Blue screens/system restarts when running x64

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Moonchild
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Blue screens/system restarts when running x64

Postby Moonchild » Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 09:41

In some rare cases on some systems, it seems that Pale Moon x64 triggers a fault in the 64-bit Windows kernel. This leads to system restarts or blue screens and messages that a bugcheck or serious error occurred. The restarts are seemingly random whenever Pale Moon x64 is in use.

If disabling hardware acceleration in the browser fixes the crashes, you are most likely having an issue with your graphics drivers (reports so far have been exclusively on NVidia GPUs for that). Keep in mind that Pale Moon x64 will probably be one of the very few applications on your system (if not the only one) that talks to DirectX and your graphics drivers natively in 64-bit. Games and test suites usually run in 32-bit mode, and the 32-on-64 layer (WoW64) doesn't suffer from this particular problem.

Examining the minidump files (found in \minidump under the windows system folder) can help in determining if this was this actual kernel bug or a driver problem (e.g. graphics drivers). Sending me a PM with the file attached (they should be no larger than 250-300kB) or making it available to me on-line (e.g. ge.tt or dropbox or similar) will allow me to let you know if this is indeed this Windows kernel bug or if it was a more clear driver fault.

The solution is simple: switch to a 32-bit version of Pale Moon. The bug is specific to running a native 64-bit application. You will not lose all that much performance doing this (and if your system has trouble with the native 64-bit version, it may even be faster!) and will gain stability and also plugin compatibility. Even if disabling hardware acceleration fixes it for you, this would still be the better choice, since the 32-bit version with hardware acceleration will be faster and more efficient than a 64-bit version with it disabled.

Other possible solutions are:
  • Check your system for malware! Viruses/worms/trojans, etc., can severely affect system run time operation and can cause these kinds of crashes, especially if it tries to interface with a 64-bit browser.
  • Update your chipset drivers (for your motherboard) to the latest available version
  • Update your video drivers
  • Make sure you have the latest version of DirectX 9.0C installed
  • Update your motherboard BIOS to the latest version
  • Check with Microsoft to see if they have a kernel patch for you - MS support can be very helpful if it's a known issue but the hotfix may possibly not be publicly available

Also, if you get the option to report the crash to Microsoft, do so! The more bugcheck reports they get, the better they can pinpoint potential issues and supply fixes for them.
Last edited by Moonchild on Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 21:55, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Added info + suggestions.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

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Re: Blue screens/system restarts when running x64

Postby satrow » Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 09:54

Do you have any links to such dumps, I'd like to take a look?

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Re: Blue screens/system restarts when running x64

Postby Moonchild » Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 10:08

Sent you a PM with links, Cym.
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Re: Blue screens/system restarts when running x64

Postby satrow » Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 11:24

Thanks a lot :)

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Re: Blue screens/system restarts when running x64

Postby satrow » Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 13:16

Moonchild wrote:The solution is simple: switch to a 32-bit version of Pale Moon. The bug is specific to running a native 64-bit application. You will not lose all that much performance doing this (and if your system has trouble with the native 64-bit version, it may even be faster!) and will gain stability and also plugin compatibility. Even if disabling hardware acceleration fixes it for you, this would still be the better choice, since the 32-bit version with hardware acceleration will be faster and more efficient than a 64-bit version with it disabled.

Other possible solutions are:
  • Update your chipset drivers (for your motherboard) to the latest available version
  • Update your motherboard BIOS to the latest version
    [*]Check with Microsoft to see if they have a kernel patch for you - MS support can be very helpful if it's a known issue but the hotfix may possibly not be publicly available

On a related note to that highlighted above, if you get a Windows pop-up asking if you will allow details to be uploaded to Microsoft, please do so. The more data they have, the faster they can find the problem and make a Hotfix available.

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Moonchild
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Re: Blue screens/system restarts when running x64

Postby Moonchild » Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 13:20

cymroly wrote:Check with Microsoft to see if they have a kernel patch for you - MS support can be very helpful if it's a known issue but the hotfix may possibly not be publicly available

On a related note to that highlighted above, if you get a Windows pop-up asking if you will allow details to be uploaded to Microsoft, please do so. The more data they have, the faster they can find the problem and make a Hotfix available.


Good point!
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

jcdenton2k

additional information

Postby jcdenton2k » Sun, 04 Mar 2012, 18:20

At the request of MoonChild, I'll post some helpful information here.

Here's the link to my public SkyDrive with the crash dumps as well as a full hardware readout in 'systemdetails.txt'
https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?ci ... parid=root

Looking through some of the crash dumps, in one of them you might find 'BHO.exe' and think it is a 'Browser Helper Object' (aka spyware/malware). This is not the case, it stands for Bounty Hounds Online, a sci-fi MMO that I was playing a while ago. It is harmless, and no longer on my system. The crash dump that contains it has nothing to do with the issue at hand. It is included for the sake of completeness because I can't be bothered to go through and manually find out which file it is and remove it.

This issue is most prevalant on Nvidia GPUs running driver versions prior to the 290 series. Nvidia has since encountered enough issues with their 64-bit drivers that they have fixed this issue in the latest release (as of the date of this post) of 295.73 on Windows 7 x64 version.

There are some hiccups when using Flash, but for the most part if the browser freezes or hangs sometimes then at least it doesn't cause you to blue-screen. Just restart the browser and do what you needed to do.

There are further issues with certain scripts (javascript perhaps?) on some webpages that cause Pale Moon to hang before allowing the option to 'Stop Script' after about 30-60 seconds. Perhaps MoonChild might include a keyboard shortcut to 'automatically terminate all running scripts on current tab' for Pale Moon to ameliorate this issue. I suspect this can also happen in Firefox but have no concrete confirmation of that yet. This script issue isn't isolated to 64-bit browsers or OS's and is included here for completeness.


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