Question Role of Intel drivers as potential source of BSOD's

Oct 12, 2020
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I have been building my own PC's for about the last twenty years. I have had no source of formal training, but early in use, I started modifying brand name PC's by adding or switching out drives and RAM or occasionally adding a PCI card of some sort or improving the graphics card or sound card. Then I bought a kit one time, and it occurred to me after that experience, that although I did not understand all the technology behind it, the physical act of putting a PC together was fairly straightforward and sort of like a modern day equivalent of the old time Erector Set. I use them primarily for musical production, where speed is important in terms of being able to generate complex musical sound files without excessive latency, that being the amount of time that passes between triggering a musical note using MIDI and hearing the intended sound, and as musical hardware peripherals and the software drivers associated with them have gotten faster, I have built progressively faster computers, generally with good benefit, beyond simply saving a lot of money compared to buying a commercially branded product. In addition to that benefit, I find it fun to design a PC, collect the components, put it together, and see what I've got.

Some major distractions in my personal life delayed the most recent build by a couple of years. I say that only because it meant the components I used were not right up to date by the time I built it, but they were still quite good. It was based on the Intel Core-i7 8700-k processor, an MIS gaming mobo, the Z370 Gaming Plus, 64 GB of RAM, and a Samsung 1 TB SSD as the boot drive, with Windows 10-64 bit Home as the OS. It worked beautifully for the purposes of producing music using VST synthesizers and samplers until about a month ago, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I started getting frequent BSOD's. This is something I have experienced rarely with any PC I have built, but all of a sudden, they were occurring frequently, until finally it got to a point that I could not boot to Windows, because it always booted and rebooted to a BSOD, rather than to Windows. I had not added any peripherals to the system around the time, and the only software change I was aware of was a Windows 10 update that had occurred overnight the night before the problem hit. Despite the fact I knew it meant I would have to install over half a terabyte of music software--a daunting and time-demanding chore, I saw no other way around it and reinstalled Windows. Since that time, I did cross paths with something in my online research suggesting some sort of software app that will remove recently added software and particularly a recent, potentially faulty Windows update, but by the time I found mention of it, it was too late to use it. Although that is not the main point of this discussion, I would appreciate it if anyone could direct me to such software, in case I find myself in similar circumstances in the future, of finding a major fault in PC function that appears timewise to be tied to a likely faulty Windows update..

At first, I was happy with the reinstallation. I suspect with the original build I had failed to find the best drivers for a peripheral used for high quality digital to analog sound production, so as consequence of finding and installing a more up to date and better functioning driver for that, the sound quality was amazing after reinstalling all the software. It seemed I had built the best music synthesizing PC yet.

Unfortunately, after just a few days using the PC with this major improvement, the BSOD's started again. Of course, after reinstalling Windows and all the use-specific software tied to this PC, it could no longer be tied to that former problematic Windows update that caused the initial blow. I did considerable head scratching, but nothing came up in my thinking that would explain where the problem arose from this time, until I could no longer boot the machine to investigate it. The PC would function fine episodically between episodes of BSOD, but once again, those blue screens became progressively more and more frequent, until I could not boot to Windows, even just to continue investigating, and I decided I must reinstall Windows and start from scratch once again. In fact, I had spent significant time trying to sort out the cause of the trouble, but it got to the point where, once again, it would only boot to a BSOD, and I had to reinstall Windows once again.

Of course, now I am in a bit of a panic mode about the potential of installing Windows and another half Terabyte of apps and data, yet again, when I still have no certain idea of why it ends up going so frequently to a blue screen, now fearful that it will happen yet again,. I have one new thought, which I actually hope is the likely cause, because it is something I can avoid allowing to happen again. I simply don't know whether it is something that would be likely to cause such trouble. I write this basically seeking a response to that question. It finally occurred to me, as I was preparing to reinstall Windows yet a third time, that with the prior Windows reinstall after the debacle set off by the initial problematic Windows update, it never occurred to me that the Intel drivers associated with the function of the motherboard would have been lost with reinstalling Windows, and I did not reinstall them. So, my basic question comes down to this: can failure to install the drivers that control interaction of the various hardware components on the motherboard prove to be a source of frequent and ultimately incessant BSOD's? (for what it's worth, I was able to evaluate the condition of the boot drive, and it was reported to be flawless, and somehow I managed to find a test that would evaluate function of D-RAM, and it was reported to all be fully functional, as well).
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
you could always show us the dumps and we can look and see if easier answer than blowing windows away again

 
Oct 12, 2020
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When and update causes problems roll back the update ASAP then research.
Old, Wrong and Bad drivers can and will cause BSOD's.
I know I wrote too much, but one of my questions is how do you roll back a Windows update? It makes sense to me that that would help, but I have no idea what it involves to do it. Thanx.
 
Oct 12, 2020
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you could always show us the dumps and we can look and see if easier answer than blowing windows away again

Thanks, but again, as I tried to make clear in my all too long discussion, I know how to put hardware together install programs, and take care of some everyday sorts of problems, but I don't even know what you mean to suggest by saying I should show you "the dumps". I don't know what that means or where I would find them or how I would direct them to a particular person or group's attention on here. Thanks.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
I wasn't saying anything about your ability to make or fix own PC. Sometimes it helps to get outside opinion, might see things you missed.

If you had followed the link in my post it would have shown you something like this:

Can you follow option one on the following link - here - and then do this step below: Small memory dumps - Have Windows Create a Small Memory Dump (Minidump) on BSOD - that creates a file in c windows/minidump after the next BSOD

copy that file to documents

upload the copy from documents to a file sharing web site, and share the link in this thread so we can help fix the problem

the "dumps" show what was happening on PC at the time it crashed and may even point us directly at the problem driver. Often its a matter of working out what was happening and guessing based on previous experience what the cause may be. Or looking at what drivers are active and updating any old/know problems.
 
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Oct 12, 2020
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Hi:


I'm sorry you misunderstood me. I had taken no offense, I was simply reminding you of the limited nature of my knowledge of PC's. Of course, I am here only because I am looking for outside opinions and help. Unfortunately, I missed that you offered info on how to create a memory dump at the same time you suggested I should do it--somehow, it was so big, I didn't see it. I responded in my reply with what my knowledge was limited to, only so you would understand that creating a memory dump meant nothing to me. It is clear that for you, after having offered me the info I would need on that, you would be confused and perhaps think I was trying to impress with my limited knowledge, which was not my intention at all.

Now that I see more fully what you had offered, on just now receiving the email, unfortunately things have gotten worse, to the point that I cannot create a memory dump, because I cannot boot the PC. Let me try to present the course of things as briefly as I can, in part as a reminder and in part to inform you of change:

1. I had a PC that worked beautifully for about 6 months from the time I built it.

2. I received scads of BSOD’s following a Windows update. Without prior experience of that and in a panic, it never occurred to me that the simplest thing would be a Windows reset. It got to a point that I could only boot to a blue screen, so then I had to reinstall Windows.

3. With the first reinstall, I was in such a panic that I forgot to install the Intel motherboard drivers. When I again started getting frequent BSOD’s, I wondered whether lack of those drivers might be responsible, and that was the source of my first question to you all. As I missed the info you put right in front of my face, in frustration and with impatience, I reinstalled Windows again. This time, I was sure to install the motherboard drivers, in hope that their lack was the cause of the BSOD’s and that that would put it to rest.

4. After that second reinstallation of Windows, a couple of days passed without a BSOD, and I wanted to believe the lack of the motherboard drivers had been the problem. Then, on the third day, I had one BSOD, and then over the next couple of days, they became very frequent again. The BSOD's have had an alarming number of different error labels attached to them: Memory Manager, Cache Manager, FIWMGR, DPC-Watchdog Violation, System Thread Exception Not Handled, Page Fault in Not Paged Area, one without specific name that simply identified a problem handling a particular line of code in a peripheral device driver, and finally Unexpected Kernel Mode Trap. I say finally because the PC closed immediately after that one, and I have been unable to reboot since.

5. As such, I will have to reinstall Windows yet again, before I can do anything.

In retrospect, I think the PC has been trying to tell me outside of the BSOD's where the problem lies. This again is a machine built for making music using software synths and samplers. The hardware composing the PC, itself, has certainly not changed in any way from what it was when it was working fine a month ago now. (In fact, I used CPU-ID and found my memory was running too slowly and realized I had not gone into the BIOS to adjust the memory settings, so that is now done, and the memory is running at speed). Windows is Windows. I did remind myself that I must install the motherboard drivers, and they should not represent a part of the problem on a PC that worked fine previously. I am using only application software that I have used before without any trouble.

The only thing that remains for consideration then, as far I a can think, is peripheral devices, and as it is, on this setup, I have only one--a USB digital/analog audio interface to use for sound production rather than a standard computer sound card. Dealing with this installation, I have had all sorts of problems with producing sound, adjusting to a consistent sampling rate, and having software synths reliably connect with the audio outputs, despite being appropriately set up to do so. It got so bad today, following one BSOD that shut the PC right down while I was playing music, I looked in the Device Manager, and the D/I audio device was not listed, even though I had been producing music using it only minutes beforehand. And again, one of the BSOD's described only the inability to read a particular line of code in that same device's drivers. As I said, it is as if the PC was trying to tell me where the problem was, and I just wasn’t listening. It leads me to presume I have the wrong drivers installed for that essential device. In fact, the drivers for this device were the only new software that I downloaded for the installation, and I had been troubled to a degree by the way in which they were offered for download by the manufacturer.

In the end, I cannot proceed at all now without yet again reinstalling Windows. I will do that and install the motherboard drivers. I will contact the manufacturer of the audio device to assure I have the appropriate drivers, and I will install those. If after all that, I continue to have BSOD's, I will use the info you provided and create a memory dump to send your way. I am sorry this has taken so much wording to express, and I do appreciate your assistance. I am very sorry, again, that I missed the info you stuck right in front of my face! Thanks again.

Rob
 
Oct 12, 2020
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Okay. I have followed through as I said I would. I just wanted to let you know where I am at this point, because unfortunately I do not have a memory dump to offer you as yet.

1. I reinstalled Windows yet again. I operated the PC for a couple of days, just viewing email and Facebook and installing ordinary software, like my Office subscription. I typed up a quick document in Word, just as a test. I received no BSOD during that time.

2. I tried purchasing even a newer digital audio device with new drivers, since I thought those old drivers were the most likely source of trouble. The new device was a major disappointment which I will return. I decided then to try going back with the former. I went on the manufacturer's website and assured myself that I had downloaded the appropriate drivers for that device, which I now must remind myself worked fine, just like everything else, for the first six months after I built the PC, so I probably should not presume it had anything to do with that, despite the reasons I came up with. I installed the drivers and reconnected the device.

3. I installed part of a large software package I use for making music. I am able to install it component by component I don't know how much you know about music creating software. I installed the primary program called a digital audio workstation or DAW, and it seemed to work fine and did not trigger any BSOD, although I worked with it only briefly before I went on. I then installed 2 software synthesizers , and there was no problem. I had begun download and installation of a third software synth when I observed a BSOD and the PC restarted. I am not sure whether the synth was just downloading or it was installing at the time it crashed, because I was not watching. The stop code was Page Fault in Not Paged Area. Given the timing, unless it can occur from any reason with significant delay, I continue to suspect it is tied in some way to the apps

4. I had not realized I should look at the info you offered before a crash and presumed it was meant for me to follow after a BSOD occurred. As such, it was still set at the default, to create an automatic memory dump, but when I looked in C:\Windows\memory dump, the folder was empty, so it does not appear to have created the default dump file. I did read through all the info and used the directions for changing the default to Small Dump using the Elevated Command Prompt instructions.

5. I took that route, because before that, I followed some of the directions and they resulted in the production of a registry code, and it was not clear to me what I was meant to do with it.
I can only hope that the default was changed and that the next time I have a BSOD, a small dump file will be created and found in that folder, so I can send it to you. Thanks for your assistance. I saved the article in Bookmarks, so if it does not work as expected, I will try one of the other modes of changing to Small Dump File production.

Rob
 
Oct 12, 2020
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Well, just to let you know, this turned out to be a much simpler problem than I was trying to make it out to be. I knew I was being silly trying to figure it out by the behavior of various components of my system, but I was trying to keep it simple. I took you up on your recommendation but got stuck because every uploader I used this site does not accept, and the ones it does accept would not handle the dump files (I am left quite confused about that).

In the end, I noted that while I was trying to sort that all out via web search, much came up, obviously enough, about uploading dump files to Microsoft support staff, and it finally occurred to me, after yet one more experience of having a Windows update result in me being unable to boot to anything other than BSOD's, that I contacted Microsoft. It turns out the problem was so simple, I couldn't believe it, basically that my installer version of Windows 10 is so old that downloading all the accumulated upgrades resulted in the failures. I was set up by the support staff to download a current installer to my thumb drive, and I am back to functioning like normal again. Thanks so much for your effort to help me.

This might be of use to others who purchased their Windows 10 installation file some time ago and start getting hit with outrageous numbers of BSOD's after Windows updates and more occasional ones not at all associated with the updates.

Rob
 

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