Bob Rankin: Blue Screen of Death on Windows 7

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By Bob Rankin

Fixing the Blue Screen of Death on Windows 7

Technically, the Blue Screen of Death is known as a “stop error.” Windows brings everything to a complete, sudden stop “to prevent damage to your computer.” The cause of a stop error may lie in hardware or software, and it can be very difficult to track down. Here are a few guidelines to debugging the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) on Windows 7.

An overheated CPU can cause a BSOD error. If your cooling fan is running constantly, you may need to take steps to cool things down inside of your computer case. Blow out dust. Replace heat sink thermal grease. If the cooling fan does not spin freely, install a new one or lubricate the bearing. Laptops may benefit from a lap pad designed to circulate cool air beneath the laptop.

Bad RAM can cause the Blue Screen of Death error. Run the memory check diagnostic routine available on the Win7 Startup Options menu. Press F8 during bootup to bring up the menu.

Other hardware errors are difficult for consumers to diagnose. You may need to have a qualified service rep run diagnostics on your computer.

Software errors that cause a BSOD can occur when Windows 7 does not shut down properly. Loss of power during shutdown is the most common cause of such errors. Using System Restore to restore your Windows settings to an earlier configuration may resolve a BSOD problem. (Click the Start button, type System Restore, then press Enter.)

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32 thoughts on “Bob Rankin: Blue Screen of Death on Windows 7

  1. Your explanation makes sense on BSOD’s. Another one is a psu that is under powered when the new graphic card sucks up 350 watts on a 306 watt psu.
    I recently took the advice from DELL and bought the card as they said it was compatible. Every time the driver loaded I received the BSOD. Dell got there card back and I received what was ordered from Tiger Direct, a HDMI out, including a 750 watt psu.

  2. I have been using windows since before win95. I have 2 computers running side by side and use them both for several hours a day. I have never seen a B.S.O.D.

  3. @Warren, I am using Windows 7 and before that Windows Vista for the last 4 years, given it tough, rough time – development/gaming machine and all that. I never had that blue screen of death either. OTOH, have you ever heard of Grey Screen of Death in ape machines?? (although they have the advantage of possessing niche h/w with EFI and all that: meaning less-pervasive than windOS !!)

  4. blue screen, It is a good idea to use a wired keyboard and mouse. A lot of wireless keyboard and mice are not in the circuit yet. ED

  5. I got a solution as good as the guy who put this topic here. U get a BSOD then google that and ull find millions of possibility

  6. @Chris: What a crappy attitude you CHOOSE to share with folks that dont care wtf you think about the topic! But then again…for those that pretend to know it all, knows NOTHING! Keeping it simple AINT hard to do…but I assume thats something you RARELY do! Sad!

  7. When you get the blue screen or any screen where you can’t do anything and no buttons work, the only way to switch off is the mmains switch on the back of the PC,and do this quickly “off/on”.The PC will come on and as it does so press f8 steadily.The safe mode screen will come up and at the top “windows repair”
    function.Click on this and let it check and repair drivers or files.If this doesn’t do it do it all over and press safe mode and you see a box comes up with “yes” and “no” press no and system restore will appear.Click on this and select the day the PC was working ok.PC fixed.

  8. What a crappy topic you choose to write about. AINT NOTHING NEW that you shared, wtf, slow day? Rarely have I ever seen a BSOD but the very few I have was quite simple to fix.

  9. Veloslave,
    What reasons do you have for someone experiencing a blue screen of death? Why do you think the ones given in the article are silly? Those are valid causes. However, I wouldn’t be lubricating anything, I’d be replacing it.

  10. I’ve been using Windows 7 64-bit since RC1 became available. I’ve never seen a blue screen in Windows 7 on my desktop or laptop. Just recently, I saw my first blue screen in Windows 7 but that was on my new work laptop with Windows 7 32-bit and it happened when we installed Allen-Bradley RSLogix & RSLinx PLC software, the latest version which is supposed to work with Windows 7 but it doesn’t. Removed that software and no more blue screen.

  11. First of all, the BSOD does not mean your computer is trashed. It just means that there was a critical error and Windows did not know how to handle it. Memory errors are the leading hardware cause. But disk errors seem to be the leading cause that I have seen. Most times they can be fixed by booting to the recovery console and running chkdsk command with the /r /p parameters. Google how to get to recovery console.

  12. I have had both a PC and Apple for the past 10 years or so. While I have issues with the PC I never have issues with the Mac. Even s I will still retain both but I’m tending to us the Mac more now.

  13. Over-all, I think just spending a bit more time doing a little research and reading the instructions that apply to any type of hardsoftware you wish to use should ultimately lead to a rather trouble free PC e.g. If you wish to buy “RAM” (Try to match Brand and Specs)the aim of a pc running smoothly is to try not to have any “Bottlenecks” i.e trying to force something Fast into something that is Slow will eventually lead to it backing up and stopping, hence the BSOD.

    Over heating and the lake of general maintenance will also add to the problem

  14. BSOD can be caused by a multitude of reasons. Although you do need to keep the dust out, the most common reasons I have seen have been OS/Software related. Best advice, Google “Hiren’s Boot CD” and download it, it is free OpenSource software. Burn this to CD so you have a bootable CD you can start your PC with. If you are not the real techy type, I suggest you get some freeware cloaning software and learn it! Make a backup image of your system “While it is Still Working” (Insurance). Then, if you get the BSOD in the Future, you can start the PC with the Hiren’s Boot CD and restore a clone taken from it Now in its current working state.

  15. With all due respect, I just can’t see the value of this article. All you have said was that the BSOD can be caused by software or hardware. What else is in a computer? This problem has been around since Microsoft came out with Windows, probably 3.something and still continues today. Heck, I think that was back in the 90’s.

    That’s like saying if your car breaks down, it can be either the computer chip in the car, or a bad car part….

    In both cases, an average user/consumer will need to get someone else to fix the problem.

    Hopefully, you just had a bad day or maybe was pressed to write something real quick. It doesn’t excuse the quality, but might stop people from putting this site on their Blacklist:))

  16. For some of you folks on here who were critical that this is “old news” — go get a life! There are many people out there around the world who are just getting started into computers or who have just started using Windows 7.

    The “basics” to some are “hi-Tech” to others. The information contained in this article is vitally important to know. Once you have exhaused checking your configuration and connections and cooling system then yes, paying for a certified technician might be in order.

    I recently went through this problem over a 4-month period many times. Then I discovered that on my last routine computer cleaning and maintenance by my technician that he had switched the connections on the motherboard to the hard drive. Once I properly connection those connections everything was fine and running properly. So it pays to keep your machine clean and free from dust and cool but also be sure when going through these maintenance tasks that you reconnect properly.

    Kudos to Mr. Rankin

  17. Been throught all of this from 2000, XP,Vista and Win 7. In the end always got it running. If it don’t give you anything with F3 or F8 you have a hardware problem thats stopping the bios from booting properly.

  18. My husband ended up removing hard drive, and throwing computer in the rubbish, following days and days of trying ALL the above suggestions!! And isn’t it funny…
    take your sick ‘puta to a shop where they are SUPPOSED to be able to fix it…. and guess what… they don’t have a clue either!!! If it wants to die a “blue death” it usually will!!

  19. Overheated CPU as the first reason why the system might BSOD? Really??? Lubricate the bearing?? SERIOUSLY??? RAM is the second reason?

    Wow… u r an idiot

  20. I’m sorry – it seems to me that if you have a BSOD, you don’t have, nor can you get, anything else, no matter how many times you push how many buttons or how they are labelled. If you have the ability to push F8, or anything else for that matter, and have it operational, you don’t have the BSOD. Most Computer Mfgr’s don’t supply a startup disc any longer with a new unit, but they all warn you – time after time after time after…. well, you get it, to make a set of zstartup discs IMMEDIATELY from drive “D”, or pay the $10.00 or however much to purchase one. It’s a case of “Pay me now, or pay me later”. A couple of blank DVD discs and an hour or less of your oh-so-valuable time now, $10.00 for a set of factory created discs a little later, or a couple hundred bucks a lot later because you couldn’t be bothered to do it “now”. I don’t know how many people I talk to who say that since they didn’t get a startup disc with the computer, they figured that they really didn’t need one. After all, the company that built it should know, right? …..and all that other stuff is just for Techies, right? Yeah, right! Congratulations on the recent purchase of your brand new $600.00 pastel-colored door stop.

  21. @robert tanner:
    My guess, FWIW, hard shutdown (hold on to the powerbutton like crazy until the machine shuts down,) then like Bob said “Press F8 during bootup to bring up the menu.”

  22. When the blue screen pops up and there are no buttons that you can press, restart the computer and hold down F3 (or F8, depending on your computer) this should bring up a screen that will give you the choice to either:

    Boot Normally
    Boot to last known working settings
    Boot in Safe Mode
    Boot in Restore Mode.

    Alot of people do not realize that the dust becomes crazy in theses machines. The dust ends up causing the fans to stop, when you start your computer most of the time the first screen you see will show you how many RPM your fan is running and how hot your CPU is. If the RPMs are low or the temp is high, disconnect all of the wires from the back of the computer, bring it outside and blow it out.

    After words, leave the cover off and plug in the power cord. Turn the machine on and make sure that the fans are spinning freely to assure yourself that the CPU fan and outter fan are working properly.

  23. You need a Windows 7 install disc and you need to try the startup repair and restore stuff in there.

    If that can’t help you I’d suggest getting a Ultimate Boot CD(UBCD) or something like that to help. Or find someone who knows more about it all who may already have a UBCD.

  24. Restart computer as soon as it starts up tap the f8 button until u get a screen that has several options like recovery ….. Mine did this and i just figured it out on mine own. U’ll have 6 or 7 options that u can choose from.

  25. think you would of better explained how to restore your comp when you get BCOD because if you get BCOD you got nothing on your screen but blue nothing no buttons to START !!! no buttons to go to restore piont so how do you do it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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