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View Full Version : Windows BSOD for no reason



Trai
2009-10-12, 02:42 PM
I'm not quite technologically savvy, so I just don't understand something that happens with my computer. I think it's just some kind of fluke, but I wanted to throw it out there.

I've had my laptop for a couple months now-- since the end of July, maybe? It's a Windows XP operating system and the actual computer is a Dell Vostro 1520. It has something like six hours of battery life (this might not be important but I think it's somehow related to the problem).

On occasion, I put my laptop in its case and take it with me to another part of campus. Since it's not a far walk, I don't shut the computer down; I unplug it so it goes to battery power, close it, put it in the case, take the wire with me and plug it back in so it's on AC power when I get to my destination.

The problem is, once I reach my destination, take my laptop out of the case, and open it, I have a Blue Screen of Death for absolutely no discernible reason. No new software, nothing. I restart the computer, it comes back up, it works fine, but it's happened twice now and I don't get it.

I honestly think it has something to do with the plug. If I leave the plug out and put the laptop into my case, I get the BSOD. But if I leave the plug in, even though it's doing nothing and the computer is still on battery power, my computer is fine when I take it out of the case.

Does anyone have any idea WTH is going on here? I'm stuck...

Roukon
2009-10-12, 03:46 PM
That is one of the oddest things I have heard of. Granted I'm not as savvy aso some of the others here in the Playground, but I thought I had heard most of it during 7 years of office/computer supplies retail work. If nothing comes of it here, I would suggest taking it to your schools IT department (not the major department, that is usually CSIS or something similar, but the actual place that monitors and sets up internet and computers for the campus) and asking them to take a look at it. Hopefully they can do it for you for free, and you know if it is your cord or something else. I'm inclined to think it is your cord as you seem to have localized the problem, but have no idea how, since that should not deal at all with your BIOS or your OS.

Good luck with a strange error,

Roukon

Erloas
2009-10-12, 04:41 PM
That is the main reason I never use hibernate/sleep/suspend on computers. I've never had one that would wake up without BSODing on me right afterwards.

Since it just writes the active memory map to the hard drive then reads it back I don't think a power glitch (which would be possible when it is switching from direct power to battery power) shouldn't do anything. However the different between sleep/suspend and hibernate, one option does leave the computer powered up and just puts it into an ultra-low power state where as the other actually shuts everything down and writes the memory to the hard drive.

Check and see what your laptop is set to do on case close. It is under the Power Options in the Control Panel.

There is generally 2 power options for laptops, one when it is plugged into outlet power and one for when it is on battery. My guess is that when it is plugged in and the lid is shut it goes into one mode (probably suspend) and when it is not plugged in and the lid is shut it goes into the other (probably hibernate). One it wakes up from fine and the other it doesn't recover correctly from. You can probably also test this by leaving the system plugged in and tell it to sleep then wake it back up and then try again telling it to hibernate then waking it back up. My guess is that it will BSOD on one but not the other.


*I use sleep, suspend, and standby interchangeably as it is called different things in different places even though it is the same.

Rettu Skcollob
2009-10-12, 07:49 PM
Get a mac! *Scampers away*

Mando Knight
2009-10-12, 07:58 PM
Huh. My Dell has never BSOD-ed on me at all...

...and it's a Vista machine. 'Course, I don't know if that OS is more stable in that regard than XP or not, but... weird.

Rettu Skcollob
2009-10-12, 08:21 PM
Get a mac! *Scampers away*



http://i37.tinypic.com/11gpz10.jpg

Catch
2009-10-12, 08:48 PM
Get a mac! *Scampers away*

You could always try Linux. It gives you the warm assurance that if something goes wrong, it's because you screwed it up.

...or tried to play a video full-screen. :smallannoyed:

purple gelatinous cube o' Doom
2009-10-12, 08:48 PM
You might want to try reseating your memory. I've had issues with BSOD for no reason with my laptop before, and it turns out that occasionally, your memory might loosen up a bit. I'd shut everything off, take your memory sticks out, and put them back in and see if that works.

Winter_Wolf
2009-10-13, 08:02 AM
Your laptop is overheating. It might seem like it wouldn't do that with a short little walk, but if you don't power down and you do stuff it into a carrying case of some kind, it's not getting ventilated. XP will BSOD when it overheats. I suppose the alternative would be combustion, so maybe it's "not that bad".

I have much experience in causing laptops to BSOD due to overheating due to poor climate control (hot, humid Shanghai summer with no A/C) and running my machine like it's in a fridge. I killed two laptops that way before I finally gave up and got a desktop. Anyway, point is, your comp is overheating. Which leads to all sorts of things like fried RAM or CPU (or in the last straw, the built in ethernet AND dedicated GPU :smallmad:)

Mando Knight
2009-10-13, 11:14 AM
Your laptop is overheating. It might seem like it wouldn't do that with a short little walk, but if you don't power down and you do stuff it into a carrying case of some kind, it's not getting ventilated. XP will BSOD when it overheats. I suppose the alternative would be combustion, so maybe it's "not that bad".

I have much experience in causing laptops to BSOD due to overheating due to poor climate control (hot, humid Shanghai summer with no A/C) and running my machine like it's in a fridge. I killed two laptops that way before I finally gave up and got a desktop. Anyway, point is, your comp is overheating. Which leads to all sorts of things like fried RAM or CPU (or in the last straw, the built in ethernet AND dedicated GPU :smallmad:)

Huh. Interesting...

One solution to an overheating problem is the old engineering standby: jury-rig something until you have a better solution.

Grab a slab of metal, like a steel cookie sheet, an place it in your backpack. Take an ice pack or two and put them adjacent to the sheet. Now put the laptop so that its primary ventilation systems are near (but not entirely blocked by) the metal sheet. The ice packs will cool the metal sheet, which will then conduct the heat from the vents.

Generic Archer
2009-10-14, 04:47 AM
Or, you know, Turn it off or hibernate it before putting it in the bag... hibernate takes ~30 seconds, to restore, or enough time to have a look at who else is in the room before starting to type.

Pretty sure it is an overheating issue, with it plugged in maybe the vents get more air or something... though usually overheating ends in a forced shut down rather than a BSOD... unless it's overheating the ram or something that errors rather than tripping the sensors...

Dane

Zeb The Troll
2009-10-14, 06:02 AM
That is the main reason I never use hibernate/sleep/suspend on computers. I've never had one that would wake up without BSODing on me right afterwards.

Since it just writes the active memory map to the hard drive then reads it back I don't think a power glitch (which would be possible when it is switching from direct power to battery power) shouldn't do anything. However the different between sleep/suspend and hibernate, one option does leave the computer powered up and just puts it into an ultra-low power state where as the other actually shuts everything down and writes the memory to the hard drive.

Check and see what your laptop is set to do on case close. It is under the Power Options in the Control Panel.

There is generally 2 power options for laptops, one when it is plugged into outlet power and one for when it is on battery. My guess is that when it is plugged in and the lid is shut it goes into one mode (probably suspend) and when it is not plugged in and the lid is shut it goes into the other (probably hibernate). One it wakes up from fine and the other it doesn't recover correctly from. You can probably also test this by leaving the system plugged in and tell it to sleep then wake it back up and then try again telling it to hibernate then waking it back up. My guess is that it will BSOD on one but not the other.


*I use sleep, suspend, and standby interchangeably as it is called different things in different places even though it is the same.In all my years in IT, this, to me, sounds like the most likely culprit. XP is particularly bad about the low power options not coming back up right.


Get a mac! *Scampers away*Indeed (http://www.pcworld.com/article/173497/snow_leopard_bug_deletes_all_user_data.html?tk=nl_ dnx_h_crawl). :smallsigh:

Gulaghar
2009-10-14, 11:36 AM
Get a mac! *Scampers away*

*Shoots in in the back* That problem is delt with.

valadil
2009-10-14, 12:15 PM
Huh. My Dell has never BSOD-ed on me at all...

...and it's a Vista machine. 'Course, I don't know if that OS is more stable in that regard than XP or not, but... weird.

Sleep/hibernate are relatively new features. They aren't very reliable in XP. I wouldn't be surprised if this is one thing Vista does better.


Get a mac! *Scampers away*

In this case, Macs are straight up better. I've never seen them have issues with sleeping. The reason for this is that Mac is a hardware vendor. They know all the hardware that goes into their machines and can write an OS accordingly. Windows works (for varying values of "works") on most hardware, but there will always be weird cases where it doesn't.

FWIW I prefer linux even though it's got the worst sleep support of all the OSes. I've never seen a linux box wake up from sleep.

Anyway, overheating is a possibility. Try sleeping, unplugging, plugging, waking your laptop in a normal environment. ie not in your bag.

The RAM thing is possible too. Most of the time when I've seen random BSODs it's been RAM related. I recommend trying memtest86. It's a CD that you burn. When you start up the computer with the memtest disk, it boots memtest instead of windows. Just let it run. It'll tell you if your RAM has errors.

My guess is that your motherboard or acpi drivers aren't up to date. Maybe BIOs. Updates for your laptop can be found here: http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/driverslist.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&ServiceTag=&SystemID=VOS_N_1520&os=WLH&osl=en&catid=&impid=

The BIOS update is pretty new, so I'd start with that. Chipset: Intel Driver could also be relevant.

If you aren't comfortable doing any of these steps yourself, your campus helpdesk does this sort of thing all the time.

Trai
2009-10-14, 12:40 PM
I tried fiddling with the power options and it didn't seem to help-- the overheating thing seems pretty likely, so thank you for that suggestion! I'll see what happens when I hibernate it next time.

Personally, I'm not a Mac fan-- I've used Windows since I've used computers, basically, and I find Macs impossible to navigate. Also, my stepdad is the one who takes care of the computer things in the family, and he's a fan of Dell and Windows. Besides this small problem, I've never had a problem with mine so far, so I'm satisfied. :smallsmile:

Mando Knight
2009-10-14, 01:59 PM
Also, my stepdad is the one who takes care of the computer things in the family, and he's a fan of Dell and Windows.

Probably because Windows PC components are cheaper and more interchangeable than their Mac counterparts. Seriously, I've never heard of anyone tinkering with a Mac. They also cost too much for their capabilities. :smallyuk:

I've never used Linux, but I've heard Windows is a little more not-CompSci-user friendly, and I've had nearly two decades of dealing with Microsoft's OSes, so I probably won't switch.

HawkW
2009-10-16, 06:21 PM
Yesterday it worked.
Today it doesn't.
Windows is like that.
~Zen Error Messages