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What is a Blue Screen of Death?

Blue Screen of Death

The Blue Screen of Death, also known as a BSoD or, officially, a STOP Code, is an error message that appears in Windows during a critical failure. Windows stops working, shows the BSoD, then reboots. Sometimes this can happen repeatedly until you do something about it. BSoDs were first introduced in Windows 1.0, but it wasn’t until a few versions later that they started containing useful information, which people could use to try and solve the problem.

Up until Windows 7, the BSoD was pretty harsh and uninviting, but as of Windows 8, it now includes a big frowny-face emoticon and less technical jargon. Unfortunately, Windows 8 also introduced a whole host of new BSoDs that only affect Windows 8 users. That’s where we come in!

Blue Screen of Death
This is a Blue Screen of Death in Windows 7.

Blue Screen of Death
This is a Blue Screen of Death in Windows 8.

Error Messages

The error message that appears after the first sentence in the Blue Screen of Death is important. Write this error message down, take a picture of it, do whatever it takes to get this error message recorded. Then, match it against the following links, which take you to detailed guides that provide solutions for your particular hardware or software problem. If your error isn’t on this list, post a comment and we’ll write up a guide to fix your problem!

UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP has to do with a hardware failure or conflict.

NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM means the hard drive has failed.

KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED is a hardware drive issue.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL is a problem with a drive or Windows Service.

PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA has to do with new hardware conflicting with old drivers.

DATA_BUS_ERROR has to do with bad memory on your motherboard or video card.

INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE means your hard drive’s partition won’t load.

STATUS_SYSTEM_PROCESS_TERMINATED means your drivers need updated.

DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION has to do with your solid state drive.

BAD_POOL_HEADER has to do with incompatible drivers or applications.

WDF_VIOLATION appears when syncing an iPod to iTunes in Windows 8.

VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE has to do with your video card’s display driver.

HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED appears when using Windows 8 in a Virtual Machine.

SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION is another issue with outdated drivers.

CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT has to do with your CPU not playing nice with drivers.

SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED has to do with outdated applications or a BIOS that needs updated.

BAD_POOL_CALLER, like many BSoDs, is the result of bad drivers.

DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE means your BIOS needs updated to the latest version.

VIDEO_SCHEDULER_INTERNAL_ERROR means your graphics card drivers need to be updated.

WORKER_INVALID appears when an application, like AVG, isn’t fully compatible with Windows 8.

Safe Mode

In order to actually diagnose the problem, rebooting in Safe Mode is wise, as it usually disables whatever hardware or software is causing it, temporarily. Then, you can take the steps to solve the problem permanently. Good luck!

Driver Reviver

A good one-stop shop that fixes many of the above errors is Driver Reviver, an application that updates all the drivers on your PC at once from trusted sources. Check it out.

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