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Solved: Strange BSOD Error - Hard Drive or RAM? (or perhaps neither?) - Help needed

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by J_Shoe, Aug 19, 2008.

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  1. J_Shoe

    J_Shoe Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
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    Howdy,

    I'm new here, so hope people don't mind me posting what is (to me at least) a confusing issue.. But I'm at my wit's end with this computer now, and need some new viewpoints on the problem!

    It all started a few weeks ago - New system, with an older hard drive. Specs as follows:

    Q6600 G0 (stock)
    Asus P5K-E
    Crucial Ballistix DDR-800 RAM (2 x 1GB, running at stock)
    ATI HD4870 512mb graphics card
    Hitachi Deskstar 250gb SATA (old, as I've said)

    Everything was fine, aside from some intermittent driver issues which I tagged down to the graphics card being new / having new drivers. However, I started getting BSOD crashes telling me 'DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL' which I understand is related to dodgy drivers and / or dodgy RAM / HDD?

    Either way, I couldn't restart and get back into Win XP unless I unplugged every USB device and then booted back in. At first I thought it was a problem with giveio.sys, since safe mode would crash on this file when booting up.. So I removed any programs using that file, and the file itself - problem seemed solved.. Until another BSOD a week later.

    Finally gave up and formatted - wiped everything clean, started reinstalling... And another BSOD. Couldn't get back into Windows at all. Have tried installing using the Windows XP SP2 CD, but can't get into install or the recovery console - same BSOD every time:

    DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

    STOP: 0x000000D1 (0x2E1997BD, 0x00000002, 0x00000000, 0xF707CF27)

    ntfs.sys - Address F707CF27 base at F7073000, DateStamp 41107eea

    ntfs.sys suggests, to me, that there's a problem with the HDD.. Even more so because I've tried both sticks of RAM separately and get the same issue with each - no matter which of the channels I try them in. So unless both sticks are dead, I'm assuming it's the HDD.. Or am I assuming too quickly here? Could this be a motherboard / other component issue? The fact that I feel my HDD is noisier / strange sounding probably leads me more towards it being a HDD failure..

    So very confused right now. Have a new HDD on the way anyway, because I need to get back up and running quickly and if it's that then problem solved.. But could do with some help here trying to decipher what the issue is, just in case that doesn't work. Do I need to send both sticks of RAM back too? Or perhaps just every damn component? Heh.

    Look forward to your replies, anything you can offer in the way of guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    Shoe
     
  2. J_Shoe

    J_Shoe Thread Starter

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    Long message there - I apologise!
     
  3. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    Hopefully, you are only hearing noise because you are listening harder, but better test the drive. Some of these have bootable CD's or floppies:

    Free Hard Drive Testing Applications:

    Manufacturer's Tests
    Victoria for DOS
    Victoria for Windows (Both versions of Victoria are among the best and most thorough tests available.)
    HD Tune
    CheckDisk 1.03 (Marks bad sectors as unusable.)
    HDAT2 (Diagnostics and bad sector recovery)
    MHDD Low-level Diagnostics
    Bootable Hitachi Drive Fitness Test Floppy or CD Image (works on most drives)

    Hard Drive Manufacturers' Diagnostic Utilities Links:

    TachTech
    BleepingComputer
     
  4. J_Shoe

    J_Shoe Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Thanks for your swift reply. I have run the Hitachi 'fitness test' on the drive - both the quick and the full diagnostic test.. But both came back with zero errors, hence why I'm so confused. Memtest 86+ also came back with zero errors after an entire night of running it (+10 full test cycle passes). Will run Victoria, as you suggest it's the most thorough, and see if it turns anything up.

    Any other suggestions in the meantime? Aside from giving the machine a swift kicking :).

    Shoe
     
  5. J_Shoe

    J_Shoe Thread Starter

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    Nevermind, just realised I can't run Victoria without having an OS to run it from.. Doh! Will look into some of the others. I've seen 'INSERT' (small Linux distribution for emergency computer recovery / testing) recommended, as it has a tool for 'fixing' NTFS drives.. Worth a go?

    Shoe
     
  6. J_Shoe

    J_Shoe Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
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    Sorted - Used the Hitachi tool to format the boot sector of my drive, then format the rest of it too, wiping it completely clean (absolutely everything overwritten with zeros). Seems to have fixed the problem.

    Thanks for the help!

    Shoe
     
  7. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    I'd run a thorough test on that drive before trusting it.
     
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