Troubleshooting Blue Screen Errors
“Hi Wally, Please help me, my computer crashes, I see a blue screen, and then it restarts. I am using a Windows 7 Laptop.” - Christopher N., Canada
Before addressing any computer issue, I always recommend scanning and repairing any underlying problems affecting your PC health and performance:
- Step 1 : Download PC Repair & Optimizer Tool (WinThruster for Win 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP and 2000 – Microsoft Gold Certified).
- Step 2 : Click “Start Scan” to find Windows registry issues that could be causing PC problems.
- Step 3 : Click “Repair All” to fix all issues.
Setting up weekly (or daily) automatic scans will help prevent system problems and keep your PC running fast and trouble-free.
Wally’s Answer: The Blue screen, also known as the Blue Screen of Death or BSoD is the screen that Microsoft Windows operating systems show when they encounter a critical error. In Windows 7, this error is usually hardware related.
The Blue Screen
Blue screen errors halt the computer and causes it to crash. This leaves the user no other option but to restart the computer. There are various different manifestations of the blue screen from the original BSoD of Windows 1.0 to the more modern and less dumbfounding BSoD of Windows 8.
Windows 1.0 on the left, and Windows 8 on the right.
Blue Screen Errors in Windows 7
If you encounter the blue screen of death (BSOD) when using Windows 7, the problem is probably driver or hardware related. This error stops the computer, preventing potential harm that might have been caused by damage to hardware or data. Disable automatic reboot after the blue screen, and then write down the error message so you can Google it later. Windows 7 is fairly stable so this sort of thing does not happen very often.
Troubleshooting Blue Screen Errors
Fixing these errors can take a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the error code you encounter.
Is it something I did?
One important thing to think about when this error appears is to think about anything new that you might have done with your computer. Maybe you installed a new program, a driver update, attached a new hard drive, or used a new device for the first time. Maybe unplugging that device or uninstalling that program will get rid of the error. The device or program in question should be a bit suspicious, such as freeware software or a really cheap all-in-one memory card reader.
You can undo the changes you made by:
- Using Last Known Good Configuration next time your computer boots. This should undo registry and driver changes.
- Using System Restore to return to the last restore point.
- Use the Roll Back Driver option in driver properties in Device manager to undo a recent driver upgrade. To open Device Manager:
click Start > type Device Manager > Enter
- Make sure you have enough free space on your system partition, where Windows is Installed. It should have at least 100 MB of free space. Your system partition or drive has a small Windows logo on its icon:
- If you have recently added more RAM to your computer or installed a new hard drive, or a new PCI card, chances are that some cable has become loose. This can also cause blue screen errors.
What if its not my fault?
Your hard drive might be dying. It might have bad sectors or maybe your computer’s memory is the culprit. Perform a hardware diagnostic test on your computer. Most modern computers have a hardware diagnostics test in their BIOS settings, check your computer’s manual or see if you can spot it in the BIOS settings, or somewhere on the screen when the computer starts. If your computer’s memory or hard drive fails this test then replace it as soon as possible, and try to avoid using the computer beforehand to avoid further problems.
Starting the computer in Safe Mode
Start the computer in Safe Mode by pressing F8 repeatedly when the system starts. Do this if the computer won’t start otherwise or won’t start long enough for you to do anything. From here you can copy important data, scan your computer for viruses, scan for spyware, use System Restore, and roll-back a recently installed faulty driver.
Try Booting off a Linux Live CD/DVD/USB
If you can’t use safe mode either then use a live Linux disk. I recommend Linux Mint for Windows users for its friendly UI, and the fact that it sort-of looks like Windows. Linux Mint also enables you to do many things out of the box (including copying important data, reading PDFs, browsing the web, and playing most video formats). Like most other types of Linux operating systems, Linux Mint can be used as a Live CD, Live DVD, or a Live USB.
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Is Your PC Healthy?
I always recommend to my readers to regularly use a trusted registry cleaner and optimizer such as WinThruster or CCleaner. Many problems that you encounter can be attributed to a corrupt and bloated registry.
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