One of the worrying things that happens to us all is when we find our computer blue screens. Also known as the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD for short) or STOP error, it usually means that something has gone terribly wrong, and it means working out the problem and either fixing it, or admitting that it might be the end for your computer.
However, you might find that the blue screen error isn’t actually that serious or complicated as you first think. When Windows encounters this problem, it is often due to hardware or software issues. The STOP error causes Windows to stop and restart, and then crashing – which unfortunately means your work is lost if you hadn’t been meticulously saving your work.
Try a few of these tips first to investigate why your computer blue screened.
1 Establish the source of the problem
Find the STOP code
The STOP code is your guide to troubleshooting the problem. If your computer hasn’t automatically shut down or restarted, then note down the wording after the word ‘STOP’. This information is normally in capital letters and using underscores eg NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM
Here is a list of blue screen error codes which could help identify the problem (assuming you have another computer or device available):
No text on your blue screen?
If you get a blue screen but then your computer immediately reboots and you don’t have the opportunity to write down the STOP code, you will need to boot the computer into Safe Mode and disable automatic restart on failure.
Steps to disable automatic restart on failure
- From your desktop or in the Windows Start menu, right-click on My Computer or Computer.
- Choose Properties.
- In the System Properties window click the Advanced tab or the Advanced system settings link.
- On the Advanced tab, click the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery section.
- In the Startup and Recovery window, uncheck the Automatically restart check box.
- Click OK.
Note: Earlier versions of Windows may have slightly different steps. Try these for Windows 7, XP and Vista
In Windows XP:
- Navigate to the Control Panel in Windows XP by left-clicking on Start, followed by Settings and then choosing Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel window, click on System.
- Note: Depending on how your operating system is set up in Microsoft Windows XP, you might not see the System icon. To correct this, click on the link on the left-hand side of the Control Panel window that says Switch to Classic View.
- In the System Properties window, choose the Advanced/Advanced system settings tab.
- Locate the Startup and Recovery area and click on the Settings button.
- In the Startup and Recovery window, locate and uncheck the check box next to Automatically restart.
- Click OK.
Often, you may find that the last thing you did is the source of your problem eg installing some hardware or software. It would be a good idea to try some of these tips:
Boot in safe mode
If there are unstable hardware drivers this could cause a blue screen. Safe mode only loads the essential drivers, so it means you can get into the computer without any of the additional drivers that could be the root cause.
When you boot your computer up, press the f8 key before the windows screen appears which should bring up the Advanced Options screen. Ensure safe mode is enabled and press enter.
Scan for malware
As discussed in previous blogs, malware is designed to be harmful to your computer, and compromise security by accessing a device without the user’s knowledge. Malware is most commonly accessed through email or the internet and is often a reason for the BSOD.
We at Jolly IT recommend a reliable and free anti-virus software tool Malware Bytes to detect and remove any malware.
You could try a system restore which will take your computer back to an earlier point in the day. This is advantageous if you don’t have any important data saved onto your hard drive, as you might lose any recent data with this method.
Microsoft offer a guide to creating a restore point on your computer.
While these offer some solutions as to why your computer has blue screened, if you have tried all of the above and found the solution to your problem, then feel free to contact us to then resolve the issue. Troubleshooting the problem yourself may present the issue and therefore help us to solve it much quicker!
Alternatively, if you still haven’t identified the problem then you’ll clearly want to get straight onto us!
Need IT support? Call 0800 3317668 or use the contact form and we will call you straight back.