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Fatal Error Solutions
     
 

Using Driver Verifier

 
     
  Explanation  
     
 

The Driver Verifier is a program included with Windows to test and detect problems in device drivers. While intended for programmers who are developing device drivers, it can sometimes help identify a problematic or buggy device driver. It should be used by experienced users only, as it can sometimes create new problems that are difficult to correct and may require a checkpoint restore or complete image restore (which hopefully you have already made).

WARNING! When a fault is found, the system will go to a Stop Code BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) which is fatal. Any work in progress will be lost!

Driver Verifier performs a wide range of tests on each driver, including parameter tests, memory allocation and interrupt level tests. Some of these can be stress tests than may not typically occur in your environment, but every valid driver should work fine with these tests.

 
     
  How do I use it?  
     
 

For Windows Vista and later:

  • Click on the Windows start button.
  • In the search box, type cmd and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. This is a trick to elevate the the command box to run as administrator.
  • In the command box, type verifier.exe

For Windows XP and Server 2003:

  • At the Run command (Windows key+R) type verifier.exe and Enter.

The dialog appears similar to (XP shown, but Vista is almost identical):

driver verifier task

Choose the task. For the first time, a good choice is using the default "Create standard settings". Select Next. The type of drivers to select appears:

driver verifier selection

While you might be tempted to select all the drivers, we'd recommend using the unsigned drivers (the first choice) or older drivers (second choice). You can also select a specific driver.

The more drivers that are tested at one time can end up flagging less important bugs that could mask the problem you're trying to solve.

Select Finish. The final screen appears:

driver verifier reboot

Press Ok. You will need to manually restart the system (selecting Ok does not issue a reboot).

 
     
  What happens with a failure?  
     
 

The faulty device driver under test will cause a Bug Check commonly called a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) fault.

Record the Stop code, which is the long hex number after "*** STOP: ", about halfway down the screen. You might also record the values following the stop code, as they are occasionally helpful.

Go to the FaultWire list of Fatal Error Solutions and look up the code to find out more about what happened. Common Stop codes that may occur when using the Driver Verifier include:

0x0000000A IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
0x00000050 PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
0x000000BE ATTEMPTED_WRITE_TO_READONLY_MEMORY
0x000000C1 SPECIAL_POOL_DETECTED_MEMORY_CORRUPTION
0x000000C4 DRIVER_VERIFIER_DETECTED_VIOLATION
0x000000C6 DRIVER_CAUGHT_MODIFYING_FREED_POOL
0x000000C7 TIMER_OR_DPC_INVALID
0x000000C9 DRIVER_VERIFIER_IOMANAGER_VIOLATION
 
     
 

If no fatal errors have occurred, you can run the Driver Verifier again. On the first Task screen, select Display information about the current verified drivers, then Next.

You can then look at the test settings (and change them), or use Next to view the Global counters and Next again to see the counters to a specific driver. Select Finish to exit.

 
     
  Notes  
     
  For more details on Driver Verifier at Microsoft.

Additional content for XP and Server 2003 at
Driver Verifier