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Memtest86 on Laptop Question (OT)



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 29th 04, 03:04 PM
Ken Fox
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Memtest86 on Laptop Question (OT)

Hi,

I've got a Dell C400 laptop with 768MB of RAM, that obviously I can't
overclock. The reason I'm posting this question here is that I think this
ng is about as knowledgeable about Memtest86 as any other ng.

I've had some blue screen of death (BSOD) problems with the notebook when
trying to use wireless networking cards in the PC card slot; this is a not
uncommon problem from what I can tell, reading various Dell forums and other
ng postings. I believe it is software related.

Anyway, I spent yet another 45 mins on the phone with Dell laptop tech
support yesterday, speaking to a fellow who was obviously pretty
knowledgeable about computers (much moreso than your usual telephone support
person; he sounded like a computer nerd). Anyway, he told me that the only
other thing he could think of to do that I hadn't done was to remove the one
removeable Sodimm from the notebook and see if the problems are eliminated.

That makes sense, however I've run 3 or 4 passes of Memtest86 on the laptop
and not had any errors; my sense is that (1) it is very unlikely that
Memtest86 would miss a memory error; (2) if there are memory errors, there
are 3 possible sources, e.g. 2 sticks of ram only one of which is user
removable plus the cpu which is also not user accessible, and (3) given #1
and #2, we are talking about such a very small possible yield that it isn't
worth doing, e.g. removing the memory module as a test procedure.
Alternatively, I guess I could run another memory testing utility but I
question if there is one out there that is any better than Memtest86.

If anyone has a reaction or suggestion, please let me have it!

Best,

ken


  #2  
Old January 29th 04, 05:19 PM
S.Heenan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ken Fox wrote:
Hi,

I've got a Dell C400 laptop with 768MB of RAM, that obviously I can't
overclock. The reason I'm posting this question here is that I think
this ng is about as knowledgeable about Memtest86 as any other ng.

I've had some blue screen of death (BSOD) problems with the notebook
when trying to use wireless networking cards in the PC card slot;
this is a not uncommon problem from what I can tell, reading various
Dell forums and other ng postings. I believe it is software related.

Anyway, I spent yet another 45 mins on the phone with Dell laptop tech
support yesterday, speaking to a fellow who was obviously pretty
knowledgeable about computers (much moreso than your usual telephone
support person; he sounded like a computer nerd). Anyway, he told me
that the only other thing he could think of to do that I hadn't done
was to remove the one removeable Sodimm from the notebook and see if
the problems are eliminated.

That makes sense, however I've run 3 or 4 passes of Memtest86 on the
laptop and not had any errors; my sense is that (1) it is very
unlikely that Memtest86 would miss a memory error; (2) if there are
memory errors, there are 3 possible sources, e.g. 2 sticks of ram
only one of which is user removable plus the cpu which is also not
user accessible, and (3) given #1 and #2, we are talking about such a
very small possible yield that it isn't worth doing, e.g. removing
the memory module as a test procedure. Alternatively, I guess I could
run another memory testing utility but I question if there is one out
there that is any better than Memtest86.



After booting into Memtest, press "c" "2" "3" and "Enter" to do all tests.
Test #11 is very thorough. Some will say GoldMem 5.07 is better.
http://www.goldmemory.cz/


  #3  
Old January 30th 04, 02:29 AM
Ken Fox
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"S.Heenan" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
Ken Fox wrote:
Hi,

I've got a Dell C400 laptop with 768MB of RAM, that obviously I can't
overclock. The reason I'm posting this question here is that I think
this ng is about as knowledgeable about Memtest86 as any other ng.

I've had some blue screen of death (BSOD) problems with the notebook
when trying to use wireless networking cards in the PC card slot;
this is a not uncommon problem from what I can tell, reading various
Dell forums and other ng postings. I believe it is software related.

Anyway, I spent yet another 45 mins on the phone with Dell laptop tech
support yesterday, speaking to a fellow who was obviously pretty
knowledgeable about computers (much moreso than your usual telephone
support person; he sounded like a computer nerd). Anyway, he told me
that the only other thing he could think of to do that I hadn't done
was to remove the one removeable Sodimm from the notebook and see if
the problems are eliminated.

That makes sense, however I've run 3 or 4 passes of Memtest86 on the
laptop and not had any errors; my sense is that (1) it is very
unlikely that Memtest86 would miss a memory error; (2) if there are
memory errors, there are 3 possible sources, e.g. 2 sticks of ram
only one of which is user removable plus the cpu which is also not
user accessible, and (3) given #1 and #2, we are talking about such a
very small possible yield that it isn't worth doing, e.g. removing
the memory module as a test procedure. Alternatively, I guess I could
run another memory testing utility but I question if there is one out
there that is any better than Memtest86.



After booting into Memtest, press "c" "2" "3" and "Enter" to do all tests.
Test #11 is very thorough. Some will say GoldMem 5.07 is better.
http://www.goldmemory.cz/



thanks so much for this response; after 5 hours we haven't quite gotten to
test#11 (we're at 10), but obviously it is testing something and if it comes
back with no errors I have little reason to question the RAM.

Thanks,

ken



  #4  
Old January 31st 04, 12:25 PM
~misfit~
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ken Fox wrote:
"S.Heenan" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
Ken Fox wrote:
Hi,

I've got a Dell C400 laptop with 768MB of RAM, that obviously I
can't overclock. The reason I'm posting this question here is that
I think this ng is about as knowledgeable about Memtest86 as any
other ng.

I've had some blue screen of death (BSOD) problems with the notebook
when trying to use wireless networking cards in the PC card slot;
this is a not uncommon problem from what I can tell, reading various
Dell forums and other ng postings. I believe it is software
related.

Anyway, I spent yet another 45 mins on the phone with Dell laptop
tech support yesterday, speaking to a fellow who was obviously
pretty knowledgeable about computers (much moreso than your usual
telephone support person; he sounded like a computer nerd).
Anyway, he told me that the only other thing he could think of to
do that I hadn't done was to remove the one removeable Sodimm from
the notebook and see if the problems are eliminated.

That makes sense, however I've run 3 or 4 passes of Memtest86 on the
laptop and not had any errors; my sense is that (1) it is very
unlikely that Memtest86 would miss a memory error; (2) if there are
memory errors, there are 3 possible sources, e.g. 2 sticks of ram
only one of which is user removable plus the cpu which is also not
user accessible, and (3) given #1 and #2, we are talking about such
a very small possible yield that it isn't worth doing, e.g. removing
the memory module as a test procedure. Alternatively, I guess I
could run another memory testing utility but I question if there is
one out there that is any better than Memtest86.



After booting into Memtest, press "c" "2" "3" and "Enter" to do all
tests. Test #11 is very thorough. Some will say GoldMem 5.07 is
better. http://www.goldmemory.cz/



thanks so much for this response; after 5 hours we haven't quite
gotten to test#11 (we're at 10), but obviously it is testing
something and if it comes back with no errors I have little reason to
question the RAM.


Just a thought, laptops are quite different to desktops, maybe the extra RAM
module competes for resources with the PC card slot? Or uses power from the
same PCB trace or something? There may be a reason the tech suggested you
remove it. It shouldn't take long, then you'd know if it was going to make a
difference, you can always put it back in.
--
~misfit~


  #5  
Old January 31st 04, 11:19 PM
Ken Fox
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"~misfit~" wrote in message
...
Ken Fox wrote:
"S.Heenan" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
Ken Fox wrote:
Hi,

I've got a Dell C400 laptop with 768MB of RAM, that obviously I
can't overclock. The reason I'm posting this question here is that
I think this ng is about as knowledgeable about Memtest86 as any
other ng.

I've had some blue screen of death (BSOD) problems with the notebook
when trying to use wireless networking cards in the PC card slot;
this is a not uncommon problem from what I can tell, reading various
Dell forums and other ng postings. I believe it is software
related.

Anyway, I spent yet another 45 mins on the phone with Dell laptop
tech support yesterday, speaking to a fellow who was obviously
pretty knowledgeable about computers (much moreso than your usual
telephone support person; he sounded like a computer nerd).
Anyway, he told me that the only other thing he could think of to
do that I hadn't done was to remove the one removeable Sodimm from
the notebook and see if the problems are eliminated.

That makes sense, however I've run 3 or 4 passes of Memtest86 on the
laptop and not had any errors; my sense is that (1) it is very
unlikely that Memtest86 would miss a memory error; (2) if there are
memory errors, there are 3 possible sources, e.g. 2 sticks of ram
only one of which is user removable plus the cpu which is also not
user accessible, and (3) given #1 and #2, we are talking about such
a very small possible yield that it isn't worth doing, e.g. removing
the memory module as a test procedure. Alternatively, I guess I
could run another memory testing utility but I question if there is
one out there that is any better than Memtest86.


After booting into Memtest, press "c" "2" "3" and "Enter" to do all
tests. Test #11 is very thorough. Some will say GoldMem 5.07 is
better. http://www.goldmemory.cz/



thanks so much for this response; after 5 hours we haven't quite
gotten to test#11 (we're at 10), but obviously it is testing
something and if it comes back with no errors I have little reason to
question the RAM.


Just a thought, laptops are quite different to desktops, maybe the extra

RAM
module competes for resources with the PC card slot? Or uses power from

the
same PCB trace or something? There may be a reason the tech suggested you
remove it. It shouldn't take long, then you'd know if it was going to make

a
difference, you can always put it back in.
--
~misfit~



The tech specifically said that there was a small possibility that Memtest
could miss a RAM error; that's what he was addressing. I did run the "all
tests" sequence of Memtest86 which literally took 42 hours; there were zero
errors. The reason why I doubt bad RAM is that this notebook functions
flawlessly except for that one problem, dealing with that wireless card.
I've had bad ram before in other systems, and the hallmark of bad ram in my
experience is lots of problems you have trouble identifying, with little or
no pattern to it, generally with scads of blue screens; in essence, a very
unstable and unreliable system. My laptop does not have these symptoms.

I am going to try a couple of more things; one is, that a driver that keeps
showing up on the blue screens is "ndis.sys," which is a networking driver
of some sort. I'm going to replace the one(s) on the laptop with the same
file from my desktop to rule out corruption of that file. I'm also going to
try a "repair install" of Windows 2000, sp4 version. If these actions fail
to solve the problem I think it is unsolvable until or unless MS, Dell, or
the wireless card makers alter their software, since this problem is clearly
affecting quite a few users.

Thanks all,

ken



  #6  
Old January 31st 04, 11:38 PM
David Maynard
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ken Fox wrote:
"~misfit~" wrote in message
...

Ken Fox wrote:

"S.Heenan" wrote in message
news:[email protected]

Ken Fox wrote:

Hi,

I've got a Dell C400 laptop with 768MB of RAM, that obviously I
can't overclock. The reason I'm posting this question here is that
I think this ng is about as knowledgeable about Memtest86 as any
other ng.

I've had some blue screen of death (BSOD) problems with the notebook
when trying to use wireless networking cards in the PC card slot;
this is a not uncommon problem from what I can tell, reading various
Dell forums and other ng postings. I believe it is software
related.

Anyway, I spent yet another 45 mins on the phone with Dell laptop
tech support yesterday, speaking to a fellow who was obviously
pretty knowledgeable about computers (much moreso than your usual
telephone support person; he sounded like a computer nerd).
Anyway, he told me that the only other thing he could think of to
do that I hadn't done was to remove the one removeable Sodimm from
the notebook and see if the problems are eliminated.

That makes sense, however I've run 3 or 4 passes of Memtest86 on the
laptop and not had any errors; my sense is that (1) it is very
unlikely that Memtest86 would miss a memory error; (2) if there are
memory errors, there are 3 possible sources, e.g. 2 sticks of ram
only one of which is user removable plus the cpu which is also not
user accessible, and (3) given #1 and #2, we are talking about such
a very small possible yield that it isn't worth doing, e.g. removing
the memory module as a test procedure. Alternatively, I guess I
could run another memory testing utility but I question if there is
one out there that is any better than Memtest86.


After booting into Memtest, press "c" "2" "3" and "Enter" to do all
tests. Test #11 is very thorough. Some will say GoldMem 5.07 is
better. http://www.goldmemory.cz/



thanks so much for this response; after 5 hours we haven't quite
gotten to test#11 (we're at 10), but obviously it is testing
something and if it comes back with no errors I have little reason to
question the RAM.


Just a thought, laptops are quite different to desktops, maybe the extra


RAM

module competes for resources with the PC card slot? Or uses power from


the

same PCB trace or something? There may be a reason the tech suggested you
remove it. It shouldn't take long, then you'd know if it was going to make


a

difference, you can always put it back in.
--
~misfit~




The tech specifically said that there was a small possibility that Memtest
could miss a RAM error; that's what he was addressing. I did run the "all
tests" sequence of Memtest86 which literally took 42 hours; there were zero
errors. The reason why I doubt bad RAM is that this notebook functions
flawlessly except for that one problem, dealing with that wireless card.
I've had bad ram before in other systems, and the hallmark of bad ram in my
experience is lots of problems you have trouble identifying, with little or
no pattern to it, generally with scads of blue screens; in essence, a very
unstable and unreliable system. My laptop does not have these symptoms.

I am going to try a couple of more things; one is, that a driver that keeps
showing up on the blue screens is "ndis.sys," which is a networking driver
of some sort. I'm going to replace the one(s) on the laptop with the same
file from my desktop to rule out corruption of that file. I'm also going to
try a "repair install" of Windows 2000, sp4 version. If these actions fail
to solve the problem I think it is unsolvable until or unless MS, Dell, or
the wireless card makers alter their software, since this problem is clearly
affecting quite a few users.

Thanks all,

ken


If your wireless card has a power setting try turning transmit power to
a lower level. They pull a fair amount of current, for a PCMCIA card,
and maybe the notebook is having trouble providing it.

  #7  
Old February 2nd 04, 12:52 AM
Ken Fox
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"David Maynard" wrote in message
...

If your wireless card has a power setting try turning transmit power to
a lower level. They pull a fair amount of current, for a PCMCIA card,
and maybe the notebook is having trouble providing it.


Hi David,

The wireless card does have such a setting; I was (at least initially,
haven't pursued it much since but may go back to it) unable to get a decent
connection on the lower power settings last night, unfortunately.

I had removed the wireless card software and drivers from my laptop so I
wasn't able to try the power setting initially, by itself. Because these
blue screen errors have been blamed on out of date bioses in the past, I'd
been reluctant to see if the bios was related being as I already had the
most up to date bios flash on my notebook (it dates from May 2003 but they
have not updated it since my flash which was probably in June). I decided
to reflash the bios. The Dell utility offers an option to flash without
using a floppy; I tried that, but all I got was an error message saying I
already had that level of bios so the program defaulted to not flashing the
bios. The next time I refused the floppy-less flash, and forced it to make
a boot floppy with the bios on it, then rebooted. The bios flash (per
floppy) program apparently doesn't check what level you were already at, so
it just flashed the bios without asking.

I rebooted, loaded the software and drivers for the wireless card, and did
not get any blue screens. I had trouble getting a decent connection, and as
it was late decided not to bother with the access point last night and
deferred dealing further with this until this afternoon. After rebooting
the wireless AP, I'm now getting good connections on full power to the card,
but did not no go back to the power setting on the driver. Since I only use
the laptop on wireless when it is plugged in anyway, I wonder how much the
power setting really matters anyway, but if I get blue screens again I'll
try the power setting and see if that resolves them. For now, the bios
reflash appears to have done the trick. I should add, that since I was able
to use the wireless card for about 6 months without any problems and without
setting it to low power, I think this makes a pretty good case that my bios
got corrupted sometime over the last few months, for some reason, and that
this was the source of all my aggravations with my DLink card!

Thanks again for your input.

ken


  #8  
Old February 5th 04, 09:47 PM
Ken Fox
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

This is completely off-topic to this forum, but I'm posting a brief further
followup on the chance that someone will pull this thread up on a google
search investigating wireless card-caused blue screen errors on laptops.

In the prior post I mentioned that reflashing the bios seemed to solve the
problem; it did for a day or so but the problems have returned, e.g.
repetitive blue screen errors with "DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL, blah blah
blah. I've run google searches on the exact set of hexidecimal codes and
have determined this is a very common problem afflicting all sorts of
wireless cards, apparently mostly based on a TI chip, and it is found in
some PCI wireless cards as well as laptop PC cards. No one has found a
solution that works, unfortunately. The driver is bad and conflicts with
certain sorts of hardware in certain notebooks and primarily laptops.
Unless the drivers are rewritten and or windows is patched, I don't think
there is a solution that an actual enduser can utilize. I did retry the
lower power settings in the laptop for the wireless card and they don't
help.

Thanks,

Ken




"Ken Fox" wrote in message
...
"David Maynard" wrote in message
...

If your wireless card has a power setting try turning transmit power to
a lower level. They pull a fair amount of current, for a PCMCIA card,
and maybe the notebook is having trouble providing it.


Hi David,

The wireless card does have such a setting; I was (at least initially,
haven't pursued it much since but may go back to it) unable to get a

decent
connection on the lower power settings last night, unfortunately.

I had removed the wireless card software and drivers from my laptop so I
wasn't able to try the power setting initially, by itself. Because these
blue screen errors have been blamed on out of date bioses in the past, I'd
been reluctant to see if the bios was related being as I already had the
most up to date bios flash on my notebook (it dates from May 2003 but they
have not updated it since my flash which was probably in June). I decided
to reflash the bios. The Dell utility offers an option to flash without
using a floppy; I tried that, but all I got was an error message saying I
already had that level of bios so the program defaulted to not flashing

the
bios. The next time I refused the floppy-less flash, and forced it to

make
a boot floppy with the bios on it, then rebooted. The bios flash (per
floppy) program apparently doesn't check what level you were already at,

so
it just flashed the bios without asking.

I rebooted, loaded the software and drivers for the wireless card, and did
not get any blue screens. I had trouble getting a decent connection, and

as
it was late decided not to bother with the access point last night and
deferred dealing further with this until this afternoon. After rebooting
the wireless AP, I'm now getting good connections on full power to the

card,
but did not no go back to the power setting on the driver. Since I only

use
the laptop on wireless when it is plugged in anyway, I wonder how much the
power setting really matters anyway, but if I get blue screens again I'll
try the power setting and see if that resolves them. For now, the bios
reflash appears to have done the trick. I should add, that since I was

able
to use the wireless card for about 6 months without any problems and

without
setting it to low power, I think this makes a pretty good case that my

bios
got corrupted sometime over the last few months, for some reason, and that
this was the source of all my aggravations with my DLink card!

Thanks again for your input.

ken




 




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