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Problems with Creative X-Fi / services.exe

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Max225, Nov 13, 2007.

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  1. Max225

    Max225 Thread Starter

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    Nov 12, 2007
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    Hello all,
    I'm currently facing a severe problem with my soundcard and hope that this forum can help me to solve this issue...

    My PC is a Dell XPS 600 system (dated March 2006), Intel 2C 3.00 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 2x250 GB Raid 0, nVidia GeForce 6800, Windows XP SP2 installed. I have several peripherals via USB connected to the system, two external HDDs, a Wacom graphics tablet, a DVB-T (TV) stick, a Logitech webcam. The soundcard is a Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Music (PCI).

    A couple of days ago, I have exchanged the 2x1 GB RAM with two new 2GB modules to a total of 4GB RAM. After the first reboot, the BIOS detected the change correctly, and everything worked fine initially.
    (Despite the fact that Windows showed only 2GB in Control Panel > System, but a MS diagnostics program reported 4096 MB nevertheless. In the boot.ini file, I added the /3GB switch which is recommended to set for working with Adobe Photoshop CS3, which I do predominantly.)
    I also did a memory HW check with a little tool with a 100% positive result.


    After some reboots and hours/days later, a strange phenomenon occured. Firstly I noted that the loudspeaker icon in the taskbar tray has disappeared. I checked in Device Manager, and the sound device was marked with the well-known yellow exclamation mark. Before changing anything, I did a reboot, and everything was fine again, even after some subsequent reboots. Then, only one time, the system seemed to have forgotten its display settings (changed to 640x480 instead of 1600x1200) which I corrected manually - everything fine again.

    Then, reboots later, again no sound and the exclamation mark in the Device Manager. I wondered if I should check for the latest driver version, got one from the Dell support site (since the SB X-Fi seems to be a special Dell version), and tried to install it - and here is where the pain began.

    I extracted all files from the driver .exe and started the setup program, which at one point froze. Manually closed it, checked Device Manager - still the exclamation mark. From within the Device Manager, tried to install the drivers, same result: Device Manager stopped frozen. I then tried the various steps: deactivated the audio device, deinstalled drivers, reinstalled drivers (different releases), rebooted, all steps again in all combinations - to no avail.

    I changed the RAM back to the original state, the same deinstall/reinstall game as above, same result:
    Audio device appears in Device Manager as deactivated (red cross), I'm activating it, the 'add new hardware' routine recognizes the soundcard, asks for drivers, I point to the directory with the files in question, and at some point the process stops, Device Manager frozen. When I manually close and start it again, the red cross has disappeared, but now the yellow exclamation mark is there. After a reboot, the sound device is shown as deactivated again (red cross).

    With Sysinternals' Process Explorer, I started to monitor the installation procedure. What I found out is that at some point regsvr32.exe is started a couple of times, some names of driver files (as a sub process of regsvr32.exe) appear and disappear again quickly, then everything comes to a hold, AND: services.exe starts to run constantly at a CPU usage of 50% (as the final status).
    This state of system does not change for hours. I've been checking the threads of services.exe in Process Explorer, but the only thing I can see is some kernel thread (with some addresses given) which is consuming the CPU's computing power, and I can kill the thread w/out any problem to reduce the CPU usage, though it doesn't help to get me any further, ie. the system does not finish with the driver installation.


    What else did I try:
    - disconnected and deinstalled the Logitech Webcam, because I remembered to have read that this device/its drivers are sometimes causing troubles
    - deinstalling any other audio drivers (codecs etc.) in Device Manager
    - used some registry clean-up tools as well as the Driver Cleaner (www.drivercleaner.net)
    - did some virus scans and checked the system with hijackthis additionally
    - disabled my virus scanner during installation trials (Kaspersky 6.0)
    - started in safe mode and played the deinstall/install game in Device Manager a couple of times - always the services.exe issue
    - tried to restore some old system check points to no avail ('no changes have been made to the system')

    What I did not so far is:
    - to plug out the soundcard and try another PCI slot (I cannot imagine that the hardware is suddenly defective)
    - manually clean all single driver files from the system
    - up to now I'm trying to avoid a reformat/reinstall of the OS which is the 'ultima ratio' from my point of view. (Would I have any guarantee that the system will work afterwards?)


    Somehow I believe that it's a Windows OS issue, especially in respect to services.exe.


    Do you have any clues or advice how to proceed?

    Thank you very much for reading and your support in advance.

    Cheers, Max
    (Apologies for my English)
     
  2. Max225

    Max225 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    btw, is there any possibiliy to have drivers installed manually, i.e. without using the Device Manager and the Plug & Play services of services.exe? Like manually registering the device in the registry and copying all files in their appropriate places?

    Thank you, Max
     
  3. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    First of all any 32bit os will only "See" 3.2~3.5gig of ram when you install 4gig.

    Next since you have reinstalled the original ram, have you done a system restore to a date before you attempted the ram install?
     
  4. Max225

    Max225 Thread Starter

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    Yes, I have tried several restore points prior to the RAM installation. Each ended with the notification that no changes have been applied compared to the current configuration.
    Thanks, Max
     
  5. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Next would be a repair install of windows; this overwrites system files however data and installed apps are left intact.

    Do backup anything important before beginning ie docs, pics, movie files, etc.
     
  6. Max225

    Max225 Thread Starter

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    ok, I'll try...
     
  7. Max225

    Max225 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    accomplished, yet the same problem persists
    repair installation done without any errors, just asking for some drivers to which I pointed to
    then, after finishing the installation, I looked into the Device Manager, and it's showing the deactivated Creative SB X-Fi again.
    Right-click, activate, 'new hardware found', asking for drivers, then stuck in the installation process and services.exe running with 50% cpu usage

    ???

    thank you,
    Max
     
  8. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Before doing a clean install, have you tried removing ALL creative software/drivers and pulling the card? Once you pull the card, reboot twice. Now shutdown and install the card; see if you can install JUST the driver and not all of the stuff on the CD.

    If this fails, then the only real option is a clean install. Do make sure you backup anything important before doing a clean install.
     
  9. Max225

    Max225 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    ok, will check that this evening.

    Thank you!
    Max
     
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