random crashes, atapi.sys, driver error?

07-10-2005, 03:03 AM
My computer (an Averatec laptop, 2 years old, running xp-pro) crashes at
apparently random times. Sometimes right after startup, sometimes it's fine
and then does it two hours later. Online and offline, doing stuff or not.
It used to flash a blue screen for less than a sec and then reset or go to a
black screen from which I have to press the button for 6 sec to turn it off.
Now it often stays on the blue screen so I can read it.

It says windows closed to protect my computer. It cites different
responsible elements at differnt times. Atapi.sys comes up a lot, as do
other .sys's. It says it could be a driver error, but i've uninstalled the
single driver i had installed between purchase and problems. This problem
has been going on for over a year now. I do something and I think it works
and then it doesn't. I've defragged several times, rolled back drivers, run
virus and spyware "pro" software, uninstalled games, rolled back AIM when we
thought that was the cause, given it up for a few days to tech support people
at my school a few times. Nothing works, but it's only been an annoyance, so
no reason to reinstall and lose all my data or spend money at computer repair
shows that i don't have after buying a thousand dollar computer!

Now it doesn't go on wireless. The network connections folder doesn't even
show an icon which is standard.

I downloaded a new PCMCIA driver from the manufacturer because the one that
came with the machine was from 2001 and transferred it with a USB keychain.
The instructions simply said to change it in Device Manager. A few weeks ago
I could have but I couldn't then. Now it suddenly doesn't work. If I open
Device Manager, it has all the help menus, tools, other structural bits, but
blank space where the list of devices and resources should be. Computer
Information knows exactly which devices I have and which resources they
use/share and still tells me.

The blue screen oracle has also suggested chkdsk/f. I run it, it asks if I
want to reset and have it run from startup, I say "yes" and reset, and it's
as if I had never had anything to do with chkdsk...it boots up as usual.

I am down to 2 gigs hard drive, only have 128 DDRAM, so 244 RAM (where doese
the other 12 go?), but i have what was a top-quality athlon processor at the
time. Several devices share IRQ line 11, but I#m told that's no problem.
The computer used to run otherwise normally and it seems normal when i'm not
trying to use wireless or normal ethernet or look at device manager. Until
it crashes, that is, but some days I can use it for my purposes without it

I know crash to black screen can mean overheating, and it does run hot,
being tiny, (fans work ok at least), but this happens when the computer is
cool too.

My windows restore CD (or whatever it is called, i never used it) and I are
in different countries right now and I don't want to buy a new one.
Therefore I'm looking for any existing costfree solutions that don't involve
this CD if any exist. I'm not a "computer geek", but I know my way around
more than the average user at least and I pick up things fast, so don't
hesitate to give me a complicated solution...I can always look up tech words
I don't understand. Please reply to my email address. szell1.
swarthmore.edu. Thanks!


random crashes, atapi.sys, driver error?