And it doesn't have to be free (I'd rather it wasn't).
Let me start at the beginning. I'm not sure what I did to change my laptop's internal environment but in the last couple of months or so, I've been getting a lot of BSODs (usually about once a day or two) indicating IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. I only use this laptop in the evenings after work and on the weekends.
I did some searching and came across this article which lead to this hotfix.
I downloaded and installed it Thursday night (Oct. 14, 2010), right before I did a Windows Update. A few hours later my laptop BSOD'd again but this was not the same error I usually got. The night after that, it froze up so many times, I lost count.
I decided to do a System Restore to before I installed the hotfix. That pretty much put me back to where I was on the 14th with the exception that yesterday (the 16th) it froze up on me two or three times.
I did some further research and found a recent update to my video driver so I downloaded and installed it. Since then, the playback on videos stutter on occasion (once or twice during the course of three or four hours of video playback).
It has been pretty stable today (the 17th) so I decided to try the hotfix again today. So far so good (but it's only been a couple of hours). While doing additional research, I have seen offers for driver finders and updates. And since I am terrible at staying on top of that sort of thing, I thought that maybe some sort of driver-locate utility might help to automate the process and make things a little easier for me.
Windows 7 Home Premium
Intel Quad Core i7 CPU; Q 720 @ 1.60 GHz
4 GB Memory
Thanks in advance for any time and consideration spent in assistance.
Need A Good Windows 7 Driver Locator...
#14199347 - 8 years ago
And it doesn't have to be free (I'd rather it wasn't).
#14199889 - 8 years ago
This actually doesn't sound like a driver issue. I had something similar problem on my laptop and it turned out to be a RAM issue not a driver. I would suggest first running Windows Memory Diagnostics: Go to control panel, administrative tools, and then Windows Memory Diagnostics. You will have to restart to run it. This will tell you whether or not you have a bad RAM card.
#14200315 - 8 years ago
It honestly doesn't sound like a software issue an IRQL (Interrupt Request Level) error is a device error.
Here I pulled this from the geeks.com forum it might help.
This is usually a device error - part of a memory dump for any of a variety of issues but usually a device driver or a cable error, in my experience.
We often see it in the early stages of an ATI graphics driver failure.
It usually has to do with the following: Memory error due to small memory defect in memory module or AGP video memory. Failure of device or device drive of one of these: Video, Audio, NIC, modem. Failure of IDE/EIDE/ATA cable as it hardens and shrinks from age. Device order error on IDE/EIDE/ATA cable where Cable Select is being used but the primary device is NOT on the end of the cable. (On cable select, master is at end, slave is in the middle.
Microsoft has its own theories. You can do a search of their knowledge base or try:
support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb:en-us;314063 . If that doesn't work quite right, search for 314063 in the knowledge base.
Also could be a registry corruption error.
The tricks. 1. Download and resinstall drivers for all devices. 2. Download Memtest86 and test your memory for about three hours of iterations. 3. Check all your IDE/EIDE/ATA cables. If you have an ATA drive that is on an old style cable, change to ATA cable with 80 conductor - 40 connector.
Also a common error when someone upgrades to Windows 2000 or Windows XP from an earlier OS. Only fix in this case is to do a clean install on a formatted disk.
Registry error problems can be fixed by restarting in Safe Mode (pressing the F8 key) at least three or four times. This will fix errors in your registry that will get rid of a lot of such problems.
#14200373 - 8 years ago
In reply to codeman177, #6:
Well the laptop isn't that old (less than a year) so I don't think age should be a concern just yet (not that I could get at the cables to see their condition anyway). It has an nVidia graphics chip. I'm not sure the rest of it will help me.
#14200394 - 8 years ago
In reply to codeman177, #7:
I have found that going that route usually misses some and because it misses some, I'm usually not aware of it for anywhere from weeks to months later. I'm hoping that a program to scan my drivers will help me to stay on top of keeping them more up to date.
#14200601 - 8 years ago
In reply to ShadowStylez, #9:
I have to say that I had this issue with Windows 7 as well. Even though the computer that I was running it on was ancient it did run it well. It turned out that it was a faulty RAM/RAM slot on the motherboard which was causing it. It started out as an intermittent problem which became more and more regular over the months as the RAM/RAM slots slowly died.
#14200767 - 8 years ago
When my laptop was doing this it was only about a month old, age may not have anything to do with it. It could be that the part the manufacture used was faulty. Have you tried look up the driver on nVidia's website they should have the most recent driver. You really shouldn't have to keep searching for drivers they don't really change much.
Can you get to your RAM cards, if so maybe try reseating them.
If reseating them and searching nVidia's website doesn't work, then I'm out of ideas.
#14201731 - 8 years ago
In reply to WindowsRules, #10:
In reply to codeman177, #11:
Well one of the things that came to mind while I was trying to think back to when this first started was a program I downloaded (I don't know that the problem didn't occur before I downloaded it, I'm just trying different things and I don't really NEED this program). I decided to uninstall it and see what happens. After the next freeze or BSOD, I'll look at reseating the RAM modules (I really hate the idea of putting my hands inside my machine for fear of creating more problems that I already have).
Before I uninstalled the program I mentioned earlier, the system froze tonight (it influenced my decision). But I have not done a Restore to before the reinstall of the hotfix so that is on my list as well. Just not sure when I will decide to do that (maybe before I try to reseat my RAM).
I appreciate all the insight and information being offered.
#14201742 - 8 years ago
I haven't been that impressed with the windows memory diag tool. I tried it on a system when I was first testing out win7 and I put in a known bad dimm (one that I knew worked for the most part but would cause reboots on a linux box eventually and other tools reliably identified). The win7 mem diag didn't catch it with the standard test.
I would try one of the other memtest tools and let it run for 3-4 passes. Most linux install disks have one on it (if it doesn't give you a menu choice, try just typing 'memtest' at the boot prompt before it starts loading linux). If you want to download a memtest utility, try: memtest86. This should be a direct link to the zipped iso file. Unzip it, and then use your favorite cd burning utility to burn the iso to a cd (not the file, make sure you are using the programs 'burn iso' or 'burn precompiled disk' option.)
Let memtest run overnight (it should get through a couple full passes). If you are on pass 6 or more after 24 hours of running, chances are good the ram is ok.
I've seen weird bsod's on some of the higher end laptops that couldn't be nailed to a specific piece of hardware due to heat. Is the main fan still spinning (an i7 gets toasty, you should be able to feel the heat near the vents blowing out). When you run the memtester, eject the cd after it starts up so you can tell if it reboots while in memtest. If that happens, you know it's not a driver issue and it's time to look at hardware or physical problems.
#14201994 - 8 years ago
In reply to codeman177, #11:
Have you tried look up the driver on nVidia's website they should have the most recent driver.
I checked and there was a driver dated for the 14th of this month so I downloaded and installed it. Nothing appears to be different but we'll just have to wait and see.
In reply to papercup, #13:
Is memtest86 able to work on Windows 7? I'll take a look but just in case it isn't obvious, please let me know.
Is there any chance of getting it to work without burning the ISO to a disc?I just realized that this won't work unless I burn a disc. I have to go to the store and get some discs because I don't have any right now (I haven't bought a blank disc in about five years). Until then, memtest will have to wait.
As far as the heat issue is concerned, the laptop has two fans and they are both working. And even though this is a gaming laptop, I don't play games on it so it rarely runs hot enough for the fans to operate at maximum capacity.
#14204267 - 8 years ago
In reply to ShadowStylez, #14:
Is memtest86 able to work on Windows 7?
memtest86 doesn't run from within the OS. You boot off the cd to run it. The advantage to testing this way is it takes any dependency of drivers, your OS or your software out of the picture. If it freezes up, reboots, or throws errors from memtest86, it has nothing to do with drivers, software, OS, or your hard drive.
#14204374 - 8 years ago
In reply to ShadowStylez, #16:
That wasn't me. But in answer to your question it is about 5 months old.
- In that case shouldn't it still be under warranty?
I definitely recommend running Memtest. It boots off the CD much like Windows boots off your HDD. Just make sure that your optical drive is set to boot from first in your BIOS.
#14206084 - 8 years ago
In reply to ShadowStylez, #19:
It is definitely still under warranty, but I don't want to have to have it serviced unless it's absolutely necessary.
- You may have to have it serviced if it turns out that it is a hardware problem. I certainly don't recommend fixing it yourself if it is a hardware problem whilst it is under warranty.
#14206574 - 8 years ago
In reply to WindowsRules, #20:
Don't get me wrong, I have NO intention of trying to correct a hardware problem on my own. But I do intend to rule out a software/program glitch before I make a service call. Because ultimately, the first thing they are going to have me do after some rudimentary trouble-shooting is to reinstall the OS. That's going to wipe everything up to this point and I will have to start all over again.
#14218568 - 8 years ago
Pretty much. Just make sure you use your burning utility's way of burning an iso (don't just throw the .iso file on the cd drive like any other file). If you aren't sure how to burn an iso to a cd, let us know what software you are using and we can probably get you started.
Once you've burnt the iso to the disk, yeah, you just boot off the cd (some systems you can hit F12 or similar to make it boot off a cd for just this boot but changing the boot order in the bios works just fine too).