We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Get your PC up and running when Windows dies

The Blue Screen of Death isn't always the end

If Windows keeps crashing and you've seen the blue screen of death, don't despair - we've got a couple of tricks that will help your restore you OS, even if you’ve lost the original disc.

These days, our lives are stored on our PCs. From business associates and friends' contact details to very important contracts, it can all be found on our hard drives. And while we may take precautions in backing up our data, there's no accounting for Windows if it decides to have a funny five minutes and crash.

If you're only seeing the Blue SAcreen of Death (BSoD) with its white text, don't panic because all is not lost just yet. We've got some crafty tricks that will help you restore your OS, even if you don’t have the original disc.

Why does my PC keep dying with a blue screen of death?

What's worse than the sudden, unexpected appearance of a blue screen filled with white text? Recurring appearances of blue screens filled with white text. The fewer times you have to read the maddeningly passive-voice observation "A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down…," the better.

Microsoft calls these freeze-frame moments "stop errors," but everyone else uses a much more descriptive title: The Blue Screen of Death. They occur whenever Windows senses a problem that won't let it operate properly.

When you encounter a BSoD, there's not much you can do except mourn your lost data (whatever was in memory but not yet saved to disk), reboot your machine, and go on with your life. If you start getting them regularly, however, you have a problem that must be addressed.

The question is, what's causing the problem?

Believe it or not, BSoD screens actually contain some useful information, albeit not much. The next time your monitor and mood suddenly turn blue, grab a pen and a sheet of paper and jot these items down before rebooting:

  • The problem description: Write down whatever text appears between the boilerplate first paragraph ("A problem has been detected…") and the one that begins "If this is the first time…"
  • Technical details: Write down everything that appears under the heading 'Technical information'.

Once you've rebooted, use your favourite internet search engine to find pages that mention both BSoD and some of the terms that you jotted down. The statement in all caps with underlines instead of spaces will likely be useful here.

If a web search doesn't yield helpful information, ask yourself what has changed on your PC lately. Did you add hardware or update a driver just before the problem became common?

NEXT PAGE: Installing older drivers and overheating may be the cause of the BSoD

  1. The Blue Screen of Death isn't always the end
  2. Installing older drivers, and why overheating may be the cause of the BSoD
  3. Restoring Windows without the CD

Visit PC Advisor's Microsoft spotlight for the latest Microsoft news and opinion


IDG UK Sites

Where to buy iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the UK: Launch day price, deals and contracts

IDG UK Sites

Is Apple losing confidence in itself?

IDG UK Sites

Professional photo and video techniques for perfect colours

IDG UK Sites

How (and where) to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the UK. Plus: What to do if you pre-ordered...