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2012-04-18

A+: STOP (Blue Screen) Errors

STOP errors (also known as blue screen of death or BSOD errors) can occur either during start up or after the system is running. The BSOD nickname is used because the background is normally blue (or sometimes black) with the error message in white text.


Regardless of when a STOP/BSOD error occurs, your system is halted by default. To restart the computer, you must turn off the system and turn it back on. But, before you do that, record the error message text and other information so you can research the problem if it recurs. It is possible for the system to restart on its own.

 BSOD errors can be caused by any of the following:
Incompatible or defective hardware or software— Start the system in Safe Mode and uninstall the last hardware or software installed. Acquire updates before you reinstall the hardware or software. Exchange or test memory.
Registry problems— Select Last Known Good Configuration as described earlier in this chapter and see if the system will start.
Viruses— Scan for viruses and remove them if discovered.
Miscellaneous causes— Check the Windows Event Viewer and check the System log. Research the BSOD with the Microsoft Knowledge Base.
To determine the exact cause of the error, you must
Step 1. Record the exact error message before restarting the computer.
Step 2. Research the error at Microsoft’s Knowledge Base (http://support.microsoft.com) if the BSOD keeps happening.
Unfortunately, you can’t take a screen capture of a BSOD for printing because a BSOD completely shuts Windows down. However, if you have a digital camera or phone camera handy, it makes a great tool for recording the exact error message. Just be sure to use the correct range setting to get the sharpest picture possible (normal or closeup, often symbolized with a flower icon). Turn off the flash on the camera and use ISO 400 to enable handheld shooting in dim light.


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