The Blue Screen of Death: 7 Things to Try When BSODs Strike Your PC
By Court Smith
The dreaded blue screen of death is a sight we all hope to avoid. See how to resolve common blue screen errors here!
Please note: Currently, this knowledge base is still being developed. We will continue to add more links to specific error code guides as they are completed. In the meantime, you can try the steps we recommend taking in a broad approach here to tackle many potential issues that could cause common blue screen errors.
A blue screen of death can be a scary sight to behold. Thankfully, there’s no need to panic right away. Some blue screens will just be one-time flukes, but if they keep recurring, there are steps you can take to try to stop them. If you have a Skytech Gaming PC, and following these steps doesn’t resolve your blue screens, you can contact our customer support team for more help.
General Tips for Blue Screen Issues
Try to remember what you were doing when the blue screen(s) show up. Were you playing a particular game? Were you turning on the PC after it was off for the night? What was going on just before the blue screen occurred can tell you something about the cause in some cases. If your PC is a Skytech Gaming PC and you need to contact our customer support for help with blue screens, please let them know what you were doing with the PC just before they occurred.
Always keep your important files and data on your PC backed up regularly in a separate drive/cloud service. This will help protect you from data loss in the event of sudden errors.
7 Troubleshooting Processes We Recommend to Attempt to Resolve Blue Screen Issues
Windows Repair Tools
Some blue screen errors can be caused by Windows operating system (OS) file corruption. Windows OS file corruption will occur over time, and can also occur due to issues with OS update installation. You can start troubleshooting your blue screens by using the Windows Repair Tools through Windows PowerShell in Administrator mode to see if they are able to resolve the issue.
Open the Windows start menu and search for “command”, then run the Command Prompt application as an Administrator. It will open a window with a black background and white text.
In the Command Prompt window, type “sfc /scannow” exactly as written here without the quotation marks included, and then press enter on your keyboard. This is the system file checker, and it checks for corruption within Windows system files, and corrects them as necessary. This can take longer, so please be patient and let it complete.
After the previous task is complete, type “DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth” exactly as written here without the quotation marks included, and then press enter on your keyboard. This verifies the integrity of the Windows image file. Please allow this task to complete as well. This will be faster than the previous command, and should only take a few minutes.
After that is complete, please type “sfc /scannow” again, and press enter on your keyboard to run the system file checker again.
After that completes, please type “DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth” again and press enter to verify the integrity of the Windows image file again.
Next, please once again type in “sfc /scannow” and press enter to run the system file checker again.
Then, please type in “sfc /scannow” one more time, and press enter to run the system file checker one last time.
The reason we are asking you to repeat the same step a few times here is due to the nature of how these system utilities work. This process checks Windows system files against an online image, and sometimes the tools will only partially replace some files during one use. By forcing the tools to check multiple times, we can better ensure they will replace any and all incorrect or corrupt system files. This is a procedure used here by our repair crew to run these utilities when working on machines.
Please restart your PC after everything completes, and test to see if your issue occurs again. If the above steps did not stop your blue screen errors, you can continue to do more troubleshooting that may resolve the errors.
Check Device Manager for Unknown or Uninstalled PCI Devices
Devices with uninstalled drivers or that are unrecognized by your computer can cause blue screen issues. You can identify and install these devices to potentially resolve the issue.
Open your Windows start menu and search for “device manager”. Open the device manager control panel application.
In your device manager window, search for any devices which have a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in the middle next to them. This indicates a device that is unrecognized or does not have drivers. An unknown device will also be labelled as “unknown device”.
Right click the device in the list and select “Update Driver Software”
Select “search automatically for updated driver software” and allow Windows to try to search for and install the drivers.
If this does not work, you can try using Snappy Driver Installer to install the missing drivers. The steps for this are detailed in the next section below.
If that does not work either, you can try to install the driver manually. If the device is unknown, it will be difficult to search for a driver online as you do not have the device name.
Right click on the unknown device in device manager and select “properties”. In the “details” tab, select “Hardware Ids” from the drop down list under “property”. You should see the once empty field under this fill with some IDs.
Right click the top ID and copy it.
Search for the ID online. You may be able to identify the device, and then go to the manufacturer’s website to download the drivers you need. You may need to know what version of Windows you have to select the correct driver.
Some blue screen errors can be caused by issues with drivers. Make sure that you check whether your PC’s drivers are up to date regularly.
You can update drivers individually, or you can use a software to update multiple drivers at once. One we recommend using that is free to download is Snappy Driver Installer.
Here’s a video guide made by our staff which explains how to use Snappy Driver Installer to update many of your PC’s drivers at once.
Scan for Malware and Viruses
In some cases, viruses or malware can cause blue screen errors. We recommend scanning your PC for viruses and malware regularly. We recommend using built-in Windows Defender to scan for viruses and malware.
To be more thorough, you can run scans while your PC is booted into safe mode with no networking access. Some malware/viruses can reinstall themselves while they are being deleted by a protective program if a PC is still connected to the internet.
Please note: While you’re booted into safe mode, some third-party apps may not work (for example, aftermarket audio software). Your resolution may also be lower than usual. This should resolve when you start your computer again outside of safe mode.
To boot your PC into safe mode:
Open your Windows start menu and search “msconfig”.
Open the “system configuration” Windows application as an administrator.
In the “boot” tab, under “boot options,” check the box that says “safe boot” next to it. Keep it on “minimal”, which should be selected as default.
Click “apply” and “okay”.
When your PC starts next, it should be in safe mode with no networking. After you run the scans, you can reverse this process to boot your PC back up normally, by again opening the “msconfig” application to the boot tab, and unchecking “safe boot”, then clicking “apply” and “okay”.
Try Reseating RAM
Issues with your PC’s system memory (RAM) can also be a potential cause of blue screen errors. RAM needs to be seated properly to work. RAM can sometimes come loose from its socket, or not be fully properly seated, especially if a PC is moved. Reseating your RAM can better ensure it is securely socketed in your motherboard.
Please make sure that the PC is turned off and unplugged first, and then try the following steps:
Open the glass or metal side panel so that you can see your components. You’ll want to open the side that the top side of your motherboard will be facing, as opposed to the side it is mounted to, as your RAM sticks will be located on the top side of your motherboard, where your CPU is also socketed and your CPU cooler is mounted.
Identify your RAM modules. There should be one or more vertical sticks to the right of the CPU cooler. These are the RAM modules.
Check if there are locking tabs on the top or bottom of the motherboard slot that one RAM module is seated in. Press down on the top and/or bottom locking tabs to release the module. Once it is released, you can gently remove it from the slot.
Insert the module back into the same slot it originally was in. Slide the module into the bottom of the slot first, ensure the center notches align, press the module in this side with your thumb until you hear it snap into place, then press the top of the module into the motherboard slot until you hear another snap. Whether you have one or two locking tabs, you should hear 2 clicks when a module is inserted securely into its slot, one for each side.
Check whether your RAM module is securely inserted by giving the bottom of the RAM stick a gentle pull outwards. It should stay put securely inside its slot. If it comes loose at all, try removing the module and inserting it again.
Repeat these steps for each RAM module your PC has. Then, test to see if a blue screen error occurs again.
Here’s a video tutorial made by our staff that shows how to reseat RAM modules in a PC:
Memtest86 is a program you can download for free and use to detect potential problems with your RAM modules. The test will take a while to run, and will show a “PASS” or “FAIL” screen at the end depending on what it finds, which is a pretty clear indicator of whether it detected a problem or not.
If your PC is a Skytech Gaming PC, save a picture of your Memtest86 results and hold onto it. Then, if you need to contact our customer support team for help resolving your blue screen issues, please send them the results of your Memtest86 test.
As mentioned earlier, Windows operating system file corruption can be a potential cause of blue screen errors. In some cases, the operating system files can be corrupted in ways that the Windows Repair Tools aren’t able to fix. You can do a clean reinstallation of Windows via a USB flash drive to help resolve OS corruption issues when this happens. A clean reinstall also helps rule out potential finicky driver issues by isolating your system’s software from all previously installed drivers.
Please note: Reinstalling Windows will also delete other data on your hard drive. Please back up any files that are important to you on a separate drive from the one your operating system is installed on if possible to avoid loss of important data.
To learn how to reinstall Windows via a USB flash drive, you can read our customer support team’s written guide to reinstalling Windows 10. The steps to reinstall Windows 11 are very similar, you will just need to make sure you download the installation file for Windows 11 instead of 10 and follow all the other steps the same way. If you prefer a video guide, we recommend this video guide from HelpCloud on YouTube:
Advice for Specific Blue Screen Error Codes
There are actually many different reasons why a PC might run into a blue screen of death, and some errors have specific codes they will show you on the screen that can tell you a bit more about the issue.
If your blue screen has one of these error codes listed on it, you can read the specific article for that error code and try the potential solutions explained there. Many of the most common blue screen error codes can be caused by issues with drivers, hardware, or the PC’s Windows installation.
Blue screen error codes are written in both a brief string of words/abbreviations, and a hexadecimal code.
Common Blue Screen of Death Error Codes:
[Section Under Development]
Most likely due to RAM corruption or RAM issue.
Most likely due to RAM corruption or RAM issue.
Can be due to motherboard or CPU mathematical mismatch.
Can be due to RAM corruption or RAM issue. Something is writing in an area it should not be writing in, due to an issue with mathematical direction.
Can be due to motherboard or CPU mathematical mismatch.
A process in the operating system was closed before it should have. Most likely a driver issue, or a Windows issue. Try reinstalling drivers and possibly Windows.
Something disconnected or turned off before it should have; similar to the above error code.
About Skytech Gaming
Skytech Gaming is a system integrator that builds prebuilt and custom PCs for both gaming and creative work. We aim to offer the best experience and performance at every budget, from low-cost entry level machines to the latest bleeding edge, high-end showcase PCs.
If you would like more information about our PCs, please contact Skytech Gaming’s customer support team at (888)370-8882 or [email protected]. Our agents will be happy to do their best to help as soon as they can!
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