Blue screen reference

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First thing's first: Where's the error message?

A lot of these error messages only stay on the screen for a moment and the system restarts right away.

The first thing to do when one of these messages appears momentarily is to turn off the automatic reboot feature in Windows. To troubleshoot, the error message needs to be on the screen longer than a fraction of a second.

Disabling automatic restart on system failure

To temporarily disable this feature when the computer starts up, mash the F8 key after the startup logo (Dell or HP or Asus, whatever displays on the screen before a Windows logo).

(TBD: image of Windows startup options)

Select the option Disable automatic restart on system failure and hit Enter.

Permanently disabling automatic restarts

To permanently disable automatic restarts due to blue screen errors, open the System control panel.

To open the System control panel, right click on My Computer or Computer which is usually located on the right side of the Start menu. Click Properties.

  1. Click on the Advanced tab at the top of the window.
  2. Click on Settings under the Startup and Recovery section.
  3. Uncheck the box marked Automatically restart in the System failure section.



Blue screen reference

The majority of the errors have a STOP message like the following:

A problem occurred and Windows has shut down to prevent damage to the system.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

STOP 0x0000000A (0x00000076,0x0000001c,0x00000000,0x804fa276)

Contact your system administrator or support group.


The lists below contain known blue screen errors and information on how to troubleshoot:

STOP codes

  • 0x0000000A IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
This error can be caused by faulty memory or timing problems with memory.
It can also happen if the computer was home-built and used the least expensive RAM. See RAM Timing.
Driver errors can also cause this but they usually cause 0x0000001E, 0x000000D1 or even 0x00000050.


  • 0x0000001A MEMORY_MANAGEMENT (or OUT_OF_MEMORY)
If this happens when running repair.exe you have bad RAM. Try taking one stick out. If there is only one stick, try replacing it.


  • 0x0000001E KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED
This tends to be an access violation in a device driver. The first parameter is 0xC0000005 in this case, but it can also be 0x80000003 which is a debug breakpoint. Try to update the driver (or install a non-debug version of the driver).


  • 0x00000024 NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM
This occurs when the NTFS file table is corrupted. Run ChkDsk. If you filled your hard disk, you probably need to reinstall Windows.


  • 0x00000050 PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
This can be caused by driver failure, overheating or bad RAM. If objects on the screen start appearing as bright green, it may be a sign of video card or RAM overheating.


  • 0x00000051 REGISTRY_ERROR (or Registry Error on a blank screen)
This occurs when there is a RAM or hard disk failure. This is confirmation of a memory problem if Error 134 happens in-game.


  • 0x0000007B INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE
This indicates a serious problem with the filesystem Windows boots from. Run ChkDsk.


  • 0x0000007F UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP
This is one of the more common errors. Make sure the system isn't overheating and make sure drivers are up to date.


  • 0x0000008E KERNEL_MODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED
This can be the result of mis-timed RAM but can also be caused by a poor quality mainboard. This error usually means "new computer time".


  • 0x000000C2 BAD_POOL_CALLER
This can be the result of catastrophic hardware failure, as in mainboard or hard disk or both.


  • 0x000000D1 DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
Try updating drivers, blowing out dust and also check for possible power issues with the computer. If the computer freezes for a few seconds before this, it may be a driver problem or failed device. If the system alternates between this message and a complete freeze, it may be power-related or heat-related.


  • 0x000000E2 MANUALLY_INITIATED_CRASH
This is caused by a direct call to KeBugCheck by a program to cause a blue screen.
Some programs such as ComboFix will trigger this to kill malware that can't otherwise be removed.


  • 0x000000EA THREAD_STUCK_IN_DEVICE_DRIVER
This error occurs only in Windows XP and is always video-related. Try updating the video drivers.
If this is not possible, it may be necessary to replace the video card (or computer).


  • 0x000000ED UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME
This occurs when there is an error on a hard disk that is not corrected by normal means. It can be the result of bad sectors.
Boot the system with a Windows CD/DVD (or boot CD) and run ChkDsk.


  • 0x000000FC DEP_PREVENTED_EXECUTION
This error is caused by a faulty driver. The driver to blame should be listed.


  • 0x00000116 Video Driver Failure
This means update (or roll back) your bad display driver.


  • 0x00000117 Video Hardware Failure
The video card has a hardware problem. This is possibly due to overheating or it may be time to replace the card.


  • 0x00000123 Cryptographic System Failure
This can be caused by system file corruption. The only working solution so far is to hit F8 after the boot logo and select Last Known Good Configuration.


  • 0x00000124 Unknown Hardware Failure
This error is triggered when a device panics. This can be due to heat, physical damage, RAM or disk corruption.


  • 0xC0000218 REGISTRY_HIVE_LOAD_FAILURE (or Registry File Error)
This can be caused by improper shutdowns, power surges or disk failure. The registry may be restored using a recovery CD (Vista/7) or the recovery console (XP). Some utility partitions on newer desktops have a "Startup Recovery" option on the F8 boot menu.


  • 0xC000021A STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED (or Fatal System Error)
This happens when a program that is critical to Windows is terminated in some way. These programs include winlogon.exe, csrss.exe, and lsass.exe.
The first thing to do in this case is run a virus scan. If Windows can't start, run a virus scanner from a Boot CD.
If this doesn't work, Windows may need to be reinstalled. Try a repair install first.

Hardware and drivers

  • Hardware Malfunction (or Hardware Failure)
This usually appears on a blank blue screen. Try rebooting to see if it happens again.
If the same message appears, try taking out every PCI/PCI-e card except for video and booting.
A BIOS update may be needed to get rid of this error if the above steps don't resolve the issue.
Additional information may be displayed if available. The usual solution to this message is to replace the computer.


  • dxgcore.sys
A crash with this driver is usually caused by RAM or CPU overheating.


  • ig*.sys (intel driver)
Intel video drivers have issues with World of Warcraft. Try these steps:
  1. Update the display driver. Updated drivers are available from Intel at http://download.intel.com/
  2. Try setting fixedfunction to 1. See CVar_fixedFunction.


  • nv4_disp.sys
This is an older Nvidia driver. Update it at http://www.nvidia.com/drivers/


  • win32k.sys
Please run Windows Update to make sure the operating system is up-to-date on service packs and hotfixes.


  • hal.dll
This occurs if there is something seriously wrong with the computer (or Windows).