What is a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD)?

Robert, The Computer Guy/ May 11, 2015/ About Your Computer

On a computer running a Windows operating system, a fatal error that shuts down the system is known as a “Blue Screen of Death” or just “BSoD,” named after the screen that displays before the computer turns off. This screen usually has a code for the error, though often the computer turns off so quickly that reading the code is difficult, at best. It is possible to disable the automatic reboot, if it is happening often and you want to see what the error code is.

In some versions, it stays on the screen, offering a choice to reboot or continue, but continuing is rarely actually possible due to instability or unresponsiveness.

Some of the errors that result in a blue screen include bad device drivers, hardware that goes bad (especially RAM and power supplies), overheating, and system bugs. These errors are known as critical failures or a “STOP Error.” Windows 8 and up include information to search for in order to learn more about the error that occurred.

If your computer has begun having critical failures, there are some things you can do that might help. First, scan for malware. If you don’t already have a good malware scanner, try Malwarebyte’s Anti-Malware for free. Another thing you can do is reinstall your device drivers. Your hardware may need updated drivers, especially since Windows tends to update regularly. Try running in Safe Mode. If the errors do not happen in Safe Mode, the problem is probably with something non-essential (since Safe Mode only loads essential drivers). That may help you to track down the problem.

If those do not work, try doing a System Restore to a point before the blue screens started showing up.

If that does not fix the problem, check your hardware. Test for RAM errors and overheating. Open the side of the tower and look at the electronics – if any look burnt or about to explode, it is probably a hardware problem.

Your last option is to reinstall Windows. Since this clears out all your data, be sure to back up any important files first. If you still get blue screens after a fresh reinstall, there is definitely a hardware issue somewhere.

If you prefer to let a professional handle this for you, give us a call at 256-575-0041 or 256-520-7327.