Tag Archives: bsod

A Forced Reinstalled

My XP installation went up in smoke, well, a “user32.dll not found” BSOD on boot error at least. At least my reinstallation was partially planned.

Just to note in case I ever come across the error again (it BSOD’ed after the scrolling loading bar of windows, but before the login screen appeared) there are a variety of probable reasons the BOSD occured – all of them pretty unrecoverable. Hive registry corruption, files being missing or corrupted from the system32 folder, driver problems or hardware problems. Notably checkdsk performed fine off a PE disk, there are no viruses, and the only hardware problem I did know of was an external HDD (a older Maxtor one) noting a missing driver for installing it’s front button.

It’s a toss up between a “as good as reinstalled” fresh registry, meaning nothing appears as installed, and many programs break (gee, thanks Microsoft. I love single points of failure), and reinstalling. The latter option at least means I can install newer drivers, and get it fresh – and more importantly, sort my RAID config out.

Interestingly, I couldn’t do RAID1 with more then 2 drives, or RAID5 with more then 3. Funny motherboard support for software RAID to be honest. RAID10 (1+0) on 4 HDD’s is good enough for my OS and data – so cut back on the data a bit. RAID0 on 2 HDD’s for my games, for speed, and since I wouldn’t miss the installations as much as the data.

This is one reason I’m effectively offline though. I only just got things installed yesterday (nLite is brilliant in most respects for creating a good boot CD, just takes a while going through all the tweaks 🙂 ). I did get all my data off before deleting my RAID config, well, I hope everything important.

This also gives me a chance to try some new firewall/AV stuff. I’m trying ESET security (nod32) on trial – not too impressed so far (the firewall seems a bit cumbersome to edit, AV a bit uncustomisable), but the memory/CPU front seems lower then my past firewalls or AV’s. Once the trial is over I’ll decide whether to keep or try Comodo’s (which firewall I used before, and was okay), or some other – suggestions welcome, and AV isn’t entirely necessary (not many seem to integrate well with Thunderbird, sigh), to be honest – but a decent firewall is paramount (stopping outgoing things, and opening incoming ports, for a variety of reasons – especially when I am up to trying some networking stuff).

Quickly before I continue though, I won’t be using AVG or Avira, since they’re okay but pretty hefty. McAfee isn’t very good generally, Kapersky is not great in any respect (totally unusable, unbearably slow). Avast and Sophos are pretty unweildy (and not free). Don’t even get me started on Samantec/Norton, the bane of all problems on a PC (it’s almost true, if there are viruses it’s not detected or can’t remove, they’re less of a problem then Symantec itself. Shame people pay for it).

Since starting work I’ve also decided system restory at a low % of my drive space (80GB OS partition) is a good idea for the OS. At least it’ll give me a chance to get back in easily if the registry corrupts. some other things I usually remove I’ve left running too, a bit more typical setup – for the minor problems I sometimes had before, because I have 3GB of RAM now.


Okay, so annoyingly I was “taken offline” (well, by my own devices) by installing some new RAM. New RAM that should have run fine at the EPP settings, although they don’t automatically activate with my motherboard (Asus PB5-Deluxe), setting it manually makes my system rather unstable:

Downtime number 1…my first bit of debug info

I also installed some new nVidia drivers at a similar time (180.40), and these in fact caused a problem when I didn’t uninstall and remove the old ones, but seemingly had nothing to do with this error. However it did BSOD separately with an nVidia driver error in Fallout 3, so I reverted to the old drivers for now. This is separate but equally frustrating, and I need a fresh XP install to really install the new drivers I guess.

Therefore, this error was my RAM doing something wonky – according to Google anyway. I at the moment have given up on overclocking it to the recommended and slightly faster settings, since I’d prefer a stable system. I can’t even seem to get this tester tool running for more then a few minutes – my CPU gets to 70 degrees celcius after a few minutes out of the hour test. Annoying!

I reseated the RAM, but I suspect it’s some setting or other in the BIOS, since it did it again (and a third unrecorded time):

Downtime number 2 (of many more)

I’ll have to get back to this error later. It could also be to do with my paging file being corrupted or somesuch by my motherboards software RAID, but since I turned off the overclocking I haven’t had the same problems, thus it really rules that out. The RAM is also dandy – ran Memtest a few times on separate occasions just fine, and I overclocked my previous RAM to a similar set of standards. We’ll see if I can get it working when I reinstall, and do things a bit more rigorously. With a lot of rubbish on my XP install, and me wanting to get my RAID sorted out better, it’d be good to test on a clean working install. I also could just avoid the whole issue and, you know, ignore the fact I can’t get the better timings and go for the slightly higher but more stable ones 😉

Also a shame I can’t run the /PAE flag on Windows, it simply can’t recognise more then the 4GB total address space (which, with my audio card and 640MB nVidia card, totals at 2.93GB of space available). Might try disabling a few more non-needed bits from my motherboard, but the extra RAM is welcome, especially since I intend to install a second OS in the form of Vista x64, which will make use of the extra RAM.

At least my PC will keep going for a while longer. Fallout 3 runs nicely on High, and I could probably up some of the settings if I liked – although the amount of times it just crashes is getting exceedingly high to the point of frustration now, with me not knowing why (since it boots back into the game just fine right after a crash…).