Every so often, my Vista 64-bit operating system blue-screens within about three minutes of booting up. The blue-screen indicates BAD_POOL_CALLER. Searching on the Internet indicates that this points to a bad driver or bad RAM. I have used http://www.driveragent.com/ to verify that I have the latest drivers for all of my hardware. I have used memtest86 to verify that my RAM is good. I am not overclocking my computer. Provided my computer survives the first five minutes after boot, it can run indefinitely without problem. It does not crash playing 3D games, running VMWare, running "burn-in" software.

The blue-screen does not happen often enough, perhaps one time in four, for me to simply try uninstalling various drivers to see what breaks. Having Windows "check for solutions" results in no additional information. What other steps can I take?

Update: May be useful to check out this related question.


You may have bad or vista-incompatible hardware. What kind of peripherals/additional cards are connected to the computer. I would suggest disconnecting any additional hardware you may have connected and see if the problem continues. If not, one by one, add each piece of hardware back and see if you can determine what is causing the crash.

  • Bad hardware wouldn't really explain why the computer crashes about one time in four, but then works properly from then on, would it? And as noted, the problem does not occur frequently enough to make uninstalling drivers (or hardware) a realistic debugging option. Is there not some way for me to determine which driver is causing this crash? – ChrisInEdmonton Aug 5 '09 at 13:05
  • Would a driver issue show up in your system logs? – Ivo Flipse Aug 5 '09 at 13:10
  • Plus it can also be your GPU drivers, so perhaps you should have to see if you can update your most relevant drivers – Ivo Flipse Aug 5 '09 at 13:20
  • I have seen hardware problems that are very difficult to reproduce, but were hardware problems. As for the logs, the stop error you got should show up the the event viewer (Right click on My Comuter, select Manage, select Event Viewer) in the system events, but don't expect to get any more information than you got from the BSOD. – heavyd Aug 5 '09 at 13:41

Try running the Driver Verifier to let Windows check if it can find any faulty drivers.

Run: verifier

  • This told me all my drivers were signed. Following the steps to determine if any of the drivers are faulty seems to be a significant amount of work, one I'm reluctant to perform as I should be able to have Windows tell me which driver is causing the problem. – ChrisInEdmonton Aug 6 '09 at 15:34
  • A really good guide for using the Driver Verifier is at edbott.com/weblog/?p=576 – ChrisInEdmonton Aug 6 '09 at 15:38

I have not yet performed these steps, but apparently you can examine the debug memory dump to help narrow down the problem. The steps are listed here. I will update this answer with additional information as it becomes available.

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