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Dwarfsoft: Outside

For some of you who know me through some of the other communication mediums I have used, you may be aware that I operate in the same circles as Andrew Russell [1], who decided sometime late last year (or early this year) to experiment with Coding Outside. Taking a laptop out into the big wide world of interruption, sunshine, and all manner of other things that most nerds avoid.

To get to the point, I have decided to take up where Andrew left off. Having just purchased myself a relatively inexpensive laptop, I find myself now unshackled from the desktop (as I write to you from my bed).  Now, this post is not so much to introduce the Dwarfsoft: Outside undertaking so much as to write down a few gripes I have had with this laptop, and getting to the point that I find myself at now.

The Laptop is a Compaq Presario C710TU. This is not an overly powerful machine, yet all I intend to use it for is writing code and doing an occasional build. Most of the work will be rendering text and performing Subversion [2] Commits. One of the major drawbacks of this machine is the standard Memory size. This machine is shipped with 512MB RAM, running Windows Vista. I managed to survive for about a week using a 4GB Flash Drive and ReadyBoost to improve the performance, then I purchased 2GB of RAM.

2GB of RAM was installed, it worked great in safe mode, through memory checks, but as soon as I came to log in to Vista … BSOD. The dreaded Blue Screen had come back to plague me. So I started doing some Internet searches to track down this issue. The Error was a Page Fault by a driver attempting to access memory in a non-paged area. The driver was igdkmd32.sys. From my searching I managed to find out that many people had this issue, usually while trying to run some game or another, and yet there was no actual solution posted.

I attempted to reply to these threads (on MSDN mainly) in order to shed some light on some of the poor souls who  were experiencing the issue, but for some reason the threads had been closed or locked. That was when I decided to write up here, just in case somebody else needed to find the solution to this issue.

The solution to the problem, as those of you who have worked with installation and repair of PCs for some time may already have noticed, is the driver for the Intel onboard graphics card.  The latest drivers can be obtained from Intel [3] by going to the “Support and Downloads” section and Searching for “Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family” (This also covers the Intel 960 Chipset). By Installing this driver, the issues were resolved.

What irked me the most about this whole process is that I visited the Vendor website after resolving the issue, and the drivers up on the site are the same ones that came preinstalled with the laptop, which are now 5 months old. There have been 2 BSOD fixes to the drivers since that version, neither specifically for what I was experiencing, but it could have been an underlying issue that was resolved.

So, here ends my rant about the comprehensiveness of a vendors driver packages, but stay tuned as I bring you all up to date with the Dwarfsoft: Outside adventures after my trip to the Library, and the Hospital over the past few weeks.

Cheers, Chris.