Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) – Causes & Solutions

Today, We are going to cover a topic about Blue Screen of Death (i.e BSoD) That is most commonly faced by Many Microsoft Windows Users.

What is Blue Screen of Death?

BSoD simply is known as Blue Screen of Death. Appears in the most critical situations when closing a failed program cannot be avoided.

The Windows operating system has several levels of running programs. We see only the very top – open program windows and running services. It is them that the Task Manager shows. When one of the programs makes a mistake that it cannot handle and work around, it, as many users say, “crashes”. You can start again and work on.

Blue Screen Error in Windows 10

Software modules working at a lower level (drivers) will not be able to restart if an error occurs. The Windows operating system tries to protect the user from many errors, but this does not always work out and it surrenders, showing a sad face or a set of characters on the computer screen.

You need to understand that drivers are an intermediary between the software and hardware of a computer. Both drivers (programmers are people too, may fail to account for something or make a mistake), as well as the iron part of the computer, can fail.

Problems with Windows 10? here’s an answer How to Get Help in Windows 10

Symptoms of BSoD

  1. The appearance of a blue screen with strange characters or a sad emoticon.
  2. An unexpected restart of the computer.

Note: In 99% of cases, the computer restarts itself due to a critical error (BSoD), but the situation is worse: problems with the power supply or the motherboard. If you have a desktop PC, check for capacitors swelling somewhere.

Reasons for the appearance of a Blue Screen

1.) Overheating: Overheating of the video card, processor leads to a blue screen of death.

By the way, in Windows XP when the video card overheated, BSoD always occurred, in Vista and newer, the video driver simply reboots.

The newer Windows, the better protection against crashes. Let’s hope in some Windows 10 updates, instead of the blue screen we will see an error notification that does not interfere with the work.

2.) Failure of RAM:  You can test the RAM, but in order not to get your finger in the sky, first read on – perhaps the reason for your blue screen of death is something else.

Note: If you installed new RAM in the computer and received frequent BSoDs, change it to a working one in the store. There are no other ways to overcome the blue screens of death when replacing RAM.

3.) The failure of another iron: Maybe the voltage in the power supply “sags”. Maybe contact is missing somewhere. Maybe your computer doesn’t like the full moon. There are many reasons, you can guess forever.

Note: If after you have analyzed the minidump (more on that below) and eliminated the errors, the blue screen does not go anywhere, it is worth replacing all components in turn. You can’t just take it and determine the cause of BSoD if each time the error codes are different.

4.) Overclocking:  If you are an advanced overclocker, then you know how overclocking a computer has to do with BSoD. If not, do not overclock the computer.

5.) Driver (s) failed: The cause of BSoD will not necessarily be a hardware problem. Unstable drivers are frequent guests on users’ computers. How to identify a failed driver will come next.

6.) Viruses: Be sure to check your computer with some one-time antivirus.

Note: I never get surprised at the self-confidence of users who say “ I have no viruses and antivirus too! I have straight arms / I only sit on trusted sites / sometimes I check with a one-time antivirus and therefore everything is fine! “. Leaving aside the debate on how to live without an antivirus, think: if a person sees BSoD, he is no longer in a normal situation. How can I claim that there are no viruses and this is not the reason for the blue screen?
Also, do not think that if you have an antivirus installed with the latest databases, there can be no viruses. Check with others to completely eliminate the possibility.

7.) Antiviruses. It’s funny (and sad) that antiviruses are the cause of a crash. Remove the antivirus for a while. Did the blue death screens stop appearing? Put a new one so that the blue screens do not appear for reason # 6.

8.) Windows Updates.  Developers at Microsoft sometimes test poorly for updates. Some because of this completely turn off Windows Update and sit without updates, although this is not an option. Control Panel – Programs and Features – View installed updates  – right-click – Uninstall from recently installed updates, then check Windows. Has everything returned to normal? Just don’t put the updates in a couple of weeks – usually, during this time some kind of corrective update comes out for the update and everything becomes fine.

9.) Failure of programs. This happens, but rarely. If you see BSoD during a game or while running a specific program, I advise you to check the computer for overheating, because most programs are not able to cause a blue screen, except for installing drivers in the system (antiviruses, virtual disk emulators, game protection systems like PunkBuster, accounting programs that work with digital keys).

10.) Errors of the file system of the hard disk.

Find out the cause of BSoD

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons and it makes no sense to guess. Fortunately, the blue screen of death contains clues about why Windows suddenly started to fail. Among the incomprehensible text will be error codes containing a direct indication of what caused the failure.

Most often, you will not see BSoD , since in the Windows settings, by default, restarting the computer is enabled in case of critical errors.

You can disable the automatic restart of Windows as follows: Control Panel >> System and Security >> System >> Advanced System Settings >> Settings >> Check / Uncheck the box, as in the screenshot below:

Disabling reboot with BDoD

Pay attention to the item “Small memory dump” – put it too.

Google Error Code from Windows Log

The “Write event to the system log” checkbox is set by default, which means that the error codes will be in the Windows Log.

Go to Control Panel >> Administrative Tools >> Event Viewer >> System >> and look in the list for a line matching the time the blue screen appears or when the computer restarts:

Error code in Windows Log

Look for the error code in Google and read the first few sites in the issue, follow the recommendations that helped others. If a driver is indicated (a word ending with .sys,  then it’s generally wonderful – the probable culprit is found right away, you need to install the driver for this device with an older / newer version. If there is no clear and clear indication of the cause of BSoD on the indicated error code on the Internet, read my instruction farther.

If there is nothing in Windows Journal, wait for the blue screen to appear and see the error there:

Blue Screen Error
Blue Screen in Windows 7
Blue Screen in Windows 10
Blue screen of death in Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10

Just search Google for information on the error code and follow the recommendations.

Analyze the Minidump

Unfortunately, if the problem is a failed driver, it is not always displayed on a blue screen. The error code is also not always informative. We need to analyze the minidump file created during the appearance of BSoD and containing information about the failure, in particular, which drivers reported the error. There are two programs for analyzing the minidump: Windows Debugging Tools and BlueScreenView. Unfortunately, the first is too complicated for novice users, although it gives a more informative result. In 99% of cases, the second, simple and free BlueScreenView is enough.

The BlueScreenView installer is available at this link.

After starting the program, you will see a window in which at the top there will be minidumps created by the system, information about them, at the bottom – a list of drivers. Yellow will indicate failed drivers.

Example No. 1 – the video card is to blame

A blue screen appears with the text ATTEMPTED_WRITE_TO_READONLY_MEMORY. We look at the minidump:

Error ATTEMPTED_WRITE_TO_READONLY_MEMORY, judging by googling, is caused by some driver. The likely culprit in this case is nv4_disp.sys. There are others, but this is part of the system, it is statistically unlikely that the reason is in them. A search on Google revealed that nv4_disp.sys is a video card driver from nVidia. Three steps:

  1. Checking the video card for overheating.
  2. Installing an older video card driver (new if the old one is installed). This is done with any drivers, not just video cards.
  3. Install the video card in another computer.
  4. If the blue screen appears on another computer, bring the video card to a service center. If the warranty is still valid, you can replace it with a working one for free.
  5. Does the blue screen not appear on another computer? Try installing another power supply on your own – the reason may be in it.
  6. Doesn’t help? Reinstall Windows cleanly.
  7. If this does not help, bring it to a service center for diagnostics.

Example No. 2 – not what was expected was to blame

A blue screen labeled PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA has many problems:

If ntfs.sys were the likely failed driver, then I would recommend checking the hard drive for errors, as well as replacing the cable from the hard drive to the motherboard. In this case, BlueScreenView points to the USB port driver, and that might be true, but where I got the dump from, for example, the person is to blame for the motherboard – capacitors swelled on it. The solution is to hand the system unit and stomp into the service center.

Example No. 3 – the antivirus is to blame

I found such a minidump on the Internet:

The culprit was SRTSP.SYS, an anti-virus component from Norton. It is solved by its removal.

Example No. 4 – “beaten” random access memory

A blue screen with MEMORY_MANAGEMENT is a sign that the RAM is unusable:

BlueScreenView points to the likely culprit – ntoskrnl.exe. This is the Windows kernel; it cannot be the cause of BSOD. In 99% of cases, the cause of the blue screen with the MEMORY_MANAGEMENT error is “broken” RAM. We will have to change it.

Parsing Results

1.) BlueScreenView indicates a failure in the driver, while the piece of hardware with which the driver interacts may be to blame.

2.) It is possible to determine whether the fault in the driver or hardware is to blame, by enumerating both the drivers and the hardware. Install old drivers (for example, those that came bundled on the disk), download new ones. Check drivers using system tools. Reinstall Windows in the end.

About Windows Safe Mode

Many BSoD diagnostics articles advise starting Windows in safe mode. In principle, this is useful, but it introduces beginners into a stupor. The questions immediately appear:

  • How to start safe mode?
  • What should I do if the blue screen (not) appears in safe mode?

The answer to the first question can be google in a few seconds. The answer to the second does not exist. The fact is that in safe mode, fewer drivers are launched, most likely there will be no blue screen. This is not a solution to the problem, as:

  • if the driver of the failed device or the failed driver did not start, the problem will not be resolved,
  • if BSoD is still there, the reason can still be both in the faulty hardware and in some driver that starts even in safe mode.

In my opinion, this is a waste of time.

3.) Search through Google allows you to find a solution.

PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA ntfs.sys Windows 10-min

Reinstall Windows :

Long thought – whether to advise such. However, a quick run-through popular forums showed that many users still use pirated Windows builds. So, if you have:

  • Windows build
  • worth or many optimizers have been installed,
  • the computer boots up for more than ten minutes,
  • programs often close with errors,

Reinstall Windows cleanly! And put a normal, original Windows. If you have a laptop, there will be a recovery partition on your hard drive with the Windows prepared by the manufacturer – read the instructions and install (restore) it!

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