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.