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Swapping M.2 slots solved BSOD issues

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In another thread I thought I had solved an issue of BSODs by resolving the heat issue, but the problem returned with five or more crashes in a couple of hours.
MSI X299 Tomahawk
i7 7820X
EVGA CLC 120mm
PSU EVGA 750G3
GPU EVGA GTX1050
I went through the usual trial and errors and then remembered that the customer had said that he'd had the problem since the machine was built over three years ago. So I went back to how the SATA drive and NVMe were placed, while consulting the MSI manual, which indicates that both M.2 slots are PCIe. I then swapped the NVMe into M.2 slot 1 nearer the CPU but left the SATA drive (spinner) in SATA 1 and nothing in M.2 slot 2. The GPU is in the top PCIe x16 slot.
The machine booted faster and for the last six hours there hasn't been one crash, in spite of running several games, 3D programs and stress tests.
It's a relief but I don't understand what has changed.
m.2-nvme.jpg m.2-nvme-sata.jpg
 
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It's a relief but I don't understand what has changed.
Perhaps nothing - except maybe removing and inserting the SSD scraped clean a contact, or inserting the SSD in the second slot resulted in it being fully inserted this time. I would wait a few days before declaring victory and if no problems, return the SSD back to the original slot and see if the problem returns.
 
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return the SSD back to the original slot and see if the problem returns.
Aka, the litmus test. Worth a shot just to confirm suspicions :)
 
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I doubt it was due to lack of PCI-e lanes as that CPU has up to 28 lanes available.
Perhaps it over saturated the sata lanes when in the M2-2 slot.
 
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I put the NVMe back into the original M.2 slot hoping it would blue screen or crash in some other way, but it didn't.
Wishful thinking, then and back to the drawing board.
According to the customer, it can go for weeks without crashing and I'm beginning to think it's a Windows issue.
 
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Its easy to point fingers at Windows, but typically BSODs are HW/driver related - not always, but most often.
 
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Its easy to point fingers at Windows, but typically BSODs are HW/driver related - not always, but most often.
The reason I'm pointing to Windows, and very possibly updates, is because this issue is historical and has been affecting the machine for over two years.
I've carried out numerous hardware tests, including swapping the memory, moving/disconnecting drives, flashing the BIOS, DDU the Nvidia drivers, removing KMSPico (yes, I know) and numerous other reconfigurations.
It can go months without a crash, so it's a very tricky one to pin down and we know that certain Windows updates have been causing problems.
I'm loathe to format and clean install Windows, but it does remain the nuclear option.
 
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The reason I'm pointing to Windows, and very possibly updates, is because this issue is historical and has been affecting the machine for over two years.
Well, I hear you but at the same time, Windows 10 has had several major feature updates in the last couple years which essentially are total version updates/installations, similar to service packs of days gone by. These feature updates pretty much result in every file being updated and/or reinstalled with a new version. So I am not saying it is not Windows, I am just saying IMO, your reasoning does not conclusively support it.

Plus, if it can go months without a crash, that really does look more like a hardware issue, or a rarely used 3rd party application issue rather than the OS to me.

and we know that certain Windows updates have been causing problems.
:( For a very tiny number of people and typically the problems are specific, reproduceable at will. Not to mention, MS typically rolls out a fix soon after discovery. The facts are, very few people ever have problems with Windows Update. But with over 1 Billion W10 users out there, even if .1% do have problems, that's still 1 million upset users. And 1 million upset users can make a lot of noise - especially when that noise is amplified and repeated over and over again by the Microsoft haters and wannabe journalists who keep repeating the same report over and over again.

It is also a fact that most problems encountered with Windows Updates are cleared with a simple reboot - or just by waiting patiently for a couple weeks until MS rolls out the fix. I know there are some folks who have had serious problems - I am not dismissing or downplaying that. But they really are very few and far between.

Last, if it was an update, then again, it would be a specific issue encountered (and reported) by many.

What about power? Have you tried a different PSU? While EVGA is a quality brand (my preferred as of late), even the best can occasionally have one that fails prematurely. Is the computer on a good UPS with AVR, or at least a quality surge and spike protector? Note it is recommended surge and spike protectors be replaced every 2 years because they actually wear out and lose effectiveness.

Is the wall outlet properly wired and grounded to Earth ground. Every home and every computer user should have access to a AC Outlet Tester to ensure the wall outlet is properly wired and grounded to Earth ground. I recommend one with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) indicator as it can be used to test bathroom and kitchen outlets (outlets near water) too. These testers can be found for your type and voltage outlet, foreign or domestic, (like this one for the UK) at most home improvement stores, or even the electrical department at Wal-Mart. Use it to test all the outlets in the home and if a fault is shown, have it fixed by a qualified electrician.

What about heat? And have you tried a different graphics card?

I'm loathe to format and clean install Windows, but it does remain the nuclear option.
That should ALWAYS be a last resort option in part, because it often does not resolve the problem, especially if it is not the OS itself. Not to mention, it results in having to reinstall all 3rd party drivers, setup security anew, all installed programs etc. Not to mention the need to backup and restore all the user data. And even if it does correct the problem, nothing is learned in order to prevent recurrence.
 
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Well, I hear you but at the same time, Windows 10 has had several major feature updates in the last couple years which essentially are total version updates/installations, similar to service packs of days gone by. These feature updates pretty much result in every file being updated and/or reinstalled with a new version. So I am not saying it is not Windows, I am just saying IMO, your reasoning does not conclusively support it.

Plus, if it can go months without a crash, that really does look more like a hardware issue, or a rarely used 3rd party application issue rather than the OS to me.


:( For a very tiny number of people and typically the problems are specific, reproduceable at will. Not to mention, MS typically rolls out a fix soon after discovery. The facts are, very few people ever have problems with Windows Update. But with over 1 Billion W10 users out there, even if .1% do have problems, that's still 1 million upset users. And 1 million upset users can make a lot of noise - especially when that noise is amplified and repeated over and over again by the Microsoft haters and wannabe journalists who keep repeating the same report over and over again.

It is also a fact that most problems encountered with Windows Updates are cleared with a simple reboot - or just by waiting patiently for a couple weeks until MS rolls out the fix. I know there are some folks who have had serious problems - I am not dismissing or downplaying that. But they really are very few and far between.

Last, if it was an update, then again, it would be a specific issue encountered (and reported) by many.

What about power? Have you tried a different PSU? While EVGA is a quality brand (my preferred as of late), even the best can occasionally have one that fails prematurely. Is the computer on a good UPS with AVR, or at least a quality surge and spike protector? Note it is recommended surge and spike protectors be replaced every 2 years because they actually wear out and lose effectiveness.

Is the wall outlet properly wired and grounded to Earth ground. Every home and every computer user should have access to a AC Outlet Tester to ensure the wall outlet is properly wired and grounded to Earth ground. I recommend one with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) indicator as it can be used to test bathroom and kitchen outlets (outlets near water) too. These testers can be found for your type and voltage outlet, foreign or domestic, (like this one for the UK) at most home improvement stores, or even the electrical department at Wal-Mart. Use it to test all the outlets in the home and if a fault is shown, have it fixed by a qualified electrician.

What about heat? And have you tried a different graphics card?


That should ALWAYS be a last resort option in part, because it often does not resolve the problem, especially if it is not the OS itself. Not to mention, it results in having to reinstall all 3rd party drivers, setup security anew, all installed programs etc. Not to mention the need to backup and restore all the user data. And even if it does correct the problem, nothing is learned in order to prevent recurrence.
Thanks for your detailed and concise reply.
Intermittent BSODs and restarts are notoriously difficult to pin down, especially when the PC is in the workshop and behaving itself for two or three days without a single crash.
I have therefore returned it to the customer, having removed KMS Pico (dodgy activation software which he had installed years ago), activated Windows with a genuine Windows key and numerous other tweaks.
I also stress tested the machine with various programs to try to reproduce the error, but it wouldn't crash. I've asked him to make a note of precisely what he was doing should it crash again and we will take the appropriate action.
 
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Intermittent BSODs and restarts are notoriously difficult to pin down
Intermittent anything is notoriously difficult. If you can't duplicate the problem at will, it becomes the technicians worst nightmare - other than getting zapped and turning into a crispy critter!
I have therefore returned it to the customer... . I've asked him to make a note of precisely what he was doing should it crash again and we will take the appropriate action.
Seems like a reasonable course of action to me - along with the recommendation to keep current backups - just in case.
 
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