1. The most important information about a blue-screen (STOP) error message that may not always provide conclusive answers and may only be a symptom of another problem is the "STOP code" (Click to see an example screenshot) followed by its four parameters. E.g.: 0x0000000 (STOP Code), (Parameter1, Parameter2, Parameter3, Parameter4) -- where any character in a parameter may be represented by any alphanumerical figure. Generally, you will find these parameters meaningless since the parameters (arguments) are not covered in any of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) articles. They can be viewed only with a system which has a kernel debugger installed. However, the Common Stop Message which follows the parameters -- in most cases, and is the most meaningful information when discussing and pursuing the cause and correction of errors. For example, use information such as "Stop 0x0000000A or IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL". STOP messages typically fit into one of the four following categories:
a. STOP messages caused by faulty software occur when a driver, service, application, or system component introduces an exception. For example, an application or driver attempts to perform an operation above its assigned IRQL or tries to write to an invalid memory address. A STOP message might seem to appear randomly, but through careful observations, you might be able to associate the problem with a specific activity. Verify that all installed software in question is fully Windows XP Professional compatible and if not, locate and install the latest updates.
b. Installation STOP messages that occur during setup - For new installations, installation STOP messages typically occur because of incompatible hardware, defective hardware, or outdated firmware. During an operating system upgrade, STOP errors can occur when incompatible applications and drivers exist on the system.
c. STOP messages caused by hardware issues - Occurs as unplanned event due to defective, malfunctioning, or incorrectly configured hardware.
d. "Executive Initialization Stop" messages appear only during the relatively short Windows executive initialization sequence, generally before the Windows Logon dialog box. Please read the content of this TechNet article to glean an education concerning this subject.
Note: The article "Windows XP restarts when you try to shut down your computer (Q311806)" describes the process where many problems are experienced during startup that causes a STOP error message to appear but too briefly to record.
2. The article [Q314063] discusses how to troubleshoot the following Stop error that may involve steps for changing BIOS or CMOS settings -- and if so consult the documentation or contact the manufacturer, or that which may require physical changes to computer hardware. Note, however, that making either hardware or BIOS changes to a system may invalidate warranty. The parameters refer to the specific issues that are involved and include a host of items generally covered:
Parameter 1 - An address that was referenced improperly
Parameter 2 - An IRQL that was required to access the memory
Parameter 3 - The type of access, where 0 is a read operation and 1 is a write operation
Parameter 4 - The address of the instruction that referenced memory in parameter 1
Stop: 0x0000000A (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4) IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL*** Address x has base at x - filename
3. As an additional troubleshooting option, you can configure your system to write an entry in the System Event Log when a STOP message occurs. To enable STOP message Event Log reporting:
a. In Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, System, Advanced and then in the Startup and Recovery box, click Settings.
b. In System Failure, verify that the "Write an event to the system log" check box is marked.
4. When a STOP error occurs, Windows displays a STOP message related to the problem, followed generally by one of two events:
Windows XP Professional becomes unresponsive.
Windows XP Professional restarts your system.
a. If Windows restarts the system immediately after a STOP message you might not be able to record STOP message information quickly enough. You should disabling this behavior if you want to record STOP message details before using recovery options such as "Driver Rollback", "System Restore", or "Recovery" since this information could be helpful to analyze the root causes after addressing the symptom(s) of a problem. To disable unexpected restarts caused by STOP errors:
(1) In Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, System, Advanced and then in the Startup and Recovery box, click Settings.
(2) Click to clear the "Automatically reboot" (Click to see an example screenshot) check box.
b. Stop messages provide diagnostic information, such as STOP codes and driver names which can be used to help resolve problems. However, STOP information disappears when a computer is restarted. Therefore, when one is displayed record that information for future reference. When a STOP message appears, do the following before restarting the system:
(1) Write the darn thing down for later reference.
(2) Record and evaluate suggestions in the Recommended user action section (STOP messages typically provide troubleshooting tips relevant to the error).
(3) Check the STOP message Debug port and dump status section to verify that XP successfully dumped memory contents to the paging file.
Note: After resolving the problem, or you're at least able to start the computer, find and copy the memory dump file to another location, such as removable media, for further evaluation. When a STOP error occurs, XP generally writes information to the paging file (Pagefile.sys) on the systemdrive root by default and analyzing any dump files may help provide more information concerning the cause. For instance, look for anything in the systemroot\Minidump folder such as Memory.dmp or Sysdata.xml .
5. ARMED with the "STOP" code information (Click to see an example screenshot), go to "Microsoft Help and Support" and search for known issues. Enter the STOP code (Example: Stop 0x00000074 -- leaving off the colon after the word "stop" and only the next ten alphanumerical characters) in the search box at the top left. Either press Enter or click the GO button. Please note that the information recorded for an Event Example: Error code 00000050 (parameter1 82dcc596, parameter2 00000000, parameter3 805208c1, parameter4 00000000) is nothing more than a "stop".. Exceptions for "Events", similar to c00000005 may be searched also. Simply enter the exception code as displayed on the popup window, and then press Enter. However, you may find that the error you're using may not be found if no articles have been written. Please read "How to Gather Information After a Memory Dump in Windows XP (Q314084)" and note the item BugCheckCode which is in essence, a "STOP" error.
Note: If results are forthcoming, be advised the reference may not state the article was written for WinXP. Many of the library articles have not yet been updated.
6. "Common STOP" error messages discussed in the Microsoft TechNet library. In the left window frame, click the particular STOP item interested.
7. The article [Q314084] describes how to gather more information about an error message that appears on a blue screen. Note that these steps do not always provide conclusive answers and may only point you to another problem. Using Pstat.exe, a Resource Kit utility run from the command line, you are given a picture of the processes and drivers that are currently running. By using the starting address in the "LoadAddr" column, you can match the exception address to the driver name nearest and is most likely the driver that called the exception. With this information, you can go to the MSKB library to look for known issues matching the situation.
8. Supplemental reading:
a. "Blue Screen Preparation Before Contacting Microsoft (Q314103)."
b. "How to Troubleshoot STOP Error Messages After Enabling Advanced Power Management (Q237673)."
c. "HOW TO: Configure Recovery Techniques in Windows XP (Q307973)."
d. "HOW TO: View and Manage Event Logs in Event Viewer in Windows XP (Q308427)."
e. "How to Troubleshoot a Stop 0xC0000218 Error (Q314874)."
f. "Troubleshooting "Stop 0x00000077" or "KERNEL STACK INPAGE ERROR" (Q315266)."
9. Please review the troubleshooting information at the "WinXP Home Startup" site concerning STOP errors and possible resolution. Click "here" concerning WinXP Pro, which is a lot more thorough.