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W520 Blue Screen

W500/510/520 and W700/710 series specific matters only
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helicopter
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W520 Blue Screen

#1 Post by helicopter » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:47 pm

I have a used W520 running Win 7 Pro. I've had the machine for about 1.5 years and starting experiencing repeated Blue Screens. I tried reinstalling the OS with all updates and the problem persisted. Thought it was tied to the nvlddkm.sys error (https://forums.geforce.com/default/topi ... his-issue/), which does not seem easy to fix. I tried reinstalling the NVDIA drivers (Quadro1000) but the problem persisted.

I'm new to this Thinkpad and its problems, so excuse the series of questions--

1. Could the CPU or the GPU be overheating and causing these shutdowns?
I read some background on that here
viewtopic.php?p=651599
but it's a little technical. Plus, I don't have software installed to read the temperatures. I'm not sure I can keep the system stable long enough to install anything, either.
2. If it's a heat problem, what can I do about it? Open the case and clean the fan?
3. I started to open the case and discovered that one of the two keyboard screws (the one that holds the area near the touchpad) is totally frozen. The head is also virtually stripped. I see there are many recommendations for these, including drilling. Is this screw the long black thin one? Will drilling work? Other options?
4. If the screen occasionally is overcome by a blizzard of colored lines (as if the system is going haywire)-- and can only be stopped by turning off the machine with the power button (not through the system software), is this a sign of a bad LCD? A bad GPU? Something else? This problem seems to predate the repeated BSODs.

I'd appreciate any help. I'm pretty frustrated with this machine.

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:10 am

To find out if nVidia is to be blamed, in BIOS switch to Integrated graphics.

That machine is about 5 years old.
If it hasn't been done recently, time to clean the fan and CPU properly, and replace the thermal paste.

The how-to for removing stripped screws has been well described on the forum, do a search.
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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#3 Post by rkawakami » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:57 pm

And if you do find that you have been running integrated graphics, then run a memory diagnostic program such as memtest86+. Since integrated graphics 'borrow' memory for display purposes from main memory, you could have a problem with bad module(s). You can download the diagnostic from here:

http://www.memtest.org/#downiso

As far as the stripped screw goes, you could try drilling it out. Or you could try some special removal tools (Google "stripped head screw removal tool"). Bottom line, you may do more damage trying to use a drill. If it were me, I'd sacrifice the keyboard by lifting up the corners and twisting the keyboard instead of the screw. Yeah you'll destroy it and have to buy another keyboard but it beats possibly killing a motherboard if the drill slips.
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helicopter
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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#4 Post by helicopter » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:08 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. Since I first posted, I reinstalled the OS from an image, because it was possible that my first attempt had failed or was otherwise corrupt. (I think the system crashed during my first attempt to the reinstall of the image.) Also, I *did not* install the NVIDIA drivers from NVIDIA's site, which I had done before. Nevertheless, I got a Blue Screen (with the nvlddkm.sys error) once earlier today. I then rolled back the NVIDIA driver to 9.18.13.1269 from 10/28/2013), which I thought had run stably for the first 18 months I had the machine.

I checked the BIOS and saw I was running NVIDIA, not integrated graphics. It has been stable today for about 10-12 hours. If it starts to have problems, then I'll switch to integrated and check the memory with Memtest. (I did check the memory with a program in the emergency tools-- or something you can get to in the pre-boot area, and it came out clean.)

I found the thread about stripped screws from last Dec. (2016) and read RealBlackStuff's Dremel suggestion. The hole is recessed in the plastic case, so I'd have to find a really small cutting disc to not cut into the case. For now, if the machine runs stably, I'm going to leave it alone. Yes, I agree that damaging the motherboard is not worth it.

The previous owner claimed that while the machine was under warranty, the screen, keyboard, and logic board had all been replaced. Not sure if that's true, or if the machine was cleaned at that time.

The last thing I'll mention is that after reinstalling the OS, I've been running the machine on the "Optimized" power setting, not full power, in case this was a heat problem. But previously I would get Blue Screen even when the machine hadn't been on very long-- and when I did tasks such as open the power manager, open access connections, or type a few lines in Word.

helicopter
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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#5 Post by helicopter » Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:04 am

I'm still having Blue Screen crashes and would like more advice. I cleaned the inside, replaced the fan (actually, it finally stopped working and had the fan error), and replaced the thermal paste. I also tested the four sticks of RAM (4gb each) independently with Memtest. Everything passed; though I did get a message for the sticks made by Samsung stating, "RAM may be vulnerable to high frequency row hammer bit flips." I also tried using just half the RAM, and also rotating the RAM into different positions. Finally, I switched off NVIDIA and just used integrated graphics. None of these things stopped BSODs. According to the dump files they are either NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM 0x00000024 errors, KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED 0x0000001e errors, or SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED 0x1000007e errors. I also ran Disk Check to fix any errors (there were none). I also did complete scans with Norton and Malwarebytes. I found no viruses.

One observation: the machine runs stably while plugged it. However, it becomes extremely unstable when running on the battery and will crash with one of the above errors within minutes. However, it always boots without a problem.

I would appreciate any help.

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:35 am

Look here: http://aumha.org/a/stop.htm with the last 2 characters of your errors.

You might have a battery on its last legs and/or a bad HD/SSD.
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helicopter
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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#7 Post by helicopter » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:31 am

Thanks for the link and the suggestions. A few follow-up questions:
- Are there different circuits on the motherboard for AC power and the battery? Is it possible there is a motherboard problem just when using battery power?
- Since Power Manager shows that this battery charges and holds around 5 hours when on the "optimized" settings, is there another way to test it? Or just replace it and see how the system responds?
- I tested the hard drive (solid state Intel) with Intel's SSD toolbox. It said it "was in good health." What else can I check? Substitute the drive and boot from it, then see how the system responds?

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#8 Post by thinkpadcollection » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:37 pm

Before you do any drastic measures, change all memory modules for matched pair memory DDR3L 1600 in testing.

Cheers, thinkpadcollection

helicopter
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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#9 Post by helicopter » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:36 pm

Hello again...

I'm returning to this problem again and would like to test some fresh RAM. Does anyone know of any issues with G.Skill Ripjaws (using the recommended DDR3L 1600)?

Thanks.

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#10 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:39 am

The T520 (or any Sandy Bridge CPU for that matter) does not officially support DDR3L. I mean, it works, but at 1.5v instead of 1.35v.
I encountered a post a while back that says running DDR3L at 1.5v causes the RAM chips to run hotter, causing intermittent errors (resulting in BSODs).
What the guy did was somehow modify his Thinkpad to run the RAM at a slightly lower voltage (1.40 or 1.45 volts I think), which apparently solved the issue. It's a hardware modification though.
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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#11 Post by helicopter » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:14 am

I see.

The manual recommends PC3-10600 DDR3, so I'll price that.

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#12 Post by mpcook » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:09 pm

Some of the W520 batteries were recalled. You might find the battery check program at lenovo.com, although the recall is over, it's worth checking. If you cannot find the recall battery check program, you can pm me and I may be able to find it and send it to you. Another thing to check, is your battery OEM or aftermarket? Also, I found that the later nvidia drivers were unstable on one of my W520's, I rolled back to an earlier Lenovo-provided driver and solved the problem. Finally, I had similar issues (blue screen) that were ram related and solved after replacing, so you're on the right track.
Current: 2 x W520 ET, 2 x X220 i7, T420, X230 i5, T420s, MacbookPro, Dell Venue 11 Pro, Dell XPS 8930
Past: IBM5150-8088 500 600E 600X T20 T21 5xT23 X30 3xX31 X32 T40 T42 3xT43 T43p SL510 T60p X60T X60s T61 2xT400 T410si T400s T500-3.06GHz X200 X201 X220i5 X220i7 2xT420s

helicopter
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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#13 Post by helicopter » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:05 pm

Thanks for these suggestions. I have an OEM Lenovo battery and just checked it with the .exe-- the battery was not recalled. (I remember doing this a few years ago, too.) There are a whole bunch of things I tried with this machine over the last year-- one was testing it with a different battery. I bought a (supposedly) new Lenovo battery (via ebay) and had the same blue screen crashes. And several months ago, I replaced the fan and changed the thermal paste.

Here a list of what I've just tried in the last few weeks:
- Updated the BIOS to the latest
- Reinstalled Windows 7 and all updates (all via Microsoft-- not from a disc image of my system)
- Installed and updated all drivers
- Tested without anti-virus software (in case that was the problem. Actually I haven't installed an anti-virus yet.)
- Tested the machine in both discrete and integrated graphics mode-- it would crash on battery power in either mode
- Took my existing 4 sticks of RAM and tried each one, one at a time, in slot zero-- still got crashes on battery power
- Ran check disk on my boot SSD (made by Intel) and checked it with Intel's tool. No problems.

Before I reinstalled the OS, I noted that the machine did not crash in Safe Mode. I could never properly isolate which driver might be causing the problem, though. I'm not sophisticated enough to run it in a bug check mode and interpret the results, though I did get BlueScreen view at one point and tried looking up the error codes, but it was kind of a goose chase, because I got a variety of errors.

About a year ago, but not recently, I ran memtest with all my RAM. With four passes, there were no errors EXCEPT the Samsung sticks tested as "susceptible to high frequency bit flipping." I wonder if that is the source of my problem. But as I said, I recently got blue screens with just one stick of RAM at a time (including sticks of Kingston, that did not show the "bit flipping" problem.)

Your idea about rolling back the nvidia drivers is something I once tried, but maybe should try again with a fresh system. What version are you using? And... should I have both an nvidia driver and an intel driver installed at the same time? Right now, I have Intel Graphics 3000 (version 26.05.2015) and nvidia Quadro 1000M (version 9.18.13.1269). I don't remember there being two before.

I still need to do what thinkpadcollection recommended a year ago: test it with other RAM. I just don't have any and would need to buy it for this purpose.

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#14 Post by mpcook » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:12 pm

It will take me a while to check the driver version and whether I have both Intel and nvidia installed. I suspect you need both. I haven't booted it in a while so it will go through some updates.
Current: 2 x W520 ET, 2 x X220 i7, T420, X230 i5, T420s, MacbookPro, Dell Venue 11 Pro, Dell XPS 8930
Past: IBM5150-8088 500 600E 600X T20 T21 5xT23 X30 3xX31 X32 T40 T42 3xT43 T43p SL510 T60p X60T X60s T61 2xT400 T410si T400s T500-3.06GHz X200 X201 X220i5 X220i7 2xT420s

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#15 Post by helicopter » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:58 am

Thanks. Look forward to hearing what you find.

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#16 Post by mpcook » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:15 pm

Sorry, it took me a while. I usually run the laptop with DISCRETE because the eye tracking analysis software I use requires high video capability. Some times, I will use INTEGRATED, if I don't have that need, and maybe on battery. Here are the drivers I have installed, only one shows up, depending on the setting in BIOS. I know that when I first started messing around with the W520's, I gave up on Optimus, it was pretty quirky. I also tried a few different video drivers (from Intel and from NVIDIA) but rolled back to the below. I believe these video drivers are from Lenovo, but I am now not 100% certain. I also had some occasional blue screens which were in the end due to ram, and finally bought 3 8GB sticks from Crucial which have been fine. I have two W520's, a 1000M and a 2000M. I believe the 2000M is set up the same but the below is for the 1000M. I can have my son check the other machine if you are interested.

My BIOS is ver. 1.43. I have OS Detection for NVIDIA Optimus Disabled.

When set in DISCRETE Graphics mode in BIOS, Display adapter is NVIDIA Quadro 1000M and the only driver installed is:
Driver NVIDIA 10.18.13.5445 11/5/2015

When set in INTEGRATED Graphics mode in BIOS, Display adapter is Intel HD Graphics and the only driver installed is:
Driver Intel 8.15.10.2538 9/26/2011

Let me know how it goes!
Current: 2 x W520 ET, 2 x X220 i7, T420, X230 i5, T420s, MacbookPro, Dell Venue 11 Pro, Dell XPS 8930
Past: IBM5150-8088 500 600E 600X T20 T21 5xT23 X30 3xX31 X32 T40 T42 3xT43 T43p SL510 T60p X60T X60s T61 2xT400 T410si T400s T500-3.06GHz X200 X201 X220i5 X220i7 2xT420s

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Re: W520 Blue Screen

#17 Post by mpcook » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:19 pm

One more relevant item. I am using Windows 7. I always run with all power saving turned off since I am almost never running on battery.
Current: 2 x W520 ET, 2 x X220 i7, T420, X230 i5, T420s, MacbookPro, Dell Venue 11 Pro, Dell XPS 8930
Past: IBM5150-8088 500 600E 600X T20 T21 5xT23 X30 3xX31 X32 T40 T42 3xT43 T43p SL510 T60p X60T X60s T61 2xT400 T410si T400s T500-3.06GHz X200 X201 X220i5 X220i7 2xT420s

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