Surviving the blue screen of death
I don't know about you, but anytime I see a Blue Screen of Death, a.k.a. BSoD, I get very angry. It's Windows' way of telling me that it has encountered a critical error, which has made the entire operating system crash.
Read this article and you will discover how to find out what has caused that BSoD, and what you can do to prevent it from appearing again in the future.
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Microsoft Windows has become much more stable since Windows 7. And yet, even though most of us are now running Windows 10, problems can still appear every now and then. Often times, the problems are either hardware or driver related. Things complicate even more when the computer has both hardware and software issues at the same time.
The good news is that Windows has gotten quite good at preventing poorly coded or damaged applications from crashing our PCs. However, low-level software such as drivers, which run in the Windows kernel, can trigger BSoDs. And when one of these unpleasant events happen, your computer needs to be restarted. Sadly, the open programs will not be able to save their data before restart, so you may lose some (or all) of your work.
This isn't always the case, of course. Browsers are able to restore their last session, for example. Microsoft Word saves the data regularly, allowing you to retrieve much of it even after an unexpected computer restart. However, many applications lack these useful features, and this can cause trouble, especially for people who use their computers for business-related purposes.
Determining the potential BSoD causes
Your computer should restart after a BSoD, but this won't always happen. Sometimes you may need to shut down your computer for good, by pressing and holding the power button for about five seconds. Wait a minute, and then power on the computer again.
Fortunately, Microsoft has done its best to help us identify the BSoD causes. Your computer will create a "minidump" file before restarting. That file contains information that can help you fix the problem, and is saved to your hard drive. You can use this free application to examine the content of the minidump, and thus be able to determine the cause of the blue screen of death.
I was using an expensive sound card about a year ago. It worked great, but it was also the cause of my weekly BSoDs. Of course, I didn't know that before examining the minidump file, using the application I have linked to above. Sadly, the sound card manufacturer has decided to stop updating the drivers, so I had to purchase a new card.
Later on, my computer started to crash again. This time it was the memory, which (surprisingly) was passing third-party memory tests with flying colors. Once again, the minidump info has highlighted the problem, and the BSoDs stopped for good after replacing the faulty memory modules.
Fixing the problems that lead to BSoDs
Sometimes things can be fixed without changing hardware parts, though. Begin by scanning your computer for malware, using a good antivirus. Then, install the latest drivers, which may fix various issues.
If your computer keeps restarting, it is time to use the System Restore feature. If that doesn't work either, it may be the time to reinstall Windows. If this fails to deliver the expected results as well, your computer may have a hardware-related problem. The information contained in the minidump file should be very helpful under these circumstances, pointing out the actual hardware component that causes the problems.
Blue screens of death aren't welcome - that is a sure fact! However, by applying the information in this article, you should be able to identify and fix the problems that cause them. Of course, you shouldn't worry if you see a BSoD once a year or so; even the operating system itself can have a few bugs.