New PC build windows 8.1 crashing on startup

Sambo42

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Oct 2, 2015
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Hi all

I'm mostly a noob but this is my second build and the first that I've done with windows installed onto an SSD. All has been working fairly well for the 4 weeks I've had it running but today it crashed when son no. 2 was playing Ark and now it crashes on startup every time.

The symptoms:
when powered up the mobo shuts down and restarts within 1 second
After 3 crashes it will boot enough to get to the bios startup window.
Occasionally the bootup will get as far as the windows 8.1 blue screen of death and I get an 'advanced repair starting' message before it crashes again
I can F2 into the bios menus and it is rock solid in the bios
If I enable the Fast startup option it keeps crashing and restarting ad infinitum. I have to clear the CMOS to get back to the bios startup option
If I try to boot up from the CD ROM I still get the blue screen of death and crashes again. If I put my old windows 7 disc in and try to boot from CD I had a minor moment of hope when file copying started but then I crashed to the windows 7 blue screen of death with an error message: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

The system details:
Mobo: z97 extreme 4; bios 1.30
Intel i5-4690k 3.5 ghz
Kingston DDR3 RAM 8mb x 2 Trident gskill
Kingston SSD 250gb with windows installed (have no idea how many if any updates available)
Msi GeForce 980 graphics

My questions:
- do I have a hardware conflict judging by the IRQL error message?
- is my SSD windows install causing a problem?
-is my inability to reboot from the CD ROM due to the bloody windows 8.1 setup?
-can I wipe my SSD and do a clean windows install? If so how (is it possible from the bios?)

Cheers all and thanks for the help....

sam
 

Sambo42

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Oct 2, 2015
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Update - still not solved

Ok - in answer to the previous question - I couldn't boot from DVD rom to windows with the SSD removed (same blue screen of death)

Here's what I did:

-Removed the SSD and wiped it on my old pc using parts magic (I WISH I could do that from the bios instead of having to remove the bloody thing every time)
-re installed windows 8.1 on the SSD
-re installed the mobo and graphics card drivers (from original discs - no updates)

So far so good. Installed classic shell and steam. And then....it crashed again and we're back to the beginning. Now getting pissed off. My thoughts:

1) Could it be the SSD that's the problem - could it be corrupt?
2) should I give up on installing 8.1to an SSD and just install everything to the HDD?
3) I have no other thoughts other than being pissed with windows - not even a clue as to where the problem lies thanks to their 'make it so simple the punters won't ever need to know how things work' policy...

 
"So far so good. Installed classic shell and steam. And then....it crashed again and we're back to the beginning."
The problem might lie in the classic shell. Try a system restore or reinstall Windows and skip the classic shell installation.
If still the same, it might be Steam causing the issue. Test again, but this time without Steam.
 

Sambo42

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Oct 2, 2015
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Could be - although that would suggest that classic shell and/or steam is not compatible with win 8.1 (and my hardware). The other issue I've discovered is an out of date mobo bios - the most recent bios is 2.1. Could that be the issue?

Next plan:

- try removing one stick of RAM to see if that changes anything (I know the voltage of the g-skill RAM is slightly higher than that of the chip...could that be a major issue?)
- re-wipe the SSD, do a fresh install, update the mobo bios, all drivers

if the problem repeats itself:
- install 8.1 to the HDD (after wiping) (can I have 2 versions of the OS? one on the SSD and one on the HDD?) Which defeats the point of the SSD really...
(or buy a new SSD and try again? Except that I'm too poor to do that at the moment...)
 

Sambo42

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Oct 2, 2015
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hmm.... Two steps forward, one step back...

- I managed to boot from CD and install 8.1 to the HDD. For some reason the SSD was not visible in the bios boot menu at the time - but visible for the windows install? WTF?
- I updated the bios via the HDD install. Also checked the mobo and graphics card drivers
- I was then able to boot back in via the SSD install. Checked that mobo and graphics card drivers were all up to date. No obvious conflicts or issues via device manager
- so far so good - went back to Steam and chrome and Skype (all still present from the first install)

And then....
- multiple BSOD crashes (all recoverable so far) with a variety of messages: Kernel security error, KMode_Exception_not_handled, APC mismatch error....

Now I'm really struggling. Drivers are all up to date. Is it a memory issue? Could the RAM be the problem? Have I got a compatibility issue with something in the hardware setup??
 

Sambo42

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Oct 2, 2015
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Could be - the other thing I'm wondering about is my bios - the z97's latest bios is up to 2.1. Would an out of date bios cause this big a problem? Or out of date mobo/graphics card drivers?

My last resort is to wipe the HDD and install windows to the HDD (can I have an OS installed on both the SSD and the HDD and choose which to boot from?)
 
"Would an out of date bios cause this big a problem? Or out of date mobo/graphics card drivers"
I doubt it.
"can I have an OS installed on both the SSD and the HDD and choose which to boot from?"
Yes. Either dual boot, or separate installation. I suggest the second option (remove one of the drives before installing) and select the bootable device either in BIOS, or by F8 (boot menu).
 

Sambo42

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Oct 2, 2015
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Right - possibly problem solved but not 100% sure yet.

- Following the 8.1 install onto both devices and the BSOD crashes I did 2 things:
1) ran 3Dmark - stable all the way through and a pretty high score (10000+)
2) removed one stick of RAM - and so far (touch wood) no more BSOD even with Ark survival running on Steam.

I'm swapping the other stick of RAM into the first slot to see whether one stick is the problem or whether it's both running together

So - at the moment it's looking like the RAM. A couple of questions -
1) the gskill ripsaw that I have (I think that's the name?) - runs at 2400Mhz and using 1.65v. Most other RAMs run at 1.5V - could this be part of the story?
2) I think the RAM is currently still running at 1800Mz anyway - from what i understand i have to go into the bios and manually change the Mhz. Could that be an issue?

Thanks either way - it's good to know there are other brains out there puzzling about this...
 

Sambo42

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Oct 2, 2015
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OK - baby steps..

The Z97 bios was a little tricky to negotiate for a noob like me... Despite the mobo working out what RAM was installed and what frequency to use, having the DRAM settings set to auto still only resulted in a frequency of 1333mhz. Switching the frequency to 2400mhz manually resulted in a non-starting system and had to clear the bios. I worked out that I had to use the XML profile which then produced the right results (as verified by cpu-z). With both sticks installed i booted into windows on the SSD and things went pretty well - have had one BSOD only in 2 hrs of gaming with the KMODE error. Might be worth trying slots 2 and 4 instead?
 

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