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A Guide to the “Worker Invalid” Blue Screen of Death Error

Error Name: WORKER_INVALID (0x000000E4)

Worker Invalid. Sometimes shows up as 0x000000E4.

Good job documenting the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) error that bought you here: WORKER_INVALID. Sometimes, it’ll appear by its error code only: 0x000000E4.

For that, I have good news: one, your computer isn’t dead yet, and two, I’m here to help you get it fixed.

Let’s start with the basics.

BSoDs happen when Windows is given an instruction it can’t follow, so it flips out and shuts down because it doesn’t want to blow up. Sometimes this can happen randomly and it won’t reoccur — other times, it’ll happen whenever you attempt to do a certain task. If you’re especially unfortunate, it’ll happen on a constant basis, to the point where your computer becomes unusable. While BSoDs don’t mean your computer is dead, they never bode good news to their viewers — and due to their abrupt nature, they tend to scare the hapless users that encounter them. In Windows 8, they replaced the BSoD with a much nicer screen.

An example of a Windows 8 BSoD

Which, while it won’t cause the same kind of panic the classic BSoD would, it’s still not something you want to be pestering you when you’re just trying to use your computer. The WORKER_INVALID error happens when your memory is containing an “executive worker item” that shouldn’t be there, or when a worker item that’s already working is queued again.

Before you start panicking, there’s a chance that WORKER_INVALID is a “false” BSoD caused by a program you have installed. “False” BSoDs are unintentional side-effects of badly-optimized programs, and for Windows 7 and 8, there are some programs that worked just fine on the previous version that don’t work anymore. Windows 8, especially, has many compatibility issues due to how young it is compared to its older brother, Windows 7

One such program is AVG, and using the following link, you can get a Remover Tool to get it off of your system. It’s also advised that you use another antivirus — personally, I prefer Avast — to scan for viruses, and Malwarebytes to scan for malware. Viruses and malware are two different things, and they can both cause “false” BSoDs.

Once you’ve done all that, you shouldn’t have any more problems if you’re dealing with a “fake” BSoD.

Next, you’re going to have to take a look at your drivers and updates.

Drivers are instructions for how your hardware interacts with your computer — your mouse, for instance, has a driver that allows you to use that cursor to hover over my words. There’s also drivers for graphics cards — which control what you see on this screen — and just about every other major aspect of your computer. BSODs can be caused by misconfigured or outdated drivers, so you’re going to need to update them.

First, hit F4 (or another key, which will be visible on the screen) when you’re booting into Windows to choose Safe Mode With Networking from your boot options. Using Safe Mode, go to Device Manager:

  • Click Start (Windows Key + X in Windows 8 )
  • Click Search
  • Type Device Manager
  • Click on the search result and get Windows to update each one of your drivers

For graphics cards and headsets, which get driver updates very frequently, visit the manufacturer’s website yourself to download and install the new drivers yourself.

You can also use Driver Reviver to update all your drivers in one step. This application does a great job of reducing BSoDs.

After you’ve verified that all your drivers are updated, use Windows Update for any system updates you’ve been missing, and when your computer reboots, see if you can go without encountering the BSoD again.

If the WORKER_INVALID error returns, then you’re going to have to call Microsoft or your computer manufacturer to get help with your situation. Follow their instructions exactly, and you should be fine.

Steve Horton

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