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Modern versions of Microsoft Windows handle machine check exceptions through the Windows Hardware Error Architecture. When WHEA detects a machine check exception, it displays the error in a Blue Screen of Death, with the following parameters (which vary, but the first parameter is always 0x0 for a machine check exception):
*** STOP: 0x00000124 (0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000)
On Linux, a process (such as
klogd) writes a message to the kernel log and/or the console screen (usually only to the console when the error is non-recoverable and the machine crashes as a result):
CPU 0: Machine Check Exception: 0000000000000004 Bank 2: f200200000000863 Kernel panic: CPU context corrupt
The error usually occurs due to failure or overstressing of hardware components where the error cannot be more specifically identified with a different error message.[clarification needed] Diagnosing the error message can be difficult, although Intel Pentium processors do generate more specific codes which can be decoded by contacting the manufacturer.
Most MCEs require a restart of the system before users can continue normal operation, and indicate a long-term problem of a general nature.
Most of these errors relate specifically to the Pentium processor family. Similar errors may occur on other processors and will cause similar problems.
Some of the main hardware problems that cause MCEs include:
- System bus errors: (error communicating between the processor and the motherboard).
- Memory errors: parity checking detects when a memory error has occurred. Error correction code (ECC) can correct limited memory errors so that processing can continue.
- Cache errors in the processor.
Normal causes for MCE errors include overheating and/or incorrect hardware installation. Specific manually-induced causes include:
- overclocking (which normally increases heat-output)
- poorly-fitted heatsink/computer fans (the same problem can happen with excessive dust in the CPU fan)
- an overloaded internal or external power-supply (fixable by upgrading)
Computer software can also cause MCE errors (normally by corrupting data which programs read or write). For example, software performing read or write operations from or to non-existent memory regions can lead to confusion for the processor and/or the system bus. Accessing memory marked off-limits by UEFI may cause MCE errors.
As noted previously, decoding MCE errors can prove difficult. Normally the manufacturer (especially processor manufacturers) will be able to provide information about specific codes. Consult the Intel 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer's Manual Chapter 15 (Machine-Check Architecture), or the Microsoft KB Article on Windows Exceptions.
Programs to Decode MCEs
- mcat: A Windows command-line program from AMD to decode MCEs from AMD K8, Family 0x10 and 0x11 processors.
- mcelog A Linux daemon by Andi Kleen to handle MCEs for modern x86 processors. mcelog can also decode machine checks.
- parsemce a Linux program by Dave Jones to decode MCEs from AMD K7 processors.
- mced a Linux program by Tim Hockin to gather MCEs from the kernel and alert interested applications. The primary difference between this program and others is that this is a daemon (it is always running) which means that it can get MCE notifications as soon as the kernel finds them. It does not try to interpret the MCE data, just alert other programs.
- "Bug Check 0x124: WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR". MSDN. Microsoft.
- "KLOGD(8)". UNIX man pages. 1999-08-21. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
klogd is a system daemon which intercepts and logs Linux kernel messages.
- "Bug 47121: UEFI boot panics on a new Samsung Series 9 laptop throwing a machine check exception". Linux kernel bug tracker. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
- "Intel 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer's Manual" (PDF).
- "Stop error message in Windows XP that you may receive: "0x0000009C (0x00000004, 0x00000000, 0xb2000000, 0x00020151)"". Microsoft. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- mcelog machine check handling for Linux x86
- parsemce source code on Codemonkey.org
- Intel 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer's Manual Part 3A (see Chapter 15) and Part 3B (see Appendix E)
- Microsoft specification of Bug Check 0x9C: MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION