5:30am this morning I turn on my PC. Windows takes ages to start up and the System process is hogging 100% CPU and almost maxing out the page file, then BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Reboot. Same again. Reboot. Same again:
Errors reported in KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR which suggests a memory problem. Which is not good.
However, keen to turn this incredible waste of time into a learning experience, I grabbed the Microsoft Debugging Tools and opened up the DUMP file that gets created when a blue screen occurs (they can be found in %Windows%\MiniDumps\. This was the output:
ERROR_CODE: (NTSTATUS) 0xc0000185 – The I/O device reported an I/O error.
DISK_HARDWARE_ERROR: There was error with disk hardware
So, you see the mention of hidusb? That relates to hidusb.sys, the Windows driver responsible for the USB subsystem. Now I’d noticed some problems before with my USB wireless network stick, and each time the machine booted up this morning there was no wireless connection.
I removed the USB wireless, rebooted and hey presto – no crash. The wireless stick is a Marvell USB device that was about as cheap as they come, so I was asking for this at some point.
Off to Staples, got there as it opened at 8am. They had a nice array of Belkin and Linksys wireless cards, but none which said Windows Vista compatible. By this time I had spent almost 3 hours trying to fix this. So out comes the smartphone, wireless internet, googling “linksys vista support”. Onto the Linksys website, which is totally unreadable on my phone.
Google again on “belkin vista support” and a useful page listing all of their devices with Vista support notes come up. Looks good. I buy the Belkin Wireless-G Desktop card, get home fit it in 10 minutes after downloading the Vista drivers, and all is calm again.
At least I learned how to inspect Windows DUMP files 🙂