Computer Help forum


Blue screen o' death at startup: What to do?

by ItalianAl / February 21, 2013 6:08 AM PST

Ok, I just went to storage and picked up my older desktop that I bought in 2005. It is a Windows XP system, and I upgraded its RAM memory to more modern standards a few years ago, so it should still be a viable computer for most tasks. It has the Pentium 4 processor.

This computer was taken out of regular use about late 2009, and it sat in my closet unplugged til last March(2012) when it was taken to storage. It was placed inside a plastic bag so that no dust would effect it before being taken to storage, and after unbagging it, it has no dust on it. But it did get dusty when being stored in the closet from 2009-2012. I needed to access previous tax info.

So I plug it in, try to start it up, but after the initial Dell screen, it switches to the blue screen. I've never seen that screen, and it was only about 45 minutes ago that I read the ominous news that this screen is named the "blue screen of death", or BSOD.

Here's what it says:

A Problem has been detected, windows has been shut down.

IRQL_Not_Less_Or_Equal(sounds like something the Riddler would say to Batman!)

Blah, blah, blah

Technical info

***STOP: 0x0000000A (0x00038000, 0x00000002, 0x00000001, 0x804ECACA)

Beginning dump of physical memory
Physical memory dump complete
Contact system administrator for assistance, blah, blah

So I went online with my other, newer computer and searched to figure out the problem. It led me to a troubleshooting site that talked about the 0x0000000A issues, and said it could be hardware or software related(that narrows it down!)

Then it said, "make sure to back up any and all important data before taking these troubleshooting steps". Well, thats just dumb, because the stop screen is preventing me from getting into the computer in the first place, so I cant back up anything at this point!

I did try going to safe mode, as recc on the blue screen as an option, but it always leads me back to the blue screen. At first it just said "Beginning dump of memory", but after the 2nd or 3rd time trying safe mode to get in, it started showing the "Physical dump complete" message.

Any ideas as to what this is? Again, it seemed to be working fine before being taken out of use, and has been sitting unplugged ever since. It was a very hot summer in that storage unit though.

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Can't find the maker or model.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 21, 2013 6:12 AM PST

But since it's a newer model my bet is it has SATA hard drives. XP does indeed give you a BSOD of 0x0000000A if the BIOS was set to IDE emulation, the OS installed and then it went back to SATA mode.

Sadly I can't tell if it's the usual issue. Are you seeing the text in RED and that's one long post about a very common BSOD so let's hope it's the usual.

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No red
by ItalianAl / February 21, 2013 6:27 AM PST

LIke I mentioned in the OP, I've never had a blue screen issue, and once I discovered it is sarcastically called the blue screen of death, I assumed that may very well mean this could be a serious problem. So I made sure to list what seemed like pertinent info, as I'm not a computer whiz here. Thats why the post is long. I dont fully understand your answer. Are you saying this could very well be a simple, common problem? If so, why the ominous term for this type of error screen?

I looked at the stop screen again, and all I see is white letters on a blue screen. No red.

The computer is from 2005, and according to the people at various computer stores, its not a new model! But they are in the business of selling computers, so....

Now this blue screen didnt happen right after the computer was set up for the first time, and it did not happen right after XP was installed. The computer had been used for years, then stored, now its got a blue screen. I have not changed anything right before I last used it, or since.

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Still can't find the make/model. Here's the RED text.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 21, 2013 6:41 AM PST
In reply to: No red

"If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended."

If you posted the make and model and I missed it, sorry. But I use that to see if it is the usual issue.

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Long post, short post
by ItalianAl / February 21, 2013 6:52 AM PST

At first you made a comment about the post being too long, too much info. Now you insinuate I didnt include enough info.

I mentioned the operating system, the make (Dell), the processor, the year it was made, the error number(s), the info from the blue screen, etc.

Anyway, thanks for trying

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Good to read it was the USB.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 21, 2013 6:57 AM PST
In reply to: Long post, short post

I could pick out the year and a bit more but the issue is one I've seen with SATA drives. Your choice on how to present it. For me it works best when the machine in question has a make, model and such so we know what we are working with.

You bring up a good question though. Do you think a forum should be like a car repair shop? That is, they don't take in the machine unless you can tell them such details.

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Check out this link
by wpgwpg / February 21, 2013 6:19 AM PST
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That might be the issue
by ItalianAl / February 21, 2013 6:44 AM PST
In reply to: Check out this link

After reading your post, I realized that the only USB device plugged into the computer was the new-ish wireless mouse and keyboard I bought for my other computer 5 months ago, and is was more convenient, so I plugged its USB into the computer and the wireless keyboard worked fine, but the mouse wasnt working at all, so I used the wired mouse instead. But I had no idea that a wireless mouse that works perfectly in my other windows computer could somehow cause a complete shutdown of this computer. Ive never plugged USB devices in and had it cause a complete crash of my computer before.

So I unplugged it, and right now I was able to get into the computer in safe mode, and I'm doing system restore to get it back to the last date it was used before being stored for several years.

So far, so good. Well, see what happens after system restore is finished.....

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Sounds like good progress
by wpgwpg / February 21, 2013 6:57 AM PST

Every device connected to a computer requires a driver which is the little bit of software that tells Windows how to talk to the device and vice versa. When you plug a device into the computer that doesn't first have a driver installed, Windows will try its best to accommodate it, but if the device had never been used with it before, Windows may do something really stupid. That is why some devices come with instructions NOT to connect it before installing the software that comes with it. It sounds like this was your issue.

Good luck.

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Didnt come with sofware
by ItalianAl / February 21, 2013 7:02 AM PST

This wireless mouse didnt come with a separate CD/DVD or any external software program that needed to be installed. Supposedly all that was pre programmed into the little USB driver, so that all you needed to do was plug it in and the computer does the rest.

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XP Arcana.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 21, 2013 7:10 AM PST

Just so you know some XP arcana, it may not work if you plug it in and turn on the PC.

Due to really arcane reasons what you want to try is to plug it in AFTER the PC is booted. As you recall XP will boot without such and then you let it boot then plug it in.

Also, some of these systems have BIOS settings to enable USB PS2 legacy modes but the model is eluding me so I can't check on that.

Let's hope the old arcana tech trick plays well for you.

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