Random Windows errors? Check the hardware.

If I had a dime for every time someone wrote me a note like this one, I’d have enough for a Starbuck’s triple-shot venti cappuccino with light foam:

I’m having issues with the new machine I just put together, getting Stop 07F. I know the drive and RAM are good, spent 4 hrs doing a full format of the 750gb I’m using and ran mem tests on all 4 GB of RAM. I installed using only 2GB as others has said there is a bug with 4GB until it is patched.

I have ‘nearly’ eliminated all hardware issue. The only possible hardware left is a strange mobo issue. BUT, it actually did a full install on this machine last night.

Then I installed all MS patches, NVidia video drivers and Intel Matrix driver. During boot it puked saying the iastor.sys (Intel matrix driver) is unsigned , boot to the CD and run a repair. Now I’m getting Stop 07F errors like I did during the initial first 6 install attempts.”

Ah, the old Stop 07F error (a subspecies of the Blue Screen of Death). I have never seen a Stop 07F that was not hardware related, and they can be a nightmare to troubleshoot. The fact that this is a new, home-built PC that has never successfully booted to Windows makes it even more likely that the problem is hardware-related. Just as a sanity check, I did a quick search through Windows Vista Inside Out, where I came up with this helpful snippet:


Hardware failure is the most common cause of this error. You are most likely to see this Stop error if you have defective memory chips, mismatched memory modules, a malfunctioning CPU, or a failure in your fan or power supply that causes overheating. The error is especially likely to occur on systems where the CPU has been tweaked to run past its rated speed, a process known as “overclocking.” The first parameter immediately after this Stop error number identifies the specific cause of the error.

For more information, see Knowledge Base article 137539, http://www.vista-io.com/2310.

A bit of back and forth determined that a defective DVD drive was the problem behind this particular Stop error. Strange, but certainly not unheard of. (A defective cable has been known to cause similar problems.) We’ll have to add that little detail when we update this chapter in the next edition.

7 thoughts on “Random Windows errors? Check the hardware.

  1. And as coincidence would have it, a friend of mine was recently experiencing issues with his PC that echoed this. I told him to change out those old ribbon cables. Everything’s been fine since.

  2. I had a simlar problem on sunday with a customers XP machine, suspected the HDD or IDE cable, and it turned out to be the DVD-ROM drive, not the Cable!
    That was a first for me.

  3. It tends to help if the code the processor sees is the code that the programmer intended! We had the devil of a time working out why our network cards stopped working after installing Virtual PC (7.0, I think). Well, networking failed on the XP machines – my Windows 2000 machine blue-screened during boot.

    It turned out the checksum on the Virtual Network Services driver was bad – but why was it bad? It turned out that the CD we’d burned of the ISO was a bad burn – extracting the ISO with IsoBuster and reinstalling fixed the problem.

  4. I have had multiple issues including random spontaneous reboots of XP and BSOD in Vista. I have replaced nearly every component in my rig including, PSU, UPS, three different MB’s and RAM from three vendors. When reinstalling XP with two of the motherboards I could not even get through the initial setup without a spontaneous reboot during the process. I finally replaced my C2Duo E6600 cpu with E6750 and no more problems. Only took me six months to track it down. Grrrrrr. I wasn’t getting this exact error until recently but same symptoms all along.

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