Everything You Need To Know About the Blue Screen of Death
Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) is a blue colored error screen that displays after a system crash. It occurs when Windows OS can no longer operate safely.
In a nutshell, it is a protection measure by a Windows system to avoid severe and any further damage to your computer due to critical hardware or software failure.
BSOD errors are inevitable but can be prevented. The error is an indicator of severe problem with the system software or hardware component, which requires immediate attention. A BSOD error can cause irreversible damage to your system and significant data loss, if not fixed promptly.
However, to fix BSOD error on a Windows system, it’s essential for you to know everything about the blue screen of death, as it will help you identify the root cause of BSOD error and steps to fix it safely — without data loss.
What Causes BSOD
Following are some common errors that cause of Blue Screen of Death:
• Failing Drive
• Corrupt System File Or Device Driver
• Damaged RAM
• Overheating Processor, Hard drive or any other critical component
• Bad Sectors
• Misconfigured Or Damaged Bios
• Corrupt Windows Update
• Malware Or Virus
• Outdated Or Corrupt Hardware Firmware
• Lose Connectors and Cables
• Faulty Power Supply Unit
• Incompatible Dynamic Link Libraries (DLL)
• Incompatible Hardware Component(s)
How to Identify the Root Cause of BSOD
After the crash, BSOD displays an error message with STOP code that helps you to identify the root cause of the system crash. However, the error quickly disappears as system restarts, and thus, it doesn’t always give you enough window to note the error.
In such case, access the ‘minidump’ file created by Windows after BSOD at C:\Windows\Minidump.
It contains information about the blue screen crash and saves it on your disk. You can view the ‘minidump’ to quickly identify the root cause of the blue screen stop error.
How to Fix BSOD
It’s easy to fix a problem when you know the cause. Follow the methods detailed below to resolve the BSOD error.
PLEASE NOTE: In case you have lost your files after system crash, use a data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Premium to recover them first. The software can recover lost files and repair corrupt video or photos in a few clicks.
Watch the following video to recover lost files from a BSoD affected system and repair corrupt video or photo files.
Steps to Fix BSOD Error in Windows
To fix the BSOD screen problem in Windows, follow the below-given troubleshooting steps:
Step 1: Disconnect All USB Peripheral Devices
Sometimes, external USB devices can also cause a BSOD crash. Start with disconnecting all peripheral devices connected via USB. Then connect them one by one to ensure if an external peripheral device is a cause for your system’s blue screen of death.
Did you know: During a presentation of Windows 98 Beta on April 20, 1998, by Bill Gates at COMDEX, the demo PC crashed with a BSOD. It occurred when a scanner was connected to the PC.
Step 2: Use Blue Screen Troubleshooter
1. In Windows 10, go to ‘Settings>Updates & Security>Troubleshoot’
2. Click on ‘Blue Screen’ option and then click ‘Run the troubleshooter’
3. The troubleshooter identifies the issue and fixes the error causing BSOD or will provide you with additional steps
4. Use suggestions and steps to fix the problem and restart the system. Then use your system for a while to observe if the BSOD screen issue is fixed
Also, run an Antivirus or anti-malware scan to fix the BSOD error caused by an infected file or malicious software.
Step 3: Update Windows
You should always install Windows updates as they arrive. These incremental updates fix bugs and keep your device safe from security breaches and BSOD errors caused by system files.
To update Windows, open Windows Update section via Control Panel or Settings menu in Windows 10. Then check for the updates and install them, if available.
Step 4: Update Device Drivers
Similar to Windows updates, hardware manufacturers also release regular updates to fix new bugs and security glitch. You may use a driver updater software or open ‘Device Manager’ to check each device driver update manually. You can visit your system manufacturers’ support website to download and install the latest device driver updates.
Tip: Windows updates also bring important device driver updates. Thus, updating Windows will also help you update a few device drivers automatically.
Step 5: Monitor Processor and Hard Disk Temperature
Monitoring system’s critical hardware is important to avoid errors such as BSOD. Overheating can cause permanent damage to particular hardware or an entire system, leading to irreversible data loss.
Thus, you must check if your system temperature is reaching a critical level. Use tool such as Open Hardware Monitor to check and monitor the temperature of your hard disk and processor. If you see temperature values exceeding (50 degrees in Desktop and 80 in laptops) while the system is ideal, immediately check the cooling system and fans in your system.
Make sure fans are running at adequate RPMs, and there is enough space between the drive and the processor exhaust fan.
You may use a liquid cooler for Desktop PC and a laptop cooler for portable Windows system to prevent overheating and BSOD error.
Step 6: Use S.M.A.R.T. Disk Monitoring Information
SMART errors such as Reallocated Sector Count, Pending Sector Count, etc. are signs of a failing hard drive. Use a SMART tool such as Drive Monitor to check if your system drive is healthy or suffering from SMART errors.
Alternatively, you can use CrystalDiskInfo utility to view the disk S.M.A.R.T. status.
Step 7: Run CHKDSK Scan
A system file stored at a bad sector can lead to system freeze and crash. It can also result in data loss, file corruption, and drive errors.
Use CHKDSK scan to solve common drive errors and corruption cases. CHKDSK scan also helps you to retrieve readable information from the bad sectors. However, if the sectors don’t respond, CHKDSK marks them to prevent OS from writing a new file in those sectors.
To run a CHKDSK scan on your system drive, follow these steps:
• Open Command Prompt as administrator
• Type following command and press the ‘Enter’ key
chkdsk /r /r X:
Replace letter X in command with your system drive letter
• After scan and restart your system
Now use your system normally and observe your Windows PC for system freeze and BSOD.
Step 8: Run SFC Scan
System File Check (SFC) is an inbuilt Windows utility that fixes damaged or corrupt system files by replacing them with one stored in the cached copy location.
Execute the following steps to perform an SFC scan:
a. Press ‘Windows+S’ and type cmd
b. Right-click on Command Prompt and choose ‘Run as administrator’
c. Gran admin access and then type following command
d. Press ‘Enter’
e. Wait for the scan to finish and then restart the system.
Step 9: System Restore
To revert all recent changes made to your system, which may have led to the blue screen of death, use System Restore option in Windows.
Follow the steps below to use System Restore option and probably fix the BSOD error,
• Press Windows+S and type System Restore
- Click System Restore and then click ‘System Restore’ button
- Select the restore point from the given list and click ‘Next’
• Follow the System Restore wizard and restore your PC to a previous stable state
NOTE: System Restore uninstalls and removes any program, including malware that you may have installed unintentionally.
Step 10: Replace Hardware
If nothing helps, go for hardware replacement. Changing the failing or damaged hardware should ideally fix the stop error. If hard dive is failing, get a new hard drive or SSD and clone the existing drive so that the data and partitions including Windows OS remains intact.
To clone a drive, connect a new drive to your PC and then follow these steps,
• Run Stellar Data recovery Premium and click ‘Monitor Drive’
• Select disks in Source and Target Disk section
- Click Clone Disk and accept the warning to begin the cloning process
- Once cloning is done, turn off PC and replace the older hard drive with the new cloned hard drive or SSD storage.
Turn on the system and follow the tips to use your system without worrying about the BSOD error.
Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) is sudden and occurs without any warning signs. Data loss and drive corruption are often an outcome of a system crash. BSOD appears when the system experiences critical hardware or software error and shutdowns the system abruptly to avoid severe damage to the system.
In this guide, we have detailed everything you need to know about the Blue Screen of Death that will help you quickly identify the root cause of the BSOD error and fix it without data loss. Further, we have mentioned a few preventive tips that you can follow to avoid a BSOD error or system crash.
And always remember to take a regular backup of your important files or use Stellar Data Recovery Premium to get back lost and deleted files from all kinds of storage media including formatted and corrupt drive partitions. The software can also repair files corrupted due to system crash or virus and malware infection.