Working in IT, I’ve come across a number of strange STOP errors in Windows that are only fixed by doing something ridiculously obscure! Recently, I came across another STOP error that is very obscure, but pretty easy to fix! Well, at least it was easy to fix for me.

Here’s the error on the associated blue screen when I am working on the troubled computer:

Stop: 0x000000F4 (0x00000000003, 0xFFFFFADF50, 0xFFFFFADF50EC32A8, etc)

To fix this, I tried all kinds of things before calling Dell support, such as replacing the memory, switching out video cards, replacing the motherboard, running all kinds of hardware and memory diagnostic tools, etc, etc. Sadly, nothing worked!

Stop 0x000000F4

We knew it was not a software issue because we have a bunch of identical machines, all with the same software configuration. Hence, we had to make a call to Dell technical support.

Note that recently we had installed a new hard drive into the computer and starting getting these blue screen errors a few days later. While talking with the Dell rep, he had me do all kinds of stuff!

Firstly, I had to unplug the computer and pull out the monitor, keyboard and mouse cords. After that, we removed all the memory, plugged everything back in and rebooted. Same blue screen!

We then took out and replaced other parts of the computer, rebooting and unplugging the computer each time we took something out or put something back in.

Finally, I took out the CMOS battery (the small round battery on your motherboard), rebooted, then reinstalled it, and rebooted the machine again. It fixed the problem! So this STOP error is related to either a low CMOS battery or simply having to take it out and put it back in.

cmos battery

Next time you add some new hardware to your computer, you might get this error if the components do not get configured properly during the install. Removing and reinstalling the hardware will ensure everything is configured and working properly.

It’s worth noting that removing the CMOS battery is also one way to remove a BIOS password on your computer. If you have any questions, leave a comment. Enjoy!

Comments [0]

  1. I had exactly the same blue screen. My computer started to reboot randomly every 1 or 2 days then 1 or 2 times a day until I couldn't boot windows. I didn't make any hardware or software changes for months and didn't believe it could be hardware. First I thought it might be a temperature or overclocking issue but the temperature was always cool since I had 2 fans and verified they worked OK. Also, I had the same overclocked configuration for more than a year I that I use to do some very intensive processing, but never had any problem with this before.

    I bought a brand new HD and installed windows from scratch but the same problem came up only a couple hours later.

    Trying to fix the problem, I worked on it for almost an entire week using HD tools or chkdsk in vain. After a lot of research I found this page. :) Then, I disabled automatic reboot on system error and saw that blue screen. Eventually, I saw the Windows system event logs and saw a lot NTFS errors accessing a specific drive. Then, I knew it had to be the CMOS or the SATA Cable. I followed these steps:

    – Disconnect/Connect CMOS battery and reconfigure BIOS settings again based on defaults
    – Replace "ALL" SATA Cables and reconnect all drives
    – Run HD Diagnostic tools (Western Digital Data LifeGuard Diagnostics) to fix already corrupted data on HD.

    Finally, the 500 GB HD I thought I was going to throw in the garbage is working perfectly and without damaged sectors.

  2. I am getting the same error and have tried everything I can think of, including the battery and even replacing the battery with a new one, but no luck yet.

    Further info: The system runs after I'm in windows for about 3 minutes, then out of nowhere, with no open programs, it will crash. Safe mode seems to be fine, but many features to find the problem are disabled and I can't find anything in the system logs. The dump files it says the data went to during the crash are missing.

  3. I'm getting this error every time I boot my Dell laptop, Inspiron 1564 – Bug check code: 0x000000f4 and 0x1000007e alternately every time I start windows.

    It restarts a few times with this error and then finally runs. My laptop is still under warranty only 30 days left, and I'm out of the country.

    Any suggestions?

    Oh, by the way, this started happening suddenly one day when I started the system. No new programs or hardware installed.

  4. Thank you very much!!! I wouldn't bother to contact Dell and it had been bugging me. I tried the fix and walla!! The blue screen disappeared and Windows booted smoothly like before!!!

  5. I had the same problem with a desktop computer that had not had any changes to its configuration for years. I checked the hard disk for errors using CHKDSK, to make sure there was nothing wrong with the OS. It passed. Next, I ran a system diagnostic to check hardware, (memory, Hard-disk, etc.), and it checked out OK. I didn't reset the BIOS or remove the CMOS battery as they checked out earlier with the diagnostic test. The problem? I found that the data cable, (it was a SATA hard-disk), was either loose or faulty. Having replaced it and made sure it was connected firmly and squarely (sometimes, they can work a little loose and be pulled sideways), everything worked fine.

  6. I’ve had this same issue caused by bad display drivers and by conflicting display drivers like swapping from an ATI to Intel graphics chip-set on a laptop.

  7. Error STOP : 0X000000F4 SOLVED

    I was often receiving the above error code hanging the PC, creating havoc on the FAT and even preventing me from reinstalling Windows XP home edition.

    A thorough search of all the posts I could find on the web convinced me to do the following AFTER having disconnected the pc, removed all the cables connected to it and put on surgical gloves (or similar light plastic gloves) in order to avoid short circuiting anything or applying finger prints on anything:

    a) remove the graphic card, the memory sticks, the CMOS battery and disconnect the data and power cables of the hard disk(s);

    b) with alcohol and cue tips, clean all the electrical contacts of the graphic card, the memory sticks, including both sides of the CMOS battery, plus the data and power contacts of the hard disk(s);

    c) with a plastic stick or any non metal thing, pull the the U shape pin of the CMOS receptacle upward so that it subsequently sits at ¼ inch higher than before in order to allow a firm contact with the underside of the CMOS battery;

    d) remove all the dust present in the PC;

    e) with a volt meter, check the voltage of the cable(s) coming from the power supply and leading to your hard drive(s). Usually, on the power supply, you will find a sticker indicating the volatges you should have. On my power supply, it shows that one of the wires of the connector(s) must indicate +5 volt DC and another +12 volt DC. If the readings of the volt meter are inconsistant with the voltages shown on the power supply sticker, it indicates that you will need to replace your power supply, most probably;

    f) check all the cables inside the pc to make sure that they are all solidly connected;

    g) reinstall everything inside and out and reboot the pc;

    h) since the CMOS battery has been removed for a while, your BIOS will automatically boot the PC to the default settings. Therefore, upon booting, select to immediately have access to the BIOS in order to reselect the configuration settings you had before the whole process;

    i) as expected, Windows will boot without any problem.

    j) Subsequently, to make sure that your FAT (file allocation table) is updated accordingly, proceed to immediately do a CHECKDISK, followed by a defragmentation of your hard disk;

    k) I did all this and now my PC works as good as new and I did’nt even loose any data files or programs I already had on it. Best of all, after eight days of use, I have not seen any error;

    l) I wish you all well. As Winston Churchill once said; “excuse me for this long “letter”, I did’nt have time to write a shorter one”.

    Jacques – Quebec city

  8. Thanks, Aseem. I got a “601” low battery error for quite a while with no negative effects, but recently the blue screen began to appear. I followed your advice, replaced the battery and the computer runs fine now. Thanks again for taking the time to post the solution.

    Mike Fishtein

  9. Jacques, thanks for the advice.
    I had exactly the same issue. After first reinstall of XP the PC went for some days well but afterwards it stopped again with the blue screen after several hours, than minutes, than even by the XP reinstall process. I’ve played with RAM sticks and CMOS battery before and it doesn’t helped, so I’ve cleaned (with the alcohol and clue tips) contacts on the graphic card and checked the HDD cables (even the HDD was formatted and checked before and worked well). I’ve removed all the dust where it was possible. Now guess what! I removed also the CPU fan and there was almost continual thin baked (hardly removable) layer of a dust between the PCU and the cooling plate of the fan. After this cleaning the PC works well and was running all the day without any difficulties.

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