Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of Windows users like the infamous Blue Screen of Death. The Blue Screen indicates either a STOP Error or a Bug Check, which means that Windows has to stop working entirely. Often, it’s caused by a software problem such as a bad driver.
During the heyday of Windows XP, it was a constant irritant. Nowadays, it’s far less prevalent since Microsoft has largely addressed the issue. Still, understanding the BSOD and how to deal with it can save you a lot of time and headache.
What Causes That Blue Screen?
There are many possible reasons why Blue Screens of Death eventually occur. In many instances, a corrupt registry will be the primary culprit. This means that there’s an issue with one or several of the DLL files your Windows installation relies on to function properly.
The Blue Screen can also be caused by hardware issues such as a failing power supply or a RAM stick that’s defective. Before we explore possible BSOD fixes, let’s look at how one can prevent them from happening in the first place.
Nipping BSODs in the Bud
In order to avoid the BSOD, the easiest thing to do is to keep your system in good working order. Let’s begin with software. Since DLL problems account for a hefty portion of Blue Screens, you should schedule periodic registry checks with a cleaner program such as CCleaner.
Also, be sure to scan for viruses regularly with Microsoft Security Essentials. Finally, configure your Windows installation to save a core dump to your hard drive so that it can be analyzed later to determine BSOD causes.
Additionally, ensure that your hardware is working normally so that it can be ruled out when diagnosing any future screen freezes. Begin by checking the memory. Running a Memtest once in awhile is never a bad idea, as it will alert you to memory problems in the making.
Faulty RAM modules can easily cause a BSOD and are often the root problem. If you’ve installed a new hardware device such as a hard drive, optical drive or wireless adapter, be sure that your software drivers are up-to-date and don’t conflict with your Windows system.
What to Do When It Happens
You may still encounter the occasional Blue Screen no matter how many preventative measures you take. Generally, a BSOD will tell you to reboot your PC using the familiar CtrlAltDel key combination.
However, there’s a wealth of information displayed on the screen that will give you a clue as to how to fix the problem. If you’re not great at troubleshooting Windows problems, a tool like WhoCrashed or BlueScreenView can help you out. Once you’ve rebooted, you can research your particular circumstances further.
An Ounce of Prevention
Even if it takes a bit of extra homework, it’s worth your time to ensure that Blue Screens of Death don’t occur in the first place. All things being equal, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you encounter persistent Blue Screens, you may want to call in a trained technician with years of experience who can quickly diagnose your problem. They’ll know where to look for probable causes and efficiently rectify them. In any event, the aforementioned tips should largely alleviate future BSODs.
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