How to Fix Windows Blue Screen (BSoD)

Home > HowTos > Troubleshooting Tips Updated by Nancy on May 24, 2024 | Approved by Christian Cawley

The blue screen of death, also known as a "BSoD," is a common problem many PC users encounter. It forces you to restart your computer and may lose your unsaved work. If you are one of the victims, this article will significantly help you. Here, we will guide you through effective methods to troubleshoot the blue screening in Windows 10/11 without losing everything you're working on.

Table of contents
Part 1. What is Windows Blue Screen?
Part 2. Common BSoD Codes and Solutions
Part 3. 12 Ways to Fix Blue Screen of Death in Windows 10/11
Part 4. Tips for Recovering Unsaved/Lost Files Due to Blue Screen of Death
Part 5. How to Avoid Blue Screen on Win 10/11 in the Future
Part 6. Frequently Asked Questions

What is Windows Blue Screen?

The Blue Screen of Death is an error that occurs due to a logic error/hardware failure that causes Microsoft Windows to stop functioning. It is also known as a system crash.

This bluescreen on a laptop or desktop is called the BSoD screen because it displays white text on a blue background and provides an error code (like 0x00000001 APC_INDEX_MISMATCH) that can be used to determine the cause of the crash to help you troubleshoot quickly.

Common BSoD Codes and Solutions

The blue screen of Windows 10 and 11 often comes with error codes that help identify the root cause of the problem. Here are some common ones:

These are common errors; many more BSoD error codes exist. Diagnosing the specific reason behind each error is crucial to resolve it effectively.

12 Ways to Fix Blue Screen of Death in Windows 10/11

Now that you know about common BSoD, check out our solutions:

Tip: If the blue screen of death still appears after restarting the computer, you need to enter safe mode and use the following solutions.

  1. Restart the Windows PC. When the Microsoft logo appears, press and hold the power button to force shut down and repeat this step twice or thrice.
  2. After entering the automatic repair interface, select the "Advanced Option."
  3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
  4. After your PC restarts, you'll see a list of options. Select 4 or press F4 to start your PC in Safe Mode.

Ways 1. Monitor Your Hardware

Are you running a large program or playing a game when your computer screen suddenly turns blue and crashes? This is caused by the CPU, graphics card, or disks being overloaded and unable to dissipate heat quickly. Therefore, you can use free tools like Open Hardware Monitor, SpeedFan, and HWMonitor to monitor your PC's temperature to see if overheating is the problem. If so, consider cleaning your PC, replacing your fan, or even upgrading your cooling system.

Ways 2. Remove Your USB Drive or Check the Hardware Compatibility

This method only works if you get a Blue Screen of Death when adding new hardware (memory, graphics card, printer, scanner, mouse, keyboard, etc.) or plugging in USB drives. You should check whether it is connected securely and visit the manufacturer's website to learn about compatibility. Finally, if it can work on your computer, try unplugging and reconnecting it.

Ways 3. Check Your RAM

A loose memory card or poor contact can cause a blue screen of death Windows. This is because your computer's RAM (Random Access Memory) is integral to its operation, and if it cannot correctly read or write data due to a loose connection or poor contact, it could result in system errors, including the BSoD. Therefore, you can clean the RAM slots and reconnect them securely.

If you have more than one stick of RAM, try booting your computer with just one stick at a time. This can help you determine if one of the sticks is faulty.

Ways 4. Rollback or Update Your Drivers

After hardware troubleshooting, you first check your hardware driver. Outdated, damaged, or incompatible drivers are a common cause of blue screening. You can choose different steps to fix this crash according to your situation.

4.1 Rollback Driver:

When a Windows 11/10 blue screen appears after you update the driver, it may be caused by it not being installed correctly. At this point, you need to revert the driver program to its previous version.

  1. Right-click the "Start" icon in the lower left corner of the screen and select "Device Manager".

  2. Double-click "Display adapters" in the window that opens. If you have updated the drivers for other hardware, please select the corresponding ones.
  3. Right-click your device and select "Properties."

  4. In the Properties window, click the "Driver" tab and the "Roll Back Driver" button. If the button is greyed out, you can also select "Uninstall Driver" to re-install it.

  5. Choose one of the options and click "Yes."
  6. Once complete, restart your computer for the rollback driver.

4.2 Update Driver:

Keeping the drivers to the latest version can effectively avoid the blue screen of death in Windows 10 and 11. Here are the detailed steps:

  1. Open "Device Manager".
  2. Double-click "Display adapters" in the window that opens.
  3. Click on your graphics card, right-click, and select "Update Drivers".

  4. Click the "Search automatically for drives" option to complete the driver update.

Tip: If you want to complete the driver update task with one click, try Snappy Driver Installer, DriverPack Solution, and SlimDrivers third-party free tools. They will download all driver programs that need to be updated at once and install them automatically.

Ways 5. Check the Integrity of System Files

System files that have been changed or damaged may cause a blue screen of death Windows. Therefore, you can use Command Prompt to check and repair them. You can do this:

  1. Press "Win + Q" on your keyboard to open Windows Search.
  2. Type "Command Prompt," right-click on it, and choose "Run as administrator."

  3. Type "sfc /scannow" and press "Enter" and wait for the completion of the fix Windows blue screen process.

Ways 6. Uninstall Recently System Updates and Installed Programs

When the blue screen of death appears after you have updated your system or installed new programs, it may be caused by them not being fully installed or conflicting with existing system files. For this, you can try to uninstall them to fix this error. To be foolproof, you can also start the following steps after entering safe mode:

6.1 Uninstall Recent System Updates:

  1. Open the Start Menu and click "Settings" (the gear icon).

  2. From the Settings window, select "Update & Security."

  3. On the Windows Update page, click "View update history."

  4. At the top of this page, you will see an option to "Uninstall updates."

  5. Click the "Installed On" option on the far right of the update list to sort by time.
  6. Select the recent system update and click "Uninstall" at the top to remove it.

After uninstallation, you might need to restart your computer to apply the changes. Typically, this will resolve a blue screen crash after updating.

6.2 Remove Recently Installed Programs:

  1. Click on the "Start" button, search for "Control Panel" in the search box, and open it.

  2. In the open window, click "Uninstall a program" under "Programs."

  3. Sort these by the 'Installed On' column to see the most recent programs installed.
  4. Select a recently installed program and click the "Uninstall/Change" button at the top of the list.

Ways 7. Run Memory Diagnostic

RAM issues can cause symptoms like system crashes, blue screens of death (BSoD), or even strange behavior in software. So, you can use Windows Memory Diagnostic to test your computer's Random Access Memory (RAM) for errors. Here's how you can use it:

  1. Save open files and close all programs.
  2. Press the "Windows + R" keys, type "mdsched.exe" in the Run window, and "Enter."

  3. Click the "Restart now and check for problems (recommended)" option if you're ready to perform the check now. Your computer will restart immediately.

  4. The Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool screen will appear during reboot, automatically checking your RAM for errors. This process may take several minutes.
  5. Once the test is completed, Windows will restart automatically. If finds any errors, it will notify you when your system boots back up.

Ways 8. Check for Disk Logic Error

If the memory diagnostic tool still doesn't solve the problem, check if the hard drive you're using has any errors like bad sectors, file system failure, etc., that could be causing the BSoD Windows. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Press "Windows + S" and type "cmd."

  2. Select "Command Prompt" in the list and right-click, then select "Run as administrator." When prompted, click "YES."
  3. In the command line window, type "chkdsk /f /r /x."

    /f: Scan the hard drive and try to fix errors.
    /r: Mark bad sectors and recover readable information.
    /x: If necessary, unmount this hard drive to start scanning and fixing blue screening issues.
  4. After typing the command, press "Enter."
  5. Type "Y" to start the process.

The fix process can take time, especially with a large drive. Do not interrupt it. Once the CHKDSK process is finished, it will display a report with the status of the drive and the errors it has found and fixed. This command can also help you fix a RAW drive without losing data, USB access is denied, and more.

Ways 9. Run the Windows Troubleshooter

Windows has a built-in troubleshooter to diagnose and fix many common problems, including the blue screen of death on Windows 10/11. Here are the detailed steps:

  1. Go to "Settings" > "Update & Security" from the options on the left side, and select "Troubleshoot."
  2. Now, you'll see several troubleshooting tools for various parts of your system. Select the one that's relevant to the problem you're experiencing.
  3. Click on the "Run the troubleshooter" button.

  4. Follow the prompts to complete the troubleshooting of the BSoD.

Please note that the exact options you see may vary depending on your version of Windows and the specific hardware and software you have installed.

Ways 10. Use Get Help

If the troubleshooter doesn't resolve your blue screen error, try the Get Help option provided by Windows:

  1. Open the Get Help app.
  2. Type "Troubleshoot BSoD error."

  3. Check the official solution provided by Microsoft for bluescreen on laptop/desktop

Ways 11. Check for Viruses

A computer infected with a virus or other types of malware can cause a blue screen of death in Windows 10/11. They can corrupt the system files or the drivers, causing your system to crash and display the BSoD. Running a comprehensive virus and malware scan is recommended if you suspect a virus is causing the Windows blue screen. Tools like Malwarebytes or Norton 360 Deluxe can help detect and remove such threats.

Ways 12. Try Upgrading or Downgrading Your Windows

The Windows blue screen may be caused by missing or damaged critical operating system files. Therefore, you can upgrade or downgrade your system to resolve this issue. Here's a step-by-step guide:

12.1 Updating Windows Operating System:

  1. Open the "Update & Security" window
  2. You'll see a tab labeled "Windows Update" on the left side of the screen. Click on it if it still needs to be selected.
  3. On the right side of the screen, you'll see a button labeled Check for updates. Click on it.

  4. Windows will now check for any available updates. If any are found, they'll be downloaded and installed automatically. You should restart your computer to complete the installation process.

12.2 Downgrading Windows PC:

Rollback OS depends on how you upgraded in the first place. If you've upgraded from Windows 10 to a later version or build and want to return, you can use the built-in recovery feature, but it's only available 10 days after the upgrade. Here are the steps:

  1. In the "Update & Security" window, click "Recovery" in the left menu.
  2. Click the "Get Started" below "Go back to the previous version of Windows 10" and follow the prompts to the system downgrade.

Tip: If upgrading or downgrading the system still cannot fix the blue screen of death, then you can only reinstall Windows.

Tips for Recovering Unsaved/Lost Files Due to Blue Screen of Death

The "BSoD screen" is a critical error in the operating system's display after a crash. It will lead to unexpected shutdowns of programs, which cause unsaved files to be lost. Here are some tips to recover these files:

How to Avoid Blue Screen on Win 10/11 in the Future

Avoiding Windows 10/11 BSoD errors involves several proactive measures:

Remember, while these tips can help prevent a blue screen in Win 10 and 11, there's no guaranteed way to avoid them entirely due to the complex nature of computers and operating systems.

FAQs

The "Blue Screen of Death" (BSoD) indicates serious system errors that have caused Windows to stop working. Here are some frequently asked questions about the BSoD:

Conclusion

If there is one thing every Windows user dreads, it's encountering the infamous Blue Screen of Death. It's frustrating and can cause you to lose your unsaved work. Fortunately, here are some ways you can take to fix the issue. With some patience, you can overcome the computer blue screen and get back to using your computer without any interruptions.