|I've had exactly the same problems (page fault in non paged area" and "driver irql not less or equal") cropping up sporadically on a Dell Dimension 8300 running XP Pro SP2. I thought it was hardware, so I reseated memory and I/O boards, ran MemTest86+, etc. But it wasn't hardware, it was driver conflict. |
A month ago I bought a Freecom FHD-3 250 GB USB-connected external drive. It came bundled with Freecom Personal Media Suite, and that had a USB driver, bonifay.sys, that crashed the system. The hard drive is absolutely fine, but if you get it DON'T install the Media Suite. For one thing it relies on Microsoft Briefcase, and that's absolutely hopeless for backing up multi-gigabyte drives. (Try Microsoft's SyncToys instead.)
Here's the test, even if it's not bonifay.sys but something else sitting there with your regular (Win XP) USB drivers.
First, open Device Manager, under USBs, choose any one of your USB Universal Host Controllers, right-click, choose Properties, Driver tab, then the Driver Details button.
On my machine, it has:
usbhub.sys, usbport.sys,usbuhci.sys, and usbui.dll, all 5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp2_rtm.040803-2158).
You may also see usbehci.sys, or usbohci.sys, which are both MS Windows drivers.
But are there any other NON-MS drivers?
Here is where I found bonifay.sys. I uninstalled Freecom Personal Media Suite, bonifay.sys went away and my BSODs went away.
For you the problem may not be a tagalong USB driver, but a driver for some other device. Even so, you may be able to see what's up by using Verifier.exe.
I found a way of **reproducibly** tripping the BSODs, which is how I know that bonifay.sys was the problem. I wish I'd known earlier, but there's a program called Verifier.exe that lives in C:\WINDOWS\system32. It's used for driver development and testing. Run it and a GUI opens up. To let you know, with all the options and buttons you'll click, Verifier does nothing until you get to a "Finish" button, at which point you can still opt out and "Cancel", so don't sweat it.
The overview is you set Verifier to run tests you choose on any drivers you choose. Click "Finish" and then you have to reboot. If during reboot you get a BSOD, it'll tell you that some driver is being bad while verification is running, in which case you'll have to hard boot. This time on bootup select "Choose last known good configuration",
and you'll get a clean boot back to where you were. Now that you've logged on again,
change settings, then re-run Verifier, re-boot etc. until you get a clean boot.
NOTE: "change settings" here means change device settings OR unstall software OR disable devices via Device Manager. The latter is the quick and easy way to home in on the problem device, but after that you'll have to home in on the particular drivers or uninstall the software they came with.
NOTE 2: Disable rather than delete devices if you get to that.
On the first screen, choose "Create Custom Settings (for code developers)" and click Next.
Then click "Select individual settings from a full list" (and Next).
Then tick any particular check boxes you want (and click Next).
Special pool, Pool tracking, and Force IRQL sound like the ones that relate to your crashes, but if you want to know if you truly have a clean install, then check all except the Low resources simulation. The Pool-related tests isolate and double-check each tested driver's memory usage.
The documentation for Verifier, telling you what these settings do, is at:
But back to Verifier...
Once you've checked the tests you want then select the drivers you want to test. With My USB problem, I found that selecting ANY driver would make it BSOD on reboot,
so I stuck to choosing just beep.sys (innocent as it is) as the driver to be Verified. [BTW, it wasn't beep.sys at fault, but boniface.sys trying to used beep.sys's memory space (I think) that was the problem.]
Once (if...) you've sorted out your driver problem, then ideally you'll want to select all drivers and have Verifier not throw up a BSOD on reboot. This is the stage that I got to (big yay after a month of BSODs).
Hope this helps, and good luck.