The dreaded Blue Screen of Death

I didn’t even think these existed anymore. Or maybe I just haven’t had to deal with hardware crapping out in years.

In any case, I’ve been plagued by infrequent but repeated crashes on my brand new computer.

Specs here:

MSI K9N-Neo mobo
Athlon 64 X2 3800+
2x Corsair Twin2X512-5400 RAM, total of 1GB
Western Digital HDD 320GB SATA2

I can keep it running for hours, play games, do stuff, and generally have no issues until I get a blue screen and en error message literally out of the blue.

It went something like this (typing from notes cause I don’t know where the log can be found).


And the error code was stop:0x00000077 ( 0xC0000185… followed by two or three more error codes I didn’t have time to copy before my computer rebooted.

I suspected the cause to be my old non-SATA HDD that I had installed with an IDE->SATA convertor. I didn’t think it would cause any issues, other than the drive refusing to work, since I just intended to se it for storage.

So I disconnected the drive, and everything was fine. For a day. Then I got a new KERNEL DATA INPAGE ERROR

And this time the error code was different.

stop:0x000000F4 (0x00000003, 0x86202DAO, 0x86202F14…(something else I missed)

So now I don’t know what to do. The computer is still usable, but not knowing when it will crash is a pain. And for some reason most (but not all) the crashes have occured while I was playing the game Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun. A game that shouldn’t stress my system the slightest, yet I never had any crashes while playing the vastly more stressing (I would think) Company of Heroes.

All data taken from here ->

Just search for the error code. However, in my experience, this type of failure usually means there’s a bad sector on the HD that XP is trying to write to. You can have XP mark the sector by duing a disk scan. However, if the hard drive is really failing, you’ll get more and more bad sectors, till it’s unusable.

(Click to consult the online Win XP Resource Kit article, or see Windows 2000 Professional Resource Kit, p. 1549.)
A page of kernel data requested from the pagefile could not be found or read into memory. This message also can indicate disk hardware failure, disk data corruption, or possible virus infection.
General discussion. {KB 228753} Win NT, Win 2000, Win XP
General discussion. {KB 315266} Win XP
Windows NT 4.0 Setup Troubleshooting Guide {KB 126690} NT 4 (Recommendations for the current error message are buried down inside this article, which isn’t necessarily limited to NT 4.)”

(Click to consult the online MSDN article.)
One of the many processes or threads crucial to system operation has unexpectedly exited or been terminated. As a result, the system can no longer function. Specific causes are many, and often best resolved by a careful history of the problem and the circumstances of the error message. One user, who experienced this on return from Standby mode on Win XP SP2, found the cause was that Windows was installed on a slave drive; compare KB 330100.

Sigh, the error codes are so vague they could be about anything. So far I’ve checked the HDD with Western Digital’s diagnostic tools which turned up nothing, and I’m running memtest to check the RAM over the day. When I get back it’ll have done an 8-hour pass, which seems more than enough.

If that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll replace the SATA cable. And failing that, format and reinstall. If that doesn’t work, then I’m out of options. If I can’t replicate the error outside of Victoria I can hardly send it back to have whatever components need to be replaced replaced. I’ll just be without computer for three weeks, after which I’ll be told “We found nothing” or some crap like that.

If the crash also makes a memory dump, you should check it out with any
of Microsoft’s debugging tools. There are two possible downloads somewhere
on their site: Either just a dump analyser, or a suite of debugging tools which
can inspect these binary files and show you some useful text output.

If you have several memory dumps, and they point to different programs or
drivers failing every time, it could be memory. If it’s one driver failing all the
time, it’s either that driver or that piece of hardware. With services, it’s
usually easier. Usually :)

I’ve just run memtest for 8 hours straight, no errors on the RAM. And my computer has now been running for over 24 hours without crashing, though I’ve only used it for web browsing and some typing. Next up I’ll try replacing the SATA cable and just starting up a game of Victoria and letting in play without interruptions on full speed for a couple of hours. That’s when I’ve had issues before.

I’d love to examine an error log or a memory dump but I have no clue where they’re stored on the computer. I know I don’t have any debugging tools.

I just fixed a bunch of regular BSODs/System errors+mem dumps. Errors in NTFS.SYS and other system related files.

After alot of fiddling with HD/Mem/MB/CPU/Page file, lots of looking through error messages and the like I realised that the crashes started when i put some new creative X-FI drivers on. I cleared up and reinstalled and it stopped all the crashes. None of the troubleshooting i did, or error messages pointed it to be a sound driver issue. I should have realised earlier, its not the first time i’ve heard of instability due to creative drivers.

Sadly (heh) I don’t have a Creative soundcard. I have Realtek audio through the mobo. Never heard of it being a problem, but I’m willing to investigate anything.

I’d run a check disk before losing my mind. Sometimes that fixes mysteries.

Drivers would be my first guess. Make sure you’ve got up-to-date, stable drivers for everything. And sometimes two drivers can conflict with each other, which is why I don’t do build-my-own any more.

So I took the driver advice and updated my Realtek drivers and replaced the SATA cable too. Worked for a day and a half. Now the error code is

0x000000F4 (0x00000003, 0x86163DA0, 0x86163F14, 0x805D105E)

I’m getting better at writing this stuff down.


Those numbers are only really useful if you have the DDK installed, or are doing a search.

When you get the BSOD, does the computer dramatically slowdown before the failure or is it very sudden?

Sudden. This last time I was watching a movie and I noticed a stutter half a second before the blue screen. All the other times it has happened instantly as far as I can tell.

Yeah, I figured as much, but they’re the only clue I have and I want to exhaust every possible option before I call support and send away my entire rig for an unknown number of weeks.

The very sudden failure probably also rules out a hard drive problem. Memtest works for 8 hrs, but it seems you are getting random errors… Is it possible you have one bad spot on one of the ram sticks? Have you tried running some RAM intensive programs with just one of the sticks installed? Memtest is good, but not perfect, and it could have missed something.

Also, from your motherboard MFR website:

Main Memory
• Supports dual channel DDR2 400/533/667/800, using four 240-pin DDR2 DIMMs.
• Supports the memory size up to 4GB
• Supports 1.8v DDR2 SDRAM DIMM
Due to the High Performance Memory design, motherboards or system configurations may or may not operate smoothly at the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standard settings (BIOS Default on the motherboard) such as DDR2 voltage, memory speeds and memory timing. Please confirm and adjust your memory setting in the BIOS accordingly for better system stability. Example: Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 PC-6400 operates at 2.0V, 4-4-4-12.
For more information about specification of high performance memory modules, please check with your Memory Manufactures for more details.

So, you may perhaps want to check the bios for the RAM settings. The Corsair RAM you listed couldn’t be found on the Corsair site. However, I did find Twin2x512-5400C4, which just also happens to be 4-4-4-12 and 2.0v.

Would that be under DDR voltage in the BIOS? I checked, and it’s currently 1.85V, but I thought I’d ask before adjusting it.

yes, that’s it. you should be able to change the voltage in 0.05V increments, iirc. doublecheck via your MB manual, it will have a BIOS section that describes all the settings and changes.

Before changing anything, look at the RAM and verify the Corsair model number. There’s a sticker on the heatsink that will identify it. Then go to Corsair website and look-up the proper settings.
You may also want to verify the timings, as it may be defaulting to 5-5-5-15 instead of the 4-4-4-12 (though that should not be causing a problem).

edit: sorry, should have mentioned that you should only work on voltage now. Once that is straightened out, then start messing with the timing. I’m looking for your manual @ MSI

I don’t think I can set the timings, only the voltage. My mobo BIOS isn’t overclock friendly as far as I can tell, which I didn’t think was gonna be an issue because I don’t overclock.

Anyway, I set the voltage to 2.0V now and all I can do is wait and hope it doesn’t crash again. My mobo warned me that setting it to such “high performance” settings might affect stability, which is ironic since that’s what I’m hoping to achieve. What bugs me though is that I bought this rig assembled from a set list of components. I’d have thought the company selling it would have known what voltage the RAM was specced for when they installed it. That’s what I paid them for after all.

Also, thanks for all the help so far. I feel like I don’t say it enough.

Usually the Bios picks up the settings from the SPD on the Ram chips. If they are slightly dissimilar in any way manually configuring the Ram is the way to go.