Everything You Need to Know About the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

We’ve all had many computers in our lifetime, and perhaps quite a few that died with the blue (or sometimes black) screen of death (BSOD)

If you’re unfamiliar with the blue/black screen of death, just know that it refers to the color of the background of your monitor display when you turn on the computer. Instead of seeing your operating system like Windows 10 loading up, you will see a blue or black background with some white text written on it.

Understanding the BSOD

The blue or black screens of death have been around since the early days of Windows operating systems. Essentially, it is an error screen that will show up following a fatal system error or crash to indicate that the Windows operating system can no longer operate safely and has to stop functioning.

These screens are also usually accompanied by error messages such as “🙁 Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart.”, or “Your PC/Device needs to be repaired”, or “Error loading operating system”.

Usually, this message will be followed by an error code called a Stop Code. For example, in the image below the Stop Code is “IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL”. Don’t worry too much about what these codes mean as it’s intended for a technical audience. But if you are curious, here is a list of their explanations.

When you get a screen like this, one of your first steps to fix it is to press the computer’s power button for a few seconds to shut it off, and then turn it back on again and hope the problem doesn’t reoccur.

Alternatively, you can try some troubleshooting steps outlined on Microsoft’s website. But if you are getting this screen repeatedly, it’s time for you to do some investigation!

Causes of the Blue Screen of Death

There are many reasons why you might be getting a blue or black screen of death. Of course, the causes of these blue or black screens will vary depending on what message you get on your screen, but some typical causes are:

  • Hardware failure
  • A bad Windows update
  • Hardware driver issues
  • Viruses

Software Issues and Fixes

When it comes to all the different software programs on your computer, there are many things that could go wrong. The way each program interacts with another could also cause errors and failures leading to the blue screen of death. Below are a few software programs to check.

Old or Outdated programs: Sometimes older programs such as device drivers that are outdated might cause your computer to boot to a blue screen. If possible, try to reinstall any old drivers as a solution for a blue screen fix.

New programs: Newly installed programs, if not installed properly, could cause your entire operating system to stop working, leading to the blue screen of death. If possible, try to delete any recently installed programs.

Viruses/Malware: We all get viruses once in a while, and sometimes a malicious program or virus can corrupt computer files and programs to cause a blue screen.

FixMeTip: We designed the FixMeStick to remove viruses even if you can’t access your regular operating system. Scan your system with the FixMeStick to remove hidden viruses and malware on your computer that could be causing the blue screen of death. Try it today risk-free for 30 days!

Corrupt OS Files: Operating System (OS) files can get corrupt sometimes, especially after buggy updates like the time when Microsoft made a buggy Windows update that caused countless Windows systems to crash. If a second update or a patch fixing the BSOD is available, install it right away. Otherwise, you can also try a System Restore to get a fresh copy of these files.

StartMeTip: Got an unknown software issue causing a blue screen on your computer? For a simple and fast way to revive this computer so you can get online again, boot into the StartMeStick via the boot device menu. Try it today for 30 days risk-free or your money back!

Check out this video below of our co-founder, Corey, reviving a computer that has the blue screen of death using a StartMeStick!

Corey, our co-founder, revives a blue-screened computer using StartMeStick.

Hardware Issues and Fixes

The hardware components on your computer will go through wear and tear over time. If one of the parts is down then your computer could start showing the blue screen of death.

If you have a laptop computer, it might be difficult to find out which part of the laptop stopped functioning and to replace the defective part. But if you have a desktop or custom-built computer, it’s entirely possible to replace the defective part and save yourself the cost of buying a brand new computer.

On some desktop computers, it’s possible to replace a defective part instead of the entire computer.

Generally, hardware issues can be difficult to diagnose especially for those who are inexperienced working with computers. It’s best to take the computer to a hardware technician if you are not 100% confident taking apart your computer. But below are some parts that you may be able to do on your own.

Not Enough Storage

If you were trying to run an upgrade on any of your programs, including your Windows operating system, a lack of free storage space to store this update can lead to a BSOD. So before running any updates, it’s good to check that you have enough space to accommodate an operating system.

Loose or Faulty Wires

If you’ve ever opened up a computer before, you’ll see numerous wires connecting all the different parts. If you are not sure which wires are loose, you’re better off unplugging all of them and then rewiring all the components again.

Failing Hardware

Nothing lasts forever and your computer’s hardware components are no exception. If you have a hardware part that could be near the end of its life, one of the symptoms could display itself as a Blue Screen of Death. When this happens, make sure to backup all your files (StartMeTip: you should already be creating backup copies of all your files on a regular basis) while you still can. After that, do a hardware diagnostics test to find out which part is failing.

What are your experiences troubleshooting the Blue Screen of Death? Have you tried using StartMeStick to revive a computer that blue-screened? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


  1. Paul Paton -

    You guys are the best thing since sliced bread…I have both the FIXMESTICK and the STARTME STICK as well as a couple of programs to keep my software and hardware up to date…I feel very safe online due to your wonderful products…

    • Linda -

      Thank you for your support for both FixMeStick and StartMeStick, Paul. We really appreciated it! As usual, if you need anything or have questions about both products, we can be reached at support@fixmestick.com!

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