This is an old problem I noted a long time ago. While working on a computer, I encountered a computer that would exhibit the STOP 0x0000008E blue screen but only just after I told Windows to restart. A quick Google search revealed that STOP 0x0000008E is a very common problem. In fact, Microsoft had three articles about this very STOP code. Most blue screens of death also have some text in all capital letters which is very helpful when cross-referencing this STOP code. STOP 0x0000008E is supposed to have the text KERNEL_MODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED.

Without getting too technical, this STOP code basically means the Windows kernel encountered an error it could not recover from or was not expecting. The kernel of any operating system is the part that manages everything behind the scenes.

Bad memory could cause this. The reason why is because the memory contents could become corrupted due to it being bad and thus the kernel doesn’t know what is the correct action and displays this BSOD. Therefore, the first thing I checked was the memory. And it was not the problem. Now it gets interesting.

My next guess would be a rootkit. I removed from this computer some fake antivirus junk. But beyond that, there was no rootkit or any other malware on the computer.

So I tried search the internet for reasons why this STOP code can appear during a restart. One of the results, http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/thread-83542.php, stated that this is a known problem with Nero and iTunes software. The user had iTunes, but not Nero. Of course, iTunes has been known to cause problems in of itself and has got nothing but worse since I first noted this in 2009. I decided that if I needed to, I would uninstall iTunes.

Before I uninstalled anything, I decided to install Windows XP Service Pack 3 since the computer was stable until a restart. To help speed up installing SP3, I systematically started to terminate some programs using the task manager. After I terminated one program, this STOP code appeared. Now I had found my culprit. In this case it was a Computer Associates security program. In fact, no matter how long I had Windows running, the STOP code would not
appear until I attempted to terminate the Computer Associate antivirus program.

This was a program the user paid for, so before I removed it, I wanted to see if I could fix the problem. So I installed SP3 in safe mode first. And then installed all new Windows updates. After installing all of the updates, the problem no longer appeared.

So when you get a specific STOP code that is predictable, that is to say occurs when the same action is performed such as a shutdown, the likely culprits are a bug in some program or any kind of malware. Suspect malware first then the antivirus program. If the problem is unpredictable, check the memory first and then look for any kind of malware.

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