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Fix the 0x0000008E BSOD once and for all

Fix the 0x0000008E BSOD once and for all

At Icrontic, we are no strangers to the infamous 0x0000008E blue screen. In fact, we have discussed the issue so often that Google has pegged us as the first or second most relevant result for this particular stop error. At the time of writing, our incredibly popular thread on the topic has been viewed more than 400 times a day for over two years. Yet for all that has been written about this topic, the computing community at large has moved no closer to a definitive answer. It’s time to clear the air about the 0x0000008E error: There is no magic bullet. Read on to find out why, and what you can do to fix the issue.

A primer on blue screens

The infamous stop error, better known as the blue screen of death, is a feared power in the Windows universe. Few symptoms of a system gone awry are more well-known or evident than the mighty BSOD. For all the information these screens seem to provide, you might be surprised to learn that these error screens often reveal nothing about the directly responsible issue.

What is a blue screen of death?

A stop error occurs when a component of Windows that is running with full access to core system resources encounters an error from which it cannot recover. These components can include APIs, executables or drivers for devices like your video adapter. Like a person who has fallen after losing their balance, the appearance of a blue screen means Windows was unable to keep its balance after being tripped up by an error.

Anatomy of a blue screen

Microsoft uses the limited screen space of the BSOD to deliver four basic pieces of information:

  • The symbolic name of the error, such as DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. This cryptic name means something to Microsoft, but it means little to the average user.
  • The stop code, such as *** STOP: 0x000000D1. This number identifies the actual error that occurred. These are important because there may not be a symbolic name for the error at hand.
  • The error-dependent values located in the parentheses after the *** STOP may indicate the location in system memory where the error occurred.
  • Lastly, Windows may identify a specific driver responsible for the system’s instability. In the above image, myfault.sys is allegedly to blame for the error at hand.

Why the blue screen can’t help

While the breakdown of a blue screen suggests that they’re brimming with relevant information, this is rarely the case. All the blue screen typically references is the last stop in a chain of errors. To provide a relevant example, consider the case of faulty system memory. It is well known that malfunctioning RAM can trigger blue screens and general system instability, but those blue screens will never indicate that your system RAM is failing. Instead, all a blue screen will indicate is that some Windows component has been tripped up by something. The burden to identify that something rests squarely on your shoulders.

The trouble with 0x0000008E

Given the general ambiguity of the blue screen, the appearance of a 0x0000008E stop error calls every aspect of your system into question. This makes it impossible to create a fix that will apply to every user who encounters it. The only recourse for effectively dealing with this frustrating problem is to perform a comprehensive system analysis, which is precisely what we’ll tackle in the following pages.

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Comments

  1. LIN
    LIN Excellent. Thanks, Thrax. :thumbup :thumbup
  2. Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy
    Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy Wonderfully thorough post. I've never seen anybody try to tackle the 0x8E blue screen with such in depth troubleshooting. Looks like you covered all the bases, bravo!
  3. troll
    troll Excellent Thrax!

    Great Guide!
  4. Zuntar
    Zuntar Very nice, and an EXCELLENT use of many of the other guides!! Go Icrontic!!1
  5. Leonardo
    Leonardo Well done, well done.
  6. Asif
    Asif I actually went and bought all new PC parts thinking it was my PC or my raptor hard drives. Got whole new spec parts AM2 CPU, DDR ram etc and the other day boom! blue screen again! So I took out the ram replaced it one by one and its all good because my pc would not even go into windows let alone show the bios!
    So now thinking its the powersupply I went and got a new PSU, from a Hiper 500w to a Hiper 630w. Hope that does something good!
  7. johndoe2009doe
  8. Broozm
    Broozm Hmm... Nowhere in the [excellent] long threads I have read has this step been suggested..If you can boot linux CD and access the info on the harddrive, then it has to be the operating system on the hard drive and possibly the drivers that load when the OS loads...? Correct?
  9. Thrax
  10. KC
    KC I can't believe you advised to check EVERY box in HiJackThis.
    That is NOT what that program is for.
    MOST of the entries are valid, you must know which ones are invalid.

    DO NOT TAKE THIS PARTICULAR ADVICE
  11. Thrax
    Thrax In this case, that is what the program is for, and there's nothing that can be deleted with HJT that cannot be run from the start menu. The 0x0000008E issue can arise as a result of executables that aren't playing nicely with the system. It happens all the time.

    Thank you for your comment, but you are unfortunately incorrect.
  12. Herrmann
    Herrmann Many thanks to Rob Hallock whose article helped me into fixing a recurrent BSOD issue on a newly assembled PC.
    I ran Memtest86 : OK,
    I ran HighjackThis : 8 suspect register entries and 2 suspect extras, which were fixed.

    The 2 following sites helped in indetifying those entries:
    http://www.merijn.nu/htlogtutorial.php
    http://www.sysinfo.org/bholist.php

    I stopped at that step of the curing process, as the issue proved to be solved.
    The problem encountered was a reboot when attempting to login as admin or regular user on an AMD PC running XP Pro SP3.

    Great article.
  13. Herrmann
    Herrmann Add to my previous post
    Unfortunately, BSOD occurred again after 5 days of normal run.
    So:
    I ran HighjackThis again : OK
    I ran SmitfraudFix : some suspect entries that were fixed (after Register backup)
    I ran CCleaner and fixed incorrect entries
    Still erratic BSOD.
    BSOD indicated faulty portcls.sys : even if this is not the only possible cause, I disabled Onboard Sound in BIOS yesterday.
    So far, the PC run OK.

    PC configuration is:
    GA-MA790FXT UD5P mb
    Phenom II x4 955, no oc
    2x1Gb DDR3 12800 OCZ Platinum
    HDD WD RE3 250Gb

    Next step: I'll update Sound drivers (new version 2009/07/09)
    Some useful stuff there:
    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/blue_screen_survival_guide?page=0,0
  14. Herrmann
    Herrmann As a conclusion:
    I upgraded Realtek driver for onboard audio from Gigabyte support page (http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/Driver_Model.aspx?ProductID=3005&ost=xp#anchor_os) and then re-enabled onboard audio.
    The PC runs OK and sound is OK too.
    So, for GA-MA790FXT UD5P owners encountering BSOD at login (XP SP3), I recommend the upgrade of Realtek driver, in the case onboard sound is enabled.
    Thanks for the valuable information I found here.
  15. Thrax
    Thrax I'm glad you ofund a solution Herrmann! I'm glad -- even if it was a pain for you -- that you also helped prove that this BSOD can be a result of anything.
  16. Imants
    Imants These all steps we can make after system restore in safe mode! But thanks anyway... :)
  17. propedor
    propedor I noticed pages 2 and 3 are strangely similar
  18. Thrax
    Thrax That's because the processes are similar for the scenarios outlined at the beginning of each page.
  19. GrumpyGrizz
    GrumpyGrizz I have Vista and my computer started going wonky a few days ago, BSOD, rebooting by itself,not loading, so I found your site and after running the tests, the only thing that would show up was a memory error when both sticks were in the MB. I then took out one and ran the test and it was fine, thought stick in there was problem, but no, when I tested it it passed. I can now load computer when one stick is in(I've tried both separately)and both work and also put them on different posts and they work SEPARATELY, but when I put both on together, computer won't boot up, it gets a bit in and then reboots itself.Any ideas?
    Thanks
    Scott
  20. Thrax
    Thrax Some memory sticks just plain don't play friendly with one another. I've definitely had that happen to me before. Your best bet is to simply replace both sticks with a kit and be on your merry.
  21. GrumpyGrizz
    GrumpyGrizz Thanks for the quick reply Thrax, does this happen even if they played together fine for 2.5 years(no married jokes)
  22. Thrax
    Thrax You know, come to think of it, it could easily be a memory controller or motherboard issue. I think the safest bet is to borrow some memory from a friend if you can, and then run memtest again. If memtest comes up clear, I would go ahead and replace the memory (no married jokes!), but if it comes up bad, I would take a closer look at the reliability of your motherboard.
  23. GrumpyGrizz
    GrumpyGrizz Thanks again, I'll give that a try and see what happens.

    Scott
  24. Brian Requena
    Brian Requena Thrax...Very good tutorial, thank you for putting in the time to shed some light on this issue.
  25. JOSEPH
    JOSEPH please help me...please i try to do every thing and this blue screen is so bad i can't play any of my games...it wouldn't stop if there is a download that i can get please help me please help and not free scan things! Please help me so badly.
  26. Samuel
    Samuel I have a severe problem with the 0x0000008E

    I am unable to run any repair or recovery, and am unable to enter in safe mode.

    I decided to just abandon my files, and reformat the computer but that will not even run. I put in the Vista disc and push the key to boot from the disc, but after selecting my language and clicking install it just crashes again and brings me back to the blue screen of death.

    Vista is my operating system and all the guides seem to be for XP, or they ask you to do things to fix the computer, and I am unable to do anything, even reformat. What can I do? Thanks.
  27. troll
    troll
    Samuel said:
    I have a severe problem with the 0x0000008E

    ...I put in the Vista disc and push the key to boot from the disc, but after selecting my language and clicking install it just crashes again and brings me back to the blue screen of death...
    Hi Samuel.
    Sounds to me like you have bad ram, use another computer and burn a copy of memtest 86+

    http://www.memtest.org/download/4.10/memtest86+-4.10.iso.zip

    Boot it on the defective computer and see if your ram is bad.
  28. Corey
    Corey Reformatting isn't your only option if you can't boot into windows, surely.
    I'd first attempt manually getting rid of start up items through something like UBCD4Windows or Vista PE.

    I didn't see virus scans mentioned either, this should be one of the first steps in the elimination of any error like this, as you don't need to boot into windows (its in fact more effective outside of windows) to perform these...

    If you can find a way to run chkdsk, or sfcscan they could also prove helpful.

    Just some ideas
  29. kzuo kloverdox
  30. Superstition
    Superstition I've had a "scattered, popcorn screen" for a year or so. And then after about eight months, updated my graphics card internally and soon got the screen + BSOD and got this Stop #:

    0x0000008e (0xc0000005, 0x82885cc0, 0xa9093b14, 0x00000000)

    And so after about a month with that, I rebooted my OS System from manufactor date. The reboot worked for about a day, and now the issue is back. I can't do streaming sites like YouTube or anything. And it's really becoming troubling to me because I could be working on something in Photoshop, etc. and it'll cause me to lose all my work.

    I looked up the # and it told me it was memory/RAM. Is this the issue or not?

    I run a Windows Vista. And this issue has been happening for over a year. =/ It's a more complicated story than what I've posted.
  31. Dan
    Dan I've had a screen BLUE and got this Stop 0X000008E (0XC0000005,0X84AA16E1,0XAO56BD08,0X00000000)

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