Blue Screen of Death

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A Blue Screen of Death in Windows XP and Windows Vista.

A Blue Screen of Death, otherwise known as a "stop error" or BSOD occurs when an operating system cannot recover, or is in danger of being unable to recover from a system error. This can often occur due to a badly written device driver, bad memory, or a damaged registry.

Reading a BSOD

There are four sections of a Blue Screen of Death. Users should be aware of these sections to troubleshoot errors. According to Microsoft,

  • The first section lists the error message pertaining to the crash and type of error.
  • The second section lists modules that have already been loaded into memory.
  • The third section lists the modules that should have loaded before the error.
  • The fourth section lists the current status of the Kernel Debugger.

What to do when you get a BSOD

When your machine gets a BSOD make sure to write down the STOP code on a piece of paper so that you or a technician can reference it later. This code can be found under the Technical information header on the blue screen, and will look something like this:
***STOP: 0x00000050

The STOP code can be googled for further details. If you do not wish to troubleshoot the machine personally, and you are a member of the URI community, give the URI Helpdesk a call at 874-4357 to schedule an appointment.

Related Links:
Microsoft TechNet
Microsoft Support