Encountering the Windows Blue Screen Error, popularly known as the “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD) in your computer can be demoralizing. This indicates a serious problem with your operating system. Numerous things cause this error making it hard and challenging to access the right way to fix the Blue Screen of Death.
The Blue Screen error is complex in nature, and it scares and worries most people. However, some cases are simple and not as complicated as overrated by some individuals.
In this article, we are going to explore the Windows Blue Screen Error by going through the common causes and available troubleshooting methods to fix it. If you are a BSOD victim, welcome aboard as I share with you the common causes of BSOD and guide you diagnosing them.
The Blue Screen Error Briefly
Blue Screen Errors appear as white text shown in a blue screen on your monitor when Windows comes across a “STOP Error.” The error crashes your computer and leaves it non-functional.
The blue screen error appears when Windows detects:
- Corruption of crucial OS data
- Irretrievable hardware failure
- Error(s) that cannot be solved without data loss
In this situation, Windows has only one option; to stop and restart the computer. Unsaved data in programs can be lost when Windows reboots the computer. Ideal programs should not lose data in case of error as they keep saving the data continuously once entered.
These problems usually result from hardware and software issues with your computer. Proper standard computer software should not lead to blue screens and in the case of crashing, it must do so in solitude without involving the Windows OS. Problems with low-level computer software and issues with hardware components specifically cause the Blue Screen.
Whenever the Blue Screen displays, Windows autonomously makes a “dump” file having recorded all the information regarding the crash. Windows saves this data on your computer’s hard disk. You can access this information on the dump file to assist in determining the cause of the error.
Before you can fix the Blue Screen error, you must determine nature and type of the error usually manifested in different types. Review your recent computer activity and look for any alterations that you may have applied. Installing new Windows drivers or updating them can modify your computer settings, normally causing the blue screen error.
Thoroughly inspect the hardware and related components as the cause can be due to improper internal computer connections. Open the device and ensure that all cables are tightly connected and all cards resolutely attached to their respective sockets.
Check the computer temperature as overheating usually causes your hardware to malfunction. Particularly, the graphics card and CPU are highly prone to overheating. In the BIOS menu, you can check and adjust the computer temperatures. You can also achieve this through some specific software installed in the Windows OS.
Troubleshooting the Blue Screen Error
Restart Your Computer in Safe Mode
Computers react differently to blue screen error depending on the type of error the system has encountered. Most computers normally undergo reboot continuously until you take action, but it is different for others.
In the event of a blue screen error, restart your device and before the Windows screen display, click the F8 key continuously until the Advanced Options window appears. On this window, you can select different advanced booting options from the ones listed.
Scroll down the list with the Down arrow on your keyboard until you enable the “Safe Mode with Networking” option and consequently click enter. It is better to choose the “Safe Mode” if you suspect your computer to be infected with a virus program that directly accesses the internet at once.
Keenly monitor the screen as it scrolls and loads every driver singly into memory. You will see the screen hang or pause as it loads a .sys file.
The computer may fail to restart properly afterward and instead will display the blue screen error. Record the .sys file that was loading when the computer crashed. On another device, perform a Google search on file to establish the driver responsibly and attempt to reinstall the driver afresh.
If you establish that your drivers are functioning properly, proceed to establish if there are any existing hardware conflicts. Simply do this by opening the Control Panel > System > Device Manager orderly and check every device category. You are to scan all devices having a yellow icon that suggests the presence of a device conflict.
In case the yellow icon is missing, click on the driver to open it. You may see a message box on the driver informing you of the place to find device conflict. In case you cannot identify any conflicts, proceed to other solutions described below.
Perform an Intensive Malware Scan
Some malware programs penetrate deep into Windows kernel and are capable of making the system unstable. Open your device in safe mode and perform a thorough scan on adware, spyware, virus and other potentially malicious software.
The Safe Mode provides you with an ideal environment to run programs as it disables viruses that would prevent the apps from running in normal mode.
You should also run your anti-virus application if you have one. For those without, it will help you, in the end, to install one and perform a full scan on your device.
Run another scan to determine if there are any peculiar entries or problems in the Registry. You can utilize the Little Registry Cleaner open source app to scan your registry and identify any known issues.
Roll Back Drivers and Windows Update
If you diagnosed the problem as originating from hardware components, rolling back, your drivers could help you a lot. This activity involves reinstallation of the driver software in its initial version.
In Windows 7 OS, Open the Start Menu > right click My Computer > choose Properties > access Device Manager. Open the Device Manager in Windows 8 by clicking the Windows+X simultaneously and choose it from the resulting list.
Expand categories (if necessary) and choose hardware of interest. Open Properties by right clicking on the hardware icon. Press the Driver option and click Roll Back Driver.
Respond affirmatively when prompted to confirm this action. You should keep using your computer normally after having successfully rolled back the driver. You will have fixed the error if it does not persist appearing. Maintain the driver in its older version and update it only when a newer version becomes available.
Roll back Windows update if the error persists and restore your Windows to an older functional version. Establish if Windows updates cause the error here. In the Start Menu, search for System Restore program and open it.
In the calendar provided, choose a date when the errors were absent. The system restore will readjust all Windows updates in respect to this date and successfully eliminate all the updates installed after this date.
Install New Windows Updates and Drivers
If your system had new window updates and drivers not yet installed, you could install the newer versions to solve the error. Search for Windows Defender in the Start Menu and open it. Run Windows Update to establish if there are any new updates available for the system and hardware.
Run Windows Repair Installation and avoid reinstalling Windows fresh to fix the error. In this task, system files transfer to your PC and help in cases where an essential program is corrupted.
Boot your computer from a Windows disc. Choose Repair Installation on the resulting setup menu. Windows will erase all old Windows files and replace them with new ones. Personal data will remain secure and intact.
You can reset your computer efficiently if blue screen error diagnosis fails by reinstalling your Windows OS afresh. Back up all your essential files and proceed to install Windows. Your data will be secure when the hard drive formats. This process cannot fix errors caused by faulty hardware components.
Replace Defective Hardware Components
If you identified faulty hardware during problem diagnosis, you might be compelled to acquire new hardware to replace the old one. Apart from the hard drive and RAM, other computer components are expensive and hard to replace.
- Disk errors resulting from the scanner requires you to replace the hard disk with a new one. Before doing this, you should copy and save your data in another external storage device. If the affected drive has your Windows OS, you must reinstall it.
- You should replace the bad and broken RAM stick if the RAM test notified you of a defective memory.
- Replacing problematic graphics card can be expensive and impossible especially in laptops.
In desktop computers, open the case with a screwdriver and replace the old card with a new graphics card.
The RAM stick is usually bad and usually associated with crashes in case it fails. This is fatal as it leads to system instability. Test your computer’s RAM with “memtest86” software.
Restart your computer and then run the program in the CD. Memtest86 program automatically assesses your RAM, taking a few minutes for completion. You will benefit greatly if you let the program run and complete numerous test passes.
Check your computer hard drive by running the “chkdsk” operation on it to scan and fix possible errors and problems. Run this function by following the easy and simple steps outlined below.
- Open My Computer
- Right-click the desired hard disk
- Choose Properties
- Click on Tools tab
- Choose Check Now option located in Error Checking segment. You will then reboot the computer as it prompts you so that scanning of the disk can begin.
Open Your Computer into Essential Components
Finally, you can open and separate your computer into the basic essential components. Eliminating all the non-essential computer components makes it easy to find the causative component. If your PC runs without the error, then you know that one disconnected component was responsible for the error.
CPU, power supply, keyboard, a hard disk, motherboard, and RAM are the essential components for proper running of the desktop computer. Disconnecting the graphics card requires you to connect your monitor to the respective monitor port on the motherboard. Remove all the other components as you proceed with problem diagnosis.
Your PC should function normally with the essential components only. Test the components by connecting them back to the PC one by one until the error message displays again.
You will then know the culprit component responsible for the crash. This method applies to desktop computers only as one cannot separate the components of a laptop into the essential basic parts.