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Decoding Machine Check Error (MCE) / Purple Screen of Death (PSOD)

When a PSOD occurs with the error Machine Check Exception, this means there was a hardware fault which was caught by the CPU.

The following VMware articles help with finding the cause of MCEs:

VMware KB 1003560: Determining if virtual machine and ESX host unresponsiveness is caused by hardware issues
VMware KB 1006796: Extracting the log file after an ESX or ESXi host fails with a purple screen error
VMware KB 1005184: Decoding Machine Check Exception (MCE) output after a purple screen error

AMD CPUs

If the CPU is AMD you can use their MCAT (Machine Check Analysis Tool) to find the cause of a Machine Check Exception. You’ll need the machine check exception general status, bank status and bank address codes in hex, which can be found on the PSOD or in the vmkernel-1.log file.

If the above link doesn’t work, search for the latest version here: http://support.amd.com/us/Search/results.aspx?k=MCAT

Look at the MCE decoding example to see how to decode a MCE using the above articles.

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