The "BSOD"

Errors and their Causes

Here are the first two errors and their explanations. Let's have a look at the BSOD itself. Start by clicking on the blue screen image for a larger view.

Generally, at the very top of the screen there is a line with the label *** STOP: followed by a series of numerical codes, called parameters, and a text description of the crash. The codes are used to provide additional information about the crash and vary from error to error. Below that is usually a list of the services and drivers running at the time of the crash, and the memory address of the crash (which isn't too useful unless you're a programmer).

Some of the information may seem technical however, if you find yourself with a BSOD we will need to know what it says in order to assist in fixing the problem.

Here's a couple of the more common BSODs, their corresponding error information, and some possible resolutions.

PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA

Probably the most common error thrown when a BSOD pops up, this happens when the system tries to read memory that isn't valid. This usually occurs when there is faulty hardware in the system causing data corruption -- either bad RAM or a corrupt NTFS volume in Windows 2000/XP. However, it can also happen if a faulty system service or kernel-level driver has been installed. If this error pops up after adding new software, you may want to remove it and check with the manufacturer for possible conflicts with other programs, or whether or not the program needs to be run in conjunction with a particular Service Pack or hotfix.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL

Usually the result of a badly-written kernel driver or a hardware conflict. For instance, some early revisions of the SoundBlaster Live! driver for Windows 2000 had this problem, but only on certain varieties of motherboard. If this happens, try yanking any newly-added hardware and see if that changes anything; if you haven't added anything in hardware, check your software. Another possibility is to check and see if your video or sound card drivers have been updated by the manufacturer -- a newer driver may fix the problem.

Final Words

We'll give you a couple more next time but until then, should you have any questions about your computer, do not hesitate in picking up the phone or writing... better to contact me and be sure.

Tom @ Tata Computers