Blue screen stop code 0x00000116 (nvlddmkm.sys)

[German]Some Windows users are receiving a blue screen with stop code 0x00000116, and a shutdown is forced. Within this blog post I have collected a few information about this error.


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I became aware of this error within a thread in German Microsoft Answers forum. A user was facing this stop code from time to time – he wrote:

Since months I have a problem with my systems (minimum onece a week). If I start my machine, Windows boots, but after load notification the screen goes black. Then the system shuts down and restarts after 1-2 seconds and continue to boot successful. I was analyzing a Minidump and got in all cases the stop code 0x00000116 with 3 identical entries: dxgkrnl.sys + ntoskrnl.exe + nvlddmkm.sys. I guess, it’s a problem with the DirectX graphics kernel…

The user has identified the stop code 0x00000116 that is causing a restart of his system during system startup. But this stop code may not only occur during system boot. I have this stop error from time to time (sometimes once a month, then the error has gone for years). My system suddenly freeze during normal operation with a black screen. Then I have to press the power button for a few seconds, to force a shut down of the Windows 7 machine. After login in to the administrator account, a dialog box informing me, that a display error has forced a shutdowns. The message didn’t occur on standard user accounts. I found similar forum posts, and here this error was reported for Windows Vista.

How to analyze this blue screen?

Because I have this error also on a occasionally base on one of my machines, I was able to describe the steps to analyze the stop error. For an optimal analysis of the blue screen, Windows debugger (windbg) should be installed on a system.

But normal users won’t have WinDbg, so I recommend a more simple approach. If a blue screen appears, you can analyze it with the BlueScreenView tool from Nirsoft. The tool can be downloaded free of charge from this website. This tool automatically reads the .dmp files from the Windows folder after launch. However, the folder can be customized using the Advanced Options button on the toolbar or via the Options menu.

BlueScreenView


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The screenshot shown above indicates (see the time stamps of the .dmp files), that the issue occurs on my machine only in rare cases. Inspecting a .dmp file reveals, that from the 3 files mentioned above, nvlddmkm.sys is involved.

Interpreting the stop code 0x00000116

The stop code 0x00000116 is thrown, if a critical error can’t be handled from operating system. I discussed how to obtain further information about stop codes within my blog post How to decode Windows errors?. There is a Bug Check Code Reference published from Microsoft, where stop codes are documented. Bug check code 0x116 stands for VIDEO_TDR_ERROR. An attempt has been made, to reset set display driver due to a fatal error. But this attempt failed because of an timeout error. The graphic chip doesn’t react on this reset. The documentation of this stop code also describes the parameters delivered together with the error. 

Parameter Description
1 The pointer to the internal TDR recovery context, if available.
2 A pointer into the responsible device driver module (for example, the owner tag).
3 The error code of the last failed operation, if available.
4 Internal context dependent data, if available.

But these information is only important for developers to analyze the Dump file using Windows debugger. For an end user, it is of no relevance. What we can note: stop error code 0116 delivers an explanation what’s happened, and BlueScreenView says, that the file nvlddmkm.sys has been involved. This file belongs to Nvidia’s graphic drivers. To fix stop code, try the following checks (see also this Microsoft error site):

  • Check, if you need to install the latest updates for your display driver, so that it properly supports the TDR process.
  • To be sure, that resetting the display driver won’t be as a result of overheated chips on your graphics card, check whether the graphic chips are free of a dust layer and the fan is cooling properly. 
  • On high-end graphics cards, also an erroneous or insufficient power supply may be the reason for this stop code.

Also graphic chips running in an overclocked mode may cause this stop code. And Microsoft also mentions “too many background processes running” as a cause for this stop code. Maybe the hints given above may help to find the root cause for the stop error 0x00000116 on your machine.

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