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Author Topic: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???  (Read 8981 times)

Armando

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How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« on: October 12, 2007, 10:55:15 PM »
My mbr is damaged again. I know how to fix it (using the Super Grub disk or other boot disks...), but why does that happen? How can a BSOD ruin it?

OGroeger

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2007, 03:53:25 AM »
Hmm, maybe a hardware defect (harddisk or controller)? The hardware wreakes havoc and the os crashes afterwards?

Carol Haynes

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2007, 04:02:13 AM »
Dying block on your hard disk just where you don't want it ?

f0dder

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2007, 06:19:47 AM »
BSOD means you're having problems of one form or another. It could be a hardware failure, and those can be tricky and doing all sorts of stuff. Or it could be a driver running amok and trashing whatever filesystem memory structures that might be flushed back to disk...

I've had really nasty crap happening because of ATI drivers.
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2007, 06:58:31 AM »
Thanks f0dder a light has finally dawned - that could well have accounted for the data corruption I regularly experienced with Catalyst drivers !!! What a really stupid 'bug' ! Luckily I don't use Catalyst drivers any more and don't really plan to again in the future.

f0dder

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2007, 08:07:41 AM »
That particular incident is one of the reasons I've only used nvidia since... too bad, since there's one point where ATI at least excels over nvidia: speed when you're using screen rotation. But then again, I hardly do that anymore :)

Oh yeah, and ATI fanboiz of course claim that it's a windows bug, because it's mentioned in a MS KB article - imho it's the ATI driver that doesn't play clean.
- carpe noctem

OGroeger

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2007, 09:50:36 AM »
BTW, what was the content of the BSOD?

Armando

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2007, 11:22:25 AM »
I didn't get the responses notices to this thead. Just... noticed. Thanks!

My BSODs are of the "memory parity error" type. For almost a year and a half, I've tried to get rid of the problem trying several strategies (memtest, prime95, etc.), to diagnose the problem but none worked. Lately, I thought that it was linked to the way my RAM modules are inserted. but 1.5 month later... it came back. Less often though, but it's unpredictable.
I see no connections between the contexts in which the BSOD's happen. I suspect it's a hardware defect, but Dell never wanted to take my laptop back -- just because they couldn't diagnose the problem properly on the phone! (The last thing they wanted me to try was to reinstall windows and all my software and wait for the problem to happen again. This is when I said : Sorry guys, this is like 40h of work for me — maybe for nothing — and I can't afford that now.)

I've had really nasty crap happening because of ATI drivers.

At some point I suspected it was ATI related (well, at some point, I was even wondering if it could have been related to my blood sugar). But how can I ever find out, since the problem is intermittent???

Anyhow, getting back to the mbr problem : so the possible answers would be : a dying block or a bad driver corrupting HardDrive data (mbr in that case)?

Carol Haynes

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2007, 12:15:51 PM »
If the MBR is getting corrupted it could be a block on the drive that isn't behaving consistently (prior to its death).

Do you you know the manufacturer for the drive? If so many have a downloadable diagnostics tool which often runs from a boot CD or floppy - it may be worth giving it a go.

If you are getting memory parity errors it does sound like a memory problem or possibly an intermittent bus problem. Try soak testing with MEMTEST+ for at least 24 hours. The trouble is MEMTEST doesn't check all memory (it needs some for itself to run and store its results) so if it is that area of memory that is bad it may or may not show up.

Microsoft also have a free memory tester to download - but on a quick search I couldn't find it in their download centre. It might be worth finding it (and other available testers) and running a series of memory tests.

Lashiec

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2007, 12:25:26 PM »

Carol Haynes

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2007, 01:52:06 PM »
Yep that's the one. But there are loads of other diagnostic and soak test applications out there which can also be used.

Lashiec

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2007, 02:27:36 PM »
I wonder if stressing the system with Prime95 could prove useful :-\

OGroeger

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2007, 04:11:45 PM »
I asked Google about "memory parity error" dell laptop and it gave me more than 400 hits  :o
I looked into some top hits and interestingly they mentioned that it might be the ram of the graphic card and not the mobo ram. By all means there were some who sweared that they had not errors in memtest but a "parity error" system halt. Looks like f0dder had the best guess: Graphic card driver or Graphic card hardware.

f0dder

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2007, 04:36:01 PM »
Parity error sounds pretty serious, I've never seen it on any systems myself... and I only think you would see it with ECC memory?
- carpe noctem

Armando

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2007, 05:19:56 PM »
I asked Google about "memory parity error" dell laptop and it gave me more than 400 hits  :o
I looked into some top hits and interestingly they mentioned that it might be the ram of the graphic card and not the mobo ram. By all means there were some who sweared that they had not errors in memtest but a "parity error" system halt. Looks like f0dder had the best guess: Graphic card driver or Graphic card hardware.

The problem is that there aren't tons of drivers for my ATI x1400. I've tried 2. Didn't see any difference. (an BTW, if you google "memory parity error" laptop HP or Sony or whatever, you get lots of results too. The small difference probably only comes from Dell’s market dominance.)

Every time I get one of those memory parity error message, my heart skips a beat. Sick of it. But I've spent soooo much time on this problem that I've decided to live with it until I get my next laptop. When I'll buy the next one, I'll stress it for one whole week with different programs and see if it stays quiet. If I get one BSOD for some obscure reason, back to the shop it will go. And I’ll do that with the next one.

Right now, Unless somebody has a miraculous suggestion, the only solution appears to get a new laptop. But that will not happen before 2009-2010.

As for the mbr problem, I’ll have to do some diagnostic tests tonight (thanks for the  suggestion Carol). Following f0dder’s advices,  maybe I’ll buy and run SpinRite… ;)
« Last Edit: October 13, 2007, 05:22:08 PM by Armando »

Carol Haynes

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2007, 05:44:34 PM »
Get a backup before you do anything that stresses as suspect disc!

Armando

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Re: How can a BSOD ruin an mbr???
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2007, 05:53:19 PM »
Get a backup before you do anything that stresses as suspect disc!

I will -- I make 2-3 backups a day. A bit obsessive, maybe...
Thanks Carol.