DEC Alpha Bug Check Crash

Peter Coghlan cctalk at
Fri Nov 9 17:38:12 CST 2018

> I hadn't started this DEC Alpha 3000-300 since last summer, and booted 
> it up so I could load the new PAK's the other day.
> The result was that it completes almost the entire OpenVMS startup, but 
> then crashes with the following:
> %SET-I-INTSET, login interactive limit = 64, current interactive value = 0
> **** OpenVMS Alpha Operating System V8.4     - BUGCHECK ****
> ** Bugcheck code = 000001CC: INVEXCEPTN, Exception while above ASTDEL
> ** Crash CPU: 00000000    Primary CPU: 00000000    Node Name: A300
> ** Highest CPU number:    00000000
> ** Active CPUs:           00000000.00000001
> ** Current Process:       DECW$STARTUP
> ** Current PSB ID:        00000001
> **** Starting selective memory dump at  8-NOV-2018 21:57...
> The disk is a SCSI2SD board with an 8 GB SD card.  It had been running 
> just fine, until now.
> Does this crash point to a hardware or software problem?

I think "Exception while above ASTDEL" refers to an exception encountered
while processing an interrupt in kernel mode, probably in device driver code.
I think this leans more in the direction of a sofware problem while something
like "Machine check in kernel mode" would lean more in the direction of a
hardware problem.

Having said that, I think a software problem is very unlikely unless you
were running a bleeding edge version of VMS on bleeding edge hardware or
performing some highly unusual operation, not just booting a well proven
version of VMS on a mature system which worked perfectly well before this.

If the copy of VMS on your emulated disk got damaged, I think it would be
unusual to get almost all the way through the boot procedure and then fail
right at the end, although I suppose very slight damage only to a DECWindows
specific device driver might somehow manage to cause this.

Bizarrely, I have had a faulty mouse suddenly cause all sorts of strange
issues on a DEC 3000-300.  It might be worth trying it without the mouse
plugged in.

Peter Coghlan.

More information about the cctalk mailing list