What is the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows & How to Fix It in 10 Different Ways?

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Question asked by:

Kier M.

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Any Lifelines for the Blue Screen of Death on Windows?

Hey everyone!
Ever been working peacefully, only to be rudely interrupted by the notorious 'Blue Screen of Death'? Can you help me on fixing it please?
Fix BSOD Now iolo's System Mechanic® will automatically fix your BSOD errors, optimize & protect your whole PC.

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) is a very harsh frustrating error when Windows displays a blue screen that says, “Hey, We have a problem!” It is a blue screen sudden drop or conflict that interrupts your work routine within a second, alerting you that “Your PC ran into a problem and needed to restart“.
You know this sounds terrible when you are working a long day work on your laptop or Windows PC and suddenly encounter this message. 

Obviously, this leaves you in a helpless situation when you don’t have any helping guide. But fear not! This comprehensive guide will help you understand the blue screen of Death (BSOD)1 and also includes several easy fixes to troubleshoot BSOD without advanced technical expertise.

What Does the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) Mean?

The error is officially called the stop error, stop screen, and, most famously, the blue screen of death (BSOD). This is considered the most frustrating and unwanted error for Windows users since it doesn’t come with any warning, and all of your work is suddenly lost. Basically, when a blue screen error comes on desktop Windows, the screen starts with old-fashioned bold and unhappy face emotions:

: (
(a colon, followed by open parenthesis).

After that, you see a statement that says, “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart.” Windows also mentions one or more log files when this screen error occurs, and you will see “We’re collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you” and a timer that keeps track while writing that data. 

Blue Screen 30 %

For example, shown as (“30% complete”) above. The above image depicts the error sample.

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What is the Blue Screen of Death Windows & How to Fix It

The Blue Screen of Death Windows is not Always “Blue” 

The BSOD error has diverse visibility and information for Windows 7, 8, and later users. On Windows 7, the blue screen of death includes complete hardware information that is obviously useless for most users. 

Windows 7 Blue Screen of Death Error

However, after Windows 8, it reduced the error details and came up with a sad face on the screen. It also includes a QR Code on your screens so that users may see the root cause of the blue screen on their smartphones (since the PC is inaccessible at that moment). 

Microsoft could also cut down BSOD system crash information on the screen, and in fact, the background color in Windows 11 or 10 is sometimes black, green, or even red.

BSOD QR Code

Access the Dump File & Know Your Exact BSOD Reason

When encountering BSOD, a computer may stop running for its safety and protection to prevent a hardware failure or even damage your devices. This is done by creating a memory dump file (we’ll be discussing this in the coming section) and writing it to disk. After that, you have to restart Windows and reset the system.
Whenever the computer restarts after receiving a BSOD, it goes through an automatic troubleshooting and repair process. If Windows doesn’t successfully repair the issues, you can try to troubleshoot on your own.

Although nobody wants to see the blue screen of death on Windows PC, they occur from time to time. In most cases, Windows will restart itself automatically after the BSOD error log called memory dump file or crash dump (extension .dmp). By default, Windows 10 stores these dump files in one or two memory locations. 

You can easily manage crash dump via Advanced System Settings in Windows 11 or 10. Here is how you can do this:

  • Type “Advanced System” into the search box.
Type Advanced System
  • Then click on “Settings” in “Startup and recovery” pane.
Click on Settings in Startup and recovery pane
  • There, you can select the toggle button “Automatic Restart” to turn off.
Untick Automatically Restart

However, if you prefer any future BSOD errors to stay on screen until you get a chance to encounter them, we recommend writing down or taking a screenshot of that error information. Crash dump files are written to the %SystemRoot% folder that commonly expands to C:\Windows. In file size terms, small memory dump files are limited to 256KB in size, whereas other memory dumps vary in size and can be upto memory size on the PC where the dump file is collected and stored.

Therefore, on a PC with 16 GB of RAM, a complete memory dump file will always be consistent with 16 GB in memory size. Other dump files rather than small memory dumps could be significant, as long as 16 GB, but will often be more diminutive. 

Analyzing crash dump files can be helpful in figuring out the troubleshooting-related causes. You can search for a stop code and numeric error code while looking for a helpful guide. 

Most Common Causes of Blue Screen of Death on Windows OS

There are two leading causes for the BSOD: hardware and software. Blue screen of death Windows error has many causes. We recommend understanding these causes before fixing the error.

Software Level 

First, if we see this error on the software level, then it is probably software drivers for some complicated devices. Usually, a wrong, outdated, or missing device driver can easily cause a BSOD. There is less chance that an app such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Office would cause the error. However, if BSOD occurs after the device driver upgrade, then the solution is to roll back to previous or uninstall drivers — or reinstall them. The initial installation could have been corrupted and outdated.

There is also the possibility of a low-level bug in the firmware2 or BIOS. If this is your case, then checking the motherboard makes for a BIOS upgrade. 

Hardware Level

Now, the second cause could be on hardware components, for example, a graphics card, sound card, or memory (RAM)3. The simple and quicker way to check is to remove the board from the motherboard, most importantly if you are facing issues like fan sound, task manager, and 100% disk usage. Moreover, overheating itself is also a signal or fundamental problem that could be your computer, for example, malware, spyware or any other infection. 

The most essential parts of computers are SSDs (solid-state drives) and memory. These could also be reasons for BSOD problems. You can use some free utilities to run SSD tests. One of the best free utility tools is MemTest86 for memory testing.

The less frequent causes of a BSOD are low disk space and malware. In case your computer has very little space on the C: drive, the windows swap or paging file could have problems. Malware can also cause problems if the infections cause’ damage to the hard disk master boot record (MBR) or if system files are damaged. 

Windows Error Stop Codes You May Encounter
with Blue Screen of Death

The Blue screen error in Windows 10 comes with a string of text called a Windows stop code that catalogs the issue. The stop code can help you fix the problem and stop it from happening again. Windows comes with the text string “Windows Stop Code,” which catalogs the blue screen error, and this catalog helps you fix the problem and prevent it from happening again.

Below, we listed some of the frequently occurring Windows Stop Codes that you may likely see encountering the blue screen of Death Windows:

SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED
This stop code occurs when a component update is not integrating correctly with the Reset of Windows.

VIDEO_TDR_TIMEOUT_DETECTED
This code indicates that the GPU has reached its limit and cannot handle any more data. It could be due to overloaded GPUs or corrupted graphic drivers. Sometimes, if you are using a mined GPU, then this can lead to the blue screen of the Windows 10 error.

DATA_BUS_ERROR
As the name mentioned, it means that the hardware bus is not communicating ideally with your computer, and it may be broken or faulty.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
A system file or device driver is more difficult with additional memory than you have.

CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED
This Windows error code shows that one of the significant system files for Windows, like svchost.exe, is not operational properly.

PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
Moreover, your computer is asking for a part of your RAM that is not available on the system because part of the RAM has stopped working or there is an error process in the query.

SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION
This blue screen code shows the exact file that caused the error. Since the system file is not a device driver, you are not able to fix it without reinstalling Windows.

DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION
This Windows error code depicts that a system file is not correctly functioning with your device or even operating system or may be corrupted.

6 Beginner-friendly Ways to Fix the Blue Screen of Death in Windows

So far, we have covered everything about blue screen windows death error. Now, it is time to fix this Windows stop code. Below, we have listed some solutions to fix the error. Each of these solutions is performed, tested, and authorized by professionals at WindowsGuided.com. We recommend you apply these solutions step by step and restore the normal working on your Windows PC.

We also recommend downloading and running iolo System Mechanic to clear and fix all the errors automatically. This can save you a lot of time, headaches, and eventually — money.

Solution #1: Shut Down the Affected Windows PC

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Shut down PC

The first step you need to take is to use the power button to turn off/shut down your Windows computer. It is because you don’t have any other way to get rid of the error instantly. You need to try shutting down and then restarting your PC. After you completely shut it down, wait for a while and then turn it on to see if the blue screen error is resolved. In case you encounter that Windows screen error again, we recommend noting down the error code description and proceeding with the following solutions.

Solution #2: Disconnect All Peripherals from Your Computer

Disconnect all the Peripherals Devices

Disconnecting your peripherals can resolve the error since USB devices could be culprits. We recommend you disconnect all your peripherals except the mouse or keyboard. Restart your computer to see if the problem has been fixed.

Solution #3: Restart and Boot Your Windows in Safe Mode

Encountering the blue screen of death freezes everything, leaving you helpless. However, you have the option to shut down (mentioned in solution 1). However, you can enter it in safe mode in Windows itself, and it boots up correctly. 

Here is how you can set Safe Boot within Windows:

  1. Press the ‘Windows Key‘, type “msconfig”, and press ‘enter’.
  • Select the “Boot tab from the menu.
  • Then, check “Safe Boot” and select the “Minimal” setting.
Safe Boot and Minimal

Solution #4: Rollback or Disable Corrupted Drivers

Outdated, corrupted, and buggy drivers are the most common causes of Windows blue screen code errors. Because using the latest drivers always fixes common problems and improves the system’s stability, security, and speed. In case a specific driver causes your blue screen error code, then disabling or rolling back to a recent update can fix the problem. 

Now that you are thinking and have a question, “Should I need to roll back or disable all devices?” The answer is, of course, YES since you may have no choice left if nothing works at all.

Roll Back Drivers:

Here is how you can disable drivers:

  • Press the ‘Windows Key’ and type “Device Manager.” Then pressEnter‘.
Type device manager
  • Right-click on your device and select “Properties” from the pop-up.
Right Click on Device and Select Properties
  • Click on the “Driver” tab and select “Roll Back Driver“.
Select Roll Back Driver

Uninstall Drivers:

  • Press the ‘Windows Key‘ and type “Device Manager.” Then pressEnter’.
Type device manager
  • Right-click on your device and select “Uninstall Device.
Click Uninstall device

Now restart your computer to see which device drivers are causing the problem. Try reinstalling that driver to fix the problem. 

Solution #5: Check if Your Computer is Affected by Malware/Viruses

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Another possible cause of BSOD could be malware infections. We recommend you scan your computer for malware attacks and fix the blue screen of death by following these steps:

  • First, we recommend you have a reliable antivirus program installed on your PC. You can use Windows Security built into Windows 10 and 11 or download a third-party antivirus program from a trusted source.
  • Next, open your antivirus program and run a “full scan” of your PC.

Alternatively, you can use Microsoft Defender Offline scanning software to perform a full scan of your PC. Here is how you can do this:

  • Click on “Start and type “Windows Security.”
  • Select “Virus & Threat Protection”.
Select Virus and Threat Protection
  • Now choose “Scan Option.”
  • You can choose any scan option, depending on your choice. We recommend Custom Scan” or Full Scan”.
Scan options Custom Scan

Windows Defender will scan your computer in 10-15 minutes, depending on system performance, and then restart your PC. 

Solution #6: Uninstall the Blue Screen Error Affected Programs

Sometimes, recently installed programs can cause a blue screen of death windows. Uninstalling could be the only way to fix the problem. Here is how you can uninstall the affected program in Windows:

  • Type “appwiz.cpl” in the start menu and press ‘enter’.
Type appwiz.cpl
  • Then scroll the program list and search for the software you recently installed. Look for the culprit software. Do not uninstall anything titled “Publish with Microsoft”. 
  • Click on “Uninstall and wait for to process to finish.
Click Uninstall

We also recommend you use a junk removal tool to remove any junk files and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) that are affecting your PC’s speed. Sometimes, removing PUPs and junk files improves your PC’s speed and performance, fixing the blue screen of death problem.

4 Advanced Solutions to Tackle the BSOD Errors

If the simple and easy ways to fix the Blue Screen of Death didn’t help, we suggest trying these 4 more advanced ways. Or just using the auto-fix software offered above or below the guide.

Advanced Solution #1: Reboot Your Windows System in Safe Mode With Networking

Safe mode is can best way to reboot your system, fixing the blue screen of Death Windows problem. Here is how you can PC in safe mode with networking:

  • Restart’ and ‘Turn On’ your computer as usual you do.
  • On the “Sign-in, screen, hold down the ‘Shift key’.
  • Click on the “Restart button.
Click on Restart

Your computer will start again and show you some choices.

  • Click on “Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings”.
Startup Settings
  • Under “Startup Settings”, click Restart”.
Click on Restart

Your computer will start again and show you some numbers.

  • Press the ‘F5 key’ to start your computer differently.

Advanced Solution #2: Run an SFC Scan to Fix Broken Files

Now it’s time to search for damaged or missing system files — and repair or replace them, if possible — using a System File Checker (SFC) scan. Here’s how to run a System File Checker scan using Command Prompt:

If nothing works so far from the previously mentioned steps, then we recommend applying an SFC Scan to fix damaged or missing system files. These files need to be repaired or replaced to fix the blue screen death error. Here is how you run an SFC scan.

  • Press the ‘Windows key’ and type “cmd.”
  • Right-click “Command Prompt” and select “Run as Administrator”.
Run Command Prompt as Admin
  • Select “Yes” or “OK” on any prompts that appear.
  • Then, type sfc /scannow into the Command Prompt 
  • Hit ‘Enter‘, and wait for the scan to complete.
Type sfc scannow

Advanced Solution #3: Check Your Computer’s RAM

Sometimes faulty RAM can also cause BSOD, and then the Windows memory diagnostic tool can help you identify the issues. You can use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to check and see if your computer’s RAM is working correctly:

  • Press the ‘Windows Key’, type “Windows Memory Diagnostic.” and hit ‘Enter’.
  • Restart your PC to see if the problem has been resolved.
Type Windows Memory Diagnostic

There you have the solution! The diagnostic results will show as soon as possible when your computer starts again. You can view Event Viewer for results too.

Advanced Solution #4: Scan Your Hard Drive

A CHKDSK hard drive scanning tool can scan for damaged parts of the hard drive. These include corrupted file systems and physical damage to the disk itself. Therefore, these are both common reasons for the blue screen of death. 

Here is how to run CHKDSK hard drive scanning: 

  • Press the ‘Windows key‘ and type “Cmd.” 
  • Right-click “Command Prompt” and select “Run as Administrator”. 
  • Click “Yes” or “OK” if prompted.
Run Command Prompt as Admin
  • Then, type “CHKDSK” and hit ‘Enter to run the command line and start the scan.
Type CHKDSK

If the scan finds drive errors, you need to run a new CHKDSK process to repair them. This will launch a deeper diagnostic scan and restore damaged drive sectors so that they are readable within the file system. If nothing works from the solutions mentioned above, then follow up with the next solution.

If All Else Fails, Reinstall Windows

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Reinstalling Windows is a last resort option that can help you fix various problems with your PC. However, it will also erase all your personal files, apps, and settings, so you should back up your data before you proceed. There are different ways to reinstall Windows, depending on your situation and preference. 

Reset/re-install Windows via Settings:

This option will take your device back to a state similar to when you turned it on for the first time, removing programs you have installed and removing personal files, depending on which option you select. 

To reset Windows via Settings, follow these steps.

  • Click the “Start” menu and open “Settings”.
  • Click “Update & security > Recovery”.
  • Then click “Get Started” under “Reset this PC”.
Reset this PC
  • Choose what to do with your files:
    Click “Keep my files to avoid losing personal data.
    Click “Remove everything” to erase all data on the computer, including your files, before reinstalling Windows.
Reset this PC choose an option

Follow the on-screen instructions and click Reset when prompted.

Reinstall Windows with Installation Media:

This option will allow you to reinstall Windows using a DVD or USB drive that contains a copy of Windows 10 installation files. You can create installation media using another PC or use an existing one if you have one.

To use this option, insert or plug your installation media into the PC and turn it on or restart it if it is already on. The PC will then boot from the installation media and start downloading and installing Windows. From there, you can choose whether to keep everything (default), keep personal data only (recommended), or keep nothing (recommended).

Last Word

There, you have the complete guide about the Windows blue screen of death error and 10 different ways to fix it.
We hope that you followed each step carefully and successfully resolved the error. This error is indeed frustrating and problematic to fix, but it is not unsolvable.

Most of our readers and other people we did research on — had the best results solving the BSODs with automated software like the one we offer below. Don’t be hesitant to try it!

And if you have any queries or related PC problems, then we are always here to help.

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If your Blue Screen of Death errors are still not fixed — feel free to reach out to us via email and share your problem.

  1. More on BSOD — Wikipedia []
  2. What is firmware — Techtarget.com []
  3. RAM explained — via Intel.com []
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About the author
Iggy Shells
Iggy Shells - IT & PC repair expert

Iggy is the founder of WindowsGuided.com. He’s been involved in custom IT and security solutions for more than a decade.

Now he and his team are sharing their knowledge with the world by helping casual users solve a myriad of different computer issues, system errors, and virus/malware infections.