kernel-power|Event id 41 | Windows 10

Hi guys

So? You have few years old hardware & opted to upgrade to Windows 10, when it was offered free? don’t worry, you made a wise choice. Although the OS is not perfect, it is better than Windows 8.x, definitely feature richer than predecessors…until your box starts rebooting once in few minutes or few times per day.

Your event logs for system will plainly say “kernel-power” and about an unclean restart, which is a critical event.

There could be a number of reasons, starting from the OS’s new power management “features” conflicting with your legacy hardware, components like additional audio or video cards behaving strangely after being there for last many years etc. This post is not a single stop solution for all your “kernel-power” issues, instead, few guidelines those may help you to narrow down the issues and resolve them in a timely manner.

My semi-server type desktop machine is 6+ years old. I never bought myself a branded desktop machine as I always needed powerful (please read affordable to my budgets) boxes for database development & virtual machines. I opted to go with the free Windows 10 upgrade when it was offered and never had many issues with the box or OS until last month. My kids (who are using the desktop mostly now days for their entertainment) started complaining about the machine rebooting quite often & I suspected the poor wall point (which truly required a replacement along with the extension board) & immediately changed it. Things were better for a while and then came the October update build 1809. The unexpected reboots were sporadic, sometimes once in just few minutes time! I scavenged through the event logs and found multiple “kernel-power” event entries. So I started going through many articles those were patiently explaining what are the factors those could cause “kernel-power” events

  • Bad power supply units
  • Conflicting Audio components
  • Old base boards (motherboards)
  • Bad power sockets
  • and Windows power management

I was sure that my XFX 850W PSU cannot be wrong ;), so without wasting much time, I moved on to audio. My motherboard has RealTek audio built-in and I have extended my box with a Creative Sound Blaster Zx card almost year back when my Audigy gave up. So I removed the Creative sound card and the box started behaving properly for approximately one and half days before giving up to random reboots.

Slowly I started building up a pattern for the reboots. I noticed that the machine only rebooted when I was streaming youtube videos and ONLY while I played videos the box rebooted. My box had a nvidia GT 520 card to play the only one game ever owned “Swat 4”!

I opened up the box again and removed the PCIE2.0x16 card out to realize that the card was totally packed with dust. Without giving it another chance booted the box with on-board display to insure that the issues were related to the GPU (This was the wild guess part)

Well, for me, all the kernel-power events stopped ever since I removed the nvidia card from the box. Not a single reboot after hours of streaming or playing downloaded video clips.

So, is my nvidia display card really faulty? I don’t know for sure. Nvidia didn’t push new drivers for this card from last many months & the issues could be from conflicting software components between the OS and the card driver (could be!). I’ve to find some time very soon to be sure!

In the same scenarios, you can try the following in case if you also own an extended desktop that experiences “kernel-power” events once after upgrading to recent builds of Windows 10

  • Remove all additional cards from the box
  • Remove all software related to the cards those you have removed from the box
  • Make sure to dust off your box from inside (Use a powerful blower, and from a safe distance to dust off)
  • Insure all the cables are tightened securely in places
  • Keep playing videos for extended periods of time (To insure there are no reboots)

In addition to above few, a computer could start acting weird when any  of the component used within starts having hardware or software issues. If none of the above tests resolves your issues, may be it is the time to start thinking about a new box (unfortunately)

I hope few out there find the above useful!

regards,

rajesh



Flickering white dots on screen | Windows 10

Hi guys

My nvidia GT-520 PCIE 2.0X16 card has finally failed & that altogether started a new story, a new finding and possibly a lousy solution as well.

My OEM motherboard from Intel ( DH67CL) has both Video & Audio integrated along with one NIC. More than enough to start with a PC without additional cards, which is NOT always what you want. You want to game, you need a card. You want to listen to your games, you need better audio processors, so you need another card.

Now, there are no guarantees that these cards will “Work for anyone” forever. The vendors will stop developing drivers, the product itself start having technical difficulties and your BOX as a computer will start experiencing issues as the box itself ages.

So after I removed the nvidia graphics card from my box and hooked up the Samsung LED monitor to the on-board intel HD display(HD 2000), I noticed many sparkling white dots

especially over the taskbar area & almost everywhere the box tends to see gray or darker shades. I knew that the HDMI port on board is version 1.1, when the cable that I used and the monitor are HDMI 2.0 capable. So I hooked up a normal VGA cable and was surprised to see that nothing changed! The sparkling white dots were persistent and I started googling, to find a proper solution.

Almost all solutions were about securing the cables, checking the driver, assuming the MB being faulty & even raising fingers at the PSU!

I wanted to check Windows 10 settings and to find out something to reset the display settings (I was hoping to find some) & after few minutes I landed on Settings -> Colors

I kept on toggling switches and finally toggled the “Transparency Effects” switch, which was ON. Immediately the white sparkling dots disappeared (99% as I could still see few of them against pitch black BOLD letters)

Color settings

It looks like Windows 10’s video processing has issues with older hardware, especially with older base boards. Hope this is a “kinda” solution for you also, if you are reading this post :)

regards,


Build or upgrade your existing Desktop Computer?

Hi guys

My last build was 6+ years back. I did many upgrades, mostly with the memory & storage as I have a number of virtual machines through Oracle VirtualBox & from last three years I stopped taking office work to home, in order to have a better family life. So the PC is mostly used for YouTube & studies related activities by my kids. Once in a while (when I am allowed to use), I use it for work.

I’ve been thinking about an upgrade dearly, as the desktop started giving me a feeling that it was lagging, especially during the Windows startup.

I did a quick assessment and realized that the Intel OEM motherboard supports DDR3 32GB memory (Currently I have 16GB memory) and has SATA standard 3. I already have 5TB+ storage and one 850W PSU. A studio standard sound card from Creative and supported by an Intel i7 generation 2 processor which made the an “Awesome” unit when I built it initially.

From the investment point (both money and efforts), a new PC (Assembled) would cost me approximately 250-300 Kuwaiti Dinars (800-950$) & as the Desktop accessories market is slowly dying, the chances of finding all the items for assembling would be kind of time consuming and tiring activity.

Although a new motherboard and latest processor & memory means support and performance that existing PC could never offer after any number of upgrades, I decided to “upgrade” my current PC for one last time.

This upgrade included a single item and the total expense expected was 36.5KDs (36.5*3.2 = 116USD approximately), and the item was a Crucial MX500 500GB SSD!

cmx500

I used EaseUS ToDo Backup free’s  cloning utility to clone my existing 512GB mechanical drive (approximately 220GB data) which took around 1.5 hours & realized that I never felt my desktop PC such fast and responsive.

10-July-2020. Now crucial has their own Acronis based clone software for the cloning. Please visit this link and watch all their videos to understand how to install the SSD, clone and switch. https://www.crucial.com/support/ssd/ssd-install/ssd-install-steps/part-2-copy

From my last 48+ hours assessment, following are few of the changes I have noticed.

  1. My Windows 10 Pro 64Bit OS (Build 1809) starts and ready in 5-10 seconds time (Fast boot enabled), which was approximately 4-5 minutes prior the SSD inclusion.
  2. My desktop machine shuts down within a time frame of 2-3 minutes, which was never less than 10 minutes (with almost no active database services other than an instance of MySQL and Google’s drive sync software. I found the later being one of the culprits)
  3.  The overall responsiveness has tremendously improved & the constantly nagging delays with starting software like Microsoft word & Excel are not anymore existing.

I know from my previous experiences with SSDs that, after a while, I would start feeling the PC turning slow, which is more psychological than technical.

So, if you WERE planning to replace your PC that’s is less than four years old, for it being “too slow”, “lagging” consider a SSD or NVMe M.2 (if supported). One of the major realities you should be considering when opting for a SSD is whether the OS & Processor support the SSDs. I’ve read somewhere that Windows 10 OS, starting from build 1703 has patched up with better support for SSDs and flash based storage.

One important note for Laptop users. Yes, you can also replace your mechanical drive with a SSD and enjoy the above said performance gains. Just make sure that your Laptop supports an SSD (read manuals, ask manufacturer forums or write to their support).

All the best with an upgrade & saving some real money folks!

regards,

rajesh