Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams
July 29, 2020
Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams are an industry-wide issue where scammers trick you into paying for unnecessary
technical support services. You can help protect yourself from scammers by verifying that the contact is a
Microsoft Agent or
Microsoft Employee and that the phone number is an
Microsoft global customer service number.
For the past week, I have been receiving a few BSOD. They occur after about 20-30m of running Windows 8 during the first boot up of the day. After the first BSOD of the day, the software works fine without issues. I ran sfc /scannow and memtest, it was
fine. I also ran the chkdsk but it was fine.
Here are the last two minidump files:
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1. Check with the System Maker's Support (Motherboard Maker for custom systems), their
on-line documentation and drivers, and ask in their forums as this may be (or will be) a
known issue. Update the BIOS, low level chipset drivers, and
the major on-boardand
separate device drivers.
2. Remove ALL power then reseat the cards, memory, and cables (on both ends when
possible) actually remove and replace - do not just snug. Clean out the dust bunnies, clear
the vents, and ensure the fans are working. If a laptop about all you can do is reseat the
memory and clear the vents.
3. Check the hard drive for errors - run CheckDisk (see methods below).
4. Test the memory very thoroughly. Keep in mind that memory tests do not detect all
errors such as the tiny speed differences between memory modules that appear to be
identical. So it may be necessary to swap the modules in and out in different combinations
and patterns (see memory test methods below).
5. AFTER 1, 2, 3, & 4 IF the issues continue run Driver Verifier (see nethods bekow).
Note using Win Key + X and Win Key + W (to get to Control Panel, Run, and Settings
as needed). Win Key + D calls the desktop and the using
Win Key toggles Desktop
and Start Screen.
Translate the Windows 7 methods and use them on Windows 8/8.1
We can analyze the minidumps if you make them available from the OneDrive or other file
sharing sites (such as MediaFire). If you have problems uploading the minidumps copy
them to the Desktop or the Documents folder and upload them from there.
Try removing and reseating all cards, memory, and cables (both ends when possible) - actually
remove and replace - do not just snug (on a PC) and clean out the dust bunnies and vents. On
a laptop about all that can be done is reseat the memory and clean the vents. (Of course
remove ALL power prior to opening the case.)
Bug Check 0x3B: SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION
The SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION bug check has a value of 0x0000003B. This indicates that an exception happened while executing a routine that transitions from non-privileged code to privileged code.
Important Info If You Have Received a STOP Code
If you received a blue screen error, or stop code, the computer has shut down abruptly to protect itself from data loss. A hardware device, its driver, or related software might have caused this error. If your copy of Windows came with your computer, call
the manufacturer of your computer. If you purchased Windows separately from your computer, Microsoft provides support. To find contact info for Microsoft or your computer manufacturer,
This is my generic how to for proper driver updates : (update video/display driver and BIOS)
This utility makes it easy to see which versions are loaded :
DriverView - Free - utility displays the list of all device drivers currently loaded on your system.
For each driver in the list, additional useful information is displayed: load address of the driver,
description, version, product name, company that created the driver, and more. http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/driverview.html
For Drivers check System Maker as fallbacks and Device Maker's which are the most current.
Control Panel - Device Manager - Display Adapter - write down the make and complete model
of your video adapter - double click - Driver's tab - write down the version info. Now click
UPdate Driver (this may not do anything as MS is far behind certifying drivers) - then Right
Click - Uninstall - REBOOT this will refresh the driver stack.
Repeat that for Network - Network Card (NIC), Wifi, Sound, Mouse and Keyboard if 3rd party
with their own software and drivers and any other major device drivers you have.
Now go to System Maker's site (Dell, HP, Toshiba as examples) (as rollback) and then Device
Maker's site (Realtek, Intel, Nvidia, ATI as examples) and get their latest versions. (Look for
BIOS, Chipset and software updates at System Maker's site while there.)
Download - SAVE - go to where you put them - Right Click - RUN AD ADMIN - REBOOT after
Always check in Device Manager - Drivers tab to be sure the version you are installing actually
shows up. This is because some drivers rollback before the latest is installed (sound drivers
particularly do this) so install a driver - reboot - check to be sure it is installed and repeat as
Repeat at Device Makers - BTW at Device Makers DO NOT RUN THEIR SCANNER - check
manually by model.
Memory tests do not catch all errors such as mismatched memory (possible even for sticks
that appear to be identical) and when faster memory is placed in system behind slower
memory. So it is best to also swap sticks in and out to check for those even if all memory
tests fail to show a problem.
To test RAM check here - let it run 4+ hours or so. <-- best method www.memtest.org
For the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool.
WinKEY + W - type in the Search box -> Memory - find Memory Diagnostics tool at top
of list - follow the prompts.