Dr. HardwareBlog

or: How I Learned to Stop Blaming Windows and Love the BSOD

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    Execution protection (NX) and PAE

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    A comment from the earlier memory management entry posed a good question. How does PAE factor into the new No Execute (NX) mechanism enabled by the Opteron, Athlon64, and new Prescott-based Xeon? In Windows XP SP2 and Server 2003 SP1, the two are...
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    SMIs Are EEEEVIL (Part 1)

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    As a quick introduction, SMIs were introduced to the x86 world by the 386SL. It was created to allowed systems designers to have access to the CPU while unspecified software of any type was running. The reasons for this are obvious when you look at the...
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    SMIs Are EEEEVIL (Part 2)

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    In Part 1 , I discussed a bit of the history and function of SMIs. How does this make them EEEEVIL, is the question? Essentially, SMIs are the final word in what happens on a CPU, outside of removing power. They cannot be interrupted, even by a Non...
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    How a Bluescreen Button (NMI) can Save Your Bacon

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    I know, another title that seems ridiculous. Why in the world would anyone want a button that intentionally bluescreens your system?! When you’re confronted with a hard hang though, (no mouse or keyboard) you’re in for a heck of a time trying...
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    NUMA and you, perfect together (Part 1)

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    I know this is a slightly more esoteric topic, even for me, but I want to address cc:NUMA platforms, and how they matter to Windows and Windows applications. What is NUMA you ask? NUMA stands for Non-Uniform Memory Architecture. (The cc: stands for Cache...
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    Bad RAM is Not Good

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    I know that title must seem silly, but it’s the title of a mock KB article that floated around inside of product support here for a number of years. You’d be amazed by the number of blue screens we see where the culprit is bad or failing RAM...
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    Bluescreen Debugging for Dummies: Prologue

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    That could probably help 90% of the developers at Microsoft, to be honest. Kernel mode debugging is sometimes equated to black magic for devs who spend most of their time in the highly friendly (and deterministic) world of user mode. An analogy...
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    If you can’t stand the heat…

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    You should get out of the PC kitchen. This is another silent system killer that most people don’t want to acknowledge. (Though I will admit it’s gotten easier the last 2-3 years, as Intel, AMD, nVidia, and ATI have cranked up the wattage to...
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    Self-Monitoring and Diagnosing Hardware

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    This is something that most people in the mainframe business have taken fom granted for decades now. To the PC world, it’s relatively new…and to the PC OS world, even newer. Starting with the Pentium and Pentium Pro, Intel introduced...
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    The Frustrations with Social Engineering, Even in Support

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    I just got another first-hand experience in the difficulty of trying to affect computing through social engineering. Our fax forwarding people do their forwarding based on the cover letter. Whoever is listed on the From: line gets a TIFF of the fax forwarded...
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    THE Killer Server App for x64

    • 1 Comments
    IMO, it's not what anyone else might think. SQL, Exchange, and Web Services get all the hype, but I think Terminal Services will get the most immediate benefit from the backwards-compatible nature of the x64 architecture. Let's look at some of the benefits...
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    Memory Management Confusion (a.k.a. What The Heck is PAE?)

    • 1 Comments
    Ok I want to get this one out of the way, since I end up answering these questions far too often…why there is no FAQ on this is beyond me. PSE, PAE, and AWE. People seem to understand that they all allow you to address more than 4GB of RAM on a...
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    Support is not Manufacturing: Part 2

    • 4 Comments
    Ok, my arm is warm now. Time to start tossing some theory bombs out there, and hope none get picked off. They said Italians couldn’t quarterback, but look at Vinny Testaverde! (Err…no, don’t.) The reason treating support processes like a manufacturing...
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    Thermodynamics of Seattle Traffic

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    On my way into work today, I realized that Seattle traffic is one of those human systems that visibly conform to the second law of thermodynamics… OK, that’s a gross oversimplification, but it’s still amazing to watch people intentionally...
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    Support is not Manufacturing: Part 1

    • 2 Comments
    Ok, I know I said when I started this blog that I wouldn’t be going into the support aspects of my job much, but I lied. I can’t resist being an armchair quarterback, so I am going to warm up my arm today, and start tossing Hail Mary’s tomorrow. Just...
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    Favorite Hardware Bugs <CENSORED>

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    Discussing the good and bad of hardware bugs that can cause OS developers nightmares....
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    A Quick Introduction

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    My name is Carmen Crincoli, and I am an Escalation Engineer in Microsoft's Product Support group. Even for those intimately familiar with the typical product support experience, my title might be unknown to you. Escalation engineers are typically the...
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    Back from a long hiatus

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    Well, I sort of had to stop blogging for awhile there because I moved on to a slightly different role. I have the same job at the end of the day, but now I support more general portions of the OS, and of course one of the things I enjoy most: storage...
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