Windows ten October update

The_Potty_1

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Hi

I bought a Dell PowerEdge T30 a couple of years ago, and it's been great. However, it recently started bluescreening, and I assume its due to a new driver in the Windows ten October update. Note that I have a Dell T20 as well, which is unaffected. Both the T20 and T30 have identical Radeon RX550 video cards, so we can probably exclude the GPU too.

One of the crashes looked like it was due to the LAN port driver, I rolled it back and told windows not to update it, which solved the crash for a bit, but then it returned, and it appears windows might have kept updating the driver. Presumably if I wait long enough, Microsoft will fix this, but I'd like to get ahead of them, it's my daughter's machine, and it is holidays.
 

OCP

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We have a bunch of hp folio notebooks here on port replicators/docking stations, all with 2 external monitors.

In the last month and a bit all of the ones upgraded to win10 have had display issues - the only user that has had no issues is still on win7.
GPU drivers have been replaced with non MS drivers but issues still persist....

The lenovo laptops with multiple external monitors have all been fine so looks to be driver/update related specific to hp hardware at this stage.
 

The_Potty_1

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OK I'll update the BIOS on both. The problem is that windows does seem to keep updating the LAN driver. Also the actual BSOD keeps reporting different processes. I suppose I could disable the ethernet device entirely, I have a grotty USB micro Wifi adapter that we can use for a bit.

I have download the latest 64 bit windows iso, and done a clean re-install. I took the opportunity to move to a solid state drive at the same time, although the old disk drive is still plugged in as the D drive. This seemed to solve the problem for a while, but now it's back. It does seem to go away if you boot into safe mode, so I'm reasonably confident the hardware's OK, and the problem is caused by a Microsoft driver.

Anyway, I'll keep fiddling, I think I'll unplug the SSD, install linux on the old drive, and run some load tests on it to see if the hardware's OK.
 

Rickster

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Buy a key for Windows 10 Pro for R350 then defer feature updates for 365 days.


No more BS.
 

The_Potty_1

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The BIOS update actually seems to have fixed it, although it's hard to get bug reports out of my daughter, and I'd in any case give it some time before calling it gone. My BIOS went from v12 to v19, and hers went from I think v9 to v15, so clearly I've been lax on these. Particularly because it's so clear what the mobo is, Dell T30, 2 minutes from opening the web browser to finishing rebooting. I should probably do all of the other computers too, but each one needs its motherboard identified, so will take longer.

Never mind, wmic really is the best command ever.

1544518742618.png
 

The_Potty_1

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Deer god, so many old nasty unsigned tools. So the mobo is made by Biostar, and the installed BIOS is from American megatrends (AMI).

I downloaded a thing from Biostar, but couldn't figure out how to apply the update. So I downloaded a thing from AMI, which after much hysterics, identified Biostar as the mobo manufacturer. Thanks for that. Back to the Biostar tool, and finally figured out that the 2013 BIOS was the latest one. Oh.

I could make a sarcastic comment about not being terribly concerned about Spectre and Meltdown etc, but given I wasn't either, I suppose I wont. When your computer is 6 years old amirite :p
 

The_Potty_1

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So, to summarise:

Work desktop: W10, Biostar mobo, AMI 2013 BIOS, on latest version.

Work server: W10, MSI mobo, AMI 2011 BIOS, 2013 version available, install from boot USB. Yeah I don't really want to mess with this machine just to make it 6 years out of date instead of 8.

Work email: Linux, Gigabyte mobo, Award 2007 BIOS, 2009 version available, install from Windows. Can be updated with a FreeDOS boot drive, but yeah not gonna bother.

Now contrast the Dell machines. I have to confess to having been resistant to Dell as a brand, but they do great support. They released T30 BIOS updates in February, July, and August, T20 updates in March, July, and October. Yes they're server chasses, but the T20 is a 2013 model, and it got the same love as the 2017 T30.
 

The_Potty_1

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It appears that the BIOS update either had no effect, or only reduced the number of blue screens. The errors themselves are pretty uninformative, typically 'Attempted Write to Readonly Memory', or 'Page Fault In Nonpaged Area', generally it rebooted before I could see details. I've turned off automatically reboot, so I should get more now. I looked in the minidump folder, which should easily have fifty dump files in it, and it's completely empty. I also had a look in event viewer, I tried to look at a fairly innocuous entry that looked like a 'your computer didn't shut down correctly', and just looking triggered another bluescreen. I assume copying the event log to another computer will still trigger the crash?
 

The_Potty_1

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For a while I thought it was fixed, but then for the last couple of weeks it got really bad. Mostly irql_not_less_or_equal, which appears to indicate a driver bug rather than hardware. Also, if I plugged in another drive with ubuntu on it, it ran for hours without any problems, which seems to indicate a software bug. However, as a rule, when computers crash, I tend to assume software. My father tended to assume hardware (Mainframe generation lol).

This was running the latest windows ten. Finally I found an old iso from sept 2017, Rufused it to USB, deleted all of the partitions on the 1Tb drive, and installed to the empty drive. Bluescreen half way through. Repeat onto SDD, same crash. Repeat onto above ubuntu drive, same crash. Tried to repair the corrupt install on the 1Gb drive, install actually completed, but then bluescreened.

At this point, the plan was to give my daughter the T20, I take the T30, install linux, and move on. Upgrade for me, downgrade for her, but no crashes. However, I tried one final thing. I stuck the 1Tb drive in the T20, booted a clonezilla cd, and imaged my T20 drive onto the 1Tb. Plugged the 1Tb into the T30, booted up, bluescreen while it was figuring out drivers for the new devices. However, after a reboot, it's been completely stable.

I haven't connected the T30 to the internet yet, I first cleared event viewer, ran ccleaner, disabled updates, checked minidump settings, then gave it a mild workload, I ran Libreoffice writer, calc, impress, math, draw, & base, all at once, then launched baldur's gate ee on top, everything still green. My daughter can take it from here I think, and if it crashes under heavier load, we'll swap.

At this point I have no more ideas, but if it stays stable, I'm blocking updates on the T30 forever.

Cheers
 

sajunky

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I suspect some obscure memory errors. Did you run memory tests overnight? (Memtest)
 

The_Potty_1

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I did when it first started, but repeating it couldn't hurt.

EDIT They've started again, turns out Update and BITS both enabled themselves and started downloading drivers. At least these crashes are producing minidump files. So either I have to code up a service to shut down update every 2 minutes, or I install Linux.
 

The_Potty_1

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1548320078582.png

I updated the driver, but it's still crashing. I've had enough, now I'm just waiting for my daughter to decide she wants to downgrade to the T20, and I'm installing linux.
 

The_Potty_1

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3 Months on, my daughter powered through, and windows appear to have fixed their drivers to stop bluescreening. On the other hand, she's still running an image of my drive, and for some reason couldn't change the license code to her windows license, so we were both using the same one. I don't know if that matters, but a month or so ago, my computer stopped booting for no reason, and windows repair couldn't fix it.

Two things occur to me. First, I've had both linux and windows more than once trash their ability to boot for no reason. Which always sucks. To fix Linux you need a boot cd, an online guide, a love of the terminal, and some patience. With windows, you need a stack of patience just to get the repair function to start, and after that you need a deity to pray to while windows does whatever. If I wasn't so biased, I'd say the repair function in windows is pretty good, but I've seen it fail too often to really give it the credit it's probably due.

So. Perfect time to swap in the SSD, and re-install. Except I didn't feel like dealing with any more windows crap, so I've just been using the upstairs linux guest computer for the last month. There I noticed the second game-changer. Specifically, Steam have bundled a fork of Wine called Proton into their beta linux distro. Wine is a windows emulator that runs in linux, kinda like virtualbox, except it's seamless, so you don't actually know you're running an emulator. Wine is gobsmackingly brilliant, but, rather like linux in the old days, you need some patience, luck, and smartitude to get it working. I haven't actually ever succeeded with it.

Steam however are a huge company, with millions of users. More than that, they are undertaking to make every single game and/or program they sell, work on linux. Seamlessly. No settings, no trial and error, just .. launch. And it seems to work.

So. Yesterday I updated the firmware on my SSD. At work, on windows, because Western digital don't do linux. I also checked the SATA speed of the Dell T20, and it's good I did, because 2 ports are SATA 2 (3GB/s), and two are SATA 3 (6Gb/s).

This morning, I installed linux, and did the 6 or so suggested optimisations you need to do on linux to extend the life of a SSD. Windows apparently does this out of the box, and in due course, so will linux. Or alternatively, SSD manufacturers will get so good that you don't need to anymore. Actually, that's sorta happened already. Don't buy old SSDs, the new ones are so much better.

In closing, windows ten boots pretty fast, even to a disk drive. On a SSD it should be astonishing. But there's no doubt about the speed I'm getting here.
 

The_Potty_1

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Chuckle. I was expecting that. Can we do a quick crowdsource for a definition of a compatibility layer? Now a definition of an emulator? Fine, it's not an emulator. Yes it's right there in the acronym. However, this is using some stricter definition of the word 'emulate' that probably only kernel developers actually care about. Probably Virtualbox is also not an emulator using this definition.

However, the classic English meaning is to imitate. Wine is the only program I'm aware of that could remotely be said to imitate parts of the windows operating system. There's nothing else. It's an unarguably brilliant piece of code.

Virtualbox on the other hand imitates native hardware. Also brilliant, and I assume both projects spent months or years coding without any indication that what they're trying is even possible. Then one day it started working. Man I want that rush.

Are the only emulators we're allowed to talk about really just Dosbox and MAME? We've come a long way since.
 
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