I'm thinking motherboard.
Got an HP Pavillion a6000 here. Customer said he was getting BSODs but had no error code for me. It would only go into Repair mode and just sit there forever (I gave up after ~2.5 hours) Vista was corrupted so backed up data via a BartPE disc and used the Recovery partition.
All seemed well until I ran WSUS offline and it blue screened on SP1 install.
Error 0x7F (Unexpected Kernel Mode trap). Got it into safe mode and tried to remove as much unnecessaries as I could starting with the Norton trial -- BSOD x50 on one of the NAV...sys files. Norton Removal Tool crashed 0x7F, as well.
* checked the HD with manufacturer's diagnostic. Passed.
* Checked the RAM overnight, no fails in over 7 hours
* unplugged front USB and front card reader, PCI modem, SATA CD and uninstalled them in the devmgmt
* reset the BIOS to defaults, disabled the NIC and audio
* swapped out the HD's SATA cable.
* temps were a little high but not much but applied a clean coat of Arctic Silver
* Swapped out the power supply with a known good. Nope.
* SFC /scannow ... nothing. No surprise on a fresh Recovery.
* reseated the ram (no spares to swap in) but tried one or other. Nothing.
I pulled out Hirens and ran the bootleg version of PC-Check and nothing failed.
Just yanked the CMOS battery and I guess the next step is to try flashing the BIOS. I'm re-doing the Recovery now. I don't suspect the Recovery partition contents as it was crashing before the recovery.
Any other ideas? I'm thinking it's the motherboard but I may have overlooked something obvious (hence, this thread). If it weren't freshly Recovered, I'd be more worried about it being the drivers but there's nothing in there (less, with the unplugged items) that didn't come as Factory.
Just before I hit Submit, I look over my shoulder and the Recovery has blue screened on win32k.sys, 0x8E. Fercryinoutloud.
The fact that you can boot to both a BartPE disk and Memtest disk (at least i assume on this one) points me away from the board as the issue. Very high I/O's to RAM going on there that requires major use of Northbridge and connected components. could still be something wrong with the HDD controller, but typically you would have got a failed HDD test if that was the case...
I have however seen a bad processor do as you describe, but only once, and its the only failed proc i've ever seen (that the board didn't kill that is)... I would run a stress test like Prime95 or OCCT from that BartPE enviroment if you can and see what happens. If nothing i would look much harder at the drive and image. i would probably toss in a spare drive and load a fresh copy of windows on there for testing purposes... if it loads and is happy, you have something to go after...
The problem is most likely bulging capacitors on the motherboard. This story I have to tell below will lower your opinion of HP!
A co-worker had an a6663 from December 2008, and in January 2010 it needed a new motherboard from bulging caps... Warrantied by HP for 12 months - lasted 14 months. Ordinarily this wouldn't affect my opinion of HP EXCEPT at work we have dozens of HP d325 systems from 2003 and most have bad capacitors. Dell Had bad capacitors, too in the Optiplex GX/SX270 and the GX/SX280 systems! You can't tell me HP didn't know of the Capacitor Plague by late 2008!!! Simply put, they KNEW they were building machines that would fail due to capacitors and obviously stuck the 1 year warranty tags on those systems In contrast, Dell seems to have used better capacitors with everything newer than a GX280. I have not seen ANY Dell systems made after 2005 need motherboards due to capacitor issues.
Yes, it is most likely the motherboard. I did an a6333w for a co-worker and it had all kinds of weird symptoms such as described.
I.e. It would hang solid, it would BSOD... that was in addition to being so loaded with Spyware it would take 35 minutes to boot (when it worked). I didn't really want to open the computer or do much for the $60 I agreed to take to fix the Spyware problem... I presumed it would boot fast enough to back stuff up then I would run the Recovery utility and copy stuff back... but it became apparent this wasn't the case. When it did boot little things like the extensions to .zip was broke and 20+ toolbars were installed... Windows was foobared enough to not be able to copy files.
That said, it would also freeze solid & I knew it was a hardware problem that must be resolved first. Memtest 86+ passed.
Then it hung on POST; again I knew it is a hardware problem... Anyway, I tried Bart PE to copy stuff off, but it didn't see the hard drive for more than a few seconds each time I booted it...
Decided to try CHKDSK... Windows PE took like 5 tries to boot without crashing, so I knew something was terribly wrong... None the less, I pressed on and it fixed 20,000+ NTFS errors, which made me question if the hard drive was good.
I opened the case and pulled the drive to make a backup of the data, first. Then, I ran the Western Digital Diagnostics, which passed... The computer was out of warranty anyway & the drive was never covered by Western Digital being an HP provided part. When it was open, I saw bulging capacitors and knew that was the culprit.
1. Called the user back and told her I got her data & that the drive itself is fine, so no need to buy a new one...
2. Explained that the computer is out of Warranty from HP, which is BAD because it needs a new motherboard due to bulging capacitors...
3. Contacted HP, which would NOT send me the part. They wanted me to send the computer in with $200 to diagnose the problem, which I already knew was bulging capacitors. They said if it needed a motherboard expect the total to run $400. I asked/begged them to sell me a replacement motherboard, but they refused insisting that part is ONLY serviceable by an HP repair center...
4. Checked the Internet and eBay... did NOT find anything.
5. Then I packaged the motherboard up properly in anti-static wrap & packing material in a Priority mail Box and addressed it to be sent to Badcaps.net for recapping... I had the friend sign she would pay for the re-capping, AND that I am not responsible... That it WILL be an extra $80 (paid directly to badcaps.net) of which I will take on $60 (full payment of my labor agreed upon) risk. I.e. If it doesn't work, you still pay for the re-capping, but I won't bill you for any of the labor up to this point.
6. Get chewed-out by co-worker that the shipping ($20) is expensive. (I forced her to send it Priority with Delivery Confirmation)... I simply told her to mail it herself with HER return address and call me when the part arrives.
7. Find out she doesn't have a PayPal account to pay the $80.. I made the payment and got her a receipt.
**** At this point, I am at 3 hours of work and -$80
** I had also made two trips - one to do the initial work (presuming it was just spyware and 100% user stupidity)... and take the drive for backup. 2) To package the motherboard up for shipping after I figured out what to do.
8. She called me that the board came in and to come over... I arrive at the scheduled time... She isn't home. $^&*(%!!!
9. Re-Schedule... Arrive and inspect... Motherboard looks fabulously repaired! Install it & cross fingers it will POST and be okay after having like 20 caps replaced... Everything works... no hangs, no rock-solid freezes, etc.
10. Go through the HP recovery process... Windows Updates, install her MS Office, Setup her Internet access, install her Printer, install her scanner, create her icons... Install AntiVirus (Security Essentials) & Windows Defender. Install Firefox (because it is more like IE than Chrome and safer for home users)....
11. Re-cover her backup.
12. Configure backup and train her to use Windows Backup...
*** Job done in 3 trips, 4 hours total work, 1 hour research where to get it re-capped/checking warranties/etc. and $80 of my own to pay for the capacitor repair....
*** I never changed the original estimate from $60 or travel of $9
*** I never charged travel on more than one trip, yet there were three
*** Did not charge for getting the packaging material (I bought), getting the Priority Mail box, and getting an AntiStatic bag... All of which took probably an hour and $5.
Then she says, "Can I pay you in installments?"
Me (not really caring; since, I am asking for so little): "Sure, go for it. Do you have the first payment now and how much?"
Her: We get paid at work... next week.
Her: Can I have an Invoice...
Me: Hands her an Invoice for $60 labor, $9 travel, and $80 for the re-capping.
Pay Day comes, and I don't say anything hoping she will pro-actively pay... Wait two days and send another invoice.
Then she tells me at work she has an installment of $80 as repayment for the portion of the BadCaps.net recapping... I took it, so I am at like the break-even point (except for my time & fuel running around)...
I mailed a receipt showing that I put it toward that and now she owes on the $60 labor and $9 travel...
Two weeks later we got paid again, so I asked about it... She paid me the $69.
What I learned:
1. Simple jobs aren't always simple when there are multiple problems.
2. Don't quote a fixed cost and stick to it even as other problems crop up.
3. Don't work for co-workers.
What I should have charged:
1. $80 for the Recovery (not $60 for Spyware removal)
2. $20 for the Hard Drive Diagnostics & Motherboard Diagnostics (bad caps)
3. For packaging/shipping materials (aside for the free Priority Mail box)
4. $80 up front before sending it for re-capping... not after.
5. $60 to cover the backup/restore
6. $40 to clean the dust & remove/install the motherboard... should have charged something for that trip.
7. Travel for all three trips @ $9 each.
8. Should have charged at least $20 installing the AV, Anti Spyware, Office, updates, etc.
9. Should have charged at least $20 for setting up the backup & teaching her to use it.
10. Should have charged maybe $20 per device i.e. Internet, Printer, Scanner...
I really was doing it at $60 originally as a favor, BUT I never intended for it to be a project. That said, I did NOT look at this as a way to make money... I looked at is as doing a favor for a friend that just wasn't totally free.
I agree. Lack of crashes outside of Windows should mean that it's software based but BartPE doesn't necessarily touch all aspects of a motherboard in a simple backup. While you don't want to diagnose just because of a feeling, everything in my gut said "probably hardware". I think the crash on the recovery was last straw for that.
Wow. What an ordeal. I've had episodes like that in the past but there's been enough water under the bridge that I've made myself forget them. Even then, I don't think I've had it as bad as that.
I did do a visual inspection of the caps originally. (Should've mentioned). I didn't seen anything that caught my eye but I just gave it a second, closer look ..AND used a small straight-edge to go over the top. Since the caps have the "+" recessed, the straight-edge should never touch them. So, on the good ones, the edge slides along the top ring but on the bad, it clicks on the ridge of the "+".
Click..click...click. There's at least 3 caps that the straight-edge is hitting the + mark.