Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet
Blue screen errors, or blue screen of death (BSOD) errors,
are the most severe errors Windows can encounter. Since Windows can not recover
from this kernel level error, a blue screen is displayed with the error
details. The error details contain a STOP error code, which indicates the type
There are a lot of possible causes for blue screen errors,
but most of them relate to the computer hardware. The cause of a BSOD error can
be a temperature problem, a timing error, a resource conflict, hardware
failure, a corrupt registry, a virus or simply a device incompatibility or
How to analyze blue screen errors
The first thing to do to analyze a blue screen error is to
check the meaning of the STOP error code. You need to stop Windows from
rebooting when a STOP error is encountered. Once the blue screen of death is
shown, you can check the meaning of the STOP error code. Together with the
filename of the driver or module, this will give an indication of the error
Another option to analyze the cause of the blue screen error
is to look at the Windows system event log or to debug the memory dump
(minidump) that Windows created when the error occurred. The event log can be
viewed using the event viewer. Right-click Computer in the Start menu, and then
select Manage. In the Computer Management window select Event Viewer. The
information in the event log can be of great help to isolate the cause of the
blue screen error.
Reading the minidump requires a bit more technical
knowledge, but Microsoft has tools to read the minidump.
The most common cause of blue screen errors
In reality, the most common cause of blue screen errors is a
device driver problem. Outdated, incorrect or corrupt drivers can cause the
system to encounter a STOP error, resulting in the BSOD.
So the easiest way to try and fix a blue screen error is to
reinstall and update your system's device drivers. This will ensure that all
driver bugs are fixed and that all hardware has the correct driver.
If you know which device caused the error, you can update or
reinstall that driver first. The file name in the blue screen of death can help
identify the driver. Look for a file with the .SYS extension and search for
that file name.
If you do not have the drivers for all devices, or are not
comfortable updating your PC's drivers manually, you can use a driver update
tool to find, download and update all device drivers for you. Such tools will
accurately identify your computer hardware, including any device causing an
error, and automatically install the latest drivers for it.
In most cases updating or reinstalling drivers will solve
your blue screen errors.
Other causes of blue screen errors
However, if updating device drivers does not fix the blue
screen error, there are a number of additional things to try:
Load the default BIOS values - resource conflicts and timing
issues can be caused by incorrect BIOS settings.
Update the BIOS - especially after adding new hardware or
installing a Windows service pack this can help fix issues.
Update Windows - missing updates, including service packs
can be a source of stop errors.
Check your system - run a virus scan and spyware scan after
updating your definition files.
Driver rollback - if you have recently updated a driver, you
can use the driver rollback to revert back to the previous driver version.
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