THREAD_STUCK_IN_DEVICE_DRIVER no more! (Windows 8.1.*)

Today I tackled this obnoxious problem that certain Dell laptops running Windows 8.1 suffer from …for the second time and it looks like this one is my luck. I’ve decided to write down how I conquered this in a straight forward fashion to spare you the pain of going through pages of forum answers.

The common culprit of this BSOD and the inability of waking the laptop from sleep without it restarting is related to (1) the AMD Radeon HD 7730M display driver after updating to Win 8.1 –and (2) once update 1 installed you might get a nice “Catalyst Control Center stopped working” prompt in addition.

If you care for a story: the first time I ended up with the problem solved but my USB ports gone OOO. Somewhat misled, I had uninstalled one thing too many in my attempt to solve these two issues. Trying everything in my book to get them back (Safe mode, registry, restore, USB options in the BIOS…) and a chat with the friendly folks of the @DellCares team, the only option remaining was a Windows Refresh. Cool my USBs are back but of course after performing all updates and upgrade to Win 8.1.1 the issues too. Very cautiously these are the steps I took this time:

  • first off, create a system restore point just because, you know?
  • press CTL+SHIFT+ESC to open the task manager, go to “Startup” tab and select Catalyst Control Center Launcher from the startup items. Click ‘Disable’ and close the task manager.
  • press WIN+R and type ‘powercfg.cpl‘ to open the Power Options. Click ‘Choose what the power buttons do’, next ‘Change settings that are currently unavailable’. Scroll down and deselect ‘Turn on fast startup (recommended)’. Close this window. [ref ]
  • go to the Dell support site for drivers, insert your Service Tag. Make sure Win 8.1 is selected as OS and scroll down to ‘Video’, select ‘AMD Rad[...]‘ and download the first package — Video_AMD_W8.1_A00_Setup-9NNDW_ZPE.exe — Close the browser. [ref 1 ]  [ref 2 ]
  • right-click the downloaded package, choose ‘Run as administrator’. The package will extract everything and launch the AMD software/driver install afterwards. Because I don’t trust this: cancel the installation.
  • with the File Explorer go to the extracted folder (default should be C:\dell\Drivers\9NNDW) and right-click ‘Setup64.exe’, select ‘Run as administrator’ seeing that we are superstitious…
  • in the AMD Catalyst wizard proceed as follows: install→custom→leave everything checked and start the install. Screens will flicker and actions performed. If all is done without incident you will be asked to reboot. Rightfully do so.
  • Let your laptop and Windows do their startup peacefully. Check if Windows goes to sleep and wakes up properly. If it does: Rejoice! You can now re-enable ‘fast startup’ in the advanced Power Options.  Last check: restart your Dell…

You might have noticed that the Catalyst Control Center is left disabled from my startup settings; I just can’t be bothered with it.

update 21.07.2014: I updated the Intel driver through Device Manager yesterday, no problems so far.

If this didn’t solve your problem you will have to search further, I can’t help you.

Web development on Windows, step 2

Step two is just as easy as the first one.
It simply consists of preparing my two virtual machines.

Creating VMs in VirtualBox is straightforward. With the wizard I set them two quickly up using the default values given. This done, I review their settings individually and adjust the ones where the wizard didn’t present options for.

Below screenshots for reference. Please refer to the manual to set these according to your system. <tl;dr: chapters 1.7 - 1.11 - 2.1 - 3>

To make the guest OS installs and their setup effortless mind that the ‘Network’ option is set on NAT and that you have designated the same sharing folder for both machines under ‘Shared Folders’.

Let’s go to step three for more serious funnier stuff.

to be continued…

Win 7 Pro  VM settings - step two Ubuntu VM settings - step two