The Blue Screen of Death or BSOD

The blue screen, “Blue Screen” or “BSOD” (which stands for “Blue Screen of Death”) is a problem and something we’ve probably encountered at least once. No matter which Windows operating system you use, a BSOD is something that no Microsoft OS is yet resistant to.

What to do if and when you run into the Blue Screen? Find out what the solutions to this problem are and whether we can do anything to reduce the likelihood of these problems later in this article.

Blue Screen of Death

First of all, what is a BSOD anyway?

A “Blue Screen” or “BSOD” is a sign that your computer has encountered a fatal or malfunction that prevents it from continuing. Such errors can happen and happen when the system encounters an error that can no longer work normally and safely and it crashes. When a system crashes, Windows will show a blue screen on which to write some information (usual information about the error) and then restart.

Why does the blue screen of death appear at all? There can be several causes, and we will talk about the most common ones below. The most common causes of blue screen problems are driver problems, problems with computer hardware components, and operating system errors. It should be said that the new versions of Windows (such as Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10) are much more stable than the old versions, which means that users should not encounter blue screens so often.

Personally, in the five years, I've been using Windows 10, I've only had a blue screen once, due to a system error. When I used Windows XP, blue screens happened much more often due to both known and unknown causes. All in all a thumbs up for Microsoft’s effort. But although it has managed to minimize the occurrence of this problem, Windows is still not, as I said, resistant to it.


If a blue screen happens to you, the first thing that would be good to do is write down the code

It is difficult to know how to solve the cause and the problem itself that led to the blue screen if we do not know what led to it. The blue screen in Windows 10 contains a sad "smiley" and a caption about a simple error message in the system. Below this message, you'll see a link to the Microsoft troubleshooting page, QR code, and stop code field.

A good idea here would be to scan the QR code with your smartphone and go to the Microsoft support page. The most important thing we can do here is to write down the code that led to the system shutting down, as this will greatly help us solve the problem. 

What recent changes have you made to your computer?

In a lot of situations, you’ll see a blue screen after you’ve made some key changes to your computer. Such changes can greatly affect the operation of the system and the computer itself, which can then lead to the appearance of a blue screen of death.

The blue screen may cause new drivers to be installed for some of the hardware components. Furthermore, a blue screen can also cause upgrades for Windows. If you recently upgraded Windows on your computer, go to settings - upgrades and security - Windows upgrade and click on "view upgrade history" here. On the next page, click on the "uninstall updates" option. Then uninstall the latest updates that you have installed on your system and see if that fixes the problem.

Check Windows and driver upgrades

Bad upgrades can sometimes cause various problems on your computer, one of which is the blue screen. But Microsoft, along with its various third parties, very often releases program updates to fix such issues. Go under settings - upgrades and security - Windows upgrade and apply some of the upgrades that are pending.

Who knows, maybe just that upgrade contains some of the important files that will fix the blue screen problem. This step is essentially the opposite of the last one, but it’s worth a try, especially since the blue screen is a problem you have to solve at all costs if you want your computer to run normally.

Another cause of problems can be computer component drivers. Go to “Device Manager” and check the drivers there. Is any of them marked with a yellow exclamation mark? If so, it will need to be reinstalled.

What did you recently install on your computer?

One of probably the most common causes of the blue screen of death is the applications and programs that the user installs on their computer. The risk is all the greater if the user downloads the application or program from unreliable sources. If you have recently installed a game, program, or downloaded a movie from the Internet and see that your computer is showing you a blue screen, it is almost 100% certain that the movie, game, or program is causing the problem.

The reason for this is that these things you downloaded may contain either viruses or other types of malicious code that interfere with Windows's proper operation. Delete suspicious files or uninstall suspicious programs and see if that solves your problems. If so, great. If not, move on.

Start “System Restore” or Windows Recovery

System Restore is a handy feature that Windows has. Thanks to it, you will be able to restore Windows to a previous state that worked normally. All in all, it’s a great tool that can help you solve a variety of problems, especially if they’re as difficult and complicated as this one.

To start the system recovery, type "recovery" in the Start menu and open the recovery control panel. Now click on "Open System Restore", then on "Scan for affected programs" and wait a bit. Running this tool will not affect your files in any way, especially those that work normally, but it will uninstall any driver or program in general that you have installed on your computer since the computer recorded the recovery point. Also, System Restore will reinstall everything you uninstalled after creating the recovery point.

Scan your computer for malware

The primary purpose of malicious programs is, of course, to cause as much damage to the computer as possible, which can cause a blue screen to appear. For this reason, it would be a good idea to scan your computer with one of the anti-malware programs as soon as possible. One of the best for this purpose is Malwarebytes.

It is a high-quality program that will scan your computer and search it lengthwise and crosswise in search of various harmful and dangerous programs. After scanning, restart your computer and restart it to see if this solves the blue screen problem.

See also: How to remove malware from your computer

How do the hardware components of your computer work?

In case so far no method of trying to fix the blue screen problem has worked, the next thing that would be good to check is the computer components. If the component does not work properly, it may also cause a blue screen to appear.

Start SFC

Another very useful tool that Windows has in itself is called SFC (or "System File Checker"). Run SFC to see if any of the key Windows files might be faulty. If only one Windows file is not working properly, it may cause a blue screen to appear.

How to start SFC? Very simple. To start at the same time, press the Window and X keys or right-click the Start button, select Command Prompt as administrator (or Windows PowerShell also as administrator) and type the following command: sfc /scannow. Now, wait a minute. After a while, you will see the scan results.

Start Windows in Safe Mode

In case the blue screen bothers you and you can't work normally, start Windows in Safe Mode. This way you will be able to work smoothly on Windows and your computer and you will be able to fix the problem with the blue screen without annoying interference.

Safe mode will run only some of the most basic functions of Windows, which is quite OK because Windows in this way disables and protects against any intrusions and operation of third-party applications. If you can work in Safe Mode without interfering with the blue screen, then almost 100% of the cause of the problem is the installed application or program. Also, while in Safe Mode, you can perform a scan with antivirus as well as anti-malware programs, so it’s a good idea to use that time for anything that might help solve the problem.

If all else fails, reinstall Windows

Reinstalling Windows is the last line of defense. If and when nothing else works, and you need your computer and want it to work as before, then the only thing that will solve the blue screen is reinstalling Windows. In situations like this, we don’t know what is causing the problem.

Whatever it is, this problem does not allow Windows to function normally, and the only remedy for it is reinstallation. Yes, this way you will lose all the data that was on the disk on which Windows was installed, which can be a big loss. But if nothing else works and the blue screen doesn’t give up, this is the only solution.


Although awkward, the problem with the blue screen is becoming less common

It is certainly a good thing about the blue screen of death problem that it is very rare. If you have Windows 10 if you pay attention to what and where you install it, if you update it regularly, you should not have a "BSOD" problem.

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