23/05: Microsoft Windows XP Error: 0x0000009C a.k.a 0x9C

I have been facing Microsoft Windows XP error 0x0000009C (Machine_Check_Exception) frequently since the last couple months accompanied by the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) associated with pre-Vista Windows based systems based on the NT kernel like Windows 2000, Windows XP, etc. From what I have read, Windows Vista presents a Red Screen Of Death (RSOD).

Any way, the thing I noticed most frequently associated with this error code is that just before it occurred, one of the hard disk drives in my computer system made a clicking sound which usually signifies hard disk failure. This lead me to check the hard disk drives extensively via disk check utility in Windows (chkdsk [drive]: /r) and some times, the utility reported bad sectors. Clearly, something fishy was going on.

I consulted Microsoft's KB articles and the help site resources for this error without any fruitful results. I searched on various forums and the suggestions to solve this error revolved around removing ZoneAlarm firewall software when clearly, this was a hardware error.

The plethora of random suggestions were very confusing and seemed more an attempt to guess at the solution rather than making an informed choice.

Once, accidentally, when one of my SATA hard disk was clicking, I reseated the SATA power and data connectors which resulted in the computer getting stuck for a couple seconds before resuming normal operation as if the issue had never happened.

Since the error usually occurred after clicking sounds from my IDE hard disk (another one different from the SATA one), I replaced its power connector with another one and viola! The problem was solved for a couple weeks.

The next time I saw the 0x0000009C error, it was when I shifted the cables in my casing around to adjust SATA data/power cables for a new hard disk drive. It seems to me that the power connector on the IDE disk again got loose and caused the random clicking sounds and a restart due to 0x0000009C error.

From all this exercise over the period of a couple months, what I have deduced is that the reason for my encountering this dreaded error (0x0000009C) was simply crappy PSU molex/SATA power connectors. When they were fully seated and in contact with the male power connectors on the hard disk drives, the computer system worked fine. However, when they became loose, the caused Windows XP to inundate me with the [now] dreaded error.

Now, my disk drives run perfectly (after a replacement of the female PSU power connectors) and I have been living a 0x0000009C free life happily. I hope it is a 'happily ever after' kind of deal where I don't face this error ever again. :D
Asad  Computers 
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