Have you ever turned on your computer and been greeted with a blue screen? If so, you have experienced the dreaded “blue screen of death.” This can be a scary sight, especially if you don’t know how to fix it.
In this blog post, we will discuss what the blue screen of death is, its causes, and how to fix the BSOD problem in Windows to make your PC work without any trouble.
What is Blue Screen of Death?
The blue screen of death, or BSoD, is a common and critical error that occurs when the computer detects a problem and shuts down immediately to avoid damage. This can be due to numerous reasons – for instance, if your computer loses power during an update, it may crash. Another example would be if there was a hardware failure – say your computer has a bad hard drive. Any of these issues may cause the blue screen of death. Basically, this means that your computer encountered an issue where it does not know how to proceed.
When the error appears, it is often recommended that you immediately turn off your computer to prevent any further damage.
What causes Blue Screen of Death?
There are several different things that can cause the blue screen of death. Some of them are:
- Hardware failure (computer is overheating, or internal components are failing)
- Faulty device driver (device drivers handle how your hardware talks to your computer’s operating system; when they become corrupt, it can cause serious errors)
- Improperly configured hardware (internal computer components need to be configured properly in order to communicate with each other and with your operating system. If the settings are not correct, it can cause major problems.)
- Failed OS Installation or update (when you install a new operating system or update your current one, it may have issues communicating with the hardware inside your computer)
In addition to these causes, there are also some less common reasons for this issue. Some of them include:
- A rootkit is installed on the machine (this occurs when a virus or spyware installs itself on your machine without your knowledge or permission)
- A boot sector virus is present (a boot sector virus is a kind of virus that installs itself in the hard drive’s boot sector, which means it loads up automatically every time you start up your computer.)
- Other Malicious software (this refers to any kind of malicious software that causes your computer harm like Trojans)
How to Fix Blue Screen of Death?
The Blue Screen of Death is a serious issue and needs to be fixed immediately after detection. There are several ways to do that.
Restart the System
The first method you can use to attempt fixing the blue screen error is simply restarting your computer. This will close any programs that you have open, and give your operating system a fresh start. Although it sounds like a simple solution, this can often times fix the issue and allow your computer to return to normal operation.
Note Down the BSOD Code
If the BSOD appears even after the system restart, the first thing you should do is to note down the BSOD error code. You can attempt to get more information on the error that occurred by noting down the “Stop Code” (also referred to as a BSOD or Blue Screen Of Death code) and searching for it online. This will allow you to find out more information about what caused your computer’s operating system to crash. For example, this BSOD is caused due to inaccessible boot device.
Boot the Computer in Safe Mode
If restarting your computer is not effective, you can try booting the computer in safe mode. This is a special startup that allows your computer to start up with minimal functionality.
When your computer boots into Safe Mode, it will only use a minimal set of drivers and programs (most of them are built into the Windows operating system itself). Therefore, if there is a problem with a program or driver that is causing your computer to crash, this method may allow you to identify it.
To enter Safe Mode on Windows 10 and Windows 11, follow these steps:
- Open the Run Command box and enter MSConfig and hit the enter key.
- Switch to Boot tab. Under it, tick the Safe boot checkbox, click Apply, and OK.
Review Recent Changes
Another option that you have is to review recent changes (such as software installations or updates) and check for what could be causing the issue.
If you recently installed a new program, it may cause problems with your system’s operation; if you recently updated an existing driver or program, this could also contribute to the problem. By reviewing the changes, you can find out what caused the issue, you can uninstall or roll back to a previous version of the program in order to fix your computer.
Uninstall Recently Installed Update Packages
One of the common reasons for the BSOD is the faulty installation of the latest Windows updates. You can remove these incorrect updates that might fix the issue. The steps in this method would restart the device. Make sure that you have saved your unsaved work.
Open Command Prompt using Advanced Startup
- Open the Windows Settings app and navigate to Update and Security -> Recovery.
- Under Advanced startup, click on Restart now button.
- Wait for a few moments a blue screen would appear. Don’t worry; it is not a BSOD. Now go to Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options.
- Choose Command Prompt. The system would restart, and Command Prompt would be open.
Follow these instruction on the Command Prompt:
- On the command line screen, type dir c: and hit the enter key. (Note: if the Windows is installed on any other partition, replace the letter c with that partition letter)
- Now run the Dism /Image:c:\ /Get-Packages command that would display all the packages installed on your system.
- Using the date field, identify the recently installed updates and carefully take note of their complete names.
- To remove the package type dism.exe /image:c:\ /remove-package /[package name] command, where you have to replace the [package name] with the package name you have noted in the previous step.
- Restart the device and check if the problem persists. If yes, follow the above steps to remove other packages and keep repeating this until the culprit updates package is found.
Uninstall Recent Applications
If none of the above options are effective, you may also need to uninstall recent applications that were installed on your computer. If there is a problem with one of these programs, it will typically show up in the form of the Blue Screen of Death error. Although this method can be somewhat challenging, it can often reveal important information about what
To uninstall such applications on Windows 11, here is what you need to do:
- Click on the Start button and select Settings from the Windows 11 Start Menu.
- From the left pane, click on Apps, and then select Apps & Features from the right pane.
- You will see the list of all the installed apps. Click on the three vertical dots next to the app you want to remove and select Uninstall from the menu.
- On the next prompt, click on Uninstall. The application will be uninstalled.
Update Windows OS
If none of the above options work, it may be necessary to update your Windows OS. This means running all updates related to your OS and checking if any additional driver or program is available for download.
- Open Windows 11 Settings.
- On the left pane, switch to the Windows Update tab and click on Check for updates on the right.
- After the latest updates are finished downloading, click on Install now.
- Restart your device.
In some cases, drivers may also be the cause of the problem. Therefore, it is necessary to update all drivers that are related to the hardware inside your computer. Though, generally, drivers get automatically updated through Windows Updates, sometimes it might not happen.
To update drivers, simply go into the Device Manager and run a system scan for available updates.
- Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager from the context menu.
- The Device Manager window will be opened, where you can see all the installed drivers.
- On the Device Manager window, right-click on the component you want to update and select Update Driver from the list.
- On the next window, select the Search automatically for drivers option if you don’t have the latest drivers installer on your PC.
- If you want to update the drivers manually, go to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest version. Save the downloaded drivers on your system hard disk.
- Select Browse my computer for drivers to update the driver manually.
- Restart the system
Run System File Check
System File Check (SFC) scan is a command-line tool that scans your system for any errors and glitches and automatically repairs them. If you are still struggling with the BSOD, you can try the SFC scan.
Here are the steps for that.
- From the Windows search bar, search and launch the Command Prompt with the administrator rights.
- Type this command and hit the Enter key: sfc/scannow.
- The scanning would start, and it would take some time to complete depending on your system configuration.
- After the scan, if it found any problem, the solution would be automatically applied.
- Close the Command Prompt window and restart your system.
The next fix for the BSOD error in Windows 10 is running DISM on Command Prompt. Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) re-deploys the system image all over. During the re-deploying process, it fixes any system error on its way. So, it is possible that BSOD can be solved using this.
- Open Command Prompt with the admin rights.
- Type the following command and press the enter key: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- The scan would take some time to finish.
- After the scan is completed, restart the device.
Use Windows Event Viewer
If a problem still persists, you should also check the event log. This is a log that records information about your computer’s operation. By checking it, you can get an idea of why Windows crashed in the first place (including what program or driver is causing the issue).
Launching an Event Viewer is quite easy, can be done in two steps.
- Right-click on the Windows icon
- The system optionw list will be launched. Choose the Event Viewer from the menu.
- The Event Viewer will be launched.
Scan for Malware
A malware attack could also be the reason for the system failure and, thereby, BSOD. It might have entered into your system, corrupted many files, and disabled many functions.
If your system is not equipped with antimalware, it is recommended to get a robust security solution like MalwareFox and perform a full system scan.
If updating the Windows didn’t work, you can attempt a system restore. This will revert your computer back to a point when it last worked properly.
The restore points are automatically created by the OS whenever a new update or application is installed. Restoring Windows to the previous point would not affect your personal files and data. For resetting Windows, follow these steps:
- Search for “rstrui” in the windows search bar and click on its icon to open it.
- Click on Next to continue.
- Choose the restore point where your system was working properly and click next.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to restore the system to your desired point.
Use the Windows Startup Repair
Windows 10/11 comes with a Startup Repair option that helps to fix the startup problems. If your startup is stuck on BSOD, you need to access the Startup Repair using the Windows Bootable media. Here are the steps for that:
- Create a Windows 10/11 bootable device using the Media Creation Tool. It can be a USB or DVD.
- Insert the bootable device on the system and restart it.
- Press any key when you are prompted to boot
- You will see the Windows 10 Install window. Select Language, Time, Currency, input method, and click Next.
- Choose the operating system that you want to repair. It will lead you to Troubleshoot.
- Navigate to the following path: Troubleshoot -> Advanced options
- Click on Startup Repair. It will start diagnosing your system, and if any problem is detected, it will attempt to fix it.
In some cases, it is necessary to reset your operating system.
This generally occurs when the system refuses to start and gets stuck on the Blue Screen of Death. It means that there is a more serious issue with Windows that cannot be resolved by any other means. In this case, you will need to either completely uninstall your OS and then install a fresh copy of the software or you can also try resetting.
To reset a PC without OS being loaded, follow these steps:
- Switch On your device, and during boot, press F11 to launch Windows Recovery Environment.
- From the given options, choose Troubleshoot.
- Next, select Reset this PC. You will start getting the same options mentioned in the previous method.
- Choose the preferred resetting method.
- Next, select how you want to re-install Windows 11. Either Locally or using Cloud.
- In the next window, you need to choose if you would like to remove just your files only from the Windows installer drive, or you need to clean the drive entirely. Chose any option as per your choice.
- Windows will take some time to get things ready.
- Finally, click on the Reset button to begin the resetting process
What if none of the above methods work?
If none of the above-listed methods work for fixing the BSOD, then the only option is to fresh install Windows externally. For that, you require installation media in the form of a USB or a DVD. You can easily create a bootable device for installing Windows 11 using Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool for Windows 11. However, if your computer is not in working condition, you will need another system for creating the installation media.
Another option is to bring the machine to a service center or a professional for further assistance.
Since resetting the Windows wipes out everything, including the malicious or corrupted files, most problems might be fixed on resetting a computer.
Most BSOD issues are due to failed or corrupted OS installation. So resetting the PC might fix that and solve the BSOD problem
Peter is an Electrical Engineer whose primary interest is tinkering with his computer. He is passionate about Windows 10 Platform and enjoys writing tips and tutorials about it.