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My dad's machine ran into a large error today and three blue screens appeared on each bootup and then the system could only be loaded in safe mode. Following that, the harddrive was rolled back to a month ago using System Restore and everything appears to be fine again. Now I can't open Firefox however, it just doesn't do anything and I've tried loading it from Start menu, program files and a couple of shortcuts, the egg timer appears and then nothing happens.

Firstly does anyone know why this would happen? and secondly, if I resinstall can I keep my old favourites, passwords and settings?

Cheers.

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Sorry I didn't have time to search Google at that point, just had a few fleeting seconds to post that last night.

Thanks for the help, I read up on what I needed to do, so I uninstalled the old one and installed the latest version and it found all my settings automatically so it's working now.

Blue screens seem to be present still though, I think one of the RAM sticks is on it's way out PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED_AREA = lame.

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  • 2 weeks later...

*bump*

These blue screens are happening more frequently now, messages include;

BAD_POOL_HEADER

IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

PFN_LIST_CORRUPT

PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGED AREA

Having searched through the net umteen times I found several pages of information including this handy site;

http://aumha.org/a/stop.htm

The messages point to memory failure or a HD fault.. but which is it? or is it (God forbid) both?! :???:

Eventually after several reboots it'll load up ok and it will work fine... no problems until you turn it off and try turning it on again another time.

What happens usually is that the system will start to boot and then a black screen will flash and then it'll come back on and then it'll flash again maybe once or twice and then the blue screen will kick in. Never encountered this before, seems like a very serious problem. When the system recovers it keeps pointing to Easy CD Writer which has been in there since day 1 and has never caused any problems so I don't get it.

Downloaded the Windows Memory Diagnostic and put it on a floppy (yup, still use those sometimes) and it came up with;

Verifying DMI pool DATA

Loading

Disk I/O Error

Does this mean the HD is dying? I'm so confused :(

My own computer is fine before anyone comes up with the inevitable "get a new computer already D3" comments :P

Would really appreciate it if people more in the know-how can shed some light on this problem, thanks!

Specs btw, not my machine so no laughing;

AMD Athlon XP 3000+ 2.1GHZ

2048GB RAM

250GB HDD

DVD ROM / DVD Re-Writer

XP Professional Service Pack 2

It's worth pointing out that no new hardware or software has been installed prior to this fault occuring so it's not a compatibility issue with drivers AFAIK.

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Disk I/O Error screams hard drive fault, but I've seen several Microsoft applications that use that terminology to denote "File Not Found".

The stop errors you're posting suggest to me a memory issue above all else, but the problem is I've also seen them happen with corrupted drivers, which could be caused by disk failure or improper shutdowns. I've tech supported a _lot_ of desktops in my day (it's still part of my day job as a sysadmin for some reason), and I've seen it every way. Most of them are denoting Paging errors, which are pretty evenly caused by either memory faults (page pointers changing), bad/corrupted drivers (improper de/referencing), or hard drive faults (write errors corrupting the page files/read errors)

First thing I'd do is test the memory. It's the easiest to test and rule out. Download memtest86+, burn the iso, boot it, and let it run overnight. If it reports no errors (lots of times memtest needs a few runs before it encounters any errors, hence letting it run through the night so that several tests will run), then you're probably looking at a corrupted driver or a decaying hard drive (more likely), or both.

Run the memtest if you haven't already and post the results. I'll chip in with some suggestions for diagnosing/fixing the HD problem if need be.

Edit: also, when you boot up into safe mode and it bluescreens on bootup, which sys file does it stop at? Or is it bluescreening at random intervals after some period of use after boot up?

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It varies, it can be freezing at the windows "loading" screen (with the blue car going across) and then blue screening to almost fully loading icons in the system tray before blue screening. From notes I've written down the file it found a fault with was NTFS.sys, which screams hard-drive fault as the drive is NTFS formatted but other errors keep pointing to memory so yeah... a bitch.

My dad downloaded memtest 4.0 which is an .exe file, can I run that or do I definately need to burn an ISO? and by boot it, do you mean I need to boot from the CD ROM before the hard-drive in BIOS (which it's already set to anyway) ?

Thanks so much for the help!

[edit]Oh it appears there's two Memtests or something, one works from windows and the other runs externally...

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Yeah, you want the ISO image: http://www.memtest.org/download/4.00/me ... 00.iso.zip

Download that, use Nero or your favorite CD burning software to burn the image to a CD, and then boot off of the CD. Alternatively, you could download the exe, put it on a thumb drive and boot off the thumb drive, but CDs are easier.

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Update:

I tried to first burn the CD on this machine and it blue screened, rebooted and tried again and it fucking did it again! One thing that I was told was that when it blue screened another time, the microsoft error report was sent and it came back saying there's a problem with Easy CD Writer (?) which has been installed ever since the machine was built! I ended up burning the image on my own machine instead and then booting from the new CD.

I ran memtest fully and it came up with 303 errors so I guess that means the RAM is screwed? Would you suggest trying to boot up with each RAM stick to find out which one is faulty? Or is there something else that might be screwed up as well as memory?

Still think the page fault in NTFS.sys is a suspect too...

Fuck I hate computers when they go wrong D:

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if memtest reported 303 errors on one test run, then your RAM is most likely the culprit. Perfect RAM can run memtest for days and report no errors. Bad RAM can cause so many different problems that don't even seem remotely related to RAM it's not even funny. RAM is dirt cheap, just replace all of it to be safe. If you really want to, yes, you can test them a stick at time with memtest. Just pull 'em all out but one, run memtest, lather, rinse, repeat... I never recommend mixing RAM types in a box, though, so if you're looking to replace just one stick of the RAM, do your damnedest to replace it with the exact make and model of RAM. Some motherboards don't care about mixing RAM brands, but lots do. You avoid potential headaches by not mixing brands.

I wouldn't worry about the NTFS.sys driver file just yet. You've found a problem with the RAM, so worry about fixing that. If after you fix the RAM you're still getting bluescreens, then we'll start looking at the NTFS.sys driver (it's a big ball of wax dealing with Microsoft driver issues without a reformat, especially ones as low level as file system drivers, so you really only want to deal with it if you _really_ have to) ;)

Let me know how everything looks after the RAM replacement and we'll take it from there.

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Took out one of the sticks of RAM and ran memtest on the one that was remaining and no errors came up at all, it's also booting up fine now without any problems so I think we can deduct that the memory stick removed is the culprit for all the problems. Time to replace it now then, thanks a lot for your help!

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