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Multiple and Frequent Blue Screens Including in Safe Mode

Last response: in Windows XP
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August 15, 2012 1:22:48 PM

Hello,

Out of the blue (no pun intended), I began receiving blue screens on my Windows XP desktop; these also occur when I boot to safe mode. They occur anywhere immediately following the boot to Windows or within about 20 minutes after Windows had booted. The blue screens provide a variety of error messages, which I've listed below:

IRQL_Not_Less_Or_Equal
Page_Fault_in_Nonpaged_Area
Bad_Pool_Header

Also, occasionally, I'll get a BSOD without any error messages - just a reference to the memory address or whatever that is.

There were not any hardware or software changes that preceded these blue screens. Since I started receiving them, I've confirmed my BIOS is up to date (it was), upgraded my chipset and onboard audio drivers, updated my video drivers to the latest version, ensured all Windows updates had been downloaded and installed (they had). Additionally, I have confirmed I have the latest versions of all other drivers. I have reset my BIOS values to the fail-safe values and I have never overclocked my PC. Additionally, I routinely run virus and malware scans with the latest definitions and those both come up clean.

Googling these error messages, many suggest looking at the RAM. I have two 1 GB sticks, so I've tried removing one of them, switching the slots they're in and moving them both from the first and third slot to the second and fourth slot; in all scenarios, the blue screens continue. I will note that the sticks are EXTREMELY warm when I remove or reseat them, but I don't know if that's normal or not.

I've also seen references that these errors can be caused by the CPU overheating; I suppose that's possible, but for what it's worth, right after the bluescreens occur, per my BIOS, the CPU and motherboard temperatures are both in the 40-45 degrees C range; those don't strike me as excessively hot.

The one thing that appears to turn up something fishy is when I run Memtest off a boot CD. Regardless of whether I'm using one stick of RAM, both sticks or the slots they're in, immediately, errors start popping up literally by the tens to hundreds of thousands. However, the test usually stops or locks up after no more than ~ten minutes. That would certainly indicate a problem with either my RAM or the slots on my motherboard they go in, but I'm unsure how to determine which is the problem. Unfortunately, I do not have any other compatible RAM I know is good that I could swap in there.

My hardware, which I purchased in 2008 and have not had a need to upgrade since, is as follows:

Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 motherboard
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.00 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB
2 x 1GB Crucial Ballistix 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit RAM
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
XFX GeForce 9800GT 512 MB

Any help would GREATLY be appreciated. If you have any questions that would help you diagnose the problem(s), please feel free to ask. Thank you in advance for your help.

Best solution

August 15, 2012 7:51:07 PM

You definitely have either bad memory or a failing chipset or CPU. The easiest way to test for memory is to swap in another memory module, even if you need to borrow one.
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August 15, 2012 10:34:43 PM

Failure without warning messages has been in my experience overheating processor. Take it apart and get rid of the dust bunnies especially processor cooling fins and fans, then try defragmenting the hard drive. Check date and time on the computer.
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August 26, 2012 10:19:07 PM

It was indeed the RAM. Thanks for everyone's help.
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August 26, 2012 10:21:03 PM

Best answer selected by heldmacm.
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