What is the Blue Screen of Death?

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Windows users around the world cower in fear at the concept of seeing the infamous Blue Screen of Death:

Blue Screen of Death

The Blue Screen of Death appears on your screen when a critical error occurs and Windows cannot recover from it, meaning it must reboot.  It is considered the worst error to occur on your computer because it crashes the entire system and often results in an unexpected loss of work.

So what causes the Blue Screen of Death? More often than not, a software error in device drivers. They can also be caused by faulty software – overheating, defective power supplies or issues with RAM.

What can you do if you see the Blue Screen of Death?

One of the most annoying things about the crash is that Windows will automatically restart your computer, meaning you won’t have time to read the error message (which comes with an error code that can help troubleshoot the issue). This can be avoided by changing your settings, ensuring that the computer does not restart automatically. To do this, right-click on the My Computer icon (wherever it is located on your system) and select Properties. Go to ‘Advanced system settings’ on the left-hand menu and, in the Advanced tab under ‘Startup and Recovery’, click Settings. Uncheck the ‘Automatically restart’ box under System failure and there you go – the Blue Screen of Death will remain on screen until you restart your computer manually, meaning you have plenty of time to write down the error code to look up online for solutions later.

If you see the BSoD often, one option is to scan your computer for viruses or malware, which is specifically intended to damage computer systems.

Make sure that your hardware and cables are updated and properly plugged in – it seems obvious but it could be the problem.

Another option is to use System Restore, to undo any recent changes in software. Reinstalling Windows entirely would be a last-resort method that should only be implemented if no other solution works and you are seeing the BSoD on a regular basis.

If you see the Blue Screen of Death once every few years, you have nothing to worry about. These things happen – hardware fails sometimes. If you start seeing the screen on a monthly or weekly basis, it’s a cause for concern and you should take your computer to a specialist.

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