FIX: SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION (3b)

A Blue Screen of Death with the error code SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION (3b) is the result of an exception, which happened when a routine that goes from a non-privileged code to a privileged one executes. This error is known to be linked to excessive usage of the paged pool.

This BSOD error can be caused by a number of things, but the most commonly found ones are bad RAM, incorrectly setup RAM, a bad GPU, issues with the antivirus, or certain combinations of RAM and CPUs. Whichever of these it is, there is a solution for it and you will be able to use your computer without any issues.

Method 1: Check your RAM

Option 1: RAM not working

This error message is most commonly caused by bad RAM or incorrectly setup one. The first step to checking this is checking if the RAM sticks are all working. Most computers nowadays, be it laptops or desktops, come with multiple RAM sticks. If this is the case, one of them may have gone bad and that can result in the aforementioned BSOD. What you should do is boot the system with every RAM stick, one by one. If one of them is bad, you will notice it immediately as the system won’t boot, and you will know that you have to change that stick.

Option 2: Timings or frequency are incorrect

This will require you to enter the BIOS of your system, which can be accessed when you turn your computer on, right before Windows boots. Look near the bottom when turning on your computer to see which buttons you need to access the BIOS – they’re usually ESC, F2, F12 or Backspace. Once inside, you should find your RAM’s settings. Each BIOS is different, so you should follow the buttons within the instructions – they will usually tell you to use the function and arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate around. Changing your frequency to 800MHz or 1600MHz, depending on your system, may help solve this issue. It will also take care of the timings of the RAM.

Another thing to mention, if you have an AMD Phenom II CPU and 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, this is known to be a combination that can cause problems, especially if you have G.Skill RAM. This is because the Phenom II is designed to support up to 1333MHz DDR3 RAM, and leaving it to Auto settings can lead to system instability. Set the frequency to 1333MHz or lower to solve this, and if it doesn’t help, you may need to buy new RAM.

Method 2: Check your video card

Video card drivers are known to cause a number of issues, and BSODs are only the beginning. See when have you started to get this error. Did you make a video driver update prior to that? Could that be the cause? If you have updated the drivers, you can try rolling back to the previous ones. This could potentially fix your problems. To do this, press Start on your keyboard and type Device Manager. Open the result and find your video card by expanding Display Adapters in the list of drivers you have in front of you. Right-click and select Properties. Under the Driver tab, you should see an option to Roll back the driver. If this is greyed out, it means that you haven’t updated it and this doesn’t apply to you. If it isn’t, select it and allow your system to go back to its previous drivers. Reboot your system and see whether the error persists. If it doesn’t, you’re good to go. If it does, go to the next step.

If the previous solution didn’t help, you can completely uninstall the drivers and let Windows use the generic ones. This is done from the Device Manager again, only this time, when you right-click the video card, select Uninstall instead of Properties. Follow the wizard and reboot your system, this will cause Windows to start using the generic drivers. If, for any reason you can’t do this, you can try the same steps from Safe Mode. To boot into Safe Mode, press F8 or Shift + F8 before Windows boots, and select Safe Mode from the boot menu. Proceed with uninstalling the drivers as mentioned previously. If you get an error message and you still can’t uninstall the drivers, this might unfortunately mean that your graphics card is damaged or completely destroyed.

Method 3: Uninstall your antivirus

Antiviruses, although they must not, tend to behave much like video card drivers in terms of causing issues. Some of the most notorious ones are Avast and McAffee. If you are the user of any of them, especially Avast, this may be the cause of the problem. Uninstalling it is easy, just follow these instructions:

From the Start menu, type Change or Remove Programs and open the result. You will be met with a list of software currently installed on your system. Find your antivirus, select it, and choose Uninstall. Follow the wizard to uninstall it, and reboot your system to completely remove all remaining files. After this, your device should be working without any issues or BSODs.

All things considered, this issue usually seems more problematic than it actually is. Solving it is quite easy as long as it’s a software issue, and you can take care of it in no time by simply following the steps described above.

Method 4: Analyse DMP Files

If the methods above won’t resolve the issue for you, then view the WinDBG guide so you can analyse the BSOD Dump Files yourself.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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FIX: SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION (3b)

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