Emergency mode? Bah! It takes a Microsoft product to really break a digital sign

Memory is not the only thing leaking from Windows


Bork!Bork!Bork! It's a return to familiar ground for the bork desk today as that most common of Windows occurrences turns up in a UK transport hub: a screen of bluest death.

Snapped at London's Euston station by Reg reader Jed, it appears that atikmpag.sys was misbehaving once again. The code in question is related to the display driver and, as related by Windows in the error message, an attempt made to reset it and recover from a timeout has failed.

What Windows does not say is that it has then proceeded to react with all the stability of a drunk uncle at a wedding and barfed up an error unhelpful to all but the most technically astute of observers.

Windows BSOD

I'm ready for my close-up (click to enlarge)

By our reckoning, that 0x00000116 is indeed the timeout mentioned in the text. It is a VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE and the four parameters after it would give us some clues as to where we should start looking in the memory dump file.

However, the third parameter should be the error code of the last failed operation, and 0xC0000001 looks to us like something pretty bad has happened. Possibly a duff file. Maybe an actual hardware failure.

Still, at least this is a proper Blue Screen of Death rather than the cutesy emoticons and QR codes found in more recent Microsoft operating systems (an effort, we suspect, to protect users from the doom that has afflicted their PCs.)

Not that Microsoft particularly likes using the word "death" when it comes to its operating systems. A former Microsoft engineer explained earlier this year that "bugcheck" was the preferred term and that the blue came from the soft hues of a programmer's MIPS RISC box and the SlickEdit editor.

Still, BSOD aside, we have to admit to a certain nostalgia when presented with rail departure boards (this hack has not troubled a railway station since March 2020) although the borked screen appears to have led a tough life. We have a horrible feeling that the white streaks beneath it might be result of the odd poorly bird or two flapping around the concourse.

Unless, of course, Windows is leaking something other than memory. ®

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