and/or see if your motherboard or graphics card is pulling too much power.


I know, originally I thought it was because of a driver issue (the version I was using is widely being reported as causing crashes/rebooting like I'm getting with Windows 8, thus why I needed to get to safe mode), but even after going back to an older version, I'm still getting the same issue. How would I know if my card's using too much power? HWMonitor is reporting 0.987 Volts. My power supply is a Corsair 750W.
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a b * Windows 8
January 30, 2013 2:17:37 AM

Try holding down the shift key when you select restart on windows 8 to get to the BIOS.
a good power supply can detect too low voltages and too high power draw. Too low voltage results in a signal that resets the microprocessor. If this happens you will get no error logs Oe memory dumps. The system will act like you turned off the power and back on. It starts counting memory. Google how to force a memory dump and put a dump of your system on the cloud and I can take a quick look to see what the os thinks your system is doing.
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a b * Windows 8
January 31, 2013 1:31:12 AM

Vertimyst said:
Here's my dump file: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/107551015/MEMORY.DMP

I checked my BIOS and my power readings seem normal, no fluctuation. I didn't look at it for an extended period, though.

the memory dump seems to have a file size of zero bytes.
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January 31, 2013 3:13:14 AM

Should be 581 MB (normal for a dump?), but I reuploaded it. If it's still not working I can zip/rar it and upload it to Mediafire or something.
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a b * Windows 8
February 1, 2013 1:04:16 AM

Vertimyst said:
Should be 581 MB (normal for a dump?), but I reuploaded it. If it's still not working I can zip/rar it and upload it to Mediafire or something.

i do find the file with the path given but, it just downloads a zero byte file. maybe try another service or check permissions?
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February 1, 2013 2:39:22 AM

johnbl said:
i do find the file with the path given but, it just downloads a zero byte file. maybe try another service or check permissions?


Ah, yeah, it was the permissions. I copied it to my desktop, it's properly uploading now. I'll re-post when it finishes. In the meantime, I've rechecked my voltages - at the moment, according to CPUID HWMonitor, they are:

+3.3V: 3.376 V
+5V: 5.064 V
+12V: 11.877 V

When I was in my BIOS, those numbers were fairly consistent except that the +12V was showing as something like 11.5, but it seemed to vary. It's staying consistent now. Is 11.8 normal for a +12V rail?
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a b * Windows 8
February 1, 2013 1:05:55 PM

Note: can not locate your dropbox file when I checked a few mins ago.

the power connector to your mother board has two control signals. Pin 8 and pin 16
pin 16 indicates that the power supply is on. Pin 16 indicates that the power is good.
the power supply controls both of these signals.
Normally, when you turn on your power supply, the power good signal will be low (zero) until the power ramps up and becomes stable. Your motherboard keeps the CPU reset until that signal turns to 1 to indicate power is good. Now your CPU can start it work to boot the machine. later, you start up a game and that game requires your 3d graphics card, this requires extra power. If it pulls too much power, a good power supply will attempt to protect your system by turning the power good signal to zero. This resets your processor, at the same time it kills your program that was running on the graphics card and the load on the power supply drops back to normal so the power supply turns the power good signal back to 1 and your system starts to boot again.

Now you have to find out why the PSU thinks it is taking too much power.
(note: cheap power supplies just hard code power good signal to 1 and never shut down on overload, your motherboard just melts and catches fire)

common reasons for using too much power:
-most of the time people do not connect or have a bad connection on the external power connector to their graphics card. This means the graphics card has to get all of its power thru the PCI card bus. The bus can supply enough power for 2D graphics but not when the card goes to 3d mode.
-overclocking: people overclock their CPU, memory and graphics card
all overclocking increase the power requirements. sometime you have to turn off overclocking or even underclock your system to see if your problem goes away.

BIOS setting: I have seen people update a BIOS and have things set to auto only to find that the defaults are not correct in the updated BIOS. For example, I looked at one where the auto CPU voltage was set to 1 volt rather than the correct 1.4 volts
it caused a lot of screwed up results.

oops, got to run
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a b * Windows 8
February 2, 2013 6:54:59 PM

just looked at your induced memory dump.
the system thinks you have the following:
initel I5 750 at 2.67GHz, current speed is 2675 MHz -ok
American Megatrends BIOS 1702 date 5/21/210
Asus p7p55d rev 1.x motherboard
processor voltage 1.0v (this is sometimes dynamically changed)
current speed was 266Mhz but max allowed speed was 3800MHz

I think this is your pro6blem, I think the max speed for that processor is incorrect in your BIOS. it should be 3200Mhz (1 or 2 cores) and 2800 for (3 or 4 cores)

I would look for a BIOS update or a way to limit your max clock speed in turbo mode to be within spec ( not 3800 MHz) I think your CPU shutdown cores and attempted to run turbo and had the wrong turbo limit, overheated the core and shut it down.
maybe turn off the auto turbo functions in the motherboard to see if your problems go away.

memory was 3.3v at 1333MHZ
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February 3, 2013 12:25:29 AM

johnbl said:
just looked at your induced memory dump.
the system thinks you have the following:
initel I5 750 at 2.67GHz, current speed is 2675 MHz -ok
American Megatrends BIOS 1702 date 5/21/210
Asus p7p55d rev 1.x motherboard
processor voltage 1.0v (this is sometimes dynamically changed)
current speed was 266Mhz but max allowed speed was 3800MHz

I think this is your pro6blem, I think the max speed for that processor is incorrect in your BIOS. it should be 3200Mhz (1 or 2 cores) and 2800 for (3 or 4 cores)

I would look for a BIOS update or a way to limit your max clock speed in turbo mode to be within spec ( not 3800 MHz) I think your CPU shutdown cores and attempted to run turbo and had the wrong turbo limit, overheated the core and shut it down.
maybe turn off the auto turbo functions in the motherboard to see if your problems go away.

memory was 3.3v at 1333MHZ


I've turned off turbo mode in my BIOS, didn't help. After completely deleting my graphics card entry from device manager, disabling automatic driver installation, and re-installing the official drivers the crashes seemed to be delayed (no crash for a couple days), until now. I've checked WhoCrashed again and it reports:

Quote:
This was probably caused by the following module: nvlddmkm.sys (0xFFFFF880092D5B57)
Bugcheck code: 0x50 (0xFFFFF88806DF2FF8, 0x1, 0xFFFFF880092D5B57, 0x2)
Error: PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
file path: C:\Windows\system32\drivers\nvlddmkm.sys
product: NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, Version 313.96
company: NVIDIA Corporation
description: NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, Version 313.96
Bug check description: This indicates that invalid system memory has been referenced.
This appears to be a typical software driver bug and is not likely to be caused by a hardware problem.
A third party driver was identified as the probable root cause of this system error. It is suggested you look for an update for the following driver: nvlddmkm.sys (NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, Version 313.96 , NVIDIA Corporation).


Which is why I thought it was graphics-related. Different drivers haven't helped, though. I'm using the latest beta at the moment, but I've tried the latest stable driver (what I was on when this started), and the two before that, no luck.

This is the mini-dump from the crash: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/107551015/020213-23446-01.dmp

While I was posting this the driver failed again, but this time Windows recovered it instead of the system completely rebooting.
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