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Sunday, 9 June 2013


How to tackle a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

When a computer goes wrong or has a problem the end result is normally what is called a “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD). This is where the computer will simply flash up a blue screen with some random codes and then reboot.
This can be often an annoying and frustrating thing to experience as the crashes happen completely at random and the random codes nearly always mean absolutely nothing and cannot indicate why the BSOD is happening.
Firstly before discussing how to diagnose the issue you need to know when the BSOD happens. Normally a BSOD will happen at random where one day it will happen when gaming and another perhaps surfing the web and even when the PC is idle. However, if you find a BSOD happens when playing a particular game, running a certain program or visiting the same website then the BSOD will almost certainly be caused by said game/program/website. Often games/programs and other software related products (even if they are written by some of the big players such as Microsoft) have coding bugs which can, and in this case are occurring, result in a BSOD. If you are receiving this kind of regular BSOD then you need to seek support with said software product.
Ok, that was the easy type of BSOD, we now need to find out about the random ones! 95% of Blue screens are caused by one of 2 things;
- Corrupt operating systems/programs (80% Chance)
- Virus (5% Chances)
- Faulty Hardware (15% Chance)

Below is a list of detailed instruction on how you can diagnose and fix the various causes that may be causing this BSOD or Stop error:
  • Corrupt operating systems/programs:

    The first thing to do when you get the blue screen is to power down the computer. When you boot it back up, press the F8 key before the Windows screen appears. This will boot the computer into the Advanced Options screen where you can choose advanced boot options. Press the down arrow until “Safe Mode with Networking” is enabled and press enter. If you believe that you’re dealing with a virus that instantly connects to the Internet when you boot your computer, then go with just “Safe Mode” instead.
    Keep a close eye on the screen after you press enter. The screen will scroll through each driver as it loads each one individually into memory. Many times, you’ll see the screen pause for a very long time at one of the .sys files before the boot fails and returns an error. Make note of the last file it was trying to load before it failed. Do a Google search (on another computer obviously) to determine what driver is failing and try reinstalling that driver.
    Also apply all the available windows updates that are released regularly to fix any bug or conflicting drivers. Update every driver in your system as it can be one of the reasons.
    If there are no driver problems, then determine whether there are any hardware conflicts by going into the Control Panel, clicking on System, and then Device Manager. Go through each device category and scan all of the devices for the telltale yellow accent icon that indicates there’s a device conflict.
    If you do see that icon, open up the driver and you’ll see a message box that reveals where the conflict is taking place. To tackle this issue move on the the Faulty Hardware category.
  • Virus:

    While you’re in safe mode, perform all of your spyware, adware and virus scans. This is the best time to run these apps because any viruses that try to disable them in normal mode will likely be disabled at this point. I recommend Malwarebytes  but if you have another anti-virus then you can use that even. If you don't have one then download any of the free antiviruses like AVG, Avast or even a trial version of a paid software like Kaspersky run a scan, solve the problem and when everything is fixed buy yourself a good one.

  • Faulty Hardware:

    Start your computer with only the essential hardwares like the mouse, keyboard and the monitor as any of the extra peripherals can be the cause. If the problem still continues or you have already found the problem in the 1st step just send that particular piece of hardware for repairs/replacements. If you have a faulty HDD then refer to this article for its health check-up, similarly a RAM or even a Graphic Card can be tested for the same.

Other Causes

By now you have most likely solved the issue or at least know what is causing it. However, if you are still having problems then this list should help;
- Bad overclock
- Faulty motherboard
- Faulty Supply of power
- Faulty Peripheral(s)
- Other hardware
- Faulty Driver(s)
- Electrical fault
- Faulty Processor
At this stage it’s almost certainly going to have to be looked at by a specialist. There are however a couple of things that you may be able to perform.

Bad Overclock – Simply reset the overclocking options in the BIOS. You may need a specialist to advise you how to do this but it is a very easy thing to do that wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes over the phone.

Update your BIOS - In some situations, and outdated BIOS could cause a Blue Screen of Death due to certain incompatibilities.

Loose connection - Make sure all internal cables, cards, and other components are installed and seated properly. Hardware that's not firmly in place can cause a Blue Screen of Death

Faulty Peripheral(s) – A strange one you may think but we have seen it happen. Even peripherals that have been used on another machine without problems could cause problems on another. Try running your system with all of the peripherals unplugged, especially USB ones. You will probably need to get your hands on another keyboard and mouse so that you can actually use the system. Another easy experiment I’m sure you will agree.

Faulty Driver(s) – To put it simple, some drivers are just no good with certain combinations of hardware. Try older revisions of certain drivers. This can be fairly time consuming and you may need to seek aid of a specialist but it is something you may be able to attempt yourself.

Electrical fault – Is the electrical outlet up to the job of powering a custom PC? Try another outlet or perhaps another power cable. One final check is to plug in the PC at another premises - Other electrical goods, whilst rare, can cause PC's to BSOD/Reboot when switched on.

The last straw – Time to send the system to a specialist. You will find they have all the tools needed in house and can simply just try another motherboard or power supply. It would be good to make a note of what you found from this article so that they haven’t got to start from scratch.

Hope that this guide was helpful enough to solve your problem a bit if not fully. Please leave a comment or query if you have one below.

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