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BSOD,Freezes,Instability--Hardware or Software?Possible Hints How to...


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Hi Folks,
I have read these forums over and over and the overwhelming problems seem to be trying to
decide if your problem is either a Hardware problem(Motherboard,Memory,or)faulty software drivers or a corrupted Operating System..
First step would be to check your memory with Memtest86+ for at least 5 to 10 passes..
I know it will take time, but it is most  essential, as bad memory can corrupt a file system in short order.. If you have errors, then you should place one stick in slot one and test it..If that  passes repeat the test with the other stick and so on until you have all good sticks..Then place your sticks in as pairs and then quads until you have a fully working memory system..  If problems arise during the test it is important to remember that  memory is affected by BIOS Versions,BIOS settings, and even overheated components.. ie: CPU or North Bridge chips getting too hot..
Remember also that a previously corrupted file system once corrupted should be re installed with a re formatted drive after
you have passed memory testing..

Now, if you  have the memory and the BIOS that allows the memory to work correctly if you and still have problems, I have found that the easiest way to separate  Hardware/Software problems is to use another Operating system with different drivers on your system..
You say "What?" I don't think you know how painless it is to do that.. There are many ways to do that and in fact you have already done that when you ran Memtest..
More specifically, I find that a Operating System called" Puppy Linux" is  about as easy to use as anything out there..It is available in both 32 bit as well as 64 bit..These are live CD's that work from memory only, and does not write anything on your hard drive so you
can use it without fear..That is also why you need perfect  memory and should have been previously verified working by Memtest..
You can get"Puppy" Here:
Read the Puppy directions carefully and with another computer download the ISO Image from the net..Next is very important to understand.. If you burn the downloaded image you MUST burn it as a .ISO Image similar to what you did with Memtest86.. That way the Puppy CD will become Bootable  and able to be used as you did with Memtest.. Older OS such as XP may not have burner software capable of burning ISO's  so there are many out there ..In particular imgburn..found here:
You insert the CD and boot with it..Follow the on screen instructions and within a few seconds you will boot into a desktop..You can
then connect to the internet with either WiFi or Hard wired connections..Once at the desktop you can observe whether the system
is stable or not and if it is stable it will indicate that your hardware is working properly..Just about everything will be tested Except the hard drive itself because remember it is a Live OS running from memory alone ..To a large extent it will isolate 99% of you hardware
and prove what works and what will not..You then can make intelligent decisions as to what steps to take next..
As you can observe I am a big fan of Open Source Freeware..I am not suggesting that you all switch to Linux but at least you can enjoy some of the more important tools..( I know I will leave some out but..)

Memtest86+        Memory tester
GParted               Hard drive  Partitioner
Puppy Linux       32 bit Live Operating system
Fatdog Linux      Puppy 64bit  Operating system
There are far too many to mention but you get the idea..Google is your friend..
GoodLuck, :)

PS If anyone sees errors/improvments then please jump in with your suggestions..

Dark Mantis

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    • Dark Mantis
Re: BSOD,Freezes,Instability--Hardware or Software?Possible Hints How to...
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 02:40:01 pm »
Very nicely explained jolphil and I am sure it will be of use to many people trying to decide where their problem actually lies. ;)
Gigabyte X58A-UD7
i7 920
Dominators 1600 x6 12GB
6970 2GB
256GB SSD, Sam 1TB, WDB320GB
HAF 932

Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
i7 3770K
Vengeance 1600 16GB
6950 2GB
Revo Drive x2, 1.5TB WDB RAID0
16x DLRW
StrikeX S7
Full water cooling
3 x 27" Iiy


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Re: BSOD,Freezes,Instability--Hardware or Software?Possible Hints How to...
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 04:28:17 pm »
Thanks DM,
I do hope it will help someone..I forgot to mention that just about all Hard drive makers do provide disk diagnostic software to test the drive itself for errors..
Actually I prefer to do Memtest,Disk Diag. tests and then puppy in that order before I commit to to a Windows Operating system..
I find it's easier than trying to troubleshoot a flawed Windows system..