Magic Hex Codes

Hexadecimal codes – we’ve all seen them. From developer to Windows user, hex codes seem to be common place. The ones we see usually signify to a developer what kind of error or message the computer is trying to tell us.

That’s where half the fun is. Most of these messages are cryptic and creepy. Using codes like 0xFEE1DEAD to tell the user something terrible happened, or printing out 0x48454C50 (which is “HELP” in ascii) to the user.

Spooky. That’s what makes it cool! So here is a list of various error codes seen on day-to-day computers, development IDEs, and old classic machines. See if you’ve seen any!


  • 0x8BADF00D – (“Ate Bad Food”) Used by Apple in the iOS crash reports when an application takes too long to respond to commands or system events.
  • oxDEADFA11 – (“Dead Fall”) Also used in the Apple iOS crash reports when a user quits the application.
  • 0xDEADDEAD – (“Dead Dead”) The BSOD error code for a manually initiated crash on Windows NT and up computers. Also known by its bug check code 0x000000E2.
  • 0xDEFEC8ED – (“Defecated”) A magic number used in OpenSolaris core dumps (Ha. I get it. Core dumps. I see what you did there).
  • 0xFEE1DEAD – (“Feel Dead”) A magic number used in the Linux reboot system call.

Game Consoles

  • 0xD15EA5E – (“Disease”) Used on the Nintendo Gamecube and Nintendo Wii to indicate… a regular boot. Seriously. Every time you play your Wii, you spread the infection.
    Wii would like to play.... MWHAHAHAAHAAA!!!


  • The GameBoy and GameBoy Advanced have either a 48 byte or 156 byte magic number, respectively, at a fixed point in the header of it’s executables. The number encodes a bitmap of the Nintendo logo. (Source)

Code and Debugging

  • Windows Visual Studios Magic Numbers
    • 0xCCCCCCCC – Uninitialized pointer memory.
    • 0xABABABAB – Memory allocated by LocalAlloc() (Allocated Block, possibly).
    • 0xBAADF00D – (” Bad Food”) Memory allocated by LocalAlloc() with LMEM_FIXED, but not written to.
    • 0xDDDDDDDD Free()‘d memory (Dead memory).
    • oxCDCDCDCD – Newly allocated memory (Clean memory).
    • 0xFEEEFEEE Free()‘d heap memory.
    • oxFDFDFDFD – Guard bytes (Fence memory, AKA No-Mans’ Land).


  • 0xE011CFD0 – Magic number for Mircosoft Office files. In little Endian, it reads 0xD0CF11E0 (“docfile0”).
  • 0xFACE8D General skin color.

If you have more, post up what it is and where it’s from in a comment below.


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Computer Scientist for Engility, and Indie Game Dev from New Jersey. Loves playing games, and loves making them, too.

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