It was another strange day at work for computer issues. I don’t think the problems were really strange, but they were things I have not seen in awhile. We had this one laptop, after much testing, we ended up cloning the OS over to a new hard drive. When I got to it today, it had finished the clone. So I rebooted the computer and got slapped in the face by a 0x000000D1 BSoD. Sighing in frustration, I had to admit to myself, at least, it was better than before the new drive — before it would hit the Windows 7 login screen, promptly lock up with a high pitched whine, and the screen would distort. I forced the unit off, and out of habit tried booting to Safe mode. It booted perfectly fine into Safe mode, I figured, it booted to Safe mode and the BSoD was for driver IRQs, so I rolled back the most common drivers, which we see give errors — network, wireless, audio, and video. The only ones with updated drivers were the nic, and wireless card. Rebooting again, it hits the starting Windows 7 screen, and BSoD. I boot back to Safe mode and disable the networking drivers, and the webcam drivers. Rebooting again, it gets to the login screen with no problems. I fuss with the password for a minute or two, before Windows drops me to the desktop. Of course, I pop open Computer management, and start enabling the devices I just disable. Webcam, no problem. Ethernet card, enables and connects fine. WiFi, BSoD. Being stupid, I reboot and try safe mode with networking, which by know I should know its going to error out, and it does. I reboot, again, and this time use Last Known Good, and finally get back to a usable desktop after a detour of stupidity. I go through the process of turning on devices again, but this time I leave the WiFi disabled. I give Windows a few seconds to pull an IP address from the DHCP server, while I navigate through the start menu for Windows Update. Opening the optional update link, I see a new Wireless driver in the list. I select it and all the important updates. After hitting install, I walk away to go deal with another stubborn computer. Shortly later when I came back, the unit had installed the new driver and rebooted without any problems; I check to make sure the WiFi is enabled — it is and works fine. The unit didn’t install the other important Windows Updates, so I flush the Software Distribution cache, and afterwards all the updates install without any issues. After work, while I was driving home, I realize the Stop error was for ndis.sys, which was why the networking drivers were the root issue. The moral of the story is pay attention to the Stop Codes and it will usually save a few minutes of wasting time tracking down the issue like I did.
The other computer was also a clone from a bad hard drive to a new hard drive — I swear we don’t do this too often, but it tends to come in waves, where if we do one, several more show up in the same day. This unit has the problem where any time it was boot, safe more or normal mode, explorer.exe would immediately crash. First step, chkdsk /r c: — it did not fix the problem, but it very well could have. Next up, I figured the system file checker would probably resolve the problem. If not, the resulting cbs.log would point me in the right direction. After about 30-45 minutes of dealing with other things, SFC has finished with unrepairable errors. The command prompt was still open, so I parse down cbs.log into a more managable size with findstr /c:”[SR]” cbs.log > c:sfcReport.txt. Opening the new file with notepad, I look through a immediately notice, explorer.exe is one of the unrepairable files. Makes perfect sense with explorer crashing. I reboot into Safe Mode w Command Prompt to replace the file with a known good. First I had to take ownership of explorer.exe with the command takeown -f %windir%explorer.exe and reset permissions with icacls %windir%explorer.exe /grant administrators:f. Next, I copied the known good file into %windir%, replacing the corrupted version. Upon rebooting to Normal Mode, explorer.exe wasn’t crashing any more and the system seemed to run fine. This was my very small victory for the night — it was not a impressive victory, but seem to make the night worth while.