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Beware of the Blue Screen of Death

We’ve all been there at one time or another, sitting in front of our unresponsive computer screens, work un-saved, staring deep into the endless blue. Waiting, but knowing all too well that there’s nothing that can be done.

Yep, the blue screen of death. If you’re a technologically minded person, then you might know a thing or two about getting rid of this horrid error, but most people resort to the “turn off and turn back on” method. What if your computer starts doing it more than once in a while, though?

In this post, we’re going to give you the secret to the blue screen of death fix. Gone will be the days of wanting to throw your laptop against a wall or breaking it over your knee. When you’re done reading this, you’ll be able to remain cool, patient, and collected. Let’s get started.

The Blue Screen of Death Fix One Step at a Time

The blue screen of death (BSOD) isn’t the technical term, though it has a much better ring than the “STOP” error. It basically means that something has gone so incredibly wrong that Windows has to stop doing anything at all.

BSOD’s usually occur because of some sort of hardware or driver problem. You can almost always figure it out with the STOP code that comes up when the error occurs. This is integral to solving your problem.

Sometimes your computer will restart after a BSOD, which won’t give you time to read anything, so you should disable the auto-restart after system failure setting in Windows. Once you’ve done that, wait until your next BSOD shows itself and read along to solve your issue.

Step 1: What Were You Doing?

To get to the bottom of the BSOD, you should try to remember what you were doing right before it happened. That’s probably what caused it, so undo the changes you made (installed new program/hardware, updated a driver, Windows update, etc.) and test for the STOP error.

Step 2: Space

Check how much space you have on the drive that you were working on. These errors can occur when the computer is out of memory in the primary area that Windows is working in.

Microsoft advises that you leave 100 MB of space for Windows to do its thing.

Step 3: Viruses

Certain viruses can cause the BSOD if it infects the master boot record or boot sector. Do a virus scan to see if this is the case. Make sure that your virus scanning software is up to date and set up to scan the MBR and boot sector beforehand. Additionally, you can always contact your local virus removal experts for an assessment.

Step 4: Updates

Apply all of the Windows service packs and updates. Update the hardware drivers as well. The service packs that Microsoft releases for their OS’s will sometimes contain fixes for whatever’s causing your BSOD.

Since these errors are almost always hardware or driver related, it’s good to update these as well to see if the update puts a fix on whatever’s causing it. Updating your BIOS can help, as an outdated BIOS can cause incompatibilities resulting in a BSOD.

Step 5: Return to Default

Go into Device Manager and return all of your hardware settings to default. Even individual pieces of hardware should be set to default in Device Manager, as non-default hardware settings can cause the BSOD.

Also, return the BIOS settings to default. When you mess around with the BIOS levels, you can end up causing all kinds of problems, including the BSOD. If you’ve done a lot of configuring to the BIOS and don’t wish to return it to the default settings, try returning clock speed, voltage settings, and BIOS memory options to default.

Step 6: Do Some Recon

Head into Event Viewer and check the System and Application logs to look for any errors or warnings that can act as clues as to what happened. After that, make sure that all cables, cards, and any other components are properly installed and seated. When hardware isn’t placed properly, it can cause a BSOD.

Check all internal power cables, reseat memory modules and expansion cards, test your system memory, and test your hard drive. Once you’ve done all of this, test for the STOP message again.

Step 7: Diagnostic Tests

Run a diagnostic test on any hardware that you’re able to test. As we said earlier, the likelihood of a hardware malfunction being at the root of your BSOD is high, and a test can potentially find the malfunction.

If/when the test fails, you may have to replace your computer’s memory, or worse, the hard drive ASAP.

Step 8: Just the Essentials

Sometimes you’ve got to strip the whole operation down to figure out what the problem is. This will probably be the last and most desperate measure that you’ll take, but it’s the best way to figure out the root of the BSOD.

Boot your computer up with only the essential hardware that it needs to run the OS. If your computer starts successfully, then at least you know that one of the pieces of hardware that you eliminated from startup was the cause of the error.

You should be able to start up the computer using only the motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive, video card, keyboard, and monitor. If you’re still getting a BSOD after removing all of the unnecessary hardware, then there’s likely a problem with one of the integral startup components and you’ll need professional help.

Sometimes You Have to Call the Pros

If you’ve tried all of these steps and you’re still getting that BSOD, then you’re going to have to talk to an expert that can diagnose the problem.

At Computer Revival, we’ve got a team of experienced computer repair professionals that perform general maintenance, as well as, hardware installation and repair and virus removal and prevention. If this blue screen of death fix didn’t work for you, then you should contact us to have your computer looked at.

While you’re visiting our page, check out our blog to read more posts about the importance of computer maintenance and guides for troubleshooting common problems at home.