Blue Screen of Death

It could be much worse, I’m sure, but this problem is getting on my nerves.

BSOD This is only one of many over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve logged most of them.

Contacting Dell Tech Support via e-mail isn’t the fastest way to resolve a problem, but it’s the way that wastes the least amount of my time, allowing me to send the relevant information in writing. And, since it’s not to the point where it’s more than an inconvenience, not wasting my time takes priority over venting frustration to a real person.

Actually, it got escalated to a fairly high level support technician — and one who writes as though English is actually his native language — by the second exchange. That’s pretty darn fine.

The latest has narrowed it down to one of four potential causes:

1) a corrupt operating system;
2) a virus or malware;
3) bad memory;
4) bad hard drive.

Based on this Microsoft Support Bulletin, option 1 looks like a good guess. So, downloading the hotfix should help, except that it doesn’t appear to be available for download; the link points to a phone number for Microsoft to have them send it to me. Calling Microsoft only took me to a message directing me to call my hardware manufacturer.

In programming, this is known as a circular reference, and tends to be fatal. If only it were so in customer service. So, I’ve replied to the Dell tech’s e-mail, asking him to get the hotfix for me.

Having earlier seen a ZDNet warning that a TrendMicro flaw could cause the Blue Screen of Death, I’ve manually updated my virus patterns, run a full system scan, then gone to Symantec to run a second, online scan as a backstop. Both came up completely clean, but I realize that there are new bugs, or variations of old bugs, that aren’t yet in the antivirus patterns. It could be a bug… I have to keep checking all possibilities.

I don’t have any of the usual indications that there’s a memory or HDD problem, so although the Dell rep offered to send out new memory and a new HDD, I’d rather rule out the other two first.

For the hardcore geekiest of you out there, a sampling of the error codes is as follows:

STOP 0x0000007A (0xC0546B08, 0xC0000185,0xA8D61C74,0x07DC0860)
cdfs.sys – Address A8D61C74 base at A8D5E00, DateStamp 41107eb1


STOP 0x0000007A (0xE1D408F8, 0xC0000185, 0xBF916582, 0x36234860)
win32k.sys – Address BF916582 base at BF800000, DateStamp 43446a58


STOP: 0x0000007A (0xC07BAE90, 0xC0000185, 0xF75D2000, 0x26662860)
mountmgr.sys – Address F75D2000 base at F75CD000 Datestamp 41107b05


STOP: 0x00000077 (0xC0000185, 0xC0000185, 0x00000000, 0x00ABE000)


STOP: 0x000000F4 (0x00000003, 0x8628E8E8, Ox8628EA5C, 0x805D117A)


STOP: 0x000000F4 (0x00000003, 0x86049340, Ox860494B4, 0x805D117A)


STOP: 0x000000F4 (0x00000003, 0x861A3368, Ox861A34DC, 0x805D117A)


STOP: 0X0000007A (OxC07B9C48, 0xC0000185, 0xF7389DAD, 0x2BD50860)
ntfs.sys – Address F7389DAD base at F7334000 Datestamp 41107eea

# 0xC0000185 (which appears several times) signals a STATUS_IO_DEVICE_ERROR, caused by improper termination or defective cabling on SCSI devices, or two devices attempting to use the same IRQ. Well, this lappy doesn’t have any SCSI devices… so that’s a bit baffling.

Hope that hotfix arrives soon.

15 thoughts on “Blue Screen of Death

  1. Good luck with this netmom.

    Being a mac owner for the past 15 years, I haven’t encountered this problem myself.

  2. Take the little darlin’ with you to your car, start driving down the highway with the top down (yeah it is cold but it will be worth it), drive toward Solway and as you cross the Solway Bridge, AKA Postma Bridge, reach over and pick up the thing and give it an exit into the Clinch River.

    Problem solved.

  3. It’s certainly not to the launch-it-off-the-bridge point… just an irritant. I don’t know how OSX handles errors, but that little sad mac was infuriating to me — there was no indication whatsoever as to what caused the problem.

    At least I have clues to work from.

  4. “I don’t know how OSX handles errors, but that little sad mac was infuriating to me . . . ”

    Well, there’s one problem I can see. Calling Dell about a “little sad mac” is unlikely to result in a solution. I had no idea that Dell even sold macs, let alone offered tech support for them. Color me surprised.

  5. NM, it might do well to remove the hard drive, get yourself a little 6 dollar adapter, and plug it into your desktop. This way, if you need to, you can recover pertinent data (since it if is indeed an OS problem, it shouldn’t bother the data). Hell, it looks like that just connects on a standard SATA connection, so your motherboard may have a couple on the desktop.
    It’d also be a relatively low hassle test to see if the problem is structural.

  6. Good advice, AT. However, I have an external USB HDD that I use to back the system up. Anticipating the possibility of some change soon, I’m backing it up every night.

    Sigh… no, Joel, Dell doesn’t sell Macs. That doesn’t mean I’ve never had to use one, or that I’ve never had to provide basic tech and network support to others who insisted on using them back when I worked for someone else.

  7. ” . . . had to provide basic tech and network support to others who insisted on using them back when I worked for someone else.”

    Wow. Tech support for macs. Who knew?

    Ah, well, back to my PowerBook G4. No OSX errors so far, but I’ve only had it for 2.5 years . . .

  8. If this problem causes it to burn, please let me know. I know how to fix that. I just hope it is noncontagious to blog viewers. LOL

  9. My solution Chief would not allow for it to burn. And it is environmentally friedly, at least for that lake. 😉

  10. With these blue screen errors, one of the best, but tedious, ways of determining the problem is with our friend Google …

    Start with the first stop error code: 0×0000007A
    We get:

    Which says:
    The following are all common causes of STOP Messages 0x00000077 and 0x0000007A:
    • The paging file contained a bad block.
    • If the page file is on a SCSI device, the trap could have been caused by improper termination.
    • Bad cabling from hard disk to controller.
    • An error on the disk controller.
    • Running out of non-paged pool resources on the server.
    Frequently, the cause of these traps can be determined from the second of the 4 hexadecimal parameters included in the first line of the STOP Message.

    The second of the 4 hexadecimal parameters is: 0xC0000185
    Which Googles up:

    SCSI wuzzy was a bear … disconnect your CD drive and take her for a spin, see if the blue screen stops. The second line of investigation would be IRQ conflicts, but that is less likely since WinXP has all but eliminated that as an issue (I still have nightmares about Win98 and IRQ conflicts!)

    If that doesn’t solve le mystere keep Googling. I found some other hints by Googling that cdfs.sys, which is pointing at Symantec as being a potential cause of the problem. See if there are any updates or patches … or ditch that behemoth application and go with AVG. It’s what all the cool kids are using these days! 🙂

  11. I am also getting these stop error codes. What would be a good indication that i have bad Memory or HDD? I have a feeling it is my operating system, but I would like to check first.

  12. i got this blue screen too.
    the detailed technical information are:
    ***STOP: 0x00000077 (0xc000185, 0xc000185, 0x000000, 0x00336000)

    another is

    ***STOP: 0x0000007A (0xc03EADC4, 0xc000185, 0xFAB71000, 0x0639C860)
    Mountmgr.sys – Address FAB71000 base at FAB6C000, DateStamp 41107b05

    another is

    0x0000007A (0xC02017DC, 0xC0000185, 0x805F7C34, 0x07765860)

    Got a lot blue screen with different error message, so i just pick any 3 of them and highlight to u guys.
    I would appreciate if any1 of u can help me to solve the above mention problem.
    TQ 🙂

  13. I don’t know how you people managed to get the stop error massage(blue screen) reffered number.The appears for just 4seconds.
    plz someone help me get the number(mail me plz).

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