25 september, 2007


Article in English
Link to Swedish/svenska article

This is an article about what can be wrong and how I solved a blue screen error, also known as Blue Screen of Death, in Windows XP with the error message PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA - 0x00000050.

A tip from the writer
I've noticed that there are many people with this type of problem that come to my article through different search engines. My first words to you are that it's 99% chance that there's an hardware error when you encounter this type of error message. So try disconnecting your hardware, like RAM-memory, networkcard and nonintegrated soundcard. Also try to unplug external USB devices, like external harddrives, wireless mouse and keyboard, printers etc. Leave atleast one RAM-memory module that you know works. If you don't know which of them to use (if you use more than one) you'll have to try one of them. If that one doesn't work, use another one instead. Try leaving the graphics card mounted on the motherboard and use an old style mouse and keyboard with PS/2 connectors. You'll need to use the old style if you unplug your wireless mouse and keyboard, but you don't need to change input devices if you don't want to. Maybe you can borrow these from a friend if you don't have any. Feel free to keep on reading the article to see how I solved the problem.

All started with my mom sending an SMS to me when I was on a military excercise in Arvidsjaur, in the cold northern parts of Sweden. It said that my computer at home had crashed and that it restarted itself over and over again. I didn't get the message until I'd recharged my mobilephone battery at home, half a week after she sent the message. My first thought was that mom had crashed the computer again as usual. It's her and her strange magnetic field or the computer doesn't like her very much. I personally think it's the last part :).

I only noticed a new incoming SMS on my mobile but I didn't open it. I went to the kitchen to make some dinner and when I started the computer I didn't notice anything strange. Remember I didn't read the message my mom sent me. After a while it appeared to me that something was wrong. I got popup messages in Windows XP saying the registry couldn't be read, that some files were corrupted and some files that couldn't be found. I waited a few seconds and then the computer locked itself and didn't respond to my actions. After another few seconds I got the feared Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). The only important information I retreived was the type of error PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA, 0x00000050 (some hexadecimal error codes) and that it could be a hardware fault.

Possible problems and research
My first thought was that it could be a harddrive error because some files had gone corrupted and missing. So I ran a few diagnostics tests to check the health of the disks and partitions (S.M.A.R.T, read, write etc). While I did this I searched the Internet for information with Google on my Acer laptop about the error message and error codes. I found information related to RAM-memory and graphics, so now I had somehing to work on. I ran DXDIAG that comes with a DirectX installation, and a bootable version of Windows DIAG. I checked the memory read- and write speed, the graphics read- and write speed, and if the drivers were installed correctly. When my harddrive and graphics tests were complete it said that all tests went ok, but the memory test reported a difference in read- and write calculations. This narrowed it down to the RAM-memory modules.

I shutdown the computer and opened it. I then located my RAM-memory and then replaced both of my 512MB modules with a 256Mb module I'd borrowed from a friend of mine (the neighbor downstairs). It worked perfectly and I tested the system for about one hour with heavy memory benchmarks. All went ok, luckily, so I switched back to one of my 512MB modules. That didn't work out so good because I received the same error message as before when started my computer. I did the process all over again and switched to my other module. I started the computer and came to the Windows XP logon screen. Yes, fantastic! I found the problem, hopefully. Now, the only thing I had left was to backup all my data and format my harddrives.

Data backup and formatting
Later the next day I had made backups of all my data on both harddrives (music, movies, games and important documents), most important my music. Then I formatted the harddrives - Everything gone with the wind, including Windows XP. Now, all that were left was to install Windows XP and all applications. The installation went through without a single problem and no blue screens popups.

Do you want to know what my problem was?

Error explanation
The problem was that the memory circuits of my oldest RAM-memory module had gone old - six years of heavy calculations and gaming. It couldn't allocate/reserve memory for applications and services as good as my newer RAM-memory module. It had performed well until now. I accept that it was the old module and not the new one I bought two years ago.

The problem is now solved. I've ordered a new RAM-memory module that matched circuits, type and cache, from an online shop, my favorite www.datorbutiken.com. I put it into an open RAM-memory module slot, started my computer, and it worked like a charm.

I didn't have to backup all my data on my harddrives but I thought i would be good anyway. PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA was for me a hardware fault - the RAM-memory. It could be different for you, but it sounds, when reading the error message, that i could be something with the Windows pagefile or "växlingsfilen" in swedish - the virtual memory. Non-paged area is the RAM-memory, in theory, because the operating system (OS) stores information in the pagefile when there's no space left in the RAM-memory. Note: sometimes I got the message IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL, 0x0000000A.

Here's a quote from Microsoft:
"This Stop message occurs when requested data is not found in memory. The system generates a fault, which normally indicates that the system looks for data in the paging file." ... ... "Faulty hardware, a buggy system service, antivirus software, and a corrupted NTFS volume can all generate this type of error." ~ Microsoft

To do when you have an error or problem
Go and get a computer with connection to the Internet and search for information with Google after your error message or problem. Read discussions and forums to maybe find your solution. This will save you hours of frustration, if you can find anything of course.

Good luck!

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