I keep getting an error which says:
The instruction at 0x7c901010 referenced memory at 0x0000001c The
memory could not be read.
I was wondering if you could help me please.
That error message, by itself, is kind of like taking your car to your auto
mechanic and saying “something’s broken”. It’s nowhere near enough information
to even begin to have a clue as to what’s going on.
That mechanic is going to respond by asking you a bunch of questions.
So will I.
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The single most important question that I would ask first is
What were you doing or trying to do when this happened?
Your auto mechanic’s probably going to ask a similar question. How’s it
broken? What were you doing when it broke?
For your computer: Were you just sitting there and it popped up on its own?
Does it happen only when you do certain things like browse the web or run a
specific program? Can you reproduce it reliably, and if so what are the steps
to doing so?
All of that information is attempting to identify if perhaps a specific
piece of software is causing the problem. Then, presumably, we might be able to
repair that software.
My next question is equally important:
What your computer’s configuration?
That auto mechanic has the luxury of seeing the car you brought in for
service. When you ask someone a question on the internet, they can’t see your
computer, so you’ll need to indicate just what it is your using.
there might be more questions.”
Windows XP? SP2 installed? Windows Vista? How much memory is in your computer?
Disk space? Free disk space? Anything that might be related to the answer to
the first question? (for example if it only happens when you access a
particular piece of hardware, what are the specifications for that
If the problem seems to be internet or mail related, what browser are you
using? What extensions do you have installed? Who’s your email provider? What
email program do you use? If it only happens when you use a specific program –
what program? What version? Is it up to date?
All of that information is critical to understanding what we’re dealing
with. As only one example, there are problems with Windows XP SP1 that SP2
doesn’t have – knowing where you’re at could indicate a quick solution. Or not.
Similarly different hardware and different software all plays into figuring our
what might be at fault.
Now we start with maintenance:
Is your anti-malware software running and up to date? Is Windows up
This is very much like your mechanic asking when your last oil change was,
or when you had your care tuned up last.
I’m going to ask what anti-virus program you’re running, and whether or not
you’re keeping the database of virus definition up to date every day. Same for
your anti-spyware program: is it running, and are you keeping it up to
Similarly I’m going to ask if Windows itself has been kept up to date. Many
problems appear after vulnerabilities are discovered and made public; keeping
Windows up to date is how you avoid these problems.
Many, many, many problems like this are virus or particularly
spyware related. Certainly not all, and it’s not a conclusion you can just jump
to, but making sure you’re running the latest and greatest is an important step
in resolving potential issues.
Next we look at recent history:
Did you make any changes to your system recently?
The car mechanic will ask “had any work done lately?”
I’ll be asking if you’ve installed any new hardware or software recently and
whether the problem began happening then? That’s a pretty strong clue that
there’s a relationship. Perhaps uninstalling or system restore would resolve
That’s all just a start. Depending on the additional information you provide
there might be more questions. Occasionally with enough information and a
little research answers might well pop up quickly.
But with zero information, your chances of a solution are about the same:
As a side note, sometimes you can get lucky and search for the specific
memory address on the internet and get a specific answer. Sometimes. Not so in
this case. In researching this specific error there appears to be no clear
solution, though many mentions of possible spyware. Without more information
it’s just not something that’ll get tracked down.