John Carrona - Microsoft MVP

Windows Expert - Consumer

www.carrona.org

I have the Knack: sound byte here



Canned Speeches RSS Feed Subscribe to the RSS feed Originally Added to Website:  14 Sep 2009
Last updated: 17 April 2016 - Added Step 3 in the Backup, Wipe, and Clean Install of Windows entry

Laptop Recovery Instructions link

Additional canned speeches located at (will eventually be merged into one page):
http://www.carrona.org/canned2.html

CHKDSK /R /F
CHKDSK LogFile
Show Hidden/System Files
Upload Dump Files
MSINFO32
systeminfo
Elevated Command Prompt
Task Manager

Taking Ownership - Win7
Verifier
Compatibilty Mode Driver Installation
Symbol File Path
H/W Diagnostics
Driver Removal and Reinstallation
How To Find Updated Drivers
Anti-Virus Removal
Stop 0x124 errors
SFC.EXE /SCANNOW
Enable the viewing of System and Hidden Files/Folders
Obtaining Hardware ID's to help Identify Hardware
Event Viewer Log Files
Backup, Wipe, and "Clean Install" of Windows

Laptop Recovery:  http://www.techsupportforum.com/hardware-support/laptop-support/162525-laptop-recovery-instructions.html

[b][u]CHKDSK /R /F:[/b][/u]
Run CHKDSK /R /F from an elevated (Run as adminstrator) Command Prompt.  Please do this for each hard drive on your system.
FWIW - I know that the /F is supposed to be redundant, but I prefer to have it run anyway.
When it tells you it can't do it right now - and asks you if you'd like to do it at the next reboot - answer Y (for Yes) and press Enter.  Then reboot and let the test run.  It may take a while for it to run, but keep an occasional eye on it to see if it generates any errors.  See "CHKDSK LogFile" below in order to check the results of the test.

[b][u]CHKDSK LogFile:[/b][/u]
Go to Start and type in "eventvwr.msc" (without the quotes) and press Enter
Expand the Windows logs heading, then select the Application log file entry.
Double click on the Source column header.
Scroll down the list until you find the Chkdsk entry (Look in the "Source" column for "wininit" in Win7/8/8.1 -  "winlogon" for XP).
Copy/paste the results into your next post.

[b][u]Show Hidden/System Files[/b][/u]
Go to Start and type in "explorer" (without the quotes), hold down Ctrl and Shift and then press Enter (this will run explorer as an Administrator)
Press the Alt key (to show the menu in the upper left), then select the Tools menu item, then the Folder Options item, then the View tab

In the scroll down box labelled Advanced Settings, uncheck the following:
- Show hidden files, folders, or drives
- Hide extensions for known file types
- Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
Click Apply, then click OK

[b][u]Upload Dump Files:[/b][/u]
[b][u]NOTE:[/b][/u]  If using a disk cleaning utility, please stop using it while we are troubleshooting your issues.
Please go to C:\Windows\Minidump and zip up the contents of the folder.  Then upload/attach the .zip file with your next post.
Left click on the first minidump file.
Hold down the "Shift" key and left click on the last minidump file.
Right click on the blue highlighted area and select "Send to"
Select "Compressed (zipped) folder" and note where the folder is saved.
Upload that .zip file with your next post.

If you have issues with "Access Denied" errors, try copying the files to your desktop and zipping them up from there.  If it still won't let you zip them up, post back for further advice.

If you don't have anything in that folder, please check in C:\Windows for a file named MEMORY.DMP.  If you find it, zip it up and upload it to a free file hosting service.  Then post the link to it in your topic so that we can download it. 

Also, search your entire hard drive for files ending in .dmp, .mdmp, and .hdmp.  Zip up any that you find and upload them with your next post.

Then, follow the directions here to set your system for Minidumps (much smaller than the MEMORY.DMP file):  http://www.carrona.org/setmini.html
More info on dump file options here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/254649

[b][u]MSINFO32:[/b][/u]
Please go to Start and type in "msinfo32.exe" (without the quotes) and press Enter
Save the report as an .nfo file, then zip up the .nfo file and upload/attach the .zip file with your next post.
Also, save a copy as a .txt file and include it also (it's much more difficult to read, but we have greater success in getting the info from it).

If you're having difficulties with the format, please open an elevated (Run as administrator) Command Prompt and type (or copy/paste) "msinfo32 /nfo %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\TEST.NFO" (without the quotes) and press Enter.  Then navigate to Desktop to retrieve the TEST.NFO file.  If you have difficulties with making this work, please post back.  Then zip up the .nfo file and upload/attach the .zip file with your next post.

[b][u]systeminfo:[/b][/u]
Please open an elevated (Run as administrator) Command Prompt and type (or copy/paste) "systeminfo.exe >%USERPROFILE%\Desktop\systeminfo.txt" (without the quotes) and press Enter.  Then navigate to Desktop to retrieve the syteminfo.txt file.  If you have difficulties with making this work, please post back.  Then zip up the .txt file and upload/attach the .zip file with your next post.

[b][u]Elevated Command Prompt:[/b][/u]
Win7/Vista: Click on the Start button and type "cmd" (without the quotes).  At the top of the search box you'll see cmd.exe appear.  Right click on it and select "Run as administrator".
Win8:  Press the Win key and the X key at the same time.  When the Power User menu pops up in the lower left corner of the screen, press the A key.

[b][u]Task Manager:[/b][/u]
Also, you can monitor the system for excessive resource consumption.  To do this, open up Task Manager by right clicking on the Task Bar.
Then select the Processes tab.
Then select the "Show processes from all users" button (in the lower left)
Then select the View menu item, then select "Select columns"
In the Select columns window, place checkmarks next to I/O Reads and I/O Other.
Click OK to accept the changes.
Resize the Task Manager window so you can see the most of the columns.
Wait for the system to freeze/take up the resources.
Look at all of the columns to see if there's anything that looks excessively high - if so, let us know the Image name of the process. 
NOTE:  If the image name is svchost.exe - right click on it and select "Go to Service(s)" and let us know the Services that it highlights
FWIW - System Idle Process is supposed to have high CPU readings - anything else with high CPU readings is an issue.

[b][u]Taking Ownership - Win7:[/b][/u]
Right click on the C:\Windows\Minidump folder and select Properties
Click on the Security tab, then on the Advanced button
Then on the Owner tab, then on the Edit button
Click once on your account name, then put a checkmark in the "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects"  Then click on OK.
Click OK on the warning dialog about reopening, then click on OK 2 more times to exit the dialog.

Then try copying the minidump files to your Desktop.
Then zip them up and upload/attach the .zip file with your next post.

[b][u]Verifier:[/b][/u]
in an elevated (run as admin) CMD prompt:
[b]VERIFIER /FLAGS 1 /ALL [/b]
<reboot>

Please upload any minidumps from subsequent crashes for analysis.
Afterwards, when this is all over, go back to default settings by running:
[b] VERIFIER /RESET[/b]

[b][u]Compatibilty Mode Driver Installation:[/b][/u]
1 - Download the latest driver from the manufacturer's website.
2 - un-install the current drivers using the Control Panel...Programs and features...un-install a program applet.  Then verify that the driver/device has been removed in Device Manager
3 - Right click on freshly downloaded driver installation file and select "Properties"
4 - Select the Compatibility tab - and do the following:
- Click on the "Change settings for all users" button
- Click on the box to select "Run this program in compatibility mode for" and then select Windows Vista Service Pack 1
- Click on the box to select "Run as administrator"
- Click on OK to exit all the dialogs
5 - Right click on the driver installation file and select "Run as administrator"
6 - Let it install and see if that stops the BSOD's.
Also, here's an article on adding legacy devices to Win7:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ee851685.aspx

[b][u]Symbol File Path:[/b][/u]
FYI - Open WinDbg, go to File...Symbol File Path
Delete anything in the box.
Then copy the stuff in the Code box below and paste it into the box.
[CODE]SRV*c:\symbols*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols[/CODE]Then click on OK to exit the dialog.
Then close WinDbg and answer Yes when it asks you if you want to "Save information for workspace"

 FORUMS H/W DIAGS:

I suggest starting all troubleshooting with the following diagnostic tests (located at this link:  http://www.carrona.org/hwdiag.html ).  They'll save you a lot of time and heartache if there is a hardware failure, and you'll have the disks on hand in case you need them in the future:
[quote][b][u]H/W Diagnostics:[/b][/u]
Please start by running these [u]bootable[/u] hardware diagnostics:
[url=http://www.carrona.org/memdiag.html][COLOR="Blue"][U]Memory Diagnostics[/U][/COLOR][/url] (read the details at the link)
[url=http://www.carrona.org/hddiag.html][COLOR="Blue"][U]HD Diagnostic[/U][/COLOR][/url] (read the details at the link) - Test [b][u]ALL[/b][/u] of the hard drives.
If you find hardware issues, here's a link to the hardware forums: [url=http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f14/][COLOR=Red]Hardware Support - Tech Support Forum[/COLOR][/url]

Also, please run one of these free, independent online malware scans to ensure that your current protection hasn't been compromised:  [url=http://www.carrona.org/malware.html][COLOR="Blue"][U]Free Online AntiMalware Resources[/U][/COLOR][/url] (read the details at the link)
There are also free, bootable antivirus disks at this link: [url=http://www.carrona.org/malware.html#rescue][COLOR="Blue"][U]Free Online AntiMalware Resources - Bootable Disks[/U][/COLOR][/url]
If you find malware, here's a link on how to post in the Security Center:  [url=http://www.techsupportforum.com/security-center/hijackthis-log-help/305963-new-instructions-read-before-posting-malware-removal-help.html][COLOR=Red]NEW INSTRUCTIONS - Read This Before Posting For Malware Removal Help - Tech Support Forum[/COLOR][/url][/quote]

OTHER FORUMS DIAGS

I suggest starting all troubleshooting with the following diagnostic tests (located at this link:  http://www.carrona.org/hwdiag.html ).  They'll save you a lot of time and heartache if there is a hardware failure, and you'll have the disks on hand in case you need them in the future:
[quote][b][u]H/W Diagnostics:[/b][/u]
Please start by running these [u]bootable[/u] hardware diagnostics:
http://www.carrona.org/memdiag.html (read the details at the link)
http://www.carrona.org/hddiag.html (read the details at the link) - Test [b][u]ALL[/b][/u] of the hard drives.

Also, please run one of these free, independent online malware scans to ensure that your current protection hasn't been compromised:  http://www.carrona.org/malware.html (read the details at the link)
There are also free, bootable antivirus disks at this link: [url=http://www.carrona.org/malware.html#rescue][COLOR="Blue"][U]Free Online AntiMalware Resources - Bootable Disks[/U][/COLOR][/url][/quote]

Then, if the above tests pass, I'd try these free stress tests:

[quote]FurMark download sitehttp://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/
[b][u]FurMark Setup:[/b][/u]
- If you have more than one GPU, select Multi-GPU during setup
- In the Run mode box, select "Stability Test" and "Log GPU Temperature"
Click "Go" to start the test  (Looks like it's "BURN-IN test" now)
- Run the test until the GPU temperature maxes out - or until you start having problems [b](whichever comes first)[/b].
[b]NOTE:[/b]  Set the alarm to go off at 90C.  Then watch the system from that point on.  If the system doesn't display a temperature, watch it constantly and turn it off at the first sign of video problems.  [b][u]DO NOT[/u][/b] leave it it unmonitored, it can [COLOR=Red][b][u]DAMAGE[/u][/b][/COLOR] your video card!!! 
If the temperature gets above [COLOR=Red][b]100C[/b][/COLOR], quit the test - the video card is [u]overheating[/u].
- Click "Quit" to exit[/quote]
What you are looking for:  
- excessive heat from the GPU (report back with anything over 90C)
- problems with the video display (picture is distorted or jumbled, picture turns black, etc)
- problems reported by the program (I haven't seen this, but "just in case")[/quote]

[quote]Prime95 download site:  http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/
[b][u]Prime95 Setup:[/b][/u]
- extract the contents of the zip file to a location of your choice
- double click on the executable file
- select "Just stress testing"
- select the "Blend" test.  If you've already run MemTest overnight please run the "Small FFTs" test instead. (run all 3 if you find a problem and note how long it takes to error out with each)
- "Number of torture test threads to run" should equal the number of CPU's times 2 (if you're using hyperthreading).
The easiest way to figure this out is to go to Task Manager...Performance tab - and see the number of boxes under CPU Usage History
Then run the test for 6 to 24 hours - or until you get errors [b](whichever comes first)[/b].
Monitor the CPU temperature and [b][u]DON'T[/u][/b] let it exceed 85C.  If it does, then you probably have a CPU cooling problem.
- CPU temps exceeding 60C can cause errors in Prime95.  Fix the cooling solution first, then run Prime95 again.
This won't necessarily crash the system - but check the output in the test window for errors.
The Test selection box and the stress.txt file describes what components that the program stresses.
More details on the use of this test:  http://www.playtool.com/pages/prime95/prime95.html[/quote]

[quote] [b][u]More Video Stress Tests:[/b][/u]
1.  Thanks to VirGnarus for finding this video memory test:  https://simtk.org/home/memtest
Alternate download link (w/o registration) located here:  http://folding.stanford.edu/English/DownloadUtils
2.  Two other video stress tests (may be more stressful than FurMark):
NOTE:  I have had reports that some ISP's will block this website
[u]Video Memory stress Test[/u] - http://nvworld.ru/utilities/vmt/
[u]Artifact Locator[/u] - http://nvworld.ru/utilities/alocator/
Sorry, but I don't read the language that this website is made in.
3.  Another interesting test that came to my attention: http://www.ocbase.com/perestroika_en/index.php?Download
USE AT YOUR OWN RISK - the program doesn't have a whole bunch of safety features to protect you from yourself![/quote]

[quote] [b][u]CPU Stress Tests:[/b][/u]
Only need to run 1 or 2 of the tests under most circumstances.  I haven't used any of the tests myself, so I listed all that I was able to find.
- Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool (works in Windows)
    x64 - http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=19792&keyword=%22cpu+stress+test%22&DownloadType=Utilities%2c+Tools+and+Examples&lang=eng
    x86 - http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=19791&keyword=%22cpu+stress+test%22&DownloadType=Utilities%2c+Tools+and+Examples&lang=eng
    Burn Test - http://downloads.guru3d.com/IntelBurnTest-v2.3-download-2047.html
- AMD OverDrive is the recommended solution from AMD - BUT I've seen issues with this program causing BSOD's.  Use at your own risk!!!         http://sites.amd.com/us/game/downloads/amd-overdrive/pages/overview.aspx
- http://7byte.com/index.php?page=hotcpu
- http://www.7byte.com/index.php?page=burnin64
- http://www.overclock.net/general-processor-discussions/657486-cpu-stress-test.html
- http://www.fossiltoys.com/cpuload.html
- http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,7146-order,1-page,1-c,alldownloads/description.html
- http://www.overclock.net/general-processor-discussions/657486-cpu-stress-test.html
- http://majorgeeks.com/CPU_Stability_Test_d215.html
- http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=201670
- the test(s) suggested at this link are bootable:  http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f15/headless-cpu-stress-testing-393435.html#post2232929
[/quote]

[b][u]Driver Removal and Reinstallation:[/b][/u]
Please do the following:
- download a fresh copy of the latest Win7 version of the program for this driver from the device manufacturer's website ([b]NOT[/b] from Windows Update or from the Update driver function in Device Manager).  If there are no Win7 drivers, post back for further instructions on installing other drivers using Compatibility mode.
- un-install the current version from your system (first try Control Panel...Programs...un-install a program - if not there, then right click on the device in Device Manager, select "un-install", and make sure to place a checkmark in the box that says "Delete the driver software for this device") - post back if you still can't remove it.
- then install the freshly downloaded version
- check to see if you have any further BSOD's

[FONT=Lucida Console][SIZE=4][color=#000055][U]OLDER DRIVERS PRESENT IN THE DUMP FILES[/U][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT] 
- Please update these drivers from the device manufacturer's website - or un-install them from your system. 
- [B][U]DO NOT[/U][/B] use Windows Update or the Update Drivers function of Device Manager. 
- Windows Update exceptions may be noted below for Windows drivers:


It is possible that the following older drivers may be causing your problems.
Please either [B]REMOVE[/B] or [B]Update[/B] the older drivers listed below.
[quote][B][U]HOW TO FIND DRIVERS:[/U][/B]
[B][U]DO NOT[/U][/B] use Windows Update or the Update Driver function of Device Manager as they are not the most current versions available.
Also, [B][U]DO NOT[/U][/B] update from the PC Manufacturer's website unless the Driver Reference cited below states that you should get the drivers from the OEM.
If updating drivers, remove the existing drivers first - this may remove corruption that may not be fixed by installing normally.

The most common drivers are located on this page:  http://www.carrona.org/dvrref.html
If you can't find the driver, post back and we'll see what we can find.[/quote]

Here's the older drivers that were found in the memory dump files:


Also, please remove or update these older drivers that were loaded at the time of the crash.  [b]Don't[/b] use Windows Update or the Update drivers function of Device Manager.  
Please use the following instructions to locate the most currently available drivers to replace the one's that you un-install [b][u]OR[/b][/u] remove:
[quote]
[b][u]How To Find Drivers:[/b][/u]
- I have listed links to most of the drivers in the code box below.  Please use the links there to see what info I've found about those drivers.
- search Google for the name of the driver
- compare the Google results with what's installed on your system to figure out which device/program it belongs to
- visit the web site of the manufacturer of the hardware/program to get the latest drivers ([b]DON'T[/b] use Windows Update or the Update driver function of Device Manager).
- if there are difficulties in locating them, post back with questions and someone will try and help you locate the appropriate program.[/quote]

- - The most common drivers are listed on this page:  http://www.carrona.org/dvrref.html
- - Driver manufacturer links are on this page:  http://www.carrona.org/drvrdown.html

Here's the older drivers (You can look them up here: http://www.carrona.org/dvrref.html ). 
Please pay particular attention to any dated [b][u][color=red]2008[/color][/b][/u] or earlier:
[code][/code]

[b][u]Anti-Virus Removal:[/b][/u]
Please do the following:
- download a free anti-virus for testing purposes:  http://www.carrona.org/freeav.html  If using Windows 8, enable Windows Defender and the Windows Firewall instead (after removing Norton).
- un-install the [B]Norton[/B] from your system (you can reinstall it, if so desired, when we're done troubleshooting)
- remove any remnants of [B]Norton[/B] using this free tool:  http://us.norton.com/support/kb/web_view.jsp?wv_type=public_web&docurl=20080710133834EN
- [b][u]IMMEDIATELY[/b][/u] install and update the free anti-virus (if using Win8, enable Windows Defender), then check to ensure that the Windows Firewall is turned on.
- perform a full system scan to ensure that no malware has snuck onto your system while the anti-virus was malfunctioning.
- check to see if this fixes the BSOD's
[b][u]NOTE:[/u]  NEVER[/b] run more than 1 anti-virus, firewall, Internet Security/Security Center application at the same time.

[b][u]Anti-Virus Removal:[/b][/u]
Please do the following:
- download a free anti-virus for testing purposes:  http://www.carrona.org/freeav.html  If using Windows 8, enable Windows Defender and the Windows Firewall instead (after removing McAfee).
- un-install the [B]McAfee[/B] from your system (you can reinstall it, if so desired, when we're done troubleshooting)
- remove any remnants of [B]McAfee[/B] using this free tool:  http://service.mcafee.com/FAQDocument.aspx?lc=1033&id=TS101331 (This link has changed a lot.  If it doesn't work, search for McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool)
- [b][u]IMMEDIATELY[/b][/u] install and update the free anti-virus (if using Win8, enable Windows Defender), then check to ensure that the Windows Firewall is turned on.
- perform a full system scan to ensure that no malware has snuck onto your system while the anti-virus was malfunctioning.
- check to see if this fixes the BSOD's
[b][u]NOTE:[/u]  NEVER[/b] run more than 1 anti-virus, firewall, Internet Security/Security Center application at the same time.

[b][u]Anti-Virus Removal:[/b][/u]
Please do the following:
- download a free anti-virus for testing purposes:  http://www.carrona.org/freeav.html  If using Windows 8, enable Windows Defender and the Windows Firewall instead.
- un-install the antivirus software from your system (you can reinstall it, if so desired, when we're done troubleshooting)
- remove any remnants of the anti-virus software using one of these free tools:  http://www.carrona.org/avuninst.html
- [b][u]IMMEDIATELY[/b][/u] install and update the free antivirus (if using Win8, enable Windows Defender), then check to ensure that the Windows Firewall is turned on.
- perform a full system scan to ensure that no malware has snuck onto your system while the anti-virus was malfunctioning.
- check to see if this fixes the BSOD's
[b][u]NOTE:[/u]  NEVER[/b] run more than 1 anti-virus, firewall, Internet Security/Security Center application at the same time.

[b][u]STOP 0x124 errors[/b][/u]
This is an error that your CPU reports to Windows. They're difficult to interpret, and the results of the interpretation aren't very helpful.

Most often caused by hardware problems (bad drivers, incompatible drivers/hardware, broken hardware)

Start with this http://www.sevenforums.com/crash-lockup-debug-how/35349-2-int-stop-0x124-what-means-what-try.html

[b][u]SFC.EXE /SCANNOW[/b][/u]
Go to Start and type in "cmd.exe" (without the quotes)
At the top of the search box, right click on the cmd.exe and select "Run as adminstrator"
In the black window that opens, type "SFC.EXE /SCANNOW" (without the quotes) and press Enter.
Let the program run and post back what it says when it's done.

[b][u]Enable the viewing of System and Hidden Files/Folders[/b][/u]
In Windows Explorer,
press Alt to get the menu,
then select the Tools menu item
Then select the Folder Options menu item
Then select the View tab
Then, in the Advanced Settings dropdown box, scroll down and select these:
- Show hidden files, folders, and drives
Then remove the selection mark from:
- Hide extensions for known file types
- Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
Click on Apply, then on OK to save these choices

[b][u]Obtaining Hardware ID's to help Identify Hardware[/b][/u]
- Go to Start and type in "devmgmt.msc" (without the quotes) and press Enter
- Expand the Network Adapters category by clicking on the + sign to the left of it
- Right click on the network adapter (if there's more than one, do this for all of them) and select Properties.
- Then select the Details tab.
- In the dropdown box, select "Hardware IDs" - and match the info to one of the following descriptions:
- - If the Hardware IDs description contains VEN_ and DEV_, then let us know the 4 characters immediately after the VEN_ and the 4 characters immediately after the DEV_
     this is a PCI device and we'll look up the information at http://www.pcidatabase.com
- - If the Hardware IDs description contains VID_ and PID_, then let us know the 4 characters immediately after the VID_ and the 4 characters immediately after the PID_
     this is a USB device and we'll look up the information at http://www.linux-usb.org/usb.ids
If you don't have those items in the Hardware IDs description, copy down the entire string of the first entry and include that with your next post.


[b][u]Event Viewer Log Files[/b][/u]
Please provide us with copies of these 2 logfiles:
- Go to Start and type in "eventvwr.msc" (without the quotes and press Enter
- Expand the Windows Logs category by clicking on the arrow/+ sign to it's left
- Right click on the Application log and select "Save all events as" and name it Application
- Then, right click on the System log and select "Save all events as" and name it System
- Zip up the log files and upload/attach them with your next post.

NOTE:  If the log files are too big to upload to the forums, please upload them to a free file hosting service - I recommend Windows Live SkyDrive - http://skydrive.live.com  Then post the link to it in your topic.

[b][u]Backup, Wipe, and "Clean Install" of Windows[/u][/b]
[quote]
For testing purposes, it's best to install Windows "clean".
This is, basically, installing it the way that Microsoft intended (using drivers from Windows Update).
This procedure is for Windows 7 and Vista.

You will need your installation/recovery DVD(s) before you start.  Once you wipe the hard drive there's no going back!!!

1.  Backup all your data. 
This will wipe everything off of your hard drive, so anything that you want to keep will need to be saved elsewhere.

[b][u]NOTE:[/b][/u] If this is due to an infection, remember to scan the data with another system's current antivirus in order to locate and remove any malware.
[b][u]NOTE:[/b][/u] Disconnect any additional hard drives (internal and external) that you may have installed.  This may break any multi-boot setups that you have, so be prepared to conduct recovery operations on them once you're done.  Don't forget that, if this is due to an infection, the additional hard drives may be infected also.

2.  Connect the system to the internet (if the system says disconnect from the Internet, then do so).

2.  Make sure that you've run hardware diagnostics on the system, as installing Windows on "borked" hardware isn't a real good idea.
Free diagnostics here:  http://www.carrona.org/hwdiag.html
At a minimum, you must have run these bootable diagnostics (they work outside of Windows, so Windows doesn't have to be working):  http://www.carrona.org/initdiag.html

3.  Use one of these free utilities to wipe the hard drive clean:
KillDisk ( http://www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm ). 
DBAN ( http://www.dban.org/download )
This will also delete any recovery partitions on the system - so the installation/recovery DVD's are essential!!!

3  Remove any add-on hardware that didn't come with the system (or hardware that isn't essential for running the system). This'll rule out incompatibilities with that hardware.

4.  Install Windows by booting from the installation/recovery DVD - [b][u]DO NOT tweak any settings!!![/u][/b]

5.  Visit Windows Update and get all updates

6.  Check Device Manager for any unknown/disabled devices - if there are unknown/disabled devices, fix them with the latest drivers from the device manufacturer's website (not the PC Manufacturer)

7.  Visit Windows Update and get the Service Packs for your system. (usually under Important Updates). 
For [b][u]Windows 8[/b][/u] , please get the Win8.1 update and the Win8.1 Update 1 update.
Read these notes for installing [b][u]Windows 7 SP1[/b][/u]:  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/install-windows-7-service-pack-1 and  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2505743  Once this is completed, please go to step 8.
Read these notes for installing [b][u]Vista SP1[/b][/u]:  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Learn-how-to-install-Windows-Vista-Service-Pack-1-SP1  Once this is completed, please go to the next line and install  Vista SP2.
Read these notes for installing [b][u]Vista SP2[/b][/u]:  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Learn-how-to-install-Windows-Vista-Service-Pack-2-SP2  Once this is completed, please go to step 8.
Search Google/Bing for installing other OS's Service Packs.

8.  Visit Windows Update and get [b][u]ALL[/u][/b] available updates.  Make repeated trips there until is shows that there are no updates left to install (it's OK to skip the Bing Desktop update as long as it's not installed on your system).

9.  Download, install, and update a free antivirus so you don't get infected while testing ( http://www.carrona.org/freeav.html ).
     For Win8 and above, use Windows Defender and the Windows Firewall.


10.  Test to see if the problem remains.
[u]If the problems persist[/u], then the problem is most likely with your hardware.
[u]If the problems are gone[/u], then proceed with installing the latest version of your favorite programs, testing after each one for errors.

If you choose to continue setting up the system, these are the next steps:
Step 11 - download and install all available updates from the system manufacturer (or motherboard manufacturer if it's a custom build)
Step 12 - download and install all available updates for any additional hardware that's installed (from the manufacturer's website).
Step 13 - download and install all available updates for any software that you have installed.

[b][u]CAVEAT:[/u][/b]  If you have an Asus motherboard, check the date on the C:\Windows\System32\driver\ASACPI.sys file.  2004/2005 is a problem, 2009/2010 is OK.  Updates are available at the Asus support website.

[b][u]CAVEAT:[/u][/b]  If you have a Sony system, make sure that you DO NOT have the 2007 (or earlier) version of the Sony Firmware Extension Parser (SFEP.sys).  Update this driver immediately!!!
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© 2016 - John D. Carrona, Microsoft MVP
Windows Expert - Consumer
Forum screen name: usasma

Microsoft MVP Profile - http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/mvp/John%20D.%20Carrona-33494