11 Tips to Help You Fix the Windows Blue Screen Error
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The blue screen of death (BSOD) error is something every Windows user runs into sooner or later. It’s a frustrating problem, as it’s often tough to troubleshoot and can pop up out of nowhere.

We’ll walk you through some basic tips on how to solve a blue screen error, as well as provide resources for specific blue screen error codes.

What Is a Blue Screen?

Old Windows Blue Screen

In case you’re not sure, let’s first review this important Windows term.

What’s commonly called a blue screen of death is technically known as a stop error or fatal system error. This occurs when the operating system crashes, meaning it ran into some issue that prevented it from running safely. When this happens, Windows displays a blue screen with some information about the problem and then restarts.

Blue screens can happen for many reasons, which we’ll dig into below. Common BSOD causes include bad drivers, problems with hardware, and operating system errors.

Newer versions of Windows are more stable than earlier ones, so you hopefully won’t run into blue screens too often. You should also know that a blue screen occurring one time isn’t necessarily an issue. Sometimes Windows will freak out with a BSOD, then work perfectly fine after you reboot.

Thus, you should only need to dig into the following blue screen error fixes if you continually hit a blue screen.

1. Note Your Blue Screen Stop Code

It’s tough to talk about how to resolve blue screen errors without knowing the specific error you’re hitting. Thus, the best place to start with fixing blue screens is noting the actual problem.

In Windows 10, a BSOD contains a sad face, along with a simple error message. Below this, you’ll see a link to Microsoft’s blue screen troubleshooting page, a QR code, and a Stop Code field. If you want, you can scan the QR code with your phone’s camera to jump to a Microsoft support page.

Modern Windows Blue Screen

The most important part is to note the stop code listed on the page, which will help you narrow your troubleshooting.

2. Try Specific Troubleshooting for Your Error Code

Now that you know what your specific issue is, you can move towards appropriate blue screen fixes. We’ve written articles on some of these:

These aren’t the only blue screen errors you’ll come across, but they’re some of the most common. In case you can’t determine your exact error code or the troubleshooting in those guides didn’t solve your issues, here are more general blue screen error solutions.

3. Review Recent Computer Changes

Many times, you’ll start seeing blue screen errors after making a change to your system. Such changes can introduce problematic elements into an otherwise stable environment. Identifying this can help your troubleshooting.

For example, if you just installed a new printer, try unplugging it from your computer and see if the blue screen persists. If you recently ran a Windows update, head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click View update history.

On the next page with the list, click Uninstall updates at the top and remove the most recent update to see if that solves the problem.

Windows 10 Uninstall Updates

The same goes for software. If you only noticed the blue screens happen after installing a new app, try removing that app.

4. Check for Windows and Driver Updates

While bad updates can introduce issues, oftentimes Microsoft and third-party companies issue updates to fix problems like these. Visit Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and apply any pending updates, just in case they hold the fix.

It’s also important to check your drivers since they can often be a source of blue screens. Press Win + X (or right-click on the Start button) to open the power user menu. Choose Device Manager to open that utility.

Here, check for yellow triangle icons, which indicate a problem with the driver. You should double-check any devices that appear with this, as you may need to reinstall the driver or remove the device. You can right-click an entry and choose Update driver to check for updates, but this isn’t always reliable.

Updating video driver in Windows 10

Instead, you should visit your computer manufacturer’s website and grab the latest drivers from there. Follow our guide to updating Windows drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? Here's what you need to know and how to go about it. Read More for help.

5. Run a System Restore

The System Restore feature in Windows allows you to return your system to a previous state. It’s a handy troubleshooting tool, as it’s simple to use and lets you see if your issue is software-based.

Type recovery into the Start menu and open the Recovery Control Panel entry that appears. Here, click Open System Restore to launch the tool. After clicking Next once, you’ll see a list of restore points you can return to. Select one, then hit Scan for affected programs if you want to see what software will change.

Windows System Restore Points

Running a System Restore doesn’t affect your files, but it will uninstall any drivers or software you’ve installed since the restore point was made. In addition, it will reinstall anything you removed since that time.

Confirm your system restore, then you can start the process. This will take a few moments, then you’ll be back to your system as it was at the time. If you don’t get blue screens after this, your problem was likely software related.

6. Scan for Malware

malwarebytes premium home

Malware can damage your Windows system files and result in a blue screen. You should run a scan for infection to rule out anything like this.

We recommend using the free version of Malwarebytes to run a scan. This will look for all sorts of rogue software and remove it for you. If it finds anything, reboot after the cleaning and see if your blue screen errors go away.

7. Test Your Computer Hardware

If you haven’t figured out why you’re getting a blue screen of death, you should next check your computer’s physical components. Sometimes a failing stick of RAM or similar can result in a blue screen.

We’ve showed how to test your PC for hardware failure How to Test Your PC for Failing Hardware: Tips and Tools to Know How to Test Your PC for Failing Hardware: Tips and Tools to Know We show you computer hardware and PC diagnostic tests to help you scan your system and spot failing hardware before it's too late. Read More before. Use those tools to test your system and you can plan to replace anything that’s faulty.

8. Run an SFC Scan

Running sfc to fix video scheduler internal error

Windows includes a command line tool called SFC (system file checker). Running it checks for damaged Windows system files and attempts to fix them. Doing so may solve your blue screen issue.

Again, press Win + X (or right-click on the Start button) to open the power user shortcut menu. Choose Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin), then type the following:

sfc /scannow

Give this some time to run, and you’ll see the results before long.

9. Boot Into Safe Mode

Depending on the severity of your issue, you may be able to perform all the above troubleshooting steps while working in Windows as usual. However, if you have a major issue, the blue screen errors might prevent you from working normally. In that case, you’ll need to boot into safe mode How to Boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10 How to Boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10 Facing Windows booting problems? Safe Mode is a built-in Windows 10 troubleshooting feature you should try first. Read More .

Safe mode allows you to load a basic Windows configuration with only the essentials that it needs to run. This prevents third-party apps from interfering with normal operation. If you can work in Safe Mode without hitting a blue screen, it’s an installed app or service that’s causing the problem.

While in Safe Mode, you can run a malware scan, use System Restore, and otherwise troubleshoot as we’ve discussed.

10. Use Advanced Tools

For deeper troubleshooting, you can utilize tools that make the information Windows dumps after it crashes easier to interpret. These are typically only for advanced users.

Follow our instructions on how to fix blue screen errors with WinDbg and BlueScreenView How to Solve Blue Screen Errors Using WinDbg and BlueScreenView How to Solve Blue Screen Errors Using WinDbg and BlueScreenView The blue screen of death always gives error codes. Windows Debugger (WinDbg) and BlueScreenView can help you understand them. Read More for help using a few of these tools.

11. Reinstall Windows

Windows 10 Recovery Reset

If all else fails, you’ll need to reinstall Windows on your computer. At this point you’ve ruled out drivers, hardware, malware, and software issues, so there must be some deep underlying problem on your system.

Follow our guide on resetting Windows 10 4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows 10 Computer 4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows 10 Computer Want to know how to factory reset a PC? We show you the best methods to reset a Windows computer using Windows 10, 8, or 7. Read More to learn the best way to do this.

Now You Know What to Do When a Blue Screen Appears

Blue screen errors are frustrating to deal with, especially because they can block you from troubleshooting properly. But after reading this, you know what a blue screen error is and how to resolve it.

For the future, you should learn to recognize the signs your computer is about to crash 7 Warning Signs Your Computer Is Going to Crash (And What to Do) 7 Warning Signs Your Computer Is Going to Crash (And What to Do) Computer crashes can occur without warning. Look out for these warning signs and follow these tips on what to do. Read More so you can take action beforehand.

Explore more about: Blue Screen of Death, Drivers, Tech Support, Troubleshooting, Windows Tips.

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  1. RJ Levesque Jr
    October 8, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Honestly the best way to fix a Windows BSOD is to install LINUX! I recommend either LINUX Mint or OpenSuSE for newbies. =)

  2. Edi
    October 2, 2019 at 3:55 am

    You can use my project : IT Tools Pack Solution Hybrid Tech Edition

  3. Ted Mieske
    September 12, 2016 at 2:43 am

    The Biggest offender is Video Drivers. And DON'T under any circumstances
    use those 'Driver Update" programs. The will SCREW your system up big time!

  4. Ted Mieske
    September 12, 2016 at 2:41 am

    Biggest offered are Video Drivers. And DON'T use any of those Driver Update programs.
    You will SCREW yourself Big Time!!!!!

  5. Carlos
    June 25, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Ok. mine is HP laptop almost 5 years, I had a free anti virus with Avasti , but wife bought a new one and we got for free "webroot" hat we could use in 3 devices. took free antivirus off and downloaded new one. Since then it had crashed 4 times.
    I think is a virus , although it has a sound when you put too much pressure on it , like streaming videos. Thanks very cool posting , will try this steps.

  6. Rajesh
    March 30, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    best way to resolve this problem is window formate.

    • Ted Mieske
      September 12, 2016 at 2:45 am

      Really, Format, (not formate). That's giving up to easy!

  7. Anonymous
    January 12, 2016 at 7:33 am

    My 3.5yrs samsung laptop (np530u3b) was twiced had samsung recovery me using back up files in between those dates of at least 1.5 years. Then this new window 10 came out and i only experiene few days of decent perofrmance before the BSOD happened...took me one week before i was able to surrender after finding hd recvery back up from a year ago and went back to window 7...for one whole day it went fine but has a pop message pertaining to some serious harddisk problem and i simply ignore thinking am invincble that am safe with window7, samsung recovery and external hd backup. Then again i was dead wrong went to Bsod again with no sight of answer but just initial (recommended) repair and then comatose black screen before endless waitng I get the blue screen curtain Of windows screen theme.(without the log in box).Tried rebooting again and had f2 but had a DOS like stream of Invalid Recovery Area.. a safe mode choice is not in the choice if i got oback to Window Error Recovery its either Launch Start up and Starts Normally ...can i still salvage the hard disk? Is this new OS glitch or simply bad hardisk or diabolical malware? i need real help before I make a loan financing to buy new hard disk from my low teachng salary. Can i trust the independent repair center instead of Samsung service center(warranty is already invalid) which means thrice the cost of service and hardware parts.

  8. PM
    December 29, 2015 at 10:39 am

    None of these worked for me but I don't think it's my hard disk as when I try to restore the my last working session it tells me I have to disable my anti virus for this to work. I am using Windowps 8.1 and it automatically reboots so I don't know how to disable anti-virus and restore the last working session all in the one cycle. Thanks for the article though and if anyone has the solution to my problem would much appreciate any help????

  9. rj
    March 4, 2015 at 5:47 am

    Only one step to fix that stupid BLUE SCREEN is change your RAM. Trust me this work 100% :D

    • gerson
      December 12, 2015 at 3:51 am

      I just cleaned them and relocated xD usually bsod is related to ram.

  10. Dion
    February 1, 2015 at 3:28 am

    what if you have a hardware conflict with teredo tunneling pseudo interface? would that cause a blue screen of death?

  11. Kokolo
    January 26, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I found this article pretty clear and helpful. Whatever the comments are and even the author wears the monocle or not he did a pretty well Job I think.Keep on...

  12. seenu
    December 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    System restore is the best option for Software error which cause Blue Screen

    • fnds
      December 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      Be advised that some malware will store itself in the system restore files. System restore would not work for those cases.

  13. Anonymous
    December 3, 2010 at 5:50 am

    I would check recommend BitDefender's free scanning tool - it's been talked about on this blog in other posts and is quite popular.

    We try to do a good job and BitDefender is a great tool.

    -Jason, BitDefender Community Manager

  14. Jason Harris
    December 3, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I would check recommend BitDefender's free scanning tool - it's been talked about on this blog in other posts and is quite popular.

    We try to do a good job and BitDefender is a great tool.

    -Jason, BitDefender Community Manager

  15. rdube02
    December 2, 2010 at 1:26 am

    You might notice that the "hard drive is toast" solution is at the very bottom of the article - and guess what, some times it actually boils down to that, and that is a last resort. Or did you miss the fifteen paragraphs of troubleshooting tips before that?

    Regarding relevance of the topic - it's not even an opinion worthy of acknowledgment.

    - http://social.technet.microsof...
    - http://www.blogsdna.com/7086/f...
    - http://commadot.com/windows-7-...

    Those are alll other writers/bloggers that have posted on this same topic within the past year. But while we have you here, I am curious - what motivates people to automatically attack writers...is it the the ease of the "post" button in the comments area? Bad hair day? Bad marriage? Poor self esteem?

    Seriously - it's like a epidemic online and I'm really interested in understanding why people are so quick to act like arrogant jerks.

    • Scarlet Red
      February 27, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Microphallus syndrome. .

  16. rdube02
    December 2, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Geez...just spotted another BSOD article at CNET dated 2010.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-2708...

    Crescentdave, trusty master of all that is current and trendy, please inform CNET that they are behind the times!

  17. Mark O'Neill
    December 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I think you need to calm down. No-one is censoring anything. See..there's your earlier comment up there...see it?

    Since your comment contained a link, Disqus flagged it as possible spam for a moderator (me) to look at. Hence the delay.

  18. Anonymous
    December 1, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Nice censorship Ryan Rube. Really great to know plain talking reader feedback is actively discouraged if it calls into question the utility of posts dealing with marginal problems. Listen to ??? ????? - he's miles ahead of your curve. And finally, thanks for the advice if the hard drive is toast ... buy a new hard drive. Brilliant.

    • Mark O'Neill
      December 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      I think you need to calm down. No-one is censoring anything. See..there's your earlier comment up there...see it?

      Since your comment contained a link, Disqus flagged it as possible spam for a moderator (me) to look at. Hence the delay.

      • Anonymous
        December 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

        Glad to hear that. I'm not used to 9 hour delays on the intertoobs when it comes to comments. My apologies.

    • Anonymous
      December 2, 2010 at 12:26 am

      You might notice that the "hard drive is toast" solution is at the very bottom of the article - and guess what, some times it actually boils down to that, and that is a last resort. Or did you miss the fifteen paragraphs of troubleshooting tips before that?

      Regarding relevance of the topic - it's not even an opinion worthy of acknowledgment.

      - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itproperf/thread/47ab81d6-2116-473d-b9fa-ab1fad13a18d
      - http://www.blogsdna.com/7086/fix-windows-7-blue-screen-of-death-bsod-error-stop-0x0000000a.htm
      - http://commadot.com/windows-7-blue-screen-of-death/

      Those are alll other writers/bloggers that have posted on this same topic within the past year. But while we have you here, I am curious - what motivates people to automatically attack writers...is it the the ease of the "post" button in the comments area? Bad hair day? Bad marriage? Poor self esteem?

      Seriously - it's like a epidemic online and I'm really interested in understanding why people are so quick to act like arrogant jerks.

      • Anonymous
        December 2, 2010 at 12:47 am

        Geez...just spotted another BSOD article at CNET dated 2010.

        http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-10452064-245.html

        Crescentdave, trusty master of all that is current and trendy, please inform CNET that they are behind the times!

        • Anonymous
          December 2, 2010 at 3:27 am

          now, now, calm down doober. Let's all take Mark O'Neil's advice. I know I am. M'kay, dube?

        • Anonymous
          December 2, 2010 at 3:30 am

          Whatever you say Davey boy.

  19. crescentdave
    December 1, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Nice censorship Ryan Rube. Really great to know plain talking reader feedback is actively discouraged if it calls into question the utility of posts dealing with marginal problems. Listen to پیش ساخته - he's miles ahead of your curve. And finally, thanks for the advice if the hard drive is toast ... buy a new hard drive. Brilliant.

  20. Muo
    December 1, 2010 at 8:33 am

    One should be sufficient. Install Ubuntu and you'll get rid of BSoD forever!

  21. ??? ?????
    December 1, 2010 at 5:26 am

    If it cause due to hardware problem we can do nothing

  22. crescentdave
    December 1, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Yeah ... I had a bsod back in 1991. Been using windows ever since and haven't come across one. Thanks for the timely article on a truly significant current issue!

    Perhaps next week you can post an article dealing with this? http://osxbook.com/book/bonus/...

  23. Anonymous
    December 1, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Yeah ... I had a bsod back in 1991. Been using windows ever since and haven't come across one. Thanks for the timely article on a truly significant current issue!

    Perhaps next week you can post an article dealing with this? http://osxbook.com/book/bonus/chapter5/panic/images/panic_3.jpg

    • Guy
      December 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      I imagine you wearing a monocle while typing that.

      • Anonymous
        December 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm

        It's good to have an imagination, isn't it?