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The Compaq HELL final episode – hibernate crash solved

Sunday, May 24, 2009

/ by Srikanth Eswaran

Ever since I bought the Compaq Presario laptop, I have been running around to the service center in Bengaluru every other week to get a multitude of problems fixed. First I made a bad decision of going for a laptop without an OS, next I decided to install Windows XP knowing little that these days laptop manufacturers have moved to support Vista OS instead of XP. When half the drivers and functions failed to work on this laptop with XP, I decided to finally buy a legal copy of Windows Vista.

The problems did not stop there. The webcam failed, and I had to leave my laptop at HP service center for a replacement of the webcam. But knowing these gadget manufacturers way of handling in warranty products, they changed my entire display for solving a webcam issue. Only I know what pain I went through to test the webcam without much progress. So much so that I also installed Acer’s webcam driver on my Compaq to test if the device works! Why? Since it was the same company who manufactured the webcam for both HP and Acer laptops.

Next it was the great HIBERNATE issue. If I put my laptop to hibernate, it would crash with a blue screen of death as shown below. Putting it to sleep mode and bringing it back from there would also produce the same BSOD (yea, what can one do, there are abbreviations even for denoting HELL these days!)

The system would perform a memory dump since some driver accessed an illegal memory location, and then a restart happened. This was forcing me to live life with this laptop by always shutting it down after use, something that I did not fancy doing for short spans of working time. No amount of searching yielded any results on the net about how to solve this crash. Finally even another visit to the service center did not help. The only thing they ever suspected was either the BIOS or the NVIDIA display driver for GeForce 8200 MG card. No amount of reinstalling these drivers either from HP website or from the manufacturer website helped in any way. Distraught, I decided to scan the net until I found a solution before going to HP again.

This is when I found one of the websites that spoke about a Win DBG utility which can be used to analyze memory dumps that windows creates in C:WindowsMinidump. I opened up the last crash dump using the tool and expected it to give lots of details on which file is causing the error upon what function access, etc. But believe it or not the only detail I ever found was the possible name of the file that gave me the error. :-)

CLICK BELOW TO SEE BIGGER IMAGES.

*********************************************************************
* Symbols can not be loaded because symbol path is not initialized. *
*                                                                   *
* The Symbol Path can be set by:                                    *
*   using the _NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable.                 *
*   using the -y argument when starting the debugger. *
*   using .sympath and .sympath+                                    *
*********************************************************************
Probably caused by : RTSTOR.SYS ( RTSTOR+2a60 )

 

Ok, that’s good, atleast I found something of use I thought and began understanding what this file is all about. One search on the net for RTSTOR.SYS and it showed up that this file is from Realtek Inc, a Taiwanese firm doing this business:

Realtek devotes itself to offering a comprehensive range of ICs of exceptional value for the communications network, computer peripheral, and multimedia markets. By its continued commitment to innovation, quality, and service, Realtek has successfully built trust with its customers.

 

Alright, but still I could not understand what device Realtek was providing for my laptop. So a quick scan over device manager and I found this: (CLICK TO SEE A LARGER IMAGE)

So now I was one step closer to the solution. The driver for USB 2.0 multi card reader on my laptop was causing the hibernate crash. First step was to disable that and try hibernating. And guess what? The functionality worked like a charm, I could now hibernate my laptop for the first time in its purchase history! The next step was to check out if there was an updated driver for the device which solved this issue. And true to my assumption I found it on HP’s website:

I was using an June 2008 version of the realtek driver, and the current version was May, 2009 just released this month (which I assumed would take care of the hibernate crash it was causing on vista). Keeping my fingers crossed, I downloaded and installed this new driver version, and clicked on Hibernate. Viola! From today my life has changed for the better. Hibernate works flawlessly now on my laptop. I have put in this article for all HP laptop users, as well as others who want a way of understanding how to solve or at least figure out which driver is causing crashes.

Most websites only suggested disabling hibernate, but I disagree with this and feel that everything has a solution, one needs to only look deeper for it and understand stuff.

Simple steps to understand a crash:

  1. Install Win DBG utility to analyze memory dumps created by Vista or any other OS
  2. Open the memory dump from C:WindowsMinidump folder
  3. Check for the file name which is causing the crash, typically it would be a SYS file (driver)
  4. Google for the file name to find out which company codes that driver
  5. Find out which possible product of theirs is in use in your laptop, if you don't get it straightaway, check in device manager on each entry until you find that company name
  6. Disable the driver and check if the crash occurs. Of course, PLEASE NOTE that IF IT IS A DISPLAY DRIVER, or some other required driver, you CANNOT DISABLE IT.
  7. Get the updated driver from the company website, and install it.
  8. Check if the problem is gone!
  9. IF NOT, you have to write to that company, or wait until they solve the issue with their latest driver versions. There is no OTHER hope if you reach this STEP. You must be the chosen (unlucky) one in this case :)

I hope you like this post. Do COMMENT on this post if it has helped you resolve the hibernate issue, or any other crash issue. Please feel free to STUMBLE this or DIGG this post if you appreciate it, so that others can benefit from this.

 

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