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Apr
10
2012

My Windows Bluescreen Story

Windows XP Blue Screen IssueWell, even though the whole world transitioned to windows 7, my work laptop still got Windows XP till date. Like some old wine in a fancy new bottle, the old Windows XP was living in my brand new lenovo dual core laptop, how strange! The challenge is it’s never been easy to fix the issues with old operating systems. It’s always difficult to find the head and tail of the issues.

Few weeks back, suddenly my laptop started showing the blue screens. In technical world it’s called as memory dump errors. You would be working on something and suddenly the whole laptop crash and you would see the blue screen with some ‘alien’ codes from which you can’t simply understand anything.

When you don’t understand the cause behind an issue, you would suspect everything you see. So first i thought it’s something to-do with the MS excel, because during most instances it happened when i work with excel. But later i have realized that it’s nothing to do with excel rather i was just spending most my time with excel.

I have tried all basic debugging I can, removed the recent windows patches, tried to repair excel, tried to clear memory dump files, temp installation files nothing worked. It was happening again and again it was quite frustrating.

Was it a virus? No because my laptop had a very latest version of anti-virus, and i don’t visit any ‘danger’ sites easily.

Was it a hard disk problem? No because from my past experience i have noticed that HDD errors usually will be different something like the instructions of 0x2332FFF blah blah trying to reference/access this memory 0x2332FFF blah blah which is not readable. Still for a safety backed up all my files.

RAM was the next suspect, because i have experienced some similar issue in the past with my old desktops. But i cannot open and play around the tightly assembled lenovo laptop, especially don’t want to take any risk with the work laptop! So finally decided to visit the IT service (the last place on earth usually i would want to visit for a laptop issue). The IT folks in most cases will have few simple solutions, replace hardware or re-image the laptop or fully format the HDD. Most of them hardly end up spending time to debug and fix the underlying issues. But if it is going to be a problem with RAM i had no other choice other then let them take care of it.

As predicted, once the IT guy seen the bluescreen he simply pulled the hard disk out and inserted into a different laptop and given me back in 5 minutes. How fast! Got the new laptop and started working with it. Not again! after a while again started seeing same blue screen. Phew! at least now i am sure that it was not related to hardware. It’s definitely going to be software issue which i am way confident to deal with.

Downloaded some free diagnosis tools to read the memory dump files created just during crash. After breaking my head for a while noticed that there was something related to the display which has caused the crash. Suddenly the (virtual) bulb appeared above my head, few weeks back i have connected my laptop with a old age projector during a meeting, the blue screens started appearing from there on approximately. The old age projector must have messed up the display drivers of the laptop, I have visited the laptop manufacturers site and downloaded the latest display driver and installed them. Yahooooo! the issue finally got resolved. Who could possibly think of linking the corrupt display driver with the memory dump errors, i was obviously not that smart to figure that out quickly! But hope this writing helps somebody out there breaking their head debugging blue screens with similar scenarios!

 

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