Some Blue Screens of Death (BSODs) are difficult or impossible to diagnose and fix, while others are fairly easy. Fortunately, a Page Fault BSOD is often fixable. Here are some things you can try.
What causes PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA?
As your computer performs tasks, it is constantly loading programs and files in and out of your computer’s memory, better known as RAM. When your Windows PC runs out of memory, or a program or file is inactive for a long time, Windows starts moving things from memory to your hard drive or SSD instead. These “things” are stored in the paging file.
If something is interfering with reading or writing to the paging file (pagefile.sys) — or directly with your RAM itself — there’s a good chance you’ll get a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).
There are a handful of things that can cause the problem:
- A faulty driver or system service
- A damaged hard drive or solid state drive (SSD)
- Antivirus software malfunction
- Bad memory (RAM, cache or VRAM)
diagnosis of the problem
In general, your first troubleshooting steps should always focus on anything that has recently changed on your PC. Did you just update a driver, program or Windows? Did you install new hardware? If so – start there. Roll back the updated driver, remove the program, or try uninstalling the latest Windows update. If you installed new hardware, remove it and see if the problem persists.
If you’re not sure what’s changed recently, you’ll need to dig a little more.
When you get this BSOD, the “What Failed” line often shows what was running at the time something went wrong.
If your BSOD shows something there, start googling it. It will probably be enough to point you in the right direction. For example, if the thing that failed is returning results for NVIDIA, you should definitely start by reinstalling or rolling back your graphics drivers.
If the BSOD doesn’t give you a clue as to what the problem might be and you’re not sure what was recently updated, it becomes more difficult to resolve the issue. Here are a few things you can try. Some of them can help you figure out the problem while others can fix it.
Remove new hardware
If you recently installed new hardware and your computer suddenly started experiencing BSODs, you should definitely try removing the new hardware first. While you’re at it, make sure your other components are seated correctly. It is possible that something was triggered during the installation.
Check Event Viewer
Event Viewer is exactly what it sounds like – it lets you view important events affecting your PC. Events are classified into different categories such as “Windows Logs” and “Application and Services Logs”. They are also sorted by severity: informational, warning, and error.
There’s a lot of information packed into Event Viewer, so it’s probably worth reading up on what it is and how it works before diving straight in.
Most likely, an error causing a BSOD is found under Windows Logs > System.
Look at the Details tab. Try to narrow your findings to things that happened at the same time as the BSOD.
Check the recently updated programs
If you have dedicated drivers installed for your CPU, GPU, sound card, network adapter, motherboard, or other components in your computer, they will be listed in the Apps & Features section of the Settings app. You can use this to determine what was recently updated and it might shed some light on what caused the problem.
Click the Start button, type “apps and features” in the search bar, and then press Enter or click Open. (You can also go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features to find this window.)
Note: The search result is “apps & features”, not “apps and features”, but who wants to type an ampersand (the “and” sign) when it’s not necessary?
By default, the list of programs is sorted alphabetically, but we need to change it so that it’s sorted by installation date. Click on the “Name” label next to “Sort by” and change it to “Install Date”.
If you discover drivers that have been updated since you noticed the BSODs, try installing an older version or reinstalling the current one.
Disable your antivirus
Even the best antivirus software sometimes makes mistakes. It’s not likely, but it’s possible that your antivirus is somehow interfering with reading from or writing to the paging file, thereby causing the BSOD.
The easiest way to check if your antivirus is the problem is to temporarily disable it. If the crashes stop, you’ve found the culprit.
Fixing the problem is a little more difficult. If your antivirus is In error, it’s probably a result of Access Protection or real-time threat detection. You need to add Windows paging file exceptions to both. Exactly how you do this depends on what antivirus software you’re using. You’ll need to consult the documentation for your specific software to find out the details.
Alternatively, you can completely remove your third-party antivirus and let Microsoft Defender take over. Microsoft Defender has struggled for a while, but has been as good as any third-party option for the past few years.
Note: Microsoft Defender is extremely unlikely to cause such issues.
TIED TOGETHER: What is the best antivirus for Windows 10 and 11? (Is Microsoft Defender good enough?)
Run a memory (RAM) test
Modern computer components are phenomenally complex, and like all things, they sometimes break. Your RAM is no exception. Luckily, there are some tests you can run to determine if your RAM is at fault.
TIED TOGETHER: How to test your computer’s memory for problems
If your RAM is faulty, this is almost certainly the cause of the BSOD. There’s not much you can do to fix bad RAM. You can To attempt Clean and reseat the contacts, but it probably won’t help. You must replace it. The good news is that RAM is not particularly expensive and is widely available.
TIED TOGETHER: How to upgrade or replace your PC’s RAM
Warning: Rummaging around in your computer can cause permanent damage if you are not careful and know what you are doing. If you decide to swap out your RAM yourself and you’ve never done it before, make sure you take the right precautions. Remember to be gentle. Computers aren’t made of glass (anymore), but they’re usually not designed to take a beating either.
Replacing RAM on a desktop PC is pretty easy and takes no more than a few minutes. Laptops are a different story – they’re much more difficult to open and work with, and in some cases the memory is permanently attached to the motherboard. If your laptop has RAM that is permanently plugged in, you will need to have it serviced by the manufacturer or a professional.
Your RAM isn’t the only physical component that could be to blame – it could also be your hard drive or SSD. Sometimes the corruption occurs due to a software glitch, sometimes due to a hardware issue. Windows comes with a tool specifically designed to diagnose and repair hard drive or SSD problems: the Check Disk Utility.
Check Disk, usually referred to as ask Chkdsk, can fix some basic problems and alleviate more serious problems. If there is a problem with the file system or a sector is corrupted due to a software glitch, it can probably be fixed completely. If your hard drive has a bad sector due to physical damage, the most it can do is prevent it from being used in the future.
Bad sectors or file system problems can cause BSODs; Running Chkdsk might fix the problem completely.
TIED TOGETHER: How to fix hard drive problems with Chkdsk in Windows 7, 8 and 10
As with most computer parts, there’s basically nothing you can do to fix a failing hard drive or SSD other than replacing it. If you find your drive fails, be sure to back up any important information you may have stored on it. A hard drive can fail completely at any time and you cannot recover important files.
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