Knowledge Base

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 STOP Error (Blue Screen) Troubleshooting


Table of Contents:

  1. What Is a Blue Screen Error?
  2. Check Action Center for Problems and Solutions
  3. Run an Online Diagnostic
  4. Troubleshooting Common Blue Screen Error Messages
    1. UNMOUNTABLE BOOT VOLUME and INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE
    2. NTFS FILE SYSTEM
    3. SYSTEM THREAD EXEPTION NOT HANDLED and KERNEL MODE EXCEPTION NOT HANDLED
    4. PAGE FAULT IN NON PAGED AREA
    5. DRIVER IRQL NOT LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO
    6. THREAD STUCK IN DEVICE DRIVER
  5. Look for information on error message

This article is for Microsoft Windows 8.
Click below to change the operating system.


What Is a Blue Screen Error?

When Windows encounters certain situations, it halts and the resulting diagnostic information is displayed in white text on a blue screen. The appearance of these errors is where the term "Blue Screen" or "Blue Screen of Death" has come from. For Windows 8, the blue screen has changed significantly, and now displays an ASCII frown face and the statement "Your PC ran into a problem that it couldn't handle, and now it needs to restart." followed by the error type. The familiar "OxXXXXXXXX" error codes have been removed.
Blue Screen errors occur when:

  • Windows detects an error it cannot recover from without losing data
  • Windows detects that critical OS data has become corrupted
  • Windows detects that hardware has failed in a non-recoverable fashion
  • The exact text displayed has changed over the years from a dense wall of information in Windows NT 4.0 to the comparatively sparse message employed by modern versions of Windows.

Step 1: Check Action Center for Problems and Solutions

Windows 8 crash errors are collected in Action Center and referenced against other crash data that is available online. To access Action Center, follow these instructions:

  1. Type "Problem Reports and Solutions" at the Start Screen, then select View all problem reports to view a list of errors that have occurred on your computer and possible solutions for them, such as updating drivers, flashing your system BIOS, or checking for updates to software.
  2. Alternate Instructions:
    1. Swipe in from the right side of the screen to open your Charms bar (if using a mouse, hover on the top right corner of the screen and move the pointer down to open the Charms bar) then select Settings. Alternately, press the Windows + I keys to go directly to the Settings Charm.
    2. Select Control Panel.
    3. Select System and Maintenance.
    4. Select Problem Reports and Solutions.

Step 2: Run an Online Diagnostic

Dell has created a set of online diagnostics that can identify problems with your computer hardware or configuration that may be causing the issue. Visit the Dell Online Diagnostics to get more information and run a scan of your computer.


Step 3: Troubleshooting Common Blue Screen Error Messages


UNMOUNTABLE BOOT VOLUME

INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE

These two errors have similar causes and the same troubleshooting steps apply to both of them. These stop codes always occur during the startup process. When you encounter one of these stop codes, the following has happened:

  1. The system has completed the Power-On Self-Test (POST).
  2. The system has loaded NTLDR and transferred control of the startup process to NTOSKRNL (the kernel).
  3. NTOSKRNL is confused. Either it cannot find the rest of itself, or it cannot read the file system at the location it believes it is stored.
    When troubleshooting this error, your task is to find out why the Windows kernel is confused and fix the cause of the confusion.
Things to check
  • The SATA controller configuration in the system BIOS If the SATA controller gets toggled from ATA to AHCI mode (or vice versa), then Windows will not be able to talk to the SATA controller because the different modes require different drivers. Try toggling the SATA controller mode in the BIOS.
  • RAID settings You may receive this error if you've been experimenting with the RAID controller settings. Try changing the RAID settings back to Autodetect (usually accurate).
  • Improperly or poorly seated cabling Try reseating the data cables that connect the drive and its controller at both ends.
  • Hard drive failure Run the built-in diagnostics on the hard drive. Remember: Code 7 signifies correctable data corruption, not disk failure.
  • File system corruption Launch the recovery console from the Windows installation disc and run chkdsk /f /r.
  • Improperly configured BOOT.INI (Windows Vista). If you have inadvertently erased or tinkered with the boot.ini file, you may receive stop code 0x7B during the startup process. Launch the recovery console from the Windows installation disc and run BOOTCFG /REBUILD

NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM

This stop code indicates the NTFS file system driver encountered a situation it could not handle, and is almost always caused by 3 things:

  • Data corruption on the disk
  • Data corruption in memory
  • The system completely running out of memory (this typically only happens on heavily-loaded servers)
Things to check
  1. Reseat the memory and all drive data cables to eliminate data corruption issues stemming from poorly or improperly seated hardware.
  2. Run a complete memory and hard drive diagnostic. The quick test will not be thorough enough here. You need to run the full system diagnostic.
  3. If those diagnostics pass, run a full file system check from the Recovery Console (chkdsk /f /r) to detect and (potentially) fix any corrupted data.
  4. If none of the above solves the issue, reinstall Windows.
  5. If that does not fix the issue, replace the hard drive.


SYSTEM THREAD EXEPTION NOT HANDLED

KERNEL MODE EXCEPTION NOT HANDLED

These two errors indicate that a program running in the kernel encountered an unexpected condition it could not recover from. They have identical troubleshooting and resolution steps, and you will probably need to use the Windows Debugger to find out what caused the error.

Things to check
  • If the Blue Screen message mentions a driver or library file, figure out what driver or application that file is part of and update or disable it.
  • Update the system BIOS to the latest available revision.
  • Uninstall any recently installed programs, and roll-back any recently installed drivers.
  • Run diagnostics on the computer's memory.

PAGE FAULT IN NON PAGED AREA

This stop code means the system tried to access a nonexistent piece of memory, almost always due to:

  • A driver trying to access a page of memory that is not present
  • A system service (ex. virus scanner) failing in an exceptional way
  • Faulty or incorrectly seated memory
  • Corrupted data on the hard drive

Use the Windows Debugger to pinpoint the exact cause of these errors.

Things to check
  1. If the Blue Screen error mentions a driver or library file, figure out what driver or program the file is a part of and either upgrade to the latest version or uninstall the driver or program.
  2. If the error happens during the startup process, try booting to the Last Known Good Configuration.
  3. If the error started appearing after a program or driver was installed, uninstall that program or driver.
  4. Try running a full hard drive and memory diagnostic after reseating the memory and hard drive data cables.

DRIVER IRQL NOT LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO

This stop code indicates a driver tried to access a certain area of memory when it should not have, meaning there is a flaw in the driver itself. The goal of your troubleshooting is to find that driver and either disable or replace it. Use the Windows Debugger to troubleshoot this error.
Without the debugger, you are limited to uninstalling/updating/rolling back the driver that contains the driver file the Blue Screen mentions.


THREAD STUCK IN DEVICE DRIVER

This Blue Screen error indicates that a device driver-almost always a video card driver-is stuck waiting for something (usually a hardware operation) to happen. Most of you have probably seennv4_disp.sys associated with this Blue Screen.

Things to check:
  1. Ensure the video drivers are updated to the latest Dell version.
  2. The system BIOS is fully up-to-date.
  3. If both the video driver and the system BIOS are fully up-to-date, check with the manufacturer for recent driver updates.
  4. As a last resort, try exchanging the video card.
Note: Reinstalling Windows is not likely to prevent this error from reoccurring.

Additional Information

If these solutions have not resolved your issue, try searching for additional solutions on the Web.
Click on your preferred search engine below, then describe your problem, including any specific error messages.

Note: The Microsoft Bug Check Code Reference site has an extensive list of blue screen error codes descripions and possible causes. If you have recorded your STOP 0xXXXXXX code and the above steps have not resolved your issue try looking it up on this site.

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Article ID: SLN129813

Last Date Modified: 05/18/2015 10:53 AM


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