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Note: This FAQ is intended for users of Stata 9. It is not relevant for more current versions.

Memory reference errors and Windows

Title   Memory reference errors and Windows crashes
Author Pete Huckelba, StataCorp

When running Stata or using the data editor under Windows, some users have reported receiving the following message (or similar):

        'The instruction at 00524f1e
        referenced memory at f6de433a
        The memory could not be written
        Click OK to terminate the application'

This rare problem is caused by operating system or hardware errors and is not under Stata’s control. Clicking OK will terminate the Stata session. Because there is no way to return to the Stata session, any modified data will be lost.

The most common reasons for this problem are

Windows memory error

This memory error is generally seen under consumer versions of Windows (95/98/98SE/ME) because they lack protected memory. These operating systems share memory, and it is possible that a memory location where Stata has stored some of its data has been overwritten by another application or by the operating system.

StataCorp recommends that users reboot their machine since the memory corruption/error may persist after the application has terminated. Failure to reboot may leave the system in an unstable state causing other applications to crash and/or system errors.

Bad memory

Faulty memory modules can also cause this problem. If you notice this error often, especially when using large datasets or when running other applications, your RAM may be faulty. Memory can be tested by computer repair centers, or you can download a memory tester from a provider such as Simmtester.com

Misconfigured BIOS

Advanced users may also want to check their BIOS configuration. Some motherboards allow system and video BIOS settings to be cached. While this caching is intended to speed up processing, it often causes system instability. On unstable systems, we recommend that the following list be disabled:

  • Palette snooping
  • Snoop ahead
  • Read around write
  • Video BIOS shadowing
  • Video BIOS caching
  • Video RAM caching
  • Video ROM BIOS shadow
  • System BIOS caching

Not all of the above options will be available on all motherboards. Generally speaking, most users will find an option to Load BIOS defaults or to Load Failsafe defaults. If you are experiencing any errors, use one of the above default settings or contact your motherboard manufacturer.

Warning:   Make sure you have a copy of your BIOS settings before making any changes.