exxos blog - random goings on

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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by exxos »

PC booted fine for 2 days now. Still unplugged from internet currently. Ive hammered the system for 3 hours, graphics, hard drive, CPU. Ran antivirus checks. There is nothing at all wrong. I've rebooted just and still fine. Now leaving it off for half hour then will turn it back on to see what happens.

I've got my laptop running connected to internet via WiFi. Will leave that running to see if it also starts failing to boot up.

Girlfriend been looking around the net and it looks like that vertex error thing *might* be related to paragon backups. I need to contact them but need ESET to hurry up and get back to me yet.

Looking back to the 14th I think that is when the problems started. That was again when I did the office updates. Thing is, ESET flagged up about 10 blocked temp files around the time the updates installed. But even after totally removing those updates the problem remained. But .net 4.8 also installed. Girlfriend googled and people on windows 10/11 been reporting the same issues as me. Again after doing windows updates. So I'm still inclined to suspect that to be the problem.

But that doesn't make sense as how can it only effect my pc when it's connected to the internet ?! Something else must be running once connected but not sure what yet. Most boot up services are disabled already.

As ESET has intrusion detection, I've deleted most my allow list. Idea being if something kicks in when it's connected to the internet I'll know about it.

It's also possible I guess my network drivers are corrupted. It must be checking network connections about the time the desktop should be coming up. Though I don't see how a network fail could lead to not getting to the desktop. Unless something is stuck in a loop preventing the boot sequence from completing. It seems unlikely but it has to be internet related.

It's taken me half hour to write this post. Turned on pc and booted fine again. Rebooted again and still fine.

What I may do next is connect the LAN cable back up to the router but block my IP from accessing the internet. This way it's then allowed to connect to my NAS drive again. It will be using the network stuff but only locally.
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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by exxos »

Found this interesting..

https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Desktop-B ... -p/7793392
I own a ProOne 400 G3 All in One, and an Blue Screen Of Death displays right after Windows boots to the login screen.

I managed to figure out that the BSOD does not happen when the ethernet cable is unplugged. It also only happens when the computer is disconnected from the wall outlet for a few minutes or more.

If the computer has been off the wall outlet for a few minutes, and the network cable is plugged in, the BSOD shows every time Windows boots.

If the computer is connected to the wall outlet (or reboots), and the network cable is plugged in, Windows boots just fine.
What I may do is only plug the network cable in once I'm at the desktop. Idea being maybe something blue screens in-between unloading the generic display driver and loading the Nvidia one. In that case it could b!uescreen and I'd never see it. Now if it blue screens AFTER the desktop loads then I may get a more useful error report from the blue screen.
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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by exxos »

The plot thickens.

I have two open topics with ESET technical support. The SystemStateExceededVertexThreshold thing, They are first said the error they think is relating to a hard drive dying. I basically said I don't think so because the drives are relatively new and basically have passed all tests I have thrown at them.

Afterwards he wanted me to run a program which basically sends them a whole bunch of logs etc. They got back a few hours later saying it looks like my IP address is being targeted as ESET is having to block a lot of connections. They said this could affect boot up time of my PC. but I don't believe there is a significant number of attacks there. Not "per hour" anyway.

Was slightly annoying as I have a range of ports open on my router for basically playing games. I was being lazy and opened up a bank of ports rather than putting them all in individually. I now realise that port 3389 is open which is what those remote desktop programs

My girlfriends PC is on all day and she has very few network attacks. I have had my laptop on all day and that has zero attacks. According to the ESET logs, the scanning has been ongoing since the end of April this year. Though I don't know how far back the logs are kept, so this could have been ongoing for a while :roll: ESET add all the offending IP addresses blocked as standard anyway. I did not realise that they must block IPs based on their own database.

I presume what happened at some point, is general IP scanners have found that port 3389 is open and continued to try and connect to a remote desktop app. Like Anydesk etc. The attacks are coming from here for example https://www.abuseipdb.com/check/133.18.211.209 There are some other IP addresses but I won't go and list them all here. I will investigate them and lock them down later today.

Secondly there was a problem with the HIPS settings in ESET ( Host Intrusion Protection System) this is what I turned on around the time I started having black screen problems. Its a bit of a conversation but they suggested reinstalling ESET. Though I just deleted the rule set and now the HIPS logging is working correctly.

I asked the question if corrupt entries could start blocking random programs or killing random processes or something, They replied "The HIPS issue could certainly cause a 'knock on' and in effect cause unexpected blocks, it would be worth monitoring to see if it does help at all now we're seeing the 'expected' blocks correctly."

So my current hypothesis is that my HIPS settings were corrupted somehow, then for the sake of argument, say that ESET was literally killing off the graphics card driver intermittently. Of course I cannot prove this. But if my PC keeps on working properly then it certainly a plausible hypothesis. I will shut down my PC at 10pm, leave it for half an hour then turn it on again, because that seems to be the "trigger" for the black screen AFAIK. of course you will need to repeat these reboots for the next few days.
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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by exxos »

Back to chaos :lol: :roll:

There must be multi problems going on causing the same issue. But all during the weekend and today the Linux drive was not plugged in. In windows I looked down all those ports so that has stopped all the attacks AFAICT. I plugged the Linux drive back in to make sure steam was still working. the my girlfriend got booted out of the lobby. So I booted back up into windows to check my firewall settings.. and... black screen again! :pullhair: :pullhair: :headbang:

I had previously suspected the drive causing the problems but when I unplugged it the problems still remained. so I basically dismissed it last week has been a contributing factor. however my PC has been rebooting fine throughout today and literally the next reboot into Windows it fails. I rebooted a couple of times and it is like 50:50 if it boots into windows again.

I have a open support ticket with Paragon which is still in motion. because the backup software cannot access the drive while it is mounted in Windows. paragon say that should not be an issue but obviously it is.

I also asked ESET if it would potentially have any compatibility issues with a Linux drive even if Windows itself cannot access it.

I also seem to have my Winstep taskbar causing ESET issues all of a suddon :roll:

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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by Steve »

I personally would run a clean install of Windows (not backups) using standard windows defender, no 3rd party apps, no Eset, no 3rd party bloatware shite. No winstep menu stuff.

I personally stopped buying antivirus / firewall stuff ever since windows 7 since virus protection came with the OS. I never had a virus in, well, never since.

Having a clean OS is next to godliness :) good for my OCD :)
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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by exxos »

I do love a virgin OS but I don't think it's that simple. Installing windows again would need me to create my own setup cd as it won't install as all the drivers be missing for my Ryzen board.

How can I reboot for 3 days without the Linux drive plugged in and it works. The the next reboot with the drive in, I'm back to black screen again. Remove the drive, and it's intermittent black screen again.

It's like something gets in a bad state when the drive is plugged in. That sounds like a hardware fault to me. But I don't see what.
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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by exxos »

I've unplugged the network cable again and the Linux drive is still plugged in.

It's odd though as windows when it does get to desktop, says it can't connect to my network drivers. In explorer they have a red cross to show not connected but when I click on them, they are fine. My NAS drive has gone to sleep for the night now anyway.

Anyway, I've downloaded the most recent version of my realtek network drivers for win7. Only a year later but it's gone up a fair few revisions. As it seems to be network related somehow I thought it can't hurt.

At some point I was reading a rant on a forum that claimed Microsoft let devices have direct access to the kernel to speed things up. Then if the driver went fubar, it could corrupt the kernel.
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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by exxos »

Well that went downhill fast. The bios went nuts and got stuck in the 3 retries loop with the Linux drive plugged in. :WTF:

Ive updated the bios to the latest version.
https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/X570-A-PRO/support

Now the Linux and network cable is plugged in and I've rebooted about 20 times now. Had enough for one day. Will reboot more again tomorrow.
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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by Rustynutt »

For the past 6-8 months have been debating on doing a fresh install of Win 7 due to not properly transferring the system over to a new HD, and now get the nagging copy isn't a legal notice. Entering the key doesn't help, I think MS has pretty much just shut the door on reactivation.
Tried going the old cracks method as well.
So much to reinstall though, all Win 7 programs.
Oh well, life under Microsoft.
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Re: exxos blog - random goings on

Post by exxos »

Finally back online after fighting with my broken PC for the past couple of weeks :( What a total nightmare and what a total rabbit hole I went down with all this stuff :roll:

The problem was always consistent that after a couple of reboots I would get to the welcome screen in Windows and then the screen would fade to black and the desktop would never appear. Only thing on the screen would be the mouse pointer which I could move. But that was basically it! I could not get into task manager, pressing the power button on the PC would ordinarily shut down Windows but it did nothing. Also ironically things seem to work fine with the LAN cable unplugged which never made any sense. But for the moment I could only really concentrate on one weird thing at a time.

After screwing around with a hard drives for the best part, I eventually put in a old mechanical drive on the SATA port. And my God, how did we ever survive with these drives :lol: :roll: Windows almost becomes unusable it holds things up much! I rebooted about 20 times and it worked perfectly well every single time. So the problem would have appeared to be with the WD NVMe drive. But no, it could not be that simple could it.

I was emailing MSI technical support about possible compatibility issues with the WD BLUE 570 drive. but like with most technical support, a waste of time. Their expert advice was firstly to clear the CMOS. Where I had already pointed out I flashed to the latest version of the BIOS which would have wiped everything anyway :roll: The new BIOS takes even longer to initialise so I wish I had not updated it now. it actually takes longer to go through the BIOS crap than it takes windows to boot up now :roll: The second round of expert advice was to reinstall Windows. So welcome back to the 1990's I guess! :roll: Rather than diagnosing problems continue with your nightly reinstall of Windows until things work properly. I already did that for two years trying to get Windows 95/98 to work properly. So no thanks.

I booted back off the WD drive and the black screen problems returned after a couple of reboots. I went back to the spinning metal drive and rebooted several times without issue. So again things were pointing towards the WD drive being iffy. The thing is, I ran every scan I could pretty much do on that drive and it would never come out has been faulty in any way.

I turned off the write cache, and my god these drives are all BS spec with write speeds.

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I think part of the problem was thermal throttling because of all the testing. The thing slowed right down on reads to around 300MB/sec during sector scanning.

In any case there seemed to be enough evidence pointing towards the WD drive to simply by a new drive of a different brand. at this point I really had no other course of action. Because I had basically fallen out with pretty much every brand of hard drive I was basically limited to the Lexar NM620. So purchase that and paid for next day delivery.

The next day it arrived late afternoon so plugged it in and run various scans on it.

But nope, it could not be that simple. Windows did not find the drive. Well actually found a " PCI device" and not the drive itself as such. Then I spent ages trying to locate a driver for it with no success. A lot of the download sites seemed to be very dubious, so I was extremely careful downloading a lot of stuff ultimately gave up.

I emailed Lexar, who replied extremely quickly basically saying they don't know why Windows does not find it. I think it was that drive which was even listed as compatible with Windows 7. so basically they did not have a driver and did not know how to fix it. it really is amazing how dependent third parties are these days in just assuming windows will find everything and work fine! :roll: I've even seen other posts on other forums of people requesting such drivers.

In the end I ended up hacking my own driver. so ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the "Lexar NM620 exxos driver for windows 7".

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So speed wise it basically sucked. Cache issues and thermal throttling seem to be a common trend with these things :roll: Though I am not overly sure about that statement because with my thermal probe, the drive only got up to 56c in general. Though at 50C it seemed to work fine. not really sure what point these things thermal throttle at but, after a while I just thought of sticking a heatsink on the drive at some point.

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Next up I cloned my C: drive over to the Lexar. The odd thing is this time it "found" my LAN controller ?!

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Oddly it has renamed it as number two (#2) :shrug: I thought at that point may be the driver was corrupted or something. long story short here, even after updating the driver ultimately made no difference. as to why this happened I have no idea. I did not want to get distracted into another load of weirdness. So I concentrated back on the hard drive side of things.

So basically I rebooted 50 times with the Lexar drive without issue. albeit, at one time, it locked up just as the desktop came up. so aside from the weirdness with the LAN and the one lockup, it was working fine. I basically concluded there must have been some compatibility issue with the WD drive. So I thought I had finally solved the problem, but it was not that simple. :roll:

At some point I'd also worked out that the 2 M.2 slots on my motherboard were actually different. the top slot seems to go directly to the CPU, and the other slot seems to go via the chipset. Basically bandwidth shared with the SATA drives. The drive was about 10% slower on the second slot what at this point it was not really an issue. I think I spent two days swapping drives around again and rebooting 100's of times. but ultimately they did not seem to be any difference between the 2 slots reliability wise. So again things pointed towards a problem with the WD drive itself.

So because the Lexar drive was rather erratic with speeds and slower than my WD one. I decided to splash out and buy a Kingston Fury drive. I purchased this one because it had the fastest read and write access times and it also had a heatsink on it!

Paid for next day delivery and when it arrived.. the drive was not found. I thought oh no not again :roll: After looking around Kingston's site, No drivers. I did not bother to contact them because I really did not see the point. Their software only works on Windows 10 or above so I could not even update the drive firmware. All that could have been the WD drive. But either way finding the drive are all getting help from support was futile.

So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the "Kingston Fury exxos NVMe driver for Windows 7".

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Copied my C: drive over to the Kingston, rebooted and.... BLACK FU**ING SCREEN AGAIN!!!!! :pullhair: :headbang:

At this point I had lost the will to live. I was honestly thinking of just throwing the computer out of the window I was that pi**sed off with it all.

At this point I went off on some side quests and found a start-up organiser type programme which I screwed around with for a couple of days.

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I thought I was onto something at one point but ultimately the avenue did not yield anything of consequence.


I started to think that maybe "speed" was some sort of issue. it was basically looping background to my technical support help with MSI as I suspected there was something bad going on relating to speed.

The interesting thing is that the Kingston and Western Digital drive were the two drives I was mainly having problems with but also the fastest. the Lexar being in third place and working 99% of the time. Then the spinning metal drive which always seemed to work which is of course the slowest drive again.

So after looking around in the BIOS and changing basically every setting I could find for a couple of days. I found I could actually set "GEN1" for the hard drives. There was currently GEN3. so this slow down the WD drive down to about 700MB/sec max and the system rebooted 35 times that way. So speed definitely seem to be some sort of factor here.

At this point I really had no idea what avenues were left to explore. Theoretically, you think it is not windows at fault or anything on the drive whatsoever if it can start up slowly. You would tend to think it would be a hardware related fault. But as I could not find any issues with the hardware whatsoever I was basically stuck with everything was working fine, but it was not!

I even left my PC on benchmarking with winrar to hammer the CPU and hard drive. I left the old ATI graphics this program running to look for any bad pixels on the graphics card ( at one point I even change the graphics card for a different one for the hell of it). So everything on the system was maxed out. I could not get anything to fail whatsoever.

So decided to start taking the machine apart and clean the RAM contacts again. I also took the CPU out of the motherboard and clean the contacts and make sure there was no bent pins etc.

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I sprayed it with contact cleaner thoroughly and put it all back in the computer. And my god, these heatsink assemblies are a total PITA.

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I basically wish I went with the stock cooler as it would probably have been easier. This heatsink does not even get warm when the system is running flat-out. The fans are all on mineral speed as well. But the way the whole thing fits together is frustrating. You cannot get the screws out unless you take the middle fan out. and that is held in with clips which you have basically no room between the heatsink and the top of the case. in the end when I put it all back together I put the clips on the opposite side of the heatsink even though that is technically wrong. but when you only have like 1 inch of room and your fighting past the height of the heatsink trying to get the clip on the bottom of the fan.. It was near on impossible to do.

It is also nearly impossible to get the screws in and out. even though there are holes on top of the heatsink to get at the screws, the screws do not fit physically through the holes. So I ended up magnetising my screwdriver on a strong magnet and basically trying to catch the screw as I was holding it the side of the heatsink with a screwdriver going through the whole on the top. it was a total PITA but I managed it in the end.

Got it all back together and after Windows through a wobbly because all my USB stuff had moved about.. the second reboot, black screen again! :headbang: :headbang:

Though as some point during all this I started getting random drive corruption errors which further led me to believe the WD drive was bad originally.

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This started to come up repeatedly but it is also possible because I had to keep killing the power to the PC because it was stuck on the black screen, I think it possibly had corrupted some stuff. basically if it got stuck on the welcome screen for more than a couple of seconds I would just power off completely because the desktop should come up extremely quickly ordinarily. But that seemed to be a red herring overall I think.

During all this time I was also fixing problems in Windows because things like the Microsoft XPS stuff was causing no end of weird start-up errors. I managed to find a program to deal with them and remove it totally which helped a lot.

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I also got distracted because I noticed my antivirus was picking up a load of network "attacks". mostly there was on the " Remote Desktop" type of ports. So I spent a while configuring my router to block all those attacks and ports totally.

During all this I noticed that the ESET logs were reporting HIPS user profile corrupted errors or something like that. I emailed ESET and they suggested reinstalling the software. Though I just deleted all the HIPS rules and those errors went away. ESET Also send me a program to transfer all my logs and stuff to them so they could see if there was some sort of program malfunction or I was hit with a virus or something. But long story short, there was basically nothing found. I am not overly sure if there was interested in diagnosing the problem. But technically my computer not starting up did not really seem like a antivirus issue anyway. So I don't really blame them in that respect.

In the end I had ran out of avenues to explore and have basically ran out of ideas. but I was thinking the only thing which could really lock up the system to that extent is all the antivirus security. I had turned it all off, as much as possible other than file system protection. and I was still getting the black screen problems. In the end I just uninstalled ESET, thinking it was the only thing which could cause the problems. Then lo and behold, my system started booting up correctly!! I restarted around 60 times with the WD drive back in and it worked fine.

Ultimately I reinstalled ESET stuff afd rebooted another 35 times without issues. So then I copied stuff over to my Kingston drive and rebooted another 30 odd times just fine. So this point in time I think the problem seems to be solved! Incidentally I had switch back to over to GEN3 at this point in case anyone was wondering ;)

So all this because something went "Wonky" in ESET. I can only assume it had updated around the time I had installed all those windows office updates. It also coincidentally coincided with my mother's laptop being "hacked". But the Windows updates and a laptop hack were unrelated.

TL;DR So far so good.

Ordinarily I would have visited the forum and picked up my emails etc on my tablet. Though that also went nuts :roll: Every time I went on a webpage it would max out the CPU and be locked solid and the only thing I could do was restart it. I basically cleared the Chrome cache which I think solve the problem. Though it of course lost all my passwords which I could not access because my PC was busted the entire time :roll: . I mostly was hanging out on Facebook because it was the only password I could actually remember :lol:

There is probably a whole lot of other stuff I was doing the past two weeks and forgotten to mention. but that is basically the gist of it all anyway.

So that is basically the roundup of what has been going on the past couple of weeks. There is another post of stuff I did afterwards relating to PC upgrades.. but first.. lunch!

After a while I worked out that while the motherboard supports GEN4 the CPU however does not :roll:

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I decided to upgrade from my less than a year old, Ryzen 5 5500, to a Ryzen 7 5700X.

So back to fighting with a heatsink and removing the CPU. Twisty twisty Wiggle wiggle and...

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:headbang:


Thankfully there was not any bent pins.

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The heatsink cleaned up and the Ryzen 5 back in the box.

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The Ryzen 7 seems it does not come with a heatsink. Considering the price of the thing as well... :roll:

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Eventually after the BIOS going nuts...

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and...

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So basically now I have a working GEN4 hard drive :D

Now to finish putting my PC back together. Sorting out all my backups again etc..

I also scoured the Internet for some faster RAM. Currently I have 3200CL16 , and the fastest thing I could actually find which is even remotely in production is 4000CL14. the problem there becomes that as the MHz increases, so does the CL. So overall RAM isn't really any faster. who also when it gets to about 4000MHz, it is basically on my motherboard overclocking region. so I went for the lowest latency I could find first then went for the maximum MHz I could find. The memory I am still waiting for, it is coming from Italy I think...

There is a lot of RAM still out there but it is only about 25% faster than the one I have now. The new memory should be about 42% faster. will be interesting if this actually tallies up in benchmark results later on.
https://www.exxosforum.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
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viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1585 Have you done the Mandatory Fixes ?
Just because a lot of people agree on something, doesn't make it a fact. ~exxos ~
People should find solutions to problems, not find problems with solutions.
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