Question Is a bad CPU causing my Blue Screen crashes?

Nov 5, 2022
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I have an aging (17 year old) Dell Vostro 1320 laptop with 8GB RAM. The original hard drive was a 512 GB SATA running 64 GB Windows 7. I later replaced it with a 1 TB SSD and upgraded to 64 GB Windows 10. A few months ago, I began getting frequent Blue Screen crashes with Page Fault in Non-paged Area errors involving a variety of different modules. I restored the entire drive from a backup from before the Blue Screens started, but the problem persisted. Surmising that it was due to a hardware problem, I tried running Dell SupportAssist hardware diagnostics on it, but never got very far into them before getting a BSOD. If I ran checkdisk on boot-up, it said it was fixing problems with the disk, but the Blue Screens persisted.

I put the old hard drive back in, and haven't had any BSODs since. The Dell Diagnostics are apparently incompatible with Windows 7, so I couldn't use them to check the hardware. I ran MemTest86. It detected two CPUs but said only one of them was active. Regardless of whether I configured MemTest to run each test on both CPUs before going on to the next test, or to run all tests on one CPU then the other, it only ever ran tests on CPU one.

Am I correct to interpret this as evidence of a damaged second CPU, with the absence of Blue Screen crashes with the old Windows 7 disk drive due to lower demand on the CPUs? Or should I suspect a problem with the larger SSD running Windows?

Thank you,
Terry
 

Colif

Win 11 Master
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what make/model was the ssd? It could be the drive was to blame.
It could have been a driver on that install that isn't on the win 7 one.

It detected two CPUs but said only one of them was active. Regardless of whether I configured MemTest to run each test on both CPUs before going on to the next test, or to run all tests on one CPU then the other, it only ever ran tests on CPU one.
that seems unlikely, laptops generally don't have 2 CPU in them. It has a dual core CPU but that isn't the same as having 2 CPU (or I have 12) - https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Vostro-1320.19368.0.html

Can you show me the results of memtest?
 
Nov 5, 2022
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To paraphrase an old Gary Larson Far Side cartoon, "And then a miracle happened."

[Yes, one CPU with two cores. MemTest referred to two CPUs and I used its language.]

After restoring my C: drive from an old backup, I've been running various diagnostics and fiddling with selective and diagnostic startups to see whether I could install all Windows updates without blue-screen crashes, mostly unsuccessfully. In the process, I had to restore the drive from the same backup two more times. After the second restoration, I am no longer getting blue-screen crashes and have fully updated Windows. I have no idea why I was getting BSODs before, and why they seem to have stopped after restoring from the same backup a third time. Just lucky, I guess. Go figure. Moral of the story: backup frequently.

Terry
 
Nov 5, 2022
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wonder why memtest sees only 1 core active

I probably have that cartoon as I have the complete Farside collection, 2 massive books that one day I will actually get to the end of... one day. Its too heavy... they are too silly. https://www.thefarside.com/
I do, too. When I tried to search the cartoon online, I discovered that it was actually a Sidney Harris cartoon. Gary Larson did so many cartoons involving scientists, I incorrectly attributed it to him in my memory. I read the entire collection when I first got it. Sure they're silly, but that was the point, I think. I used to be a research assistant in a neuroscience lab, and put up a number of his cartoons featuring Dr. Frankenstein's assistant, Igor, on the lab door. I labeled it "The Research Assistant in Art: a Retrospective."

Terry
 

Karadjgne

Titan
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I'd say it's the age of the cpu and motherboard. Followed by 64bit updates. The drivers for that motherboard were all 16bit drivers, occasionally some 32bit. Many had severe issues after Windows 10 was revamped into Creators Edition. Many of the 16bit drivers were 'closed', they were written to specifically work on/with specific versions of stuff like Intel Management Engine etc. With Windows updating to 64bit, those 'closed' drivers ran into issues with Windows itself, as Windows contained newer versions of drivers, leading to date-code errors and other conflicts. Only the 'open' drivers which didn't rely on specific support escaped relatively unscathed. Realtek audio and nvidia were amongst the hardest hit, taking months to get straight.

Your backups most likely contain original driversets and a registry to access them, whereas after updating several times on the SSD, those were wiped or replaced or reassigned by Windows and you got bsods as a result.

Make a new full backup/image and keep it off site, because if I'm right, sometime in the future after several more windows updates etc, this could repeat itself.
 

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