Incompatible OS?

August 10, 2009 at 19:56:34
Specs: Windows XP Pro 32, Intel Core2 Quad Q9400, G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM
I recently bought all new components to build myself a decent machine (for once) but I'm having a lot of trouble getting it to run stably. I've concluded that it isn't the graphics card, nor the psu, though I consistently got bsod'd out of the sims 3 and fallout after a few minutes of playtime with a nv4_disp.dll error. Just using the onboard video(after uninstalling the graphics card) and doing things like scrolling a web page or playing video still results in regular crashes that bsod and instantly restarts the machine (on restart the error report displays "Mini081009-02.dmp" and "sysdata.xml" as being the culprits). I've scrubbed the registry, reinstalled all my drivers after removing them using driver sweeper. My suspicion is that it is a result of using a very outdated OS, win xp pro 32. I'm holding out on upgrading because a friend can get me a cheap copy of windows 7. Am I screwed until I upgrade? Any help is appreciated.

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August 10, 2009 at 20:38:41
I wouldn't call XP a very outdated OS, still runs fine and many people use it, but "a friend can get me a cheap copy" Windows 7 isn't out yet so therefore the only copy he can get is a beta version, so don't pay for it lol.

Also, have you tried running checkdisk?

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August 10, 2009 at 20:41:17
I doubt that your problems have anything to do with your OS version.

There are some recent mboards that won't work properly with ME and previous, but I've never heard of or encountered a new or fairly recent PC mboard that won't work properly with XP.

Whenever you load Windows from a regular Windows CD (or DVD) from scratch, after Setup is finished you must load the drivers for the mboard, particularly the main chipset drivers, in order for Windows to have the proper drivers for and information about your mboard hardware, including it's AGP or PCI-E, ACPI, USB 2.0 if it has it, and hard drive controller support. If you have a generic system and have the CD that came with the mboard, all the necessary drivers are on it. If you load drivers from the web, brand name system builders and mboard makers often DO NOT have the main chipset drivers listed in the downloads for your model - in that case you must go to the maker of the main chipset's web site, get the drivers, and load them.

Win XP is set by default to automatically reboot when it encounters an unrecoverable error.

To have XP possibly display an error message you can investigate instead of the computer rebooting:

1. Click Start, and then right-click My Computer.
2. Click Properties.
3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
4. Under System failure, click on the small box beside Automatically restart to remove the checkmark.
5. Click OK, and then click OK.

If you then get an error message, look at all of it's details.


That's a nVidia file.

nVidia is well known to usually NOT fix problems with their video drivers and main chipset drivers - try an newer or older version if you keep getting errors about nvidia files no matter what you try.

Windows can't always tell you what specifically went wrong. Often the file specified in the error message is a file affected by something else having gone wrong, not the actual cause of the problem. Sometimes it helps to search the web using the exact wording of the error message, or several words in a row in it, to find the real cause of the problem.

NOTE that games are often leading edge software and are more likely to NOT work properly than most programs with all systems that meet or exceed the minimum hardware requirements for the game. If you ONLY get certain errors or the computer crashes when you're using a game, it's probably the game that is the problem. See the game's web site for t-shooting info. If that doesn't help you may just have to stop using that game - sell it to someone you know.

Unplug the case/power supply.
Power off your monitor.
Open up the case
Check all the connections of the wiring to make sure they are all the way onto their pins and into their sockets, especially the main connector from the power supply. The wires close to the mboard going into the main power connector/socket should be more or less perpendicular to the mboard surface rather than at an angle. Make sure all cards in slots are all the way down in their slots.

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

Ram that works in another mboard , or any ram you buy or have lying around, may not work properly, or sometimes, not at all - even if it physically fits and is the right overall type (e.g. SDram, DDR, DDR2, etc.; PCxxxx, xxx mhz) for your mboard. In the worst cases of incompatibilty your mboard WILL NOT BOOT all the way with it installed, and the mboard may not even beep - the ram has to be compatible with the mboard's main chipset, or in the case of recent mboards, compatible with the memory controller built into the cpu.

If you still have the ram that was installed when the system worked fine, try installing just that ram.

See response 5 in this for some info about ram compatibilty, and some places where you can find out what will work in your mboard for sure:
Correction to that:

Once you know which module ID strings work in your mboard, you can get them from anywhere you like that has ram with those ID strings.

If you have brand name ram, it is usually easy to look up whether it's ID string is in a list of compatible modules found by using your mboard or brand name system model number.
If the ram is generic, that may be difficult or impossible.

If you do a ram test, do that AFTER having tried cleaning the contacts and making sure the ram is seated properly - otherwise any errors found may be FALSE.
If the ram is incompatible with the chipset, or on more recent computers, incompatible with the memory controller built into the cpu, it will likely FAIL a ram test - that is NOT a true indication of the ram being faulty - there is probably nothing wrong with it, and it will pass the test if installed in a mboard it is compatible with.
If a ram test DOES find errors, if you have more than one module installed, try the test with one module at a time - sometimes they won't work properly when more than one is installed, but it will pass when by itself.

If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittant, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.

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August 11, 2009 at 00:55:23
Well you might need to rethinking the upgrade of OS so ithink you should go back to your Original Os.

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August 11, 2009 at 02:27:27
"tubes..." just to say what a well put together trouble-shoot outline... trvlr

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August 11, 2009 at 07:37:14
Thanks for that, trvlr.

However, someone has rated response 2 a -1.

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August 11, 2009 at 15:29:50
I didn't see any thing about system specs, Win7 isn't in stores yet for purches. But if you go to microsoft you can get Win7 rc for free and you can use it untill june or july of next year. Btw is the chip set on the motherboard Nvidia?

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August 11, 2009 at 23:40:01
Dblanchard is right I think you should inform us what kind of computer that you are using.

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August 12, 2009 at 09:56:07
Thanks for all the input, especially that of Tubesandwires. I looked up both my ram and mobo for memory compatibility and neither list eachother so I'm fairly certain that the RAM I got is incompatible. The mobo is a Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L, if you care to confirm my suspicion. I also did as you suggested and ran the windows memory diagnostic, and it failed regularly on a particular pass. I'm going to buy one of my mobos listed compatible RAM and hopefully that will fix my problem. Thanks again!

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August 12, 2009 at 10:41:49
"Tubes".. how does one rate a post here????

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August 12, 2009 at 10:53:23
"I looked up both my ram and mobo for memory compatibility and neither list eachother so I'm fairly certain that the RAM I got is incompatible."

I have noted G-Skil web site has a very poor memory look up feature - lots of mboards and brand name systems are not even listed.

The most important thing is whether it passes a ram diagnostic test.
Try cleaning the ram contacts and then re-seating the ram FIRST, and then running a memory diagnostic test, such as the one I suggested above.
If you then get errors, that's your problem.
Usually when ram is incompatible the number of errors is small enough such that the computer still works but you get random problems happen because of that.

"I also did as you suggested and ran the windows memory diagnostic, and it failed regularly on a particular pass."

Did you try cleaning the ram contacts and re-seating the ram BEFORE doing that? If you didn't do that, do that, then run the tests.

If you DO get errors...

G-Skil is an"also-ran" memory module maker. Some of the "also-ran" manufacturers bogusly rate the ram timing ratings for when only ONE module is installed in a mboard, or haven't actually tested their ram modules in specific mboard models. The long time major ram module makers such as Kingston, Crucial, Mushkin, Corsair, etc. usually actually have tested the ram with all slots occupied in the specific models thay list in their lookup lists - their ram timings can be relied on to be reliable for when more than one module is installed .
You could try manually setting the ram timing settings in the bios to HIGHER numbers, which runs it a un-noticable tiny bit slower - the ram may then work fine in a ram diagnostic. If you have a mixture of ram module timings, the bios is supposed to auto set all of the ram ram to the slowest timings - the higest timing numbers (if the bios is set to determine settings for the ram by SPD or similar, which is usually the default - that may not be set properly if the ram doesn't strictly adhere to the JEDEC standards - see next).You could try setting the timings manually to higher numbers than the slowest (highest numbered) module timings

Also - some "also-ran" ram manufacturer's don't strictly adhere to the JEDEC ram standards mboard manufacturers use for their mboards and bioses. In that case, the bios may not automatically set the default timings for the ram to the timings specified - printed on the ram module and/or stated in the specs for the ram module - you may have to set the ram to the specified timingsmanually or as close as you can get to that in the bios Setup. Some mboard makers warn you about that possible problem in the mboard manual, and/or on the web site in the info for the model, and/or in the tested ram compatibilty info for the model.

By the way, if you're using XP Pro 32 bit, which is what most people have, 32 bit versions of Windows 2000, XP, and Vista have a virtual 4gb memory address limit - for both the ram and what Windows needs. When you install 4gb of ram, Windows can't actually use all of the 4gb for user data - it uses slightly more or slightly less than 3gb of it, depending on the mboard.
I tried an experiment with a friend's recent Asus AM2+ mboard system (6400+ cpu) that I had installed for him - he's using XP Home, which is always 32 bit. When I installed 3gb of ram rather than 4, Windows ran perceptively and noticably better, and slightly MORE ram was listed as available in System Information, in comparison with 4gb of ram being installed. The ram is two different sets of pairs of 1gb modules bought as matched pairs that support dual channel mode.

What about 3gb of ram not running in dual channel mode (e.g. usually 3 modules must all run in single channel mode)?

On most dual channel capable mboards all the ram must be installed in matched pairs meant to run in dual channel mode of the same size in specific slots in order for all the ram to be able to run in dual channel mode. HOWEVER, when the ram is running in dual channel mode there is only a very very tiny advantage to that in the real world - it's very hard to even notice the difference the vast majority of the time. The beneficial effect of installing 3gb rather than 4gb in a 32 bit OS is usually much more noticable that whether the ram is all in dual channel mode.
It's very hard to even notice the difference the vast majority of the time for the same total amount of ram, even numbers of modules or not, running in single or dual channel mode.
NOTE that I have noticed that many recent brand name systems being sold have 3gb ram installed on them rather than 4gb if they have a 32 bit operating system on it.

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August 12, 2009 at 11:36:10
""Tubes".. how does one rate a post here????"

That feature appeared recently - not more than a couple of weeks ago.
I haven't used it but apparently you click on the large blue up or down arrow at the bottom of a post if you see that.

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August 12, 2009 at 12:01:15
"Tubes" - Takk for that...

Blue up/down buttons...! Somethings are getting too komplikated for some of us...

Also maybe some pholks could consider - if you ain't got nuthin nice to say.... maybe don't say nuthin???

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August 12, 2009 at 12:08:08
Unfortunately those who have a gripe about something are more likely to use a feature like that to negate it.
Same goes for user reviews of products on the web.

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