Who doesn’t know it: When Windows runs, the OS says goodbye and only shows the notorious blue screen. These tips and tools can help with that. You can even watch blue screens again with them. With each new version, Windows has become more reliable: you hardly ever encounter blue screens these days. The article’s author remembers his second computer with Windows Vista, on which the crashes occurred comparatively frequently: A new Windows installation (!) was sufficient, and the system sporadically quit while surfing the Internet.
This happened due to an outdated Realtek network card driver. The driver for internet use was in the system after the new OS installation but did not ensure reliable surfing sessions; Every few weeks, there was a blue screen, also known as “BSoD” ( Blue S screen of Death, literally translated: “blue screen of death”). Installing a newer version of the problem driver helped.
Blue screens also occurred more frequently under Windows XP, but since Windows 7 at the latest, the driver situation has been so good that they rarely happen anymore. Blue screens are the exception, even with the unpopular Windows 8(.1). Nevertheless, they still exist, and Windows 10 is not immune to them either. We reveal technical internals and possible solutions.
Fix Blue Screen Quickly
The most important tip first: outdated drivers usually cause blue screens. Update the applications with Driver Booster Free and then restart Windows: this will make most blue screens disappear in a few minutes. The IObit software searches for outdated drivers on your system, imports them and continues Windows at the end (after setting a tick). There are still system crashes in Windows 11: Since they are black, the term black screen is appropriate instead of the blue screen.
What Is A Blue Screen?
Depending on the system settings, the reboot takes place automatically or manually. For example, the adjustments made will be lost if you have edited a text file and not saved it. At least, that is the case unless you use a cloud service or software with automatic backups.
Blue Screen: Causes
Blue screens usually appear out of nowhere: hardware problems, but driver conflicts are responsible much more frequently. Drivers, for example, are outdated and error-prone, which is why they cause problems in combination with a Windows (10) that is too new. Or the control programs are in a too new, recently installed (beta) version and still contain bugs. As a rule, Windows crashes during operation. Blue screens rarely occur when the system is booting up or shutting down. In some cases, blue screens announce themselves acoustically shortly before they appear: Then you hear strange sounds from your loudspeakers.
However, there is usually not enough time to back up unsaved data in RAM to a hard drive/SSD. With Windows XP, a BSoD occurs with a SATA hard disk (HDD) during the system installation since the XP setup medium only has an IDE instead of a SATA driver. Users used to make do with nLite and integrated a modern SATA driver into their XP CD using the slipstream tool. One has been incorporated since Windows Vista – making one more minor source of error. Enough nostalgia, here are top Windows 7/8.1/10 tips to fix blue screen issues. Here is a checklist of when blue screens occur:
- Driver problems usually cause blue screens. Drivers are control programs for devices such as printers, graphics cards and webcams. Problems will arise if there is a faulty or even wrong driver on the PC.
- Malicious software, such as a virus, could be the culprit.
- Occasionally, software bugs cause Windows to run unstably and then crash.
- Defective components in the PC, such as the main memory, sometimes also bring Windows to its knees.
- If the graphics card or the processor is too hot, this could be the reason for a blue screen. This is conceivable after the processor has been overclocked, which means it works with an increased megahertz value (MHz clock).
- Deceptively actual blue screens come from BlueScreen Screen Saver, a free prank program designed to scare other users. End the spook by pressing any key on the keyboard.
Watchdog Error Message
Drivers usually cause blue screens. So it’s a good idea to update the installed control programs. This can be used to eliminate a watchdog blue screen under Windows 10; an outdated hard disk driver causes it. If you update your drivers, you often get more speed and functions and sometimes close security gaps. In the following paragraph, you will find tools for driver refresh, which will eliminate most blue screens without knowledge and research.
Tip 1: Update Drivers
Check your device manufacturer’s website for newer drivers. For hardware parts drivers already installed, see the Windows Device Manager. Research the PC provider’s support area for more recent drivers for a complete PC, such as Medion. Note the bit version (32, 64 bit) and the operating system when downloading. Incorrect drivers may cause blue screens but usually cannot be installed.
Start the driver installation by double-clicking and following the setup wizard. In the end, restart Windows. Typically, driver setup windows provide a button like “Reboot” for this. Updates are more convenient with SlimDrivers: the tool searches for newer drivers and downloads them. You have to follow their setup wizard yourself. The device is quite old but still works today.
Driver Booster Free is more convenient: It automates the search, download and installation and, if desired, restarts Windows (check mark) to complete driver updates. Optionally, the tool updates individual or all drivers. If you don’t know which of your outdated drivers is the cause of the problem, it is best to refresh all control applications.
Tip 2: Driver Downgrades
If blue screens occur since a driver update, restore the previous driver version: This is done via the device manager (press Win-R, enter devmgmt.MSc ) or the system converter (press Win-R, enter strut ). Double-click a device/driver entry in Device Manager to open its properties.
Switch to the “Driver” tab and click on “Roll Back Driver”. If there is none, the button is grayed out. An alternative way of importing older drivers is the Snappy Driver Installer (SDI): SDI downloads either newer or older versions. The latter need not have been previously installed.
Tip 3: Start In Safe Mode
If Windows no longer starts, you can neither update nor uninstall drivers. Then boot the operating system in Safe Mode.
Tip 4: Watch Blue Screens Again
After a blue screen, is your Windows running again, and do you want to take a closer look at the error screen? This is where the Nirsoft tool BlueScreenView comes in handy. If there are multiple blue screens, mark the one you want to analyze above.
The agency shows the files loaded on crash at the bottom of its list. The file that caused the problem is included, such as ntoskrnl.exe and an SYS file (such as my fault. sys, SYS files are driver files). Enter their name in a search engine and find out which program the file is associated with. Uninstall this software. Or you inquire about an update that fixes the error (see tips in the following paragraphs).
Tip 5: Check And Reset BIOS
Sometimes incorrect BIOS/UEFI settings cause blue screens. If you have changed the BIOS/UEFI setup, undo it there. You can use the firmware’s reset function if you don’t remember exactly which settings you changed. To get to the BIOS/UEFI setup, press the associated key displayed, such as F2, when the PC starts up. If you expect a BIOS update to help, the BIOS update finder will help you. For a BIOS/UEFI update, follow the instructions from the supplied documentation exactly. Before you start, make a backup.
Tip 6: Check Newly Installed Hardware
Have you recently installed new hardware components on the PC? If the blue screens have been appearing since then, the matter is straightforward: the blue screens are most likely caused by the new components. It is advisable to replace them with old or equivalent new parts. It would help if you first disconnected the PC from the power supply.
Tip 7: Check All Cables
If the problem is not with the software, unplug the PC and check that all cables are correctly seated. Pull a loose connection cable and plug it back into the respective connection. At the same time, you’re at it, dust off your device.
Tip 8: Check RAM
To rule out random access memory (RAM) problems, check it for errors. Since Windows Vista, there has been an on-board tool: call it up with Win-R and match. Click “Restart now and check for problems (recommended)”. If you don’t want to reboot and run a RAM check under Windows, use the MemTest program. If necessary, replace defective memory sticks. They must be the same DDR type as your old ones; deviating latches are mechanically incompatible.
Tip 9: Update Outdated Programs
Outdated programs often contain bugs. The Opera browser, for example, comes with a VPN that causes blue screens on a test PC in an obsolete web browser version. To avoid the problem, update your programs. This is where SUMo comes in. The software update monitor shows you which installed applications are out of date.