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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.
Ray Kawakami
X22 X24 X31 X41 X41T X60 X60s X61 X61s X200 X200s X300 X301 Z60m Z61t Z61p 560 560Z 600 600E 600X T21 T22 T23 T41 T60p T410 T420 T520 W500 W520 R50 A21p A22p A31 A31p
NOTE: All links to PC-Doctor software hosted by me are dead. Files removed 8/28/12 by manufacturer's demand.

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

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