The Blue Screen of Death Explained

Every vehicle in existence has a handbrake, the purpose of which (among others) is to bring the car to an immovable stop very suddenly should something go wrong. Operating systems have a similar handbrake embedded in them. In the case of Windows, it’s called a Blue Screen of Death, also known as a “STOP Error”.

Blue screen of death

It appears when Windows encounters an issue so serious that the operating system has to stop completely. This can be a source of alarm to many people, and understandably so; one minute you’re working and the next your machine grinds to a glaring halt. It’s therefore important to understand why the Blue Screen occurs, and the steps you can take to restore your computer without losing any of your data.

What Causes the Blue Screen of Death to Occur?

Generally, the Blue Screen of Death is caused by faulty RAM or outdated drivers, and when there’s a problem with either of them – such as an incompatibility between old hardware and new hardware – Windows will know to shut the whole system down so that it can be fixed. Think of a radio with a faulty wire that will periodically cut out and then suddenly stop working altogether; it’s something like that. It can also be caused by new software that’s incompatible with older software or hardware. It’s not just older models either – a blocking bug has been affecting the latest Windows 10 update, causing frequent Blue Screens to occur.

How to Fix a Blue Screen of Death

Take Stock

The first step is to think about what you did recently that may have caused this to occur. For example, did you:

  • Install a new program or piece of hardware?
  • Update a driver?
  • Perform a Windows update?

If the answer is “yes” to any one of these, then the first step would be to try and reverse the action you took that caused the system to crash. Use the System Restore function in Windows or roll back your drivers to the previous version to accomplish this.

Remove any Externals

Remove any unnecessary hardware that isn’t essential for your computer to run. This includes external hard drives, headphones and USB drives. It’s possible that any one of these peripherals could cause the crash. While you’re at it, check the temperature of the computer. Excessively hot machines might be a sign of poor ventilation, which can damage the internal hardware, resulting in a Blue Screen.

Check for Viruses

A virus is also a possible cause of a Blue Screen of Death, so it’s important to check that your antivirus software is working correctly. This is doubly important for ensuring that your data is not corrupted and actually increases the chances that it will be able to be recovered without any massive losses. Make sure you’ve got trustworthy antivirus software to begin with.

All in all, the Blue Screen of Death might seem like your computer has reached the end of its life, but in reality, the situation can usually be rectified very easily with the above steps.

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