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How Do I Fix the Blue Screen of Death?

Autumn Rivers
Updated May 17, 2024
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The blue screen of death indicates that a Windows® operating system has found an issue that it cannot easily resolve, but you may be able to step in and help fix your computer. One of the first steps is to restart the computer and, if this does not fix the blue screen of death, restart it again — in safe mode. If these options do not work, the next steps require either restoring the system or removing certain hardware, because some installations can be the cause of the system crash. In some cases, you need to repair or reinstall Windows®, because the system files may be corrupt.

Despite the intimidating name of this computer problem, one of the main ways to fix the blue screen of death is a simple reboot. If restarting your computer does not get rid of the bug, you may need to restart it in safe mode, which results in only a few drivers loading and allows you possibly to pinpoint the software causing the problem. Restart in safe mode by repeatedly pressing the F8 key once you see the Power-On Self Test (POST) screen. You will see a menu appear after you press F8, and you should select Safe Mode, after which Windows® should load. Run a virus check while in safe mode to ensure that malware is not the issue, and delete any viruses that are found.

If starting the computer in safe mode does not allow you to isolate and uninstall the software or virus responsible for the system crash, perform a system restore. This will take your computer back to its state before you installed the software that may be the cause of the problem. To fix the blue screen of death this way, reboot in safe mode, enter your administrator's password when prompted, and type "system restore" into the Start Menu. Select the date prior to the latest software installation that you suspect caused the system crash, and your computer will revert back to that date. If this does not fix the blue screen of death, uninstall any hardware recently added to your computer.

If none of these steps works, you may need to repair Windows®, because the files may be corrupt. Put the Windows® CD into your disk drive and use the Windows® recovery console to repair the files. If this does not work, you can use the same CD to entirely reinstall Windows®. The majority of computers will be repaired by this point, but if yours is not, you may have to pay a professional to fix the blue screen of death.

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Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By lluviaporos — On Sep 04, 2014

@irontoenail - The one time I had a laptop that was giving me the blue screen of death no matter what I did to it, I couldn't afford to show it to a technician, so I turned it off and stored it until I had time to show it to my cousin, who worked with computers. I felt kind of bad about it, because I don't want to be one of those people who constantly brings little problems (or even big problems) to my computer literate friends and family, but he said he didn't mind.

I have no idea why, but for some reason when he finally managed to see it, a couple of months later, it was completely fine when I turned it on. It was like it was doing it to spite me.

I don't know how to fix a blue screen in general, but if all else fails you might want to just turn it off and wait for a while.

By irontoenail — On Sep 03, 2014

@pastanaga - There are different degrees of the Windows blue screen of death. If you've got major problems with your operating system then it will take more than just turning it off and then on again to fix, unfortunately.

A system restore can be a cure-all, but only if you've been allowing the system to record itself so that it can be restored. If you don't have that enabled then you're going to be out of luck so it's a good idea to make sure your system is doing it right now.

By pastanaga — On Sep 02, 2014

I've always heard it called the blue screen of doom and usually it seems to fix itself if you just turn off the computer and then turn it on again.

Apparently there is footage out there of Mr Gates doing a presentation on a new computer system where the computer did this to him, which I've always found an amusing thought. But I've got to say that Since I've been using Windows 7 I haven't experienced the blue screen error, so they must be improving the system.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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