CLOCK WATCHDOG TIMEOUT Error on Windows 10 Installation

Sithtiger

Weaksauce
Joined
Jun 23, 2016
Messages
96
Ok, I'm trying to fix 3 or 4 computers that are networked at a small business. Their problems started about 2 weeks ago. All the computers that had this problem was using Windows 10 x64 Home or Pro and ALL the computers that are having problems are running Windows 10 v 1607 to 1703. I believe the PC's that work are all 1709.

So the problem has to do with Windows updates. They would update, but then (best case scenario) it would always fail or will update, but when the computer reboots, it gets stuck in a boot loop. I've tried clearing the Windows Update Cache download folder. You know stopping the process, deleting the files within the folder and then restarting it, which works, but then when I reboot and the same thing happens. It usually sticks at 80% or so and I've also tried Windows Update Assistant, same thing happens. It gets stuck in a loop. I have to use a Windows Recovery Disc, just to get back to the point where Windows is working.

I've tried downloading a standalone patch to 1709 Fall Creator's Update. It says the computer isn't eligible for that. No matter how what PC I put it on, it wouldn't work. I picked the right one too. 64-bit. Maybe I needed a smaller incremental patch first? Maybe 1703? Anyway, then I tried to do a reinstall of Windows 10 without formatting. The same thing happened. Then I did a full format and install and even that didn't work on one computer. It also happened on another, but I did get it to finally work (I think) on one. I get the Clock Watchdog Timeout error and another that I should have documented. Something about Machine Max or Max Machine....not sure, but I remembered it long enough to look it up and both have to do with the CPU. Clock Watchdog Error especially has to do with CPU Cores not playing well together, but how is that possible for 3, maybe 4 to do that all at once. Sorry, but 3 CPU's don't spontaneously start dying. Sure it's possible but highly improbable!

The one I got to work so far was when I was installing it, I removed the ethernet cable temporarily while I installed it. After it updated to 1709, it was pretty much OK. I had a couple freezes, but those only happened after a small update, but after I did a forced cold reboot, it was OK.

I even tried Safe Mode, when one of the computers (before I reformatted and reinstalled Windows 10) was still working, but couldn't update it even with Safe Mode Networking enabled. And what about the Stand Alone update. It has to have something to do with the version number I think, but if that's true, it should have said, needs version 1703 or above to work or something. What I don't get is multiple computers not installing with a fresh install...formatted even. When it happens after a format and install, it always happens at the very last bit, just before it would say Hello, or close to it.

To me anyway, it seems like a software error, because multiple cascade failures across a few computers just happen to occur at once and around the time MS released the new Spectre and Meltdown patches.

I can't remember the exact model of the computer. It's an older Acer using an Intel dual-core i3-2120 (Sandy Bridge) 3.3GHz CPU. I think it had 4 or 6GB of RAM in it. Originally, the disk was constantly pegged out at 99 or 100% and despite that, it was actually pretty responsive. While I'm not certain, I think it's this computer. Acer Aspire X3990-006 - Core i3 2120 3.3 GHz - 6 GB - 1 TB. I'm pretty sure that's it, but I make certain when I'm there tomorrow.

Anyway, does ANYBODY have any ideas of what to do? I've installed using Windows Media Creator, Rufus and I also burned a disc. They were all 1709 versions of Windows though. Thanks in advance!!!
 

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
49,884
This is not an informed opinion, but I have only seen that error message when overclocking. CPUs getting hot?
 

Spartacus

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
1,996
IT guy here....

I have an office I support where we did Windows 7 to Windows 10 upgrades on all of their systems last summer.

All of the desktops upgraded fine, but about 9 of 12 laptops all failed with that same BSOD error I believe.
I did a clean install on them and then they were fine.

That was with 1607 at the time I think.

I did have an old Gateway i5 system that would BSOD upgrading Windows 10 to 1703 and then 1709.
Multiple attempts at clean installs, nothing worked. Windows 10 release 1607 ran fine though. MS changed
something with how they enumerate hardware and install drivers at some point I think.

Finally pulled out the PCI wireless card and then 1709 installed no problem.

So try pulling any hardware that's not needed and then try a clean install.

.
 

Sithtiger

Weaksauce
Joined
Jun 23, 2016
Messages
96
IT guy here....

I have an office I support where we did Windows 7 to Windows 10 upgrades on all of their systems last summer.

All of the desktops upgraded fine, but about 9 of 12 laptops all failed with that same BSOD error I believe.
I did a clean install on them and then they were fine.

That was with 1607 at the time I think.

I did have an old Gateway i5 system that would BSOD upgrading Windows 10 to 1703 and then 1709.
Multiple attempts at clean installs, nothing worked. Windows 10 release 1607 ran fine though. MS changed
something with how they enumerate hardware and install drivers at some point I think.

Finally pulled out the PCI wireless card and then 1709 installed no problem.

So try pulling any hardware that's not needed and then try a clean install.

.
That might work on one, but I doubt it because the other one is hardwired in, so I don't think it will work here. That is a good idea though. I can try doing that to the wireless one. The other one I'm going to put 1703 back on.
 

Spartacus

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
1,996
The wireless card wasn't being used in the old Gateway system.
It just came with the computer.

Windows still loads drivers even if you aren't using the hardware.

.
 

Spartacus

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
1,996
Glad you got it figured out and thanks for following up with us.

Strange one you had on the 4th machine where it wasn't the wifi card.

Windows 10 can do some funky stuff like that though. Instead of giving you a
helpful message on driver problems, it goes belly up with a BSOD. MS needs to do
a better job on error handling.

Lol.... I used to be a Novell admin almost 20 years ago too.

I think the last MS cert I got was on 2000 Server, I'm not really interested in getting
any other MS certs. Overpriced and they don't really prove anything anyway.
I suppose I would if my employer wanted me to, but I work for myself so.... :)

I've installed many servers since then and as you said, you learn by doing it.
I got pretty good at supporting Exchange too. No books or certs, just experience.

I've also given up trying to get "book learned" a long time ago. There's no way I can
remember every last trivial detail about technology. It changes too fast anyway.

What I don't know I look up and then I know it. For the stuff I do all the time, at least
that info sticks in my head for a while. :)

One thing I will recommend is to build your own knowledge base. I have a folder on
my home office server called "Articles & Fixes" with subfolders, "Windows 7",
"Windows 10", "Exchange", "Outlook", "Server 2012", etc. which contain all of my
notes on the things I've spent time researching. I have a copy on a flash drive I keep
with me on field calls. It helps a lot.

Good luck!

.
 
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