Farewell, Blue Screen of Death?
Hardcore fans of Windows XP may differ, but I believe Windows 10 and 11 are the most stable versions of the operating system to date. Still, it's not unheard of for the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) to appear when Windows encounters an unexpected error. The good news is that you'll never see a Blue Screen of Death on Windows 11. The bad news is, they changed the color of the BSOD. On a Windows 11 system, it's the Black Screen of Death. But it's not all bad -- read on for the latest news on the BSOD and what to do if it happens to you...
Fixing the Blue (or Black) Screen of Death on Windows
Even with the most up up-to-date system, it's not unheard of to see the dreaded Blue (or Black) Screen of Death suddenly pop up. It's usually a warning of a serious problem and should not be ignored. Here's what to do if you encounter this error on Windows 10 or 11...
Technically, the Black/Blue Screen of Death (we'll call it the BSOD going forward) is known as a "stop error." Windows brings everything to a complete, sudden stop "to prevent damage to your computer." The cause of a stop error may lie in hardware or software, and it can be very difficult to track down. Here are a few guidelines to debugging the BSOD on Windows 10 or 11.
An overheated CPU can cause a BSOD error. If your cooling fan is running constantly, you may need to take steps to cool things down inside of your computer case. Blow out dust. Replace heat sink thermal grease. If the cooling fan does not spin freely, install a new one or lubricate the bearing. Laptops may benefit from a lap pad designed to circulate cool air beneath the laptop. (See my article Do You Know Your Computer's Worst Enemy? for more tips on dealing with overheating.)
Bad RAM memory can cause the BSOD error. You can run the Windows 10 memory check diagnostic routine to check your system memory. Close any open files or programs, click the Start button, type mdsched.exe and press Enter. Next, click "Restart now and check for problems". Your computer will restart and run the memory diagnostic. The results of the test will be in the Windows Event Viewer.
Hard disk errors may cause a BSOD error. Run the error-checking tool on your boot drive's Properties page to find and fix errors. It's also a good idea to defragment magnetic hard drives regularly to minimize errors. Note that solid-state (SSD) drives don’t need to be defragged. See my related articles [CAUTION] Hard Drive Makes a Clicking Sound? and [FREE] Tools to Tune and Optimize Your Hard Drive for more help with this.
Software errors that cause a BSOD can occur when Windows does not shut down properly. Loss of power during shutdown is the most common cause of such errors. Using System Restore to restore your Windows settings to an earlier configuration may resolve a BSOD problem. See my article Try System Restore for Windows 10 to learn more about System Restore.
More BSOD Fix Options
Check the Security and Maintenance Center to see if there are any known problems or unresolved configuration errors. Click Start and type "Security and Maintenance" in the search box, then press Enter. Under the Maintenance heading, there's a link to "View reliability history". You'll be able to see if any software or system components have been malfunctioning.
Finally, Windows 10 and 11 have a Reset option that may help to resolve a Black/Blue Screen error. See my article [RESET BUTTON] Restore Your PC To Factory Defaults?. A Reset will install a fresh copy of the Windows operating system, while keeping all your personal files intact.
When all else fails to cure a recurring BSOD problem, you may have to take the machine to a service center or ship it to the manufacturer for diagnosis and repair. Hopefully, the machine is still under warranty as this can be expensive. Be sure to make backup copies of all essential data before sending the machine in for repairs, and delete any sensitive data from the hard drive before turning it over to strangers.
One final note: Windows may automatically restart after a BSOD. It can be hard to diagnose the error message on screen because the restart can happen before you get a chance to read it. I recommend disabling this setting. To do so, click the Windows button, type advanced system settings and press Enter. Click the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery section. Remove the check mark next to Automatically restart, and click OK. You’ll need to restart your computer for this to take effect.
By taking note of the Error Code and/or Stop Code displayed on the BSOD screen, you may be able to search online for a solution, or at least an explanation for the error that you can provide to a tech support person.
Have you experienced the BSOD on a Windows 10 or 11 computer? Post your comment or question below…
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 5 Jul 2022
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Farewell, Blue Screen of Death? (Posted: 5 Jul 2022)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved