Sunday, October 14, 2007

Vista start-up crash solved

Ever since I installed Vista on my Sony VGN-AR21S it has randomly crashed about every third re-boot. Task Manager would show the 'system' process using 98-100% processor utilisation. After about 10 minutes all 2Gb of memory would get used up and Vista would crash with a BSOD, typically a kernel in page error. I partially solved this problem by hibernating rather than shutting down the machine. I think I have now solved the problem.


I downloaded the excellent Sysinternals Process Monitor ( which provides a full display of the individual executables running as part of the system process. Process Monitor showed that ndis.sys!NdisInitializeWrapper was consuming all the processor time and memory. This information indicated a network driver problem.


The machine has an Intel Pro 100/VE Ethernet card and an Intel Wireless 3945ABG Wi-Fi card. I downloaded the latest network drivers from the Intel web site and installed them. I then used device manager to delete both network devices. Device manager then re-detected both network cards. Having done this the machine appears to start-up without any problems.


It's really annoying that neither the Microsoft nor Sony update sites offer these new network drivers.