Troubleshooting the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) 

When the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) strikes it can be a frustrating problem as ultimately you can’t use your computer.

A Blue Screen of Death is also referred to as a ‘Stop Error.’ A blue screen is triggered when the Windows OS must stop entirely due to a serious problem.

Here are some possible reasons for what causes the Blue Screen of Death:

  • In most cases a BSOD is caused by hardware issues but it can also be related to software drivers
  • It can happen after you’ve installed some new hardware or software
  • An internal component may have become loose and need re-positioning
  • Certain viruses can cause a Blue Screen of Death
  • Lack of space on the hard drive (there may not be not enough available space on the drive which Windows is installed on)

Troubleshooting the Blue Screen of Death:

Firstly, think back to what you did prior to the Blue Screen of Death appearing. Perhaps you carried out a Windows update or installed some new hardware or software? If you’ve recently made some changes such as one of these things it’s quite likely the BSOD has been caused by that.

There is not one ultimate fix for the Blue Screen of Death. The blue screen error means that the issue is so serious that Windows cannot boot.

Reboot the computer

computer power button

The first thing to try after the BSOD appears is to restart the computer and see if it appears again. If it does then you must boot Windows in Safe Mode and see if there are any software updates or programs that you have recently installed and try uninstalling them. If you have recently installed some hardware in the machine, remove it and try to boot the computer without the new piece of hardware (re-fitting the original part).

Update drivers

Sometimes simply updating drivers for your hardware could resolve the issue.

Apply Windows service packs

microsoft

Microsoft frequently releases service packs and patches which might have the fix you need for your blue screen of death.

Event viewer

Within Event Viewer you can find and check the system and application logs for any warnings or errors which could lead you to more answers in relation to your BSOD.

Reseat parts

reseat computer parts

If a part has come loose re-seating it will probably fix the issue. Always check that the computer is powered off and unplugged from the electrical mains before making any hardware changes. Parts to check are: data cables, RAM, hard drive and storage expansion cards. If you are not confident investigating this yourself you should definitely take the computer to an IT specialist.

If BSOD still appears you might need to recover your PC to the last time it was working correctly and see if that resolves the issue. This step should usually fix the BSOD issue, however if it does not then Windows will need to be completely reinstalled as some system files may have been corrupted and therefore cannot be reverted back to their original state.

Run diagnostics on hardware

The BSOD could be the result of a failing component. The hard drive or RAM may need to be replaced. Carry out diagnostic tests and replace the necessary parts if they have failed.

Many laptops and computers come with an in-built hardware diagnostic tool which can be accessed by pressing one of the Function keys (e.g. F2, F10). The way to access it differs for each computer, so you may wish to look this up for your model of computer.

You can’t predict a BSOD but here are some useful tips:

  • Ensure you take regular backups of your data. Cloud backups are usually best as they can be set to backup automatically when you are connected to the internet.
  • Check that you have paid anti-virus software installed and that it is running and up to date.

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