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What to do when you get a Windows Blue Screen

Record and act on Blue Screen error messages

When a Blue Screen heralds a crash in your Windows PC or laptop, it is difficult to know the cause, or how to react. Our Helproom Expert explains.

QUESTION My Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop runs Windows 7. Every so often I get a Blue Screen with the message 'data dump'. The PC restarts so quickly that I can't read any more of the information displayed. Any idea what's going on? Hilary91

HELPROOM ANSWER You can change your system settings to stop the laptop from restarting after a blue screen. This will give you more time to read the information and determine what has caused the crash. It should at least give you something you can search for online.

From the Start menu, right-click on Computer and select Properties. Click ‘Advanced system settings'. In the section marked ‘Startup and Recovery', click the Settings button.

Clear the box next to ‘Automatically restart' in the section labelled System failure. Click Ok. The next time a blue screen occurs, it should remain onscreen long enough for you to write down any ,useful information or take a photograph.

The message you're seeing regarding a 'data dump' is telling you that Windows is creating a file containing debugging information. There are tools that can help you debug this information to find out what is causing the crash.

One such tool is BlueScreenView 1.45. It can analyse the contents of the data dump to discover the cause of the crash.

BlueScreenView screenshot

In our screenshot, we caused a crash using a utility called 'NotMyFault'. We can see that myfault.sys is the cause of the crash. Your dump file will contain different information, but the details provided should enable you to hunt down the culprit.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor for more Windows advice.

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