Wireless Woes and Debugging Windows Dumps

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:

IMAGE_154

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
BUGCHECK_STR:  0x7a_c0000185
CUSTOMER_CRASH_COUNT:  2
DEFAULT_BUCKET_ID:  VISTA_DRIVER_FAULT
PROCESS_NAME:  System
CURRENT_IRQL:  0

….

SYMBOL_NAME:  hidusb+504e
FOLLOWUP_NAME:  MachineOwner
MODULE_NAME: hidusb
IMAGE_NAME:  hidusb.sys
DEBUG_FLR_IMAGE_TIMESTAMP:  4791904d
FAILURE_BUCKET_ID:  0x7a_c0000185_hidusb+504e
BUCKET_ID:  0x7a_c0000185_hidusb+504e

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 šŸ™‚

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2 thoughts on “Wireless Woes and Debugging Windows Dumps”

  1. Awesome – I always tell myself I’m going to approach PC problems logically and analytically like you obviously did here (though took it to a whole different level with the DUMP files) – and when they come around I always fail and end up screwing things up further.

    So next time I have a BSOD, I’ll take a dump and give you a call šŸ˜‰

  2. Ah yes, dump analysis, a very important skill! After seeing Windows reporting problems previously and being unable to figure out anything at all about the problem, it was nice at last to be able to do a little analysis and come up with something meaningful.

    However, this would have been impossible without another working machine, so laptops come in handy!

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