How to identify what is causing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

Modified on Wed, 18 Oct 2023 at 06:03 PM

The dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" (BSOD) can strike at any moment, turning a productive day into a frantic troubleshooting session. Thankfully, tools and techniques are available to diagnose the root cause. One of the most efficient tools is BlueScreenView. In this article, we'll walk you through steps to identify the causes of BSODs, emphasizing the utility of BlueScreenView.

1. Understand the Stop Code

Firstly, whenever a BSOD appears, it will display a stop code. This is your initial clue. It could be something like “MEMORY_MANAGEMENT” or “DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL.” Note this down as it provides a direction for your troubleshooting.

2. Deploy BlueScreenView

BlueScreenView is a free tool that scans all the minidump files generated during BSODs, presenting comprehensive information about the crash in an easy-to-read format.  

Steps to use BlueScreenView:

  • Download and install BlueScreenView from a trusted source.  https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html
  • Launch the application. It will automatically scan your system's minidump files.
  • Review the highlighted drivers or applications that may have caused the crash.

The advantage of BlueScreenView is that it color-codes the suspected drivers, making it simpler to spot potential culprits.

3. Windows Event Viewer

Another important tool in your arsenal should be the Event Viewer:

  • Press Windows + X and select 'Event Viewer'.
  • Go to 'Windows Logs' > 'System'.
  • Look for critical errors that coincide with the BSOD time.

4. Use the Reliability Monitor

This tool provides a clear timeline of system events and errors:

  • Search for "Reliability Monitor" in the Windows search bar and open it.
  • Examine any critical events that match the timing of your BSOD.

5. Update or Roll Back Drivers

Drivers can often be the culprits behind BSODs:

  • Regularly check and update your drivers, especially for essential components like graphics, chipset, and network.
  • If a BSOD appears after a driver update, consider rolling back to the previous version.

6. Check Hardware Health

Physical problems can also lead to BSODs:

  • Ensure your system is not overheating. Clean dust and check for proper ventilation.
  • Test hard drives for any signs of failure.
  • Detach and reattach external devices to ascertain if they’re causing the issue.

7. Run Antivirus Scans

Occasionally, malware or viruses can lead to system instability:

  • Use a trusted antivirus to scan your entire system.
  • Ensure your malware definitions are up-to-date.

8. System Restore

If you suspect a recent update or software installation is causing the BSOD:

  • Use System Restore to revert your system to a state before the issue began.

9. Online Communities

Armed with information from BlueScreenView and your stop code, turn to online forums and communities. Many users often share solutions for common BSOD issues.

In Conclusion

BSODs might seem intimidating, but with the right tools, especially BlueScreenView, and a systematic approach, you can usually pinpoint the issue. If you ever find yourself stumped, remember the vast online community and professionals, including those at XOTIC PC, always ready to lend a hand.

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