The Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

January 27, 2010

Have you evern gotten a screen that looks somethign like this:

This is what is often called the Blue Screen of Death, often abbreviated BSOD. You can get this type of screen on any version of Windows. Windows will display this screen if it encounters a critical error that prevents Windows from continuing to operate. This is also referred to as a system failure.

It sounds pretty bad, and it can be, but just because your computer gets one BSOD doesn’t mean it’s a death sentence for your computer. In fact, it’s not unusual for a computer to get a blue screen every once in a while. But if your computer gets a BSOD frequently, or every time you turn your computer on, there may be a problem.

If your computer shows the blue screen of death, here’s what to do.

If this is the first time you have seen this screen in a while, just reboot. You will have to press and hold down the power button for about 5 seconds to force the computer off. Then wait a few seconds and press the power button again to turn the computer back on. If your computer comes back on and works fine, don’t worry about it. Again, it’s not unusual for a Windows PC to get a BSOD every once in a while.

If you have gotten a BSOD on your computer in the last few days, then you should stop and write down some of the information on the screen. In the example above, you would want to write down PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA. You would also want to write down the stop code which is the first number after “STOP:”. In this case, 0x00000050. You don’t need to write down the numbers in the parenthesis after the stop code.

Notice that in this example it shows a file name at the top and at the bottom of the blue screen. In this example, that file is SPCMDCON.SYS. Not all BSOD’s will have a file name listed, but if yours does, write it down.

It’s possible that the BSOD may only flash on your screen for a second and then your computer will reboot. Some manufacturers set Windows this way. When this happens, it is still possible to get the information that would have been displayed on the BSOD. Assuming the computer will boot up. You can change this setting by going to the Control Panel and double-clicking on System. Now click on the Advanced tab and then click the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery sections. Then remove the checkmark next to “Automatically restart”.

If your system is getting a BSOD frequently, or gets one every time it boots up, or is in a constant loop of rebooting over and over, then once you have written down the information from the BSOD, press and hold the power button for about 5 seconds to shut the computer off. Then call us and give us the information.

A BSOD error can be most anything. Could be a software error. Could be a driver problem. Could be a hardware problem. The information on the BSOD may tells us exactly what the problem is, but more often than not, it only gives us an idea. Most of the time, to discover the root problem and fix a BSOD requires that we bring the computer back to our office and run extensive tests.

But don’t worry. Most BSOD errors are software, drivers, hard drive, or memory, all of which are fixable at a reasonable cost. The exception are problems with the motherboard or the processor. Still fixable, but often not worth the cost.

So to summarize, if you get a BSOD every once in a while, reboot and don’t worry about it. If you get one frequently or every time you boot your computer, write down the pertinent information and give us a call. 

This is what is often called the Blue Screen of Death, often abbreviated BSOD. You can get this type of screen on any version of Windows. Windows will display this screen if it encounters a critical error that prevents Windows from continuing to operate. This is also referred to as a system failure.

It sounds pretty bad, and it can be, but just because your computer gets one BSOD doesn’t mean it’s a death sentence for your computer. In fact, it’s not unusual for a computer to get a blue screen every once in a while. But if your computer gets a BSOD frequently, or every time you turn your computer on, there may be a problem.

If your computer shows the blue screen of death, here’s what to do.

If this is the first time you have seen this screen in a while, just reboot. You will have to press and hold down the power button for about 5 seconds to force the computer off. Then wait a few seconds and press the power button again to turn the computer back on. If your computer comes back on and works fine, don’t worry about it. Again, it’s not unusual for a Windows PC to get a BSOD every once in a while.

If you have gotten a BSOD on your computer in the last few days, then you should stop and write down some of the information on the screen. In the example above, you would want to write down PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA. You would also want to write down the stop code which is the first number after “STOP:”. In this case, 0x00000050. You don’t need to write down the numbers in the parenthesis after the stop code.

The screen shot above may be hard to read, but it shows a file name SPCMDCON.SYS. Not all BSOD’s will have a file name listed, but if yours does, write it down.

It’s possible that the BSOD may only flash on your screen for a second and then your computer will reboot. Some manufacturers set Windows this way. When this happens, it is still possible to get the information that would have been displayed on the BSOD. Assuming the computer will boot up. You can change this setting by going to the Control Panel and double-clicking on System. Now click on the Advanced tab and then click the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery sections. Then remove the checkmark next to “Automatically restart”.

If your system is getting a BSOD frequently, or gets one every time it boots up, or is in a constant loop of rebooting over and over, then once you have written down the information from the BSOD, press and hold the power button for about 5 seconds to shut the computer off. Then call us and give us the information.

A BSOD error can be most anything. Could be a software error. Could be a driver problem. Could be a hardware problem. The information on the BSOD may tells us exactly what the problem is, but more often than not, it only gives us an idea. Most of the time, to discover the root problem and fix a BSOD requires that we bring the computer back to our office and run extensive tests.

But don’t worry. Most BSOD errors are software, drivers, hard drive, or memory, all of which are fixable at a reasonable cost. The exception are problems with the motherboard or the processor. Still fixable, but often not worth the cost.

So to summarize, if you get a BSOD every once in a while, reboot and don’t worry about it. If you get one frequently or every time you boot your computer, write down the pertinent information and give us a call.

 

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