The Blue Screen of Death ( BSOD ) in Windows

A Blue Screen of Death - From the Wikimedia Commons

A Blue Screen of Death - From the Wikimedia Commons

You will see a distinct look of fear in the eyes of anyone who has used Microsoft Windows when you mention a ‘BSOD’ or ‘Blue Screen of Death’. Sometimes they occur a single time and then go away, but other times they will recur every time that you restart the computer.

When this happens to you, there are a few things to try:

  • If your computer restarts in an endless loop and you can’t tell why, hit the F8 key repeatedly, about once a second, just as the computer starts to reboot.
  • You will get a menu that looks something like this:
The Safe Mode selection screen for Windows Vista

The Safe Mode selection screen for Windows Vista

  • Select the option entitled, “Disable automatic restart on system failure.”
  • Next time that you get the BSOD, it won’t restart automatically and you can then acquire useful information for troubleshooting the problem.
  • When you get the BSOD, copy down the complete STOP CODE which is formatted like so:
    • STOP: 0x00000000 (0x00000000, 0x00000000, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)
  • The first set of numbers (in blue) can be entered into Google or the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

You can then sometimes get useful information for fixing the problem. If nothing else, copy down the error numbers to bring to OIT Software Support. Other useful information includes the hardware (e.g. mouse, monitor, printers, scanners, USB devices) attached to the computer and the programs you remember running. The more contextual information we have, the easier it will be to solve a problem!