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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    I am running Win XP Pro on a Dell machine that's about 6 years old. I have a second machine that is identical that I bought the same time. I recently put new RAM chips into both to max the machines out to 2 GB RAM each (using Kingston modules). On one machine, I am now getting fairly frequent BSODs, where, as far as I can recall, I never had one before. The second machine has not had one. I've been reading a lot of threads that suggest the new RAM could be bad, but I don't understand how to test it. I always thought modern RAM modules were pretty much foolproof. Could the new RAM be the problem? The BSOD messages vary but always include 5 strings of letters and numbers, 4 of which are in parentheses. There is also sometimes but not always a comment about ***win32k.sys then something about an address (letters and numbers), base at (letters and numbers), and datestamp (letters and numbers). Any advice would be muchly appreciated. Thanks.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Mike, Welcome to the Lounge.

    Yes RAM can cause many different symptoms. Were the RAM the same type as what was in the 2 PCs? RAM is quite often sold in matched sets. Were these sold as matched sets by Kingston? I would check all specs you can find on the PCs to see what and how they recommend setting up the RAM pairs. (I assume these are 4 sticks of 512 MB each, is that correct) To confirm if the RAM is a problem, you could try to switch the RAM from 1 PC to the other.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Bad RAM moduals in any system can cause BSODs
    How to use Memtest86
    It's quite possible you have bad memory and the sooner you are able to establish this the sooner you can effect RMA from the vendor.
    (Return Merchandise Authorization)

    How to Find Proper Memory for Upgrading Your Computer
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  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Thanks Ted and Clint. Both machines are configured the same. Each has only 2 sockets for RAM mods. So I installed a 1GB mod from Kingston in each slot. Each machine now has 2 each 1GB modules. All 4 mods were bought at the same time and were exactly the same item from Kingston. They were the mods specified for my specific Dell machines by the Kingston site. The mods they replaced were also Kingston mods that I had put in some time ago to replace the OEM mods (OEM was a total of 128 MB in each machine; thanks Dell!) But only the one machine is getting the BSODs. I will run the memtest after work, or maybe try putting the previous mods back in for a while and see if that eliminates the BSODs. I will post the results. Thanks again for the help.

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    Sometimes just swapping the modules between slots will work. If you still get BSODs take one module out. That should allow you to identify the culprit.

    Joe
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  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Sorry for the long-delayed report. Work got busy. I finally ran the Memtest86 for about 2 hours - it reported no problems. Yet I continue to get the intermittent BSOD, with varying messages. Recently, I've had a couple with a reference to *** Ntfs.sys. That doesn't sound good. Given the Memtest results, would it be beneficial to still swap out the RAM chips for the old ones? The other thing I've been wondering about is if SP3 for XP, which I had recently installed before all this began, could have introduced some conflict with a driver or other part of my system. Is that a possibility? I appreciate your help -- and patience!

  7. #7
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Can you be more precise on the error messages displayed...
    Go to Start Menu/Control Panel/System/System Properties Select the Advanced tab.
    Uncheck "Automatically restart" option. (Will allow more time to view BSOD)

    Start, Run, and type "eventvwr".
    If the event viewer is full, as it often will be, clear it out and run the system for another 12 hrs.

    Drivers can be a common cause of BSOD.
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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Mike, have you tried JoeP's suggestion? It is not inconceivable that both your ram sticks are faulty, but it would be unusual if both actually are bad.

    Also, just to rule out corrupt system files, open a Command Window - (cmd in the accessories folder of the Start menu), and type in "sfc /scannow" without the quotes, but with the space between 'sfc' and '/' . This will check your system files for integrity and replace any that are found to be corrupt.
    Deadeye81

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  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger
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    run memtest86 at least 24hrs before you totally decide it is not memory. (I had one that would only throw an error every two or three days. I finally ran memtest for a solid week on it.)

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    5 Star Lounger chowur's Avatar
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    I had the same trouble,not to long ago.(BSOD etc.) I see you are in the sunny state. IF you can put in a little more powerful case cooling fan's front and back,this could help on the air circulation.Mean while I would take OFF the side panel & run a small fan directly on the memory.It sure cured my trouble.
    Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einsten

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    Thanks for the continuing help. I ran the "scannow" and it turned up nothing. I haven't checked the event log yet, but I will. I've heard that heat can cause weird stuff, but the temps in the office here at home don't get too hot with the AC (there's a reason Florida wasn't seriously developed until air conditioning became widely accessible! - or at least possible.) But I do also open the case from time to time and vacuum and blow it out, check fan blockage and operation etc. I did add a second internal HD a while back, but long before the BSOD problem started. Would the new 1 GB RAM modules generate more heat than the previous smaller capacity modules (I had a 250 MB and 512 MB in there)? I opened it up today and cleaned it out again, and also went ahead and removed the suspect new 1 GB modules, and put back 2 older 512 MB modules that I have used extensively. If i don't get any BSODs for a while, I'll put the 1 GB modules back in one at a time, and see if the problem recurs. At least the machine works most of the time in between the crashes - I do my appraisal business on it! Thanks again for all the help!
    One last question for mercyh: when the memtest is running, does the machine have to be left alone? Will scheduled anti-virus program activities (updating & scanning) interfere? Thanks.

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    5 Star Lounger
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    You will have to leave it alone when running memtest. It will be booted on the memtest disk so nothing else (such as scheduled tasks, antivirus, etc) will run.

  13. #13
    New Lounger
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    Just wanted to update you all since you were kind enough to help. I have NOT had a single BSOD since I replaced the new memory modules with the old ones on 8/8/2010. Certainly seems to point the finger at the memory modules. I will put the new ones back in one at a time and see what happens. Clint, I hadn't done the Event viewer thing, but I just cleaned it out. It was indeed loaded with all kinds of mysterious stuff! We'll see if any interesting stuff shows up there that we can tie to the problem. I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again.

  14. #14
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Adnot View Post
    Just wanted to update you all since you were kind enough to help. I have NOT had a single BSOD since I replaced the new memory modules with the old ones on 8/8/2010. Certainly seems to point the finger at the memory modules. I will put the new ones back in one at a time and see what happens. Clint, I hadn't done the Event viewer thing, but I just cleaned it out. It was indeed loaded with all kinds of mysterious stuff! We'll see if any interesting stuff shows up there that we can tie to the problem. I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again.
    If the new modules begin causing problems again I would check very closely at the type of memory. An app such as SIW will tell you exactly the type of RAM the old modules are. Be sure to get exact replacements.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  15. #15
    New Lounger
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    Just wanted to close out this thread and again say Thanks! for all the help. I finally got around to putting the suspect 1 GB modules back in one at a time. The first one worked fine for a couple months, so I pulled it out and replaced it with the other suspect 1GB module. I started getting BSODs pretty regularly, so I called Kingston, explained the history, and got an RMA to send it back. They mailed me a replacement, I put it in, and no more BSODs. Isn't technology wonderful?

    Thanks again!

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