Sunday, November 8, 2009

What To Do After A BSOD

The dreaded Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) can have way too many reasons for specific advice. But there are some reasons that are more prevalent than others like these three examples:

  1. A BSOD can be an indication of a corrupted or incorrect device driver (software that controls some piece of hardware like a printer).
  2. A BSOD can be caused by a faulty memory chip.
    Yes, they worked yesterday; but sometimes they get weak over time and then, all of a sudden, they throw a BSOD.
  3. Some other hardware failure on the motherboard; mostly very bad...

The remedy for number 1 can be time consuming but generally it is possible to correct these errors.

Number 2 can be tested for in relatively little time, usually less than half an hour. Whether I happen to have a suitable replacement memory chip along is dictated by the luck of the draw.

Number 3 can be very tricky to trace, especially if it occurs randomly. I am neither qualified nor equipped to do that and would in such a case refer to a local hardware repair store; luckily I know a good technician who has a store in the area – and on top of being good he is honest; that is a rare combination in this field. As always with computers you should carefully consider all options. If the computer in question is more than three years old I usually advise to at least consider a new machine versus the vagaries of a motherboard repair or replacement.

You can help a great deal if you please would collect some information from the BSOD before you send me an email asking for advice. Here is an example of a BSOD.


Please look for the marked portions of this example and write down what appears in these locations when you see it. If you call me please have this information available when we talk. Or please send an email with this info once you have three or four occurrences documented. Caution: Some of this info may or may not be present; please note if it is not present; it may be in different places and/or sequence as well. In above example we have in this sequence:

  1. The name of the file that caused the problem,
  2. a textual error code,
  3. a so-called stop-error code and
  4. again the file name of the driver that caused the error.

The stop error code and if available the file name are most important to trace errors in a BSOD and to get at the root cause! The stop error code always begins with “0x” and should be in every BSOD.

I know, recording these details is tedious but I hardly can stay at your house and wait for the next BSOD to happen.

Let's cooperate to get at the root of this and "Thank You" in advance!

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog.



Jimmy said...

I am having this issue with one of my employee's PC. I do not see your email address anywhere though...

Eike Heinze said...

Well Jimmy, I don't want my email publicly out here because of the spam this would create...
BTW, you didn't give your's either. How's about