How to Fix “Page Error in Unpaged Area” on Windows

Some blue screens of death (BSOD) are difficult or impossible to diagnose and fix, while others are fairly simple. Fortunately, a “Page Error” type BSOD can often be repaired. Here are some solutions you can try.

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What is the cause of the PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA?

As your computer performs tasks, it continuously loads programs and files into RAM, known as RAM. If your Windows PC is low on RAM, or if a program or file has been inactive for a long time, Windows will start moving things from RAM to your hard drive or SSD. These elements are stored in the page file.

If something interferes with reading or writing to the pagefile (pagefile.sys) – or directly with your RAM itself – chances are you’ll get a blue screen of death (BSOD).

A handful of things can cause this problem:

Un pilote ou un service système défectueux
Un disque dur ou un lecteur à état solide (SSD) corrompu.
Un logiciel antivirus défectueux
Mémoire (RAM, Cache ou VRAM) défectueuse.

Diagnosing the problem

In general, your first troubleshooting steps should always focus on anything recently changed on your PC. Have you just updated a driver, program or Windows? Have you installed new hardware? If so, start there. Roll back the driver you updated, uninstall the program, or try to uninstall the latest Windows update. If you installed new hardware, remove it and see if the problem persists.

If you’re not sure what has changed recently, dig a little deeper.

When you get this BSOD, it will often show what was going on when something went wrong on the “What Failed” line.

An example of a BSOD indicating what caused the crash.

If your BSOD shows something like this, Google it first. This will probably be enough to point you in the right direction. For example, if the failed entry returns any results for NVIDIA, you should definitely start by reinstalling or resetting your graphics drivers.

General Troubleshooting

If the BSOD doesn’t give you any clues as to what’s causing the problem and you don’t know what was recently updated, the problem will be harder to fix. Here are some things you can try. Some of them can help you find the root of the problem while others can fix it.

Delete new material

If you recently installed new hardware and your computer suddenly started getting BSODs, you should definitely try removing the new hardware. While you’re at it, make sure the other components are installed correctly. It is possible that something was bumped during the installation.

View Event Viewer

Event Viewer is exactly what it sounds like: it lets you view important events that affect your PC. Events are classified into different categories, for example “Windows logs” and “Applications and services logs”. They are also classified by severity: Information, Warning and Error.

Event Viewer contains a large amount of information, so it’s worth learning what it is and how it works before diving in.

In all likelihood, an error causing a BSOD can be found under Windows Logs > System.

Go to the “System” tab and look for errors that precede the BSOD.

Check the “Details” tab. Try to limit your results to things that happened at the same time as the BSOD.

Check recently updated programs

If you’ve installed special drivers for your CPU, GPU, sound card, network adapter, motherboard, or any other part of your computer, they’ll show up in the “Apps and features” section of the Settings app. You can use this to determine what was recently updated and it may shed some light on the cause of the problem.

Click the Start button, type “Apps and features” in the search bar, then press Enter or click “Open.” (You can also go to Settings > Apps > Apps & Features to find this window).

By default, the program list is sorted alphabetically, but we need to change it to be sorted by installation date. Click the “Name” label next to “Sort by” and change it to “Date Installed”.

If you see drivers that have been updated since you noticed the BSODs started, try installing an older version or reinstalling the current one.

Disable your antivirus

Even the best antivirus software makes mistakes. It is unlikely, but possible, that your antivirus is somehow interfering with the paging file reading or writing, causing the BSOD.

The easiest way to check if your antivirus is causing the problem is to temporarily disable it. If the crashes stop, you’ve found the culprit.

It is slightly more difficult to solve the problem. If your antivirus is to blame, it’s probably due to access protection or real-time threat detection. You need to add exceptions to both for the Windows swap file. How you do this depends on the antivirus software you are using. You should refer to your specific software’s documentation for details.

You can also completely remove your third-party antivirus and let Microsoft Defender take over. Microsoft Defender has been struggling for a while, but it’s been as good as any third-party option for a few years now.

Run a memory test (RAM)

The components of modern computers are phenomenally complex and, like everything else, they sometimes break. Your RAM is no exception. Fortunately, there are tests you can perform to determine if your RAM is faulty.

If your RAM is faulty, this is almost certainly the cause of the BSOD. There is not much you can do to fix faulty RAM. You can try cleaning and reseating the contacts, but that probably won’t help. You will have to replace it. The good news is that RAM isn’t particularly expensive and is widely available.

Replacing the RAM on a desktop PC is quite easy and takes no more than a few minutes. Laptops are a different story: they are much harder to open and work on, and in some cases the RAM is permanently attached to the motherboard. If your laptop’s RAM is permanently stuck, have it repaired by the manufacturer or a professional.

RAM isn’t the only physical part that could be the cause: it could also be your hard drive or SSD. Sometimes the corruption is due to a software bug, sometimes a hardware problem. Windows comes with a tool specifically designed to diagnose and repair problems with hard drives or solid-state drives: the Check Disk utility.

Check Disk, commonly referred to as Chkdsk, can fix some basic problems and help alleviate more serious problems. If there is a problem with the file system, or if a sector is corrupted due to a software bug, he can probably fix it completely. If your hard drive has a bad sector due to physical damage, it is best to avoid using it in the future.

Corrupt sectors or file system issues can cause BSODs; running Chkdsk can solve the problem completely.

As with most computer components, there’s little you can do to fix a failed hard drive or SSD, all you need to do is replace it. If you find that your drive is faulty, you should back up any important information you have stored on it. A hard drive can fail at any time and prevent you from recovering your important files.

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