Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

How to Fix Blue Screen Errors (BSOD)

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 of error.

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 driver error.

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 cause.

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 Outdated, incorrect or corrupt drivers can cause the system to encounter a STOP error, resulting in the BSOD.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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