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    janlafata's Avatar
    janlafata Posts: 28, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jul 30, 2008, 12:01 PM
    An SP1 mind boggler!
    First, just a warning... I write long posts and they are very detailed. But this one is guaranteed to challenge you.

    I have an MSI K8MM3-V motherboard that is Vista Basic compatible. It runs an AMD Athlon x64 processor at 3200 Mhz, 2 GB's of Kingston RAM, an NVidia GeForce 7600 256MB graphics card, a Creative Audigy SE sound card and a Coolmax 550 watt power supply. I run Vista Basic x64 on my machine.

    I just recently bought my Vista DVD. The first time it was installed was on a motherboard different from the one I am currently using. Right after I installed Vista, I downloaded all of my Windows Updates. I then proceeded to install Service Pack 1. I believe SP1 was not available at the time for download frrom Windows Update, so I downloaded it manually.

    Right after SP1 was finished installing, it rebooted and showed a screen that said installation was successful. Also, everything seemed to working fine. Then by chance I right-clicked My Computer and clicked Properties to view basic information about my computer. Then I saw it! My memory was listed as being 16.0 GB's, when in reality I only run 2 GB's!!

    I immediately called Microsoft and over the course of the next few days, I must have talked to about 5 different technicians. No one could solve the problem. Finally, out of desperation, I called one more time and lucked out by getting a tech with some insight.

    He figured out that the reason I was getting this misreading of the RAM was due to an incompatibility between SP1 and my Realtek onboard audio. See listing:
    Vista SP1 Driver Incompatibility Issues Still Unresolved | Vista Home

    So he first had me disable my Creative sound card, then go into the BIOS and enable the onboard audio. Right after Windows rebooted and the desktop came up, Vista recognized the new hardware and installed a driver for the onboard audio. Then even Windows Update downloaded an update, though I found out later that wasn't even needed.

    I now checked in the System window again and it showed the correct amount of RAM as being 2GB's. Problem solved and I even sent the techinicians manager a letter of praise for the young man who figured out the problem, after so many others didn't.

    Next, for one reason or another, I think it's because either my motherboard was failing (it was an ABIT) or I discovered that it was not Vista-compatable. (ABIT never was able to tell me if it was or not) I changed motherboards and put in the MSI M8MM3-V, which I knew for sure was Vista-compatable.

    I went through the whole process again and installed SP1. Once again, it listed me as having 16.0 GB's!! So, once again, I called Microsoft and the technicians tried to fix the problem. This time , they could not. But this was a different motherboard and I found out that my onboard audio was not RealTek, but VIA AC 97 Enhanced Audio, though I didn't know that at the time.

    To make a long story short, the Microsoft entry-level technicians had such a hard time trying to find a solution to this, that my support ticket finally escalated up to the higher tier technicians. They were all ready to start looking into the problem, but I found out my PCI slots on the motherboard were dead, so I had to send it back to MSI for repairs, So I was never able to take advantage of dealing with more expert technicians.

    The last thing I told them on the phone was that as soon as I get my board back from MSI and load Vista and Sp1 again, I would call them. We also briefly discussed the issue and they assured me that the at least the incorrect displaying of my RAM wasn't hurting anything, That is was just a cosmetic issue. He even said that when he deals with me next time that he might even be able to fix the problem by editing the registry.

    So I just recently got the motherboard back from MSI and everything is working fine. I loaded Vista, then downloaded all of my Windows Updates. But this time, instead of immediately installing SP1, I decided to do a little research. My hope was that, if it was indeed a driver issue, that maybe I could fix it myself first, then install SP1 and then I wouldn't have the probem.

    And I had found out that the reason SP1 was not available to certain customers through Windows Update is because Microsoft could detect when there was a driver incompatibility issue. I just wish they had a tool you could download to tell you excactly which driver it is that's causing the problem.

    But I was unable to find any updated drivers or drivers that worked. And like I mentioned, I had now discovered that my onboard audio was VIA AC 97, not Realtek, so I tried going to the VIA website and I thought I had found an upddated driver. It said it was for the audio chipset in the southbridge. Even the numbers matched what was in my manual.
    But it didn't work or change anything. It still showed 16 GB's.

    Then my attention turned to a Creative Labs driver update. Something the company has not really been on top of. I found nothing I thought I could try on their website, but I did find a site that offered updated Creative Audigy drivers for Vista and SP1 that were designed by some guy in Brazil. See web page:

    Download Windows Vista SP1 Drivers for Creative sound cards | Windows Vista for Beginners

    I tried installing one of those and it did install just fine, even though I got the message that the driver was not signed and all. Still I did not notice any change. Luckliy I had been setting system restore points for all of these driver "trials", so I just reverted back to where I was before every time.

    But that got me thinking. With my first motherboard, the problem was fixed by uodating the Realtek onboard audio driver. It never had to do anything with the Creative Sound card.
    And now I have VIA AC 97 as my onboard audio, though I disable it, and it's not listed on Microsofts list of imcompatable drivers. So I figure, it has to be with the Creative card, but installing an updated driver for that didn't work, so at this point, I was stumped.

    At that point, I just decided to install Sp1 anyway. I figured, who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and the problem won't show up. But after the SP1 install, it still did show me as having 16.0 GB's of RAM. So, once again, I called Microsoft and this time they, very quickly were able to tell me that they couldn't find any fixes. So it is now going to passed on to the original higher tier technician that I had talked to before. He will be calling me next week.

    So here I sit with the problem still at hand and I hate to just sit around. So I've still been trying to find my own solutions while I wait. One thing I did try was to run my Driver Updater Pro, which, like many such programs, will scan your system for outdated drivers.

    Driver Updater Pro by XPC Tools

    I have found out through reviews that many of these types of programs, like Driver Detective are not really that good and can actually do hard to your system. But I did my research on this one and it seemed to be one of the better ones, though I've never actually used it before yesterday.

    When I ran the scan on Driver Updater, it showed that there was an updated driver for my Creative sound card, though where they found that is a mystery to me. The scan also showed that many of my VIA system devices also had out of date drivers, though I know that is not the issue right now.

    And I had installed x64 chipset drivers for my VIA chipset when I first installed Vista, so I thought I was covered there. But my techinical expertise, though about average, has never included any knowledge of VIA system devices, what it is they do, or even if they need updated drivers. But like I said, I don't think that has anything to do with my current problem. At least I hope it doesn't!

    So that's my story. I just wanted to find out, first of all, whether I should trust these driver update programs. Because right now, that's the only thing I can think of to do, while I sit and wait for Microsoft to call. And I figure this is one of those issues that Microsoft may just not be able to fix and that I may just end up finding a better solution through tech sites like this one.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #2

    Jul 30, 2008, 12:35 PM
    Just an idea. Are their any restrictions on memory install like:

    1. Must be installed in these slots first?
    2. Higher capacity memory must be installed first?
    3. Could the memory be the wrong type?

    What happens if you install one module? Install each one separately by itself and see what happens.

    Grasping at straws as you are.
    janlafata's Avatar
    janlafata Posts: 28, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Jul 30, 2008, 12:58 PM
    Hey thanks for replying. You're the first to reply out of all of the tech sites I submitted this to. (think I might of scared a few people off because of the length)

    First off, yes the Kingston RAM, two 1 GB sticks, are the correct ones for my motherboard. I have also tried, just running one stick, but then under system it listed me as having 8GB's of memory!

    Finally I have run both the Vista Memory Diagnostic Tool and MemTest86 and both showed my RAM as being in fine shape.

    I still think it's a driver issue somewhere. Like I said in my post, I just wish that Microsoft had some kind of tool you could run to specifically identify the problem area. I mean you'd think they were capable enough of designing something like that.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #4

    Jul 30, 2008, 01:56 PM
    Not sure if this is useful or not. Memtest86 - Memory Diagnostic Page

    It would be nice to get an independent view on the amount of memory. Also check if there are any BIOS settings regarding memory.
    Curlyben's Avatar
    Curlyben Posts: 18,485, Reputation: 1858
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    #5

    Jul 30, 2008, 02:58 PM
    Could this possibly be an incompatibility issue with the mobo and x64, incorrect addressing of memory modules ?

    While the mobo maybe compatible with Vista do they specifically mention x64 ?

    Now there's a couple of things I would try.
    1/ install Vista x32 and SP1
    2/ install Linux x64, say Ubuntu as it's nice and easy to use

    I know from XP x64 experience that the support from M$ and other hardware manufactures is "lacking" to say the least.
    There's a big push to adopt x64, but while the drivers are ineffectual you are scuppered before you even start.
    janlafata's Avatar
    janlafata Posts: 28, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Jul 31, 2008, 01:09 PM
    KeepItSimpleStupid... That page you linked for me. Well I got to tell you, I love computers and I love learning new things about them, but this is all a little above me! By the way I haven't poked around in the BIOS memory settings yet, but I was talking to an MSI tech today about that and he said there's really not much you can alter in there. Speaking of the BIOS. I'm wondering if a BIOS update might be in order here. Hmmm!

    Curlyben.. I checked with MSI this morning and the Motherboard is indeed compatible for Vista Home Basic x64. I will not install x32 bit Vista though because, believe me, I tried it and it's way slower than x64 Vista.

    Linux might be an option. Maybe not today, but someday. Then again, who knows! But I know nothing about it. In fact I just got through asking someone from another post many questions about Ubuntu and Linux.

    Do you know of any good references (in plain English) or web pages that might be able to enlighten me on the subject. My biggest question is, can you run windows programs on it?

    Thanks for both you gentlemen's help.
    Curlyben's Avatar
    Curlyben Posts: 18,485, Reputation: 1858
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    #7

    Jul 31, 2008, 01:13 PM
    Ubuntu has a whole wiki devoted on its use.
    WOrth starting here: Ubuntu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I have used a number of flavours of linux and have found Ubuntu to be far and away one of the easiest to use especially for a novice.
    The available support is outstanding.

    Yes you can run Windozes apps through emulation, but I'm sure there are open source alts for everything you want to do.

    Why not dual boot it and find out ?
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #8

    Jul 31, 2008, 01:36 PM
    Wine (Wine HQ) allows Linux users to run Windows programs.

    Nothing is going to be perfect.
    janlafata's Avatar
    janlafata Posts: 28, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Aug 1, 2008, 02:20 PM
    Update on SP1 Mind Boggler
    If you happened to have read my long post on the problem I had after installing SP1, entitled, SP1 Mind Boggler, then you ought to be commended. I know it was really long.
    And so if you did read it, or even if you didn't, I wanted to update you on what's going on, It's very interesting, to say the least.

    To review quickly,

    I have an MSI K8MM3-V motherboard that is Vista Basic compatible. It runs an AMD Athlon x64 processor at 3200 Mhz, 2 GB's of Kingston RAM, an NVidia GeForce 7600 256MB graphics card, a Creative Audigy SE sound card and a Coolmax 550 watt power supply. I run Vista Basic x64 on my machine.

    This is the third motherboard from MSI that I am running. The first one was DOA, the second one, the PCI slots didn't work, and the one I currently have installed, is a different board, same model, but refurbished.

    By the way, while were on the subject, the MSI technical department is a zoo and filled with some guys that I really think do not have a clue! SO I hope you never have to deal with them.

    I just recently received this third board from MSI and quickly got to work installing Vista Home Basic x64 on it. I'd had some previous problems with SP1 when I was running a different motherboard, but those problems were easily fixed. By the way, I am not running that motherboard (an ABIT) anymore because it spazzed out on me. I was getting Windows lockups, BSOD's and all kinds of things.

    I'm still not sure whether that board was Vista compatible or not. I was initially told that it was by ABIT, but if it wasn't, I think that may have had something to do with all of the problems I was having, though I am not sure. I am still trying to get a hold of ABIT to confirm whether indeed the board is Vista compatible or not and to find out out if it's Vista x64 compatible or not. I never thought to ask that when I first contacted them.

    Anyway back to my MSI board. Right after SP1 was finished installing, it rebooted and showed a screen that said installation was successful. Also, everything seemed to working fine. Then by chance I right-clicked My Computer and clicked Properties to view basic information about my computer. Then I saw it! My memory was listed as being 16.0 GB's, when in reality I only run 2 GB's!!

    I immediately called Microsoft but they have been unable to fix the problem. They are supposed to be contacting me on Monday. Also, since this is like the third time I have installed Vista Basic x64 and SP1 on a board, I decided to do things differently right after I installed Vista.

    Instead of blindly just installing it right away after installing Vista (I had previously downloaded it manually, so I had the application on hand) I started checking into why SP1 was not available for me on Windows Update. Turns out it's because WU can detect when there may be incompatibilities with one of your drivers. So it's not offered for you as a download until you solve those driver issues, though it will not tell exactly which driver is causing a problem.

    Microsoft does have a list of known driver incompatibility issues and my Creative Labs Audigy SE is on there, but I have been unable to find an updated driver for that, or at least one that works. I did find a site with some supposedly Vista SP1 drivers for Creative designed by some guy in Brazil, but they did not fix the problem. They were also not signed. Here's that site:

    Download Windows Vista SP1 Drivers for Creative sound cards | Windows Vista for Beginners

    But the big blow to all of this happened yesterday, when I called MSI again and told my problem to one of their techs. This time I asked him if it was not just Vista compatible, but Vista x64 compatible. He said no it wasn't, just Vista Basic x32 compatible. I wish I would have known that when all of this started a month ago!

    So there's another possible issue right there. The other fun little tidbit I found out about my system came from a post where the moderator suggested I download and run this AMD diagnostic tool. It apparently will tell you, right away, whether your processor supports Hyper-V technology, which from what little I can understand of it, is a hypervisor based virtualization system for x64 systems.

    I'm still not sure what that all means , but apparently it may not be helping my SP1 situation, let alone even running Vista x64. So at this point your saying "wow, Vista Basic x64 shouldn't even be running with all of those knocks you have against it". But you what's just simply amazing? It actually does run pretty darn good, with hardly a glitch, except of course for that misreading of the RAM thing.

    It's still not as fast as XP, but it's not bad. So now I'm asking myself, what's going on? Am I defying the laws of computing here. According to the facts, Vista shouldn't be running at all, but it does, so, right now, I'm not complaining. I am still debating what to do next though and I'm still trying to make it run as fast as possible while I am running it on my machine. In fact I spent all day yesterday disabling unwanted services and scheduled tasks, tweaking this and that etc. And I'm not through yet.

    Also, I had mentioned in my first post about running one of those DriverAgent type of programs, to see if that might also boost my chances of fixing the SP1 problem or and speeding up Vista. One person responded that he didn't trust many of them, some of which apparently are made by the same company. He did recommend Radarsync Free. But I tried that and couldn't get it to work right.

    So, my next plan is to run DriverUpdater Pro by XPC Tools, which I had bought awhile back but have never run it. I did run a trial of their latest version the other day, just out of curiosity. Amazingly it showed all kinds of outdated drivers and even one for my Creative sound card. Though where they find these drivers is unknown to me. I found nothing on the Creative web site.

    I also forgot to mention that one of the interesting things about that driver scan was that it found many of my VIA system devices out of date. And I wasn't even aware that you needed drivers for those. Besides, when I looked in Device Manager everything seemed fine. I'm still a little leary of this program, but I'm going to set a restore point before I do anything.

    So that's it. My update to my SP1 Mind Boggler story. For what it's worth, I am really taking all of this in stride and if things suddenly get worse or I decide that I just don't want to spend the rest of my life worrying whether Vista x64 will keep running on my rig, I can always go back to XP x64, which I've been told by the MSI brainiacs, that it will work. At least I think that's what they mumbled to me on the phone.

    I am also more curious than ever now about running Linux. I know very little about it and doubt that I am going to experiment with it right now, but it is an option. First I want to do some homework on it. And of course I have to call back MSI, again, to see if Linux x64 will run on my system. Many people have also suggested that I dual boot, with a Windows flavor of my choice and Linux. But for some reason, I've never been really into dual-booting.

    Now your up to date on the wonderful world of Microsoft and Vista and x64 and the term of the decade, "compatability".

    Comments are definitely welcome
    Curlyben's Avatar
    Curlyben Posts: 18,485, Reputation: 1858
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    #10

    Aug 1, 2008, 02:34 PM
    >Threads merged<

    Thanks for the update, it certainly explains a lot and why SP1 wasn't available via the normal routes.

    Come on get Ubuntu x64 installed, you won't regret it.
    Fast, stable and NOT a resource hog, well bound to be really as it isn't a Mico$oft product ;)
    janlafata's Avatar
    janlafata Posts: 28, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Aug 1, 2008, 05:33 PM
    Curlyben.. Hello once again. I just got through reading another post from a guy on another tech site I use and he sent me some nice Linux links. I am definitely going to look them over, but I'm going to take my time doing it.

    One comment the guy said though might require a little reassurance from you. He said:

    "YOU WILL HAVE TO CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK A OPERATING SYSTEM WORKS AND FORGET EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT OPERATING A SYSTEM BECAUSE EVERY THING YOU KNOW ABOUT WINDOWS IS NOT GOING TO BE ANY AND I MEAN ANY HELP BECAUSE '' LINUX IS NOT WINDOWS''!

    To tell you the truth, this makes me a little nervous! I mean what else can I say after 10 years of dealing with Windows.

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