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DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL - Windows XP hangups

Last response: in Windows XP
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August 3, 2002 12:55:37 AM

Hello everyone,

My hardware is:
Asus A7V333 motherboard, BIOS 1005
Athlon XP 2100+
512MB Corsair RAM
Stripped array of 2 80GB Maxtor 740DXs with NTFS

Operating system is Windows XP Professional, with all the updates available in the Microsoft web page installed.

My problem is that when I run Windows Media Player 8.00.00.4477 (also with all the updates installed) I get the infamous blue screen with a DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error and my PC reboots. It happens only with some mpg video clips.

Any hints on how to solve this problem?
August 3, 2002 2:43:55 AM

Maybe these links will help:

<A HREF="http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?ID=KB;EN-US;q306317" target="_new">Troubleshooting Playback in Windows Media Player for Windows XP</A>

<A HREF="http://dave-partridge.com/stop errors.shtml" target="_new">Windows XP Stop Errors</A>

I can't tell you more without knowing the parameters of the STOP error ... although this kind of error is due to an incompatible or out-dated device driver (such as with the sound card), or an IRQ conflict with another device, 99% of the time.

Have you looked for additional information on the problem that might be listed in the Event Viewer Logs? Control Panel\Administrative Tools\Event Viewer ... Application and System.

By the way, Microsoft does not support files created with the MPEG4 version 3 codec. If that is relevant, in this situation.

Toejam31

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
__________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Some push the envelope. Some just lick it. And some can't find the flap."</font color=purple>
August 5, 2002 6:05:34 PM

that is a very strange error indeed, i had trouble with it in my sisters computer, the only solution was reformat, i also had it pop up at my office, it was very widespread and i had never seen it before. to this day i dont know if it was a coincidence or not but i found a printer had a bad nic in it and was sending out network giberish, as soon as i fixed that printer the blue screens stoped.

how do you shoot the devil in the back? what happens if you miss? -verbal
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August 5, 2002 9:32:47 PM

The real problem is that it is a vague error, especially if the user cannot identify the source of the parameters that are listed along with the BSOD.

But 99% of the time it's either due to an older, incompatible driver, an incompatible software program, or an IRQ conflict. In that order.

If the problem happens to be due to hardware, formatting the hard drive is usually just a stopgap. As soon as the "bad" driver is reinstalled, the error comes back.

It can also happen while installing the OS if a device is connected that isn't compatible with WinXP. This is why it's always better to install the OS on a barebones system, and then add any PCI cards after Windows is already up and running.

Toejam31

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
__________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Some push the envelope. Some just lick it. And some can't find the flap."</font color=purple>
August 7, 2002 5:57:44 PM

Ive seen that error alot of times. PLain and simple. Hardware conflict (likely, but unlikel). Your BIOS is messed. Try flashing it. Do all the standards like disable L1 & L2 cache, reset configuration all that sorta jazz. I never been able to resolve the issue and a new MB was needed each time I came across the error.

:smile: <font color=red>Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do! :wink: <font color=black> Think outside the box!
August 7, 2002 6:50:34 PM

I've seen this error on more than one occasion, too ... and I don't recall ever needing to replace a mainboard to fix the problem. The probability that this is an issue with an outdated or incompatible driver is very high, and primarily the reason that many users see this BSOD, especially in Win2K/WinXP.

It rarely has anything to do with the BIOS, unless there is some kind of interference with the APIC controller and/or ACPI power management.

The reason you have never been able to fix this kind of problem is because your assessment of the source of the error is way out in left field. This explains why you felt it was necessary to RMA your mainboard each time it occurred.

For example, I recently made a house call to a customer's residence, who was complaining of this error, and was unable to load Windows. It didn't take long to discover that the problem was due to a driver for his new ADSL modem, as the driver on the installation CD was outdated. Booting up in Safe Mode, uninstalling the driver, and replacing it with a newer version from the manufacturer permanently fixed the problem.

Obviously, I didn't change a single setting in his BIOS, or recommend that the customer replace the mainboard.

I suggest that the next time you run across an error of this nature, you use a tool like <A HREF="http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/libr..." target="_new">Driver Verifier</A> to ascertain the specific file that is causing the BSOD.

Toejam31

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
__________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Some push the envelope. Some just lick it. And some can't find the flap."</font color=purple>
August 8, 2002 1:51:40 PM

Im not going to dispute the fact that your right. You always provide good opinions and answers for people that post. Im speaking from personal experience (and shouldve mentioned that:(  .) I have come accross the issue on older systems with P3's in them.

We always thought as you have that it had to be a driver somewhere. So we did all the standards. Remove old drivers and put new ones in. Tried all new HW (PCI cards, drives, RAM, Video and even CPU). Nothing was onboard the MOBO. Did a fresh install of XP. Did standard BIOS stuff as well. The issue would keep reoccuring. Once old HW configuration was put on a new MOBO everything was fine (Fresh install of XP as well)

I guess my experience was the worst that could be of that error. You cant dispute the fact that this issue couldnt happen, but I was incorrect to jump the gun on this one. Usually my posts are informative but when I seen this error all I could think is the frustration I went through.

:smile: <font color=red>Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do! :wink: <font color=black> Think outside the box!
August 8, 2002 4:29:26 PM

I can definitely understand your frustration. With a faulty mainboard, all kind of errors can occur, most of which don't always appear to make a great deal of sense. The standard troubleshooting methods may not seem to apply, especially if the board is damaged in some way, such as having a bad capacitor, IDE Controller, or a short in the wiring.

In a situation like that, replacing the board may be the only real option. And that <i>is</i> about as bad as it gets. You have my real sympathies towards your previous difficulties. I know exactly how that feels, unfortunately.

The reason for my response to you (and the way it was worded):

First off, I found it unlikely that the problem that gaviota was/is having with Windows Media Player was due to his BIOS settings. I thought disabling his L1 and L2 cache and flashing the BIOS was overkill, and might lead him away from the real source of the problem, which was more likely to be a corrupted or missing file, a damaged codec, other software that was interfering with the playback, or a driver conflict of some kind. In fact, instead of helping him eliminate the error, this advice could have ended up causing even more problems than originally existed in the first place!

Your post also led me to believe that each time you had seen this error, you got creative with the BIOS settings, ... found that nothing really helped, and popped in a new mainboard, thinking that this was the only real solution if an error like this appeared. And that this had happened on several occasions in the past. I found this kind of alarming, and didn't want gaviota to think that each time he saw an error of this nature, the only way to fix it was with a new board. That could get expensive.

The basic explanation for an "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" error is, (according to Micro$oft):

<font color=green><i>"Typically due to faulty or incompatible hardware or software. A kernel-mode process or driver attempted to access a memory location to which it did not have permission, or at a kernel Interrupt ReQuest Level (IRQL) that was too high. A kernel-mode process can access only other processes that have an IRQL lower than, or equal to, its own."</i></font color=green>

This is the information that I wanted to convey. You can see that the error can <i>definitely</i> occur due to faulty hardware. But I thought the possibility in this situation of the error being because of damage to the mainboard, and/or one or more of the multimedia controllers was slim, or the error would be occurring at other times, too ... not just during the playback of an MPEG. If there was a problem due to the BIOS settings, again ... the error would occur far more often, such as immediately upon booting the system, or when shutting down.

The fact is ... in some respects, you were completely correct. But only if the mainboard/BIOS was incompatible with the operating system, or if it was damaged in some way. I also think you had the best of intentions when answering the post, but perhaps you didn't necessarily consider that the issue could be due to a lesser problem that might not require total hardware replacement. Despite your unhappy personal experience.

<i>That</i> was the aspect of the post I found it important to dispute.

I tend to work "small", and then start advising people to yank out the hardware and replace it when all other options are exhausted.

And now that we have both explained ourselves, perhaps gaviota might post some extra information about his problem, such as the parameters of the error message!

See ya! :smile:

Toejam31

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
__________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Some push the envelope. Some just lick it. And some can't find the flap."</font color=purple>
August 8, 2002 8:49:57 PM

Thanks for your replies...just dont get angry at each other, I think everyone's experiences and ideas are valuable and welcome.
Last night I was almost sure that the problem was caused by an "updated" video card driver which I downlodaded from the Microsoft website about a month ago. I uninstalled the driver and installed the original driver that came with the ATI CD, but the problem persists. Maybe the Windows Update utility changed other files too?
At least I'm pretty sure its a software/driver and not a hardware problem because if I start the PC in safe mode the problem disappears.
Tonight I will try the Driver Verifier to see if it gives me more information.
August 9, 2002 1:52:12 AM

It's all cool :cool:

:smile: <font color=red>Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do! :wink: <font color=black> Think outside the box!
August 9, 2002 2:33:11 PM

Last night I was finally able to solve the problem. Almost everyone, including myself, thought it was a video card driver problem, but it was an audio driver problem.
To pin point the problem I used the driver verifier mentioned by Toejam31. I didn't know that this program existed, its very useful to solve these kind of problems. After setting it up, it slows down your system, but the next time the PC hangs up you get a lot more information in the blue screen indicating the exact driver that's causing the problem. In my case it was cmaudio.sys, an "updated" audio driver I had downloaded from the Microsoft website a couple of months ago. I uninstalled it and reinstalled the original driver that came with the motherboard and the problem disappeared.

Lesson Leaned: If your drivers are working fine, never download any "updates" from Microsoft.
August 9, 2002 2:36:29 PM

Last but not least...Thanks to everyone for your help.
!