/ Blue screen of death - argh! Please help!

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Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
Hello all,

I've googled and found a lengthy explanation of what to do on the Microsoft site but any idiot-level recommendations would be great.

I have a Lenovo Z500 laptop that's about two months old. Yesterday the trackpad started playing up (pointer moving slowly, then clicky bits not working) - all a bit odd. The computer then did Blue Screen of Death and when it started up again the fault mentioned was 'driver irql not less or equal'. It's started up again a couple of other times (I'm using it now) but it's keeled over again more than once.

I haven't changed any drivers that I'm aware of - the main thing I'm worried about is that I clicked on a link for a photo site yesterday or the day before (mentioned in the film slr thread) that brought up trojan horse/malware warnings in Avast.

Is there an easy way to fix this without having to wipe my computer and start again? I have lots of work I need to do today!

Many thanks in advance, o UKC IT department
Cthulhu on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Download a different antivirus and scan with that. AVG Free is excellent, and you can get trial versions of other very good ones (I've heard good things about Kaspersky). Sometimes one antivirus will miss something that another will pick up.

That may help you. If not, you could try reloading the driver for the trackpad, but I'd do a system backup first if the machine will last long enough between tantrums. At least try and back up your important data, if not the whole system config...
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Cthulhu:

Thanks for this! I need to disable one antivirus before starting another, right? Will download AVG now. Avast has been great and it did flag up the alarming site, but your advice sounds good to me.
lone - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

I've found this usually to be a problem with Memory either Virtual or faulty Physical memory. You could try re-seating the memory modules in the laptop.

If you delete the page file also which is usually found in the root of C: as Pagefile.sys this might help.

Jason
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Cthulhu:

(Dumb question #1: how do I do a system backup? I tend to just do a data backup...)
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to lone:

Wait a minute - please can you explain the bit about re-seating the memory modules as I don't understand what you mean.
Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Your issue is almost certainly a driver issue Clare. First thing you want to do is boot up in "safe mode" which allows the system to boot without initialising third party drivers.

When you switch your machine on keep tapping F8 until you get the list of Windows boot options. You select safe mode and press enter. The boot process will look different and the system will start with basic screen resolution and most external hardware devices will not startup except keyboard / mouse etc.

Go into control panel, then look for administrative tools, then computer management (in XP)

then go into device manager and look for any hardware conflicts that you can see. These normallty have an exclamation mark next to the icon. If you find the trackpad (you might need to look under mice) then right click and uninstall.

Also go into the control panel and add/remove programs then look for the trackpad software installation (or in the start menu) and uninstall it as well.

Reboot your computer into regular boot mode. If you need to reinstall the driver manually you can usually get it from the Lenovo support website.
Cthulhu on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Cthulhu)
>
> Thanks for this! I need to disable one antivirus before starting another, right?

Not always,but it may vary with different av programmes. I run AVG as normal, and had a trial of something else and they seemed to play happily together.
Cthulhu on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Cthulhu)
>
> (Dumb question #1: how do I do a system backup? I tend to just do a data backup...)

There will be a "Create restore point" or similar option in a menu somewhere! I would look in Control Panel, or right-click on "My Computer", select "Manage" and go from there. Sorry can't be more specific, I'm a bit rusty on this stuff...

Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Thank you for this. I'm using Windows 8 - do I need to do anything differently?
Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
Also... The trackpad issue might have just been a symptom of another hardware failure such as display driver so have a look for that in the device manager as well.

You can also go into the "Event Viewer" in the admin tools and it will let you see hardware and software errors.
Cthulhu on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
>
> Your issue is almost certainly a driver issue Clare. First thing you want to do is boot up in "safe mode" which allows the system to boot without initialising third party drivers.
>
> When you switch your machine on keep tapping F8 until you get the list of Windows boot options. You select safe mode and press enter. The boot process will look different and the system will start with basic screen resolution and most external hardware devices will not startup except keyboard / mouse etc.
>
> Go into control panel, then look for administrative tools, then computer management (in XP)
>
> then go into device manager and look for any hardware conflicts that you can see. These normallty have an exclamation mark next to the icon. If you find the trackpad (you might need to look under mice) then right click and uninstall.
>
> Also go into the control panel and add/remove programs then look for the trackpad software installation (or in the start menu) and uninstall it as well.
>
> Reboot your computer into regular boot mode. If you need to reinstall the driver manually you can usually get it from the Lenovo support website.

Still worth investigating *why* the driver issue came about on a hitherto perfectly functioning machine...

Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Still F8 to get into the boot options for safe mode.

Device manager steps for Windows 8. http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows-8/a/device-manager-windows-8.htm
george mc - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Start your PC in safe mode - then you can perform various checks e.g. check hardware/update drivers/scan disk etc

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows-8/ss/windows-8-safe-mode.htm
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Brilliant - I'll do that as soon as Avast has finished scanning the system. Hoorah for the UKC tech department!
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Cthulhu:

That's flummoxed me somewhat, though it's forced me to dig out a remote mouse (and my macaroon mousemat), which I should have done long ago :-)

N.b. the trackpad seems to be working fine this morning. Computers - harder to understand than cats, even.
ex0 - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Whatever you do don't install AVG - it hasn't been good since.. ever. The only things worse are Norton and Mcaffee. If you're switching antivirus from Avast, which isn't half bad, try out MSE. Definitely don't pay a subscription for AV.

Assuming booting to safe and doing a system restore doesn't work:-

I'd try re-seating the memory as the guy above said. This means taking the back off the laptop and pulling out the memory modules, using compressed air (air in a can) and cleaning the area before re-seating the memory. Get a geek to do it for you if you don't want to take the thing apart. Make sure you put the ram sticks back in the right way!
Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Cthulhu:

> Still worth investigating *why* the driver issue came about on a hitherto perfectly functioning machine...

Because driver conflicts are common issues. All perfectly functioning machines are perfectly functioning until the point they are not perfectly functioning.

Most drivers are third party software and they install onto a system with limited hardware resources. Read up on hardware interrupting if you are interested in the techy details, but a lot of hardware can be configured by their installers incorrectly and again read up on driver conflicts if you want to know the how and why. It makes no difference to Clare.
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to ex0:

Thanks for this. My only thought is to wonder why this might be necessary in a computer that hasn't been moved around that much and that's pretty new - how would they have become unseated?
EeeByGum - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: Is it possible to do a system restore?

In the future, make backups of your system so that you can easily restore. This is an excellent free tool:

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:

It's kind of a fair question - there has to be a reason *why* change happens, in *any* situation where change occurs, be that on a computer, in nature, in literature...

Very useful advice though. Will report back once I've done what you suggested.
Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Milesy)
>
> Brilliant - I'll do that as soon as Avast has finished scanning the system. Hoorah for the UKC tech department!

If you can get onto the computer in normal mode just now then uninstall the trackpad and then reinstall again.

Here are all your drivers on this page to download:

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/detail.page?&DocID=DS032587
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:

Thanks for this - as I mentioned above I tend to back up data, not the system. Will have a look.
Rob Exile Ward on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: BTW I think Windows 8 comes with its own anti-virus anyway, that used to be called Windows Security Essentials, which I've found OK for 2+ years. Having any others just complicates things.
Rob Exile Ward on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: You could also plug in an external mouse, then (optionally) disable the trackpad. I use an external mouse anyway.
Cthulhu on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Cthulhu)
>
> [...]
>
> Because driver conflicts are common issues. All perfectly functioning machines are perfectly functioning until the point they are not perfectly functioning.

Yes indeed. But at the point, *something* has triggered the change. It's worth knowing what that something might be.
>
> Most drivers are third party software and they install onto a system with limited hardware resources. Read up on hardware interrupting if you are interested in the techy details, but a lot of hardware can be configured by their installers incorrectly and again read up on driver conflicts if you want to know the how and why.

I was a techie in a previous life, and a bloody good one. I would not re-install a driver without looking into why it needed re-installing in the first place!

> It makes no difference to Clare.

True.

Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I like Avast though and it worked a treat for several years on my last laptop. I just need to know that the things I've chosen work, and in this case, it seems to.
Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

The why for these types of issues is only sense to those who understand hardware and drivers. Driver/Hardware "conflict" is about a high level as a reason can be and make sense to the user of the computer.

Would this make any sense to you:

Historically the processor's PIC (programmable interrupt controller) only expects interrupts from one device per interrupt line. If a hardware driver has installed incorrectly and configured it to use an IRQ being used by another device then multiple interrupts are recieved on the same line and the system will crash. On modern machines there are way more hardware devices than the underlying architecture expected to deal with so lots of hardware needs to be installed with a shared IRQ and the devices on that line need to compete for processing. Windows needs to cleverly arrange IRQ sharing so that competing devices do not conflict with each other, but occasionally two devices which require a lot of attention can be installed on the same IRQ and they are too big and important to fight with each other and every time one interrupts the other, important data is lost. With your trackpad everytime it says to the processor "ok move the pointer to her" or "click here" another device is barging in and saying "im more important deal with me" and the information the trackpad sent is lost, and the trackpad then interrupts the other device which could be important like the display driver and then the display driver fails and the full system crashes.
Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Cthulhu:
> I was a techie in a previous life, and a bloody good one. I would not re-install a driver without looking into why it needed re-installing in the first place!

IRQ conflicts. The biggest hardwaer problem for all modern machines. As my previous posts, tons of hardware and limited hardware addressing based on constantly evolving but sometimes old x86 Intel architecture.
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Yes, that makes perfect sense and explains what's going on - I've not seen an explanation before. Thank you!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Richard White on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Lost me at Hist....

:)
Cthulhu on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
>
> The why for these types of issues is only sense to those who understand hardware and drivers. Driver/Hardware "conflict" is about a high level as a reason can be and make sense to the user of the computer.
>
> Would this make any sense to you:
>
> Historically the processor's PIC (programmable interrupt controller) only expects interrupts from one device per interrupt line. If a hardware driver has installed incorrectly and configured it to use an IRQ being used by another device then multiple interrupts are recieved on the same line and the system will crash. On modern machines there are way more hardware devices than the underlying architecture expected to deal with so lots of hardware needs to be installed with a shared IRQ and the devices on that line need to compete for processing. Windows needs to cleverly arrange IRQ sharing so that competing devices do not conflict with each other, but occasionally two devices which require a lot of attention can be installed on the same IRQ and they are too big and important to fight with each other and every time one interrupts the other, important data is lost. With your trackpad everytime it says to the processor "ok move the pointer to her" or "click here" another device is barging in and saying "im more important deal with me" and the information the trackpad sent is lost, and the trackpad then interrupts the other device which could be important like the display driver and then the display driver fails and the full system crashes.

Yes indeed, but why now, after 2 months? No new (as far as we know) hardware or software installed.

I'm not disagreeing with your diagnosis of an IRQ conflict. I'm approaching it from the angle of first find the cause of the sudden onset of conflict, then fix it.
Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Cthulhu:

'Windows updates' constantly update drivers, and install services which install new drivers and even installing AV and Anti Spyware software now installs various low level hardware drivers (rootkit detection) etc.

IRQ conflicts can also exist from the very first installation but the devices never conflict themself as there is plenty of processing power available, but once you start to install or use more applications then you are reducing the overall memory and processing power available for hardware and the fight for resources start to appear. So IRQ conflicts which have been there since day one only cause problems once there is less to share.
ex0 - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Milesy:

You'd hope most people have windows update permanently disabled. It's an awful service that causes far more problems than its patches solve.
Milesy - on 11 Jun 2013
Most people don't know how to patch their machines properly. Without Windows Update every time a new exploit was discovered in the operating system, trojans and viruses run wild. Broadband providers still have to cut people off from their networks because masses of unpatched, infected machines (mostly XP) are killing their networks.
JJL - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Milesy)
> I'm using Windows 8 - do I need to do anything differently?

You *know* the answer to that
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to JJL:

You're talking to someone who used Vista for four years with no apparent issues...
Rob Exile Ward on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: You could never accuse Apple users of startling originality, could you?:-)
Richiehill - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Tall Clare) You could never accuse Apple users of startling originality, could you?:-)

A bit like the products; remove features and performance then add brushed aluminium, a glowing Apple and huge price tag. :)
Tall Clare - on 11 Jun 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

D'oh - I thought he was on about Windows 8! We have a Mac downstairs but there was no way I could justify the expense of a Macbook for what I do, and (in theory) what I have is a great laptop at a good price :-)

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