which driver crashed?
Thursday, December 19 2013
Woodchuck, my main computer, has been unhealthy of late. I mentioned this the other day after I'd thought I'd fixed it, but it turns out that I hadn't. After being up for between 24 and 36 hours, it's been crashing. There's usually a blue screen of death (BSOD), although occasionally it just locks up instead. It's hard to debug a problem when a measure taken to correct doesn't reveal whether or not it works until a day has passed, but I've tried everything to fix it: different combinations of memory, upping the voltage to the memory, reduced amounts of memory, eliminating all the the non-essential devices, and reinstalling the sound and video drivers. But none of this worked; the crashes continued at the same slow rate. I became so desperate that I actually ran Windows Update to get the latest versions of the core Windows 7 operating system, hopefully overwriting whatever was malfunctioning. As feared, the Windows Update resulted in my computer once again questioning the validity of its licensing, something that used to be a major hassle to correct. These days, though, that's an easier problem to fix through a hack than it is to lawfully register a legitimately-purchased copy. Unfortunately, though, even with an updated operating system fooled into believing it was "genuine," Woodchuck continued to crash the way it has been crashing.
All the literature about the nature of this crash ("DRIVER_CORRUPTED_EXPOOL") suggested a driver was at fault. But there were no easy instructions for figuring out what the specific bad driver was. I was told to do mostly the things I'd already tried. But then somewhere I found a site saying that I should look at a list of my drivers (however that could be obtained) and focus on the non-Microsoft ones. Using a program called WhoCrashed, I managed to produce such a list. The list was long and overwhelming (and it would have been very helpful to be able to sort the list by installation date), but only a few of the items were non-Microsoft drivers. I'd also noticed that crashes happened to happen more quickly with Vuze running, and a Google search of Vuze and BSOD had produced the names of some drivers that don't play well with Vuze. One of these is Softperfect Bandwidth Monitoring and Usage Reporting Tool, which installs a driver called networx.sys. Sure enough, Woodchuck was running networx.sys, one of its few non-Microsoft drivers (and looking at it in the Programs and Features control panel, I could see that I'd added it on December 2nd). Only then did I remember that recently I'd installed a bandwidth monitor in hopes of tracking down something on the local network that was eating up most of the internet bandwidth (a problem that has since passed). After uninstalling that driver, I'm hopeful I've fixed the problem. But I won't know until at least 36 hours has passed.
The weather slowly started warming today, rising through the 20s and then eventually breaking through freezing and up into the upper 30s. I took advantage of the relatively-good conditions to bring home that firewood I'd failed to retrieve yesterday. By tamping down the snow of the Stick Trail, I was able finally to get the woodcart rolling, though not very smoothly. I then carried all that I'd just hauled up to the woodshed and split it into stove-sized pieces. It wouldn't be much firewood at the rate I'd been burning it as recently as yesterday, but at the rate I was burning it this afternoon, it should last for more than a week.
For much of the time spent at my computer today, I had trouble fighting an addiction to the ongoing Duck Dynasty firestorm. Phil Robertson, one of the main guys on that most-popular cable television show, reportedly said the following in a recently-published interview in GQ Magazine:
It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical.
A&E, the cable network that broadcasts Duck Dynasty, had little choice but to temporarily suspend Mr. Robertson after that comment surfaced. The subsequent reaction by his rabid red-state fanbase on Facebook has been nothing short of epic. Today I did my part to fan the flames of outrage and bewilderment with a couple images I crafted:
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