The notorious and dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) is a screen that no one wants to see pop up on their Windows computer. It is an unwelcome sight that has been surprising Windows users since its introduction back in 1995, appearing without warning to let you know that your computer has encountered a critical error that it can’t resolve automatically. The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) is also known as a “stop screen” and will always be accompanied by the message, “your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you” and an associated stop error code.
What Commonly Causes BSoD Errors on Windows Computers?
In a lot of cases, the Blue Screen of Death will appear if there is a problem with your computer’s hardware or hardware drivers. Incompatibilities with your audio, dedicated graphics card, or random access memory (RAM) drivers or direct problems with the hardware itself can cause your computer to suddenly crash or freeze.
Beyond this, if there is an interruption, incompatibility, or a conflict between the low-level software running within the kernel layers of your computer and your computer’s hardware, you can get BSoD error screens. The kernel is a computer program that is at the heart of your computer’s operating system and it controls almost everything within the system. It is what connects your application software to the hardware of your computer. When there is a problem with it, you’re likely to get a BSoD.
What Happens When a BSoD Screen Appears?
When this screen is shown, you’re going to see the message: “your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you” and a percentage amount listed and the word “complete”. Once it gets to 100%, the computer is going to try to restart. Then, one of two things will happen:
- Your computer will restart successfully and boot as normal. Unfortunately, anything you were doing prior to the BSoD will be lost if you haven’t saved your progress. If you were working with a word document, video file, or photography, you may also need to recover the file due to corruption or damage from the crash.
- If your computer tries to restart and is unsuccessful in doing so, you are likely to see another BSoD screen. This will cause you to get stuck in a reboot loop.
The percentage you are seeing is the computer gathering information to create a mini-dump file. This file contains any information that was being held in your system’s memory at the time of the crash. This file is saved to your disk, which can then be used to debug what went wrong during the time of the BSoD. While Blue Screens of Death do look different depending on what operating system you are on, the most critical information to look for is the name of the error and the associated stop code which is listed along with it.
What Should I Do If I See a Blue Screen of Death?
The main thing you are going to want to do is grab either a pen and some paper or your smartphone. Either write down or capture the error name and the technical stop code information. These two things are critical for understanding what went wrong with your computer as every stop code is tied to a specific problem.
Once you have these two things written down, you will need to look up the name and it’s associated stop code error. This is going to tell you what type of problem you are encountering and what the root causes of this problem are. You will then be able to find some more information on how to fix these problems so that you no longer encounter the BSoD.
What Is a Stop Code Error?
If you are on an older version of Windows, your Blue Screen of Death is likely to have a “technical” portion to it, in which you will see a Windows stop code. This is a hexadecimal number that is a combination of letters and numbers. If you are on Windows 10, this code will be provided with the error name underneath the message, “your pc ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you”.
Are There Any Specific Messages to Look for During a BSoD?
The unfortunate thing with BSoD screens is that there are hundreds of stop error codes that can appear. However, some are far more likely to pop up than others, so we’re going to list out 10 of the most common to look for during a BSoD.
This BSoD error name and screen is a bit more self-explanatory than others on the list. It simply means that a critical system process required for your computer to function, died. You will see a technical stop code of 0x000000EF.
When you see this BSoD error name with a blue screen, it means that the system thread generated an exception that the error handler did not catch. It is accompanied by a stop error code of 0x0000007E.
This BSoD error means that the kernel mode driver accessed by paged memory at the DISPATCH_LEVEL or above when it wasn’t supposed to. It is accompanied by a 0x0000000A hexadecimal stop code.
This BSoD error name is accompanied by the hexadecimal code 0x00000117 and means that your display driver failed to respond in a timely manner. Meaning, it took too long or didn’t respond at all and a timeout was detected.
This BSoD error name comes with a stop code of 0x00000050 and means that invalid system memory is being referenced.
This BSoD error name comes with the stop error code 0x0000003B and means that an exception occurred while a routine was being executed which transitions from a non-privileged code to a privileged code.
With this BSoD error name, it refers to a deferred procedure call which is an interrupt-handling mechanism that is built directly into Windows. It allows high level communication between devices while deferring low-level interrupt requests. When the bug checker gets overwhelmed or your system gets stuck on an interrupt request level, this stop code will appear: 0x00000133.
With this BSoD, it is telling you that the kernel-mode program has generated an exception that the error handler did not catch. It is accompanied by the stop error code 0x0000001E.
This BSoD refers to the fact that the pool header is corrupted. It is accompanied with the stop code 0x00000019.
With this BSoD, it means that the current thread is making a bad pool request. It is accompanied by the stop error code 0x000000C2.
Additional notable BSoD error messages:
- KERNEL SECURITY CHECK FAILURE
- INACCESSSIBLE BOOT DEVICE (0x0000007b)
- KERNEL DATA INPAGE ERROR (0x0000007a)
- WHEA UNCORRECTABLE ERROR
- VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE (0x00000116)
Is There Anything I Can Do To Troubleshoot a BSoD?
We highly recommend looking up the error name and the stop code information to see the exact causes and what steps you can take to resolve the issue. If you are still having trouble, there are a few things you can do that may help with your BSoD.
- Scan your computer for malware. A virus in your system can cause instability.
- Update your drivers. Buggy drivers or incompatible drivers will cause your computer to crash. Install the latest drivers from the hardware’s manufacturer via their official website.
- Update your Windows operating system. Having an outdated system can cause freezing, crashes, and incompatibilities between the operating system and any hardware you are running.
- Run a few hardware tests on your hard drive disks, CPU, GPU, and memory to make sure that the components are not failing or overheating.
- Consider doing a system restore to a previous state when your computer was not blue screening. Then retrace your steps to see if you can identify a specific installation, download, or application that may have started the problem.
Finally, if your computer is blue screening every single time it boots up or you keep getting stuck in a boot loop with the message “your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart”, try running the computer in SAFE MODE. This can help you figure out if a recently installed driver or application is causing the BSoD. If you’ve gone through all of our BSoD error articles or have tried every solution currently available, the other option is to perform a clean install of your Windows operating system