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I'm having some problems with my Windows Vista x64 computer.

In last two days, I had about 5 crashes, that always go the same way

  1. Everything freeze for about 1 second
  2. I see black screen with about two sentences, containing "corrupted file" for about 0.5 seconds, so I was unable to read it all.
  3. BSOD appears for less than 0.5 seconds
  4. Screen goes black, computer makes sound like if it was rebooting, but actually nothing happens

Then I have to press power button for 5 seconds to shut it down and boot again (hard restart doesn't work).

I also tried running chkdsk, which found and fixed some errors. After rebooting the explorer and all windows processes started fine, but I wasn't able to start anything else (double-clicking Firefox didn't do anything), so I rebooted after 20 minutes of trying to run something. Then it worked fine, but after another 10-15 minutes (when I was typing this question for the first time ... :( ) it crashed again.

I don't remember intsalling anything just before it started happening. I also have about 10GB free space on my C: drive, so that isn't the problem.

What could possible cause this? Does it look like hardware failure? Should I run any diagnostics?

edit: The error message on the black screen (showerd right after booting) is "The file is possibly corrupt. The file header checksum does not match the computed checksum"

edit2: I did system recovery, then PC booted up just fine, I ran the sfc /scannow and then, after about 5 minutes crashed again ... so I guess I'm about to try reinstalling, and if that doesn't help, then probably hard drive is f***** :(

last edit: Finally, after running memtest, there was more than 150 errors in first minute of run, so I went to service and they replaced all RAM kits, I also did full hard drive diagnostics and it was fine, so at least I didn't loose my data partition :)

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Press F8 at the beginning of the start-up sequence and disable the automatic restart on error/bluescreen (I can't remember the exact wording) –  Jared Harley Oct 12 '09 at 2:49
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Had the same problem. Faulty RAM is a nightmare for me! –  alex Oct 12 '09 at 14:26
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you can boot the system back, you could try a System File Check,

sfc /scannow

It will probably ask you for your installation disk to recover corrupted system files (if any).

If you cannot boot, you should try a system recovery with your install disk.


Update:
If you doubt the hard-drive or would like to confirm any other hardware dependencies
(though, from your description, i do not doubt the RAM),
you could boot with a Ubuntu LiveCD and do some diagnostics.

  1. memtestx86 will check your RAM (Ubuntu LiveCD boot option)
  2. SMART tools can be used to analyze your hard-disk state
    • You could also use HDTune from your Windows Vista (if it remains up for some time)
    • On Ubuntu you will need the smartmontools (not sure if that comes with the LiveCD
      The command will be: sudo smartctl -a /dev/hda (replace hda with your Vista disk)

Notes to setup a LiveCD and get SMARTMonTools.


Update2:

  • good to hear that it was just your memory and not the disk that was failing
    • I erred in thinking the memory did not sound bad (its always good to check the memory)
  • avelldiroll makes a good point about getting SMART tools with,
    sudo apt-get install smartmontools
    also, as pointed out, it would not remain with a LiveCD (need to get for each boot).
    I keep a USB installed Ubuntu handy for such life.
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tried both, see edit –  Jakub Arnold Oct 12 '09 at 3:47
    
@nik you can install software inside a session booted from a livecd (as long as their is enough ram/swap in the ramfs), however it won't be there the next time you boot the liveCD. So booting from ubuntu liveC,D if the smartmontools are missing, just use this command: "sudo apt-get install smartmontools" and you will have smartctl available. –  avelldiroll Oct 12 '09 at 9:12
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A lot of people with similar situations ended up having bad hard drives. It might be time to replace it.

The failed checksum could also be due to a memory problem. You may want to test your RAM with Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool, as the How-To Geek shows you here.

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Have you tried using a tool called BSOD screen view from Nirsoft?

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html

BlueScreenView scans all your minidump files created during 'blue screen of death' crashes, and displays the information about all crashes in one table. For each crash, BlueScreenView displays the minidump filename, the date/time of the crash, the basic crash information displayed in the blue screen (Bug Check Code and 4 parameters), and the details of the driver or module that possibly caused the crash (filename, product name, file description, and file version). For each crash displayed in the upper pane, you can view the details of the device drivers loaded during the crash in the lower pane. BlueScreenView also mark the drivers that their addresses found in the crash stack, so you can easily locate the suspected drivers that possibly caused the crash.

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