STOP 0xC2 aka BAD_POOL_CALLER Blue Screen and bad memory

My computer bluescreened with a STOP 0xC2, BAD_POOL_CALLER fault. I discovered the reason was some memory chips had failed. This post describes what happened and how you can figure out if this is why you are getting this error.

See the details below, but the summary is:

In almost all cases the STOP 0xC2, BAD_BOOL_CALLER blue-screen indicates failed or failing RAM (random access memory) in your computer.

You can easily test the memory in your computer with the built-in memory tester built into Windows.  Instructions below.

The good news is RAM is relatively inexpensive and very easy to replace.

In my case, the computer was running Windows Server 2003. However any modern version of Microsoft Windows including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 can experience this problem.

The specifics of the fault were 0xC2 (0x00000007, 0x00001153, …).

Rebooting the computer caused a chkdsk and then the system came up…and promptly blue screened again.

According to this doc page on microsoft.com, the 0x07 parameter indicates “Attempt to free a memory pool that was already freed.” Further Google Bing searches indicated that this type of error is usually due to a faulty device driver. In fact, this KB Article shows how to debug the memory dump file to determine the faulty driver.

Booting the system into safemode resulted in a memory write fault in explorer.exe.

I haven’t touched the software on this system for weeks, so I strongly suspected some sort of memory failure. So a quick Google Bing search for “memory tester” came up with Memtest86. Within minutes I had burned a bootable CD with Memtest86 3.1a on it, booted the CD in the system, and saw mucho memory errors fly across the screen!

I powered down the system, removed all 3 DIMMs (512MB each), and plugged one in, restarted the system and Memtest started. Kabang! Error city.

So I took that DIMM out and tried the next one. No errors. Same with the 3rd.

I put the 2 DIMMs that tested OK in the system and rebooted into W2K3. The system is now running fine. This box doesn’t really need 1.5GB of memory so if I get new memory for it, it will be to replace the existing good DIMMs (“Spectek“ brand) with a different high-quality brand just to be safe.

Hopefully this will help others with STOP 0xC3 errors: it could be a memory failure.

[Update 5/26/04]

I didn’t notice it last night but Microsoft has a memory test utility (on a bootable CD-ROM image no less) at http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp.

[Update 6/15/09]

This is by far the most popular hit on my website even 5+ years later. I get tons of feedback that it’s very useful. The STOP 0xC2 error (BAD_POOL_CALLER) fault can occur on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 and in almost all cases it indicates you have bad memory.

In addition I have found (on another machine running Windows Vista and Windows 7) that  STOP: 0x0000007e can also be caused by bad memory.

Testing for Bad Memory on Windows

Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a built-in memory tester:

  1. From the Start menu, in the search box type “memory”
  2. “Memory Diagnostics Tool” (“Windows Memory Diagnostic” in Windows 7) will show up.  Click it.
  3. Click on “Restart now and check for problems (recommended)”
  4. When the PC reboots the memory diagnostic will start.

You can also run this utility directly from the boot manager menu when you boot your computer. Press F8 before it says “Starting Windows” and then hit Esc.  This tool can also be found by booting the installation DVD and following similar steps.

If these utilities find errors in your computer’s RAM then you should replace that memory. Memory is very inexpensive these days and in almost all cases, very easy to replace; you do not need to be technically skilled either!

I think amazon.com is a great place to buy memory. They carry just about all kinds and their prices are great.

© Charlie Kindel. All Rights Reserved.

42 comments


  1. Nice bit of investigation there!

  2. http://

    GREAT! Thank you for posting this……… the last thing on EARTH i would have though of would be bad memory. I am running 2000 Advanced Server, and I was getting this stupid BAD_POOL_CALLER stop error about once every 3-4 days. It was screwing up a lot of things. I just ran the memory test application and found some bad memory!

    God Bless you! Thank you Thank You! If anyone else is having this problem, BURN A CD WITH THAT MEMORY TESTING APPLICATION ON IT, AND TEST YOUR MEMORY!

    ~Robert

  3. http://

    It’s a correct issue and resolution, I swaped memory sticks and away went my installation…thanks

  4. http://

    thanks i will give this a try

  5. http://

    Hi, I’m Fred and I have a VIA 591p computer chipset with a winxp OS and 256 MB SDRAM and an NVidia Geforce 4 mx 420 video card, and I also received a blue screen error mentioning BAD_POOL_CALLER. I will try the microsoft windows memory tester and get back to you all.

    I first suspected a bad shutdown, or a IRQ problem, and I still suspect a IRQ problem. My IRQ 10 is used my my dialup modem, but the IRQ for the nvidia card under the device manager is set for IRQ 10, so I will also try changing the IRQs via the BIOS.

    It’s strange that this problem just sprung up on me, for no aparent reason. So, I’m glad I found this forum and I suspect that it may be bad memory. Oh no, I am not ready to buy more memory right now….How I am hoping it’s an IRQ conflict instead of bad memory…let me try some things and I’ll post a reply.

    Fred. B.

  6. http://

    This error came up recently for me, as well. My computer blue screened with an error from my sound card, then loaded, and blue screened again with a different error. After that, I couldn’t load into Windows at all, and the bad_pool_caller error kept coming up.

    My computer seems to have a history with bad RAM, I’ve had to replace it multiple times now, because of blue screens. Is there anyway to find out what may be the cause of these blue screens? Any sort of help would be great, thank you.

  7. http://

    Reaccuring memory failures are often caused by a faulty power supply. I suggest you replace your power supply.

  8. http://

    So mainly the power supply is the cause to it? Is it possible that anything else is causing it?

  9. http://

    Have you run a memory test? Go to http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp and download the memory diagnostic tool (you’ll have to burn a CD). If the memory diagnostic says your memory is bad you’ll have to replace it. If you have replaced bad memory in this machine before then I highly suggest you ALSO replace the power supply. A bad power supply can cause memory to go bad.

    Power supplies are cheap. You can get a good one at Fry’s for ~$30.

  10. http://

    I haven’t ran the test, but I’m almost positive it’s the memory. I put in an older stick that I had, which also had blue screening problems after time, and with that one in, it loads up the background before blue screening. The one I was using instantly blue screened.

    Usually the RAM lasts a few months before starting to cause blue screens, so it seems like it is the power supply.

    I’m relieved to hear that it’s just that, I was thinking about buying a whole new mobo/cpu/ram combination. Good thing I didn’t, the supply probably would’ve fried those too.

    Thanks for your help, hopefully getting a new supply and RAM will fix my computer for good

  11. http://

    Warning: If your power supply is indeed bad and is the cause of your bad memory, it may have also caused other components to fail. I don’t want to make you nervous, but if you are at all looking for an excuse to rebuild the whole shebang (mobo/cpu/ram/ps) this may be it.

  12. http://

    hi,

    Thanks for the idea , but problem is that i have only 1 * 512 MB DDR , now the only way i can see this thru is by contacting the vendor which i have already done.

    Thanks for the confirmation anyways a very helpfull article.

    edy

  13. http://

    hi, my name is anderson , i’m from brazil, and i was having this problem, but now i just run the test memory, and that it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    thanks you very much !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    you helped me a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    bye bye now i gotta go!!!!!!!

  14. http://

    Thank you so much .

  15. http://

    I have that same message! I have a Dell Windows XP Media Center Edition, and I can’t even run safe mode. Like everyone says This blue screen probably bad memory.

  16. http://

    I had exactly this same problem; it was all down to an overheating processor fan, all fixed now i’ve replaced it, just in case anyone’s interested!

  17. http://

    If a memory test fails, how can you tell which stick to replace? I’ve got over 3 GB of ram on one server thats failing..

  18. http://

    I find the best way is to take all of the DIMMs out of the machine and run the memory test with only one DIMM in it at a time.

  19. http://

    yeah…i thought of that but was looking for a lazy man’s solution…guess i’ll get busy w/ it. thx for the reply!

  20. http://

    Awsome work guys, my friend just called me with the same problem (error BAD_POOL_CALLER) and wants me to fix it, you guys just made my job a lot easier…. Thanks 🙂

  21. Thanks a lot! The Stop-error came up on a new machine I just built. But first it seemed like it was a Harddisk/Raid-Controller-error because I had problems during the Harddisk-format and copy of Windows.

  22. http://

    I was checking the mem stick on my gateway 500, the first checking item on my list, As I was pulling the mem stick, my fingers rubbed against the Voodoo video card..and it was hot enought to make me jump! Would that be a plausable cause to bring on a BAD_POOL_CALLER screen??? A bad video card that is. Any reasonable input would be appreciated. thanks

  23. http://

    Video cards generate lots of heat. This does not mean it is defective. However, the heat it is generating *could* be increasing failures of nearby memory chips. I do not know if a failing video card can cause a 0xC2.

  24. http://

    Good work thanks for the info! I was having a bad_pool_caller blue screen on a Sony Vaio, swap the memory out and it works fine now!

  25. I’ve had the exact same problem as these people. But my power supply went out months ago and I replaced it with a Super Silencer 300w. I did started getting blue screens a couple weeks ago. Pulling the memory out and putting it in another slot helped when I couldn’t even get into safe mode. Although now I thinking the heat route since my pcu heat sync is awfully hot. I still need to do mem test also. I don’t feel so alone any more. : )

  26. Thank you for this posting…had a variety of other errors suggesting bad device drivers but would BSD on this error the most. I took out the memory sticks and put them back one at a time…voila…one was hosed.

  27. http://

    Hi,

    I had this trouble with my home computer. When I was installing Windows XP-PROf. this error has shown to me. I did what is write here but problem is not solved yet.

  28. http://

    Hi,

    I have tried the memtest86 there was linked to in the main post.

    It made 3 passes but did not find any errors. Does anyone know why I then get the bluescreen bad_pool_caller??

  29. my debug is 0x000000c2 (0x00000043, 0x83f65000 0x00000000 0x00000000)

    i dont know stop this one.. can somebody give me a little help plz..

  30. http://

    All i did to resolve my problem was to re-seat the memory sticks and voila, no more blue bad_pool_caller blue screen!!

    Thanks so much to this tech blog for reminding me to start with the simplest fixes first 🙂 I didn’t even test the memory.

    Sometimes i think it is just subtle oxidation or perhaps some static build-up that throws things off.

    so thank you thank you thank you

  31. http://

    I ran the memtest86 and no errors about 90% of the way through the testing. so I decided my 0xC2 error might be the result of something else.

    i ran the dumpchk.exe on the minidump file and found that during the crash, TM_CFW was doing something. This file is related to TrendMicro’s personal firewall product. I’ve since disabled the personal firewall feature to see if my problem goes away.

    Just another point to consider as not all 0xC2 STOP errors are caused my bad memory modules.

  32. Thanks for the info. This thread was a life saver. I removed the RAM from the computer (he only had two sticks) and it happened either way I did it. But with a few tries and only one stick of RAM in, I made it by once. That’s all I needed to get the computer back up and running.

  33. http://

    Yeah, I know this problem Spectek seems to be incompatible with a lot of memory on the market. You must buy good brands if you dont want conflicts.

  34. http://

    Well, my Win2K3 Ent machine pops this error when trying update my Symantec AV Corporate 10.1.4 for def after 7-Dec-06. Earlier update packages run fine, recent ones generate error out of nowhere. However i havent tried running them on a different server. Everything else runs fine. Any idea? Hope?

  35. http://

    Just for a note: I recently installed MagicDisc, a free virtual CD driver from MagicISO.

  36. http://

    This problem has reared it’s ugly head on a few of my desktops. It seems to be have occured when we switched to McAfee AV. Anybody else using McAfee with this issue?

  37. I am running virtualbox on redhat so in my new vista ultimate install i installed avira antivirus and then rebooted, got this error on the reboot. i can boot safe, i booted safe and ran appwiz.cpl ,removed avira but i got it again :/ i just installed watchguard manager also and a couple other programs so i guess i will try those next and make sure avira is gone

  38. Ryan K

    Hey thanks for the advice on the memory. I pulled out all my memory sticks and I could see one was bad so I put the other two back in and bam problem solve. No more BSOD with the bad pool error message.
    Thanks
    Ryan Summer of 2011

  39. ...............

    Always assume software (drivers) first as the cause of blue screens.

    If it’s a hardware-caused error, the error codes and stack traces are different each time. If it’s always same specific error (e.g. double free in the original post), it’s likely a software error.

    There are also specific error codes for hardware errors, like WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR and MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION.

  40. kurt1524

    Yep twosticks went bad and ran the system with two remainding sticks until the new stick arived. Thanks

  41. Rick

    Well for me it was AVG Free 2015 that did me in. Memory checked out ok so I went for the next item on the list and sure enough after AVG was removed it booted right up.

    Thanks for the info though, posts still led me to the culprit 🙂

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