A hardware or software problem can cause a Stop error, which causes a Stop message to appear. Stop messages typically fit into one of the following categories:
• Stop errors caused by faulty software. A Stop error can occur when a driver, service, or system feature running in Kernel mode introduces an exception. For example, a driver attempts to perform an operation above its assigned interrupt request level (IRQL) or tries to write to an invalid memory address. A Stop message might seem to appear randomly, but through careful observation, you might be able to associate the problem with a specific activity. Verify that all installed software (especially drivers) in question is fully Windows 7–compatible and that you are running the latest versions. Windows 7 compatibility is especially important for applications that might install drivers.
• Stop errors caused by hardware issues. This problem occurs as an unplanned event resulting from defective, malfunctioning, or incorrectly configured hardware. If you suspect a Stop error is caused by hardware, first install the latest drivers for that hardware. Failing hardware can cause Stop errors regardless of the stability of the driver, however.
• Executive initialization Stop errors. Executive initialization Stop errors occur only during the relatively short Windows executive initialization sequence. Typically, these Stop errors are caused by corrupted system files or faulty hardware. To resolve them, run Startup Repair as described in Chapter 29. If problems persist, verify that all hardware features have the latest firmware and then continue troubleshooting.
• Installation Stop errors that occur during setup. For new installations, installation Stop errors typically occur because of incompatible hardware, defective hardware, or outdated firmware. During an operating system upgrade, Stop errors can occur when incompatible applications and drivers exist on the system. Update the computer’s firmware to the version recommended by the computer manufacturer before installing Windows. Consult your system documentation for information about checking and upgrading your computer’s firmware.
Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press