Windows 8 Update

It was not a good past few days for my Windows 8 notebook, because the recent patch Tuesday really broke something. After trying to fix things Tuesday evening, I gave up and reinstalled (used the “Remove everything” option new in Windows 8) and as of late Thursday, got things back to working conditions.

My computer crashed during the shutdown after patching, so it then booted into recovery mode, which didn’t do anything to stop a crash on the next reboot. And as a side effect, my networking stack was also nonfunctional.

The Windows 8 crash screen is friendlier looking – it displays a smiley with a nice quote along the lines “We apologize, there was a terrible error and it all blew up.” No more bugcheck a.k.a. blue screen of death, which was not useful to most people, unless you happen to have a kernel debugger attached.

Good thing I also had my Mac Mini so I wasn’t completely dead in the water! I could still play LoTRO and EVE, and Google search for information, while my Windows notebook was useless.

Anyway, I happen to be set up for some debugging my home notebook (a habit from my day job) so looked at the minidump file and noted the problem was indeed during the shutdown code path. Ironically, a “graceful shutdown” call was in the stack trace. Maybe not-so-graceful after all.

EXCEPTION_RECORD: fffff8800e1048e8 — (.exr 0xfffff8800e1048e8)
ExceptionAddress: fffff800386f30da (nt!memcpy+0x000000000000021a)
ExceptionCode: c0000005 (Access violation)
ExceptionFlags: 00000000
NumberParameters: 2
Parameter[0]: 0000000000000000
Parameter[1]: ffffffffffffffff
Attempt to read from address ffffffffffffffff

READ_ADDRESS: GetPointerFromAddress: unable to read from fffff800389d3168
GetUlongFromAddress: unable to read from fffff800389d31f8

fffff800`38b6d6ea 498b0e mov rcx,qword ptr [r14]

5: kd> k
Child-SP RetAddr Call Site
fffff880`0e104b28 fffff800`38b6d6ea nt!memcpy+0x21a
fffff880`0e104b30 fffff800`38c3b11a nt!AhcStreamWrite+0x6a
fffff880`0e104b70 fffff800`38c3b1c6 nt!AhcpStoreKeySave+0x9a
fffff880`0e104ba0 fffff800`38c39dfc nt!AhcStoreSave+0x66
fffff880`0e104bf0 fffff800`38c39d1b nt!AhcCacheSave+0x4c
fffff880`0e104c20 fffff800`38c39952 nt!AhcCacheWriteRegistry+0x83
fffff880`0e104c50 fffff800`389ea8e2 nt!AhcShutdown+0x26
fffff880`0e104c80 fffff800`38730951 nt!PopGracefulShutdown+0x16e
fffff880`0e104cc0 fffff800`386a03d5 nt!ExpWorkerThread+0x142
fffff880`0e104d50 fffff800`386de116 nt!PspSystemThreadStartup+0x59
fffff880`0e104da0 00000000`00000000 nt!KiStartSystemThread+0x16

I don’t have anything installed on this notebook except Google Chrome, Steam (and various games managed through Steam), and current nVidia video drivers. So, after fiddling for an hour or two and getting nowhere, I gave up on fixing things and went to repair via the new Windows 8 option, found in PC Settings->General->Refresh. Unfortunately that didn’t work – the process also crashed during shutdown, so I had to try the heavier “wipe files, except for Windows 8 apps, and reinstall”, found in PC Settings->General->Remove. I had no Windows 8 apps installed so I just did it.

Both Refresh and Remove merely required me to insert the Windows 8 DVD and do something else for a while. But if that didn’t work and I was forced to reinstall from scratch (guimode setup and format my disk, etc.) then I would have gone back to Windows 7, since it would have been the same amount of work and I had ~3 years of generally problem-free use on Windows 7. Just the occasional bugcheck coming out of hibernation.

The Remove option did work, and my Windows 8 notebook booted up with no errors and a functioning network stack. Now all I had to do is apply patches… 30 of them. *GULP*. That’s what made my system bomb last time around.


That also didn’t take too long, and before going to sleep I installed Steam and queued up the games I had installed. That went all night and the next day after work I still had a few more to grab.

  • Antichamber
  • Civilization 5
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
  • EVE Online
  • Fallen Earth
  • Fallout 3
  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • The Secret World
  • Space Chem
  • Thief: Deadly Shadows
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • Arma II
  • Arma II: Dayz Mod
  • Arma II: Operation Arrowhead

A friend talked me in to trying out DayZ, a mod that turns those Arma games into a zombie survival game. Normally I wouldn’t have a FPS installed since I’m not a fan of the genre.

So by Thursday night I had reinstalled those games, and then had to run/patch LoTRO, The Secret World, Fallen Earth, and EVE Online. There were various .NET Frameworks to download and reinstall, Visual C++ redistributables to download and install, DirectX to… you get the idea. On top of that, each game needed to download some amount of patches to update itself to the latest version.

Finally, I finished off with the 314.07 nVidia drivers. I hope the system runs for more than 6 months this time. 😉

Thank goodness a Steam reinstall isn’t that painful. It took a long time but at least I didn’t have to hunt down dozens of DVDs and babysit all those reinstalls.

2 thoughts on “Windows 8 Update”

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