The old-style blue screen of death may have changed to something more elegant in recent years, but seeing one appear on your PC is never a good thing. Here’s how to fix blue screen crashes in Windows 10, and what might be causing them.
Windows 10 is software just like its predecessors, so from time to time you will still find a few things going wrong. This is not unexpected for such a complex piece of software, so we’ve put together this short guide to help you get back up and running if you ever see the infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows 10.
There’s no magic bullet solution that fixes all ills, but if you work through the following guidelines you should be able to diagnose, and hopefully fix, your particular issue. We think that Windows 10 is an excellent version of the OS, with a lot to offer – check out our 10 best features in Windows 10 article to see some of them – and it will just take a little time for all the kinks to be worked out.
Make a backup
We store many important files on our computers – from family pictures and videos, to important business documents – and all of this can be lost very easily if you don’t create regular backups. While you should be doing this all the time anyway, if you’re beginning to experience problems with your PC then creating a backup needs to become an immediate priority. It’s tremendously frustrating to lose precious data needlessly, and the whole process can be completed in a very short time. You can either use dedicated backups solutions – such as those found in our guide to the 13 Best Backup software – or take advantage of the many free offerings in the cloud. Check out our guide to 13 Best Cloud storage services for more details.
Recreating the problem
It can be incredibly helpful to make a note of what you were doing and which programs were running when you experienced the blue screen. If you’re able to recreate the process and end up with the crash, then there’s a good chance that one of the pieces of software you are using could be causing the problem. In any case, knowing that the crashes are not random, but instead caused by certain actions, can narrow down the suspects. For example, if you notice that whenever you connect a printer via USB and try to print from Word you get a BSoD, but if you print to PDF you don’t, then it’s reasonable to assume the printer is involved.
Checking the code
With a BSOD there will sometimes be an error code displayed at the bottom of the message. Write this down, then search for it on Google to see what the code represents. Knowing what you’re looking for will certainly make things a little clearer when it comes to diagnosing the problem.
What did you change?
One of the first things to investigate is whether you made any changes to your system. Usually this will be a new piece of software that was installed or possibly running upgrades for existing programs. If the BSOD happens while you’re using a program, or loading one up, then it might be worth uninstalling the software and then reinstalling it again. You could also try using Google to see if there are others having issues with that version of the software, and what solutions they’ve discovered.
We’ve seen several cases in the past where dodgy graphics card drivers have wreaked havoc on a PC. If you’ve upgraded yours recently, and since experienced crashes, then it might be worth going back to the previous version, or at least heading to the forums on the manufacturer’s site to see if there are known problems with the update. To uninstall a program or driver you’ll need to click on the search area in the taskbar then type view installed updates and select the option that appears with that name. Now you’ll be taken to the Control Panel where you can check the dates of the drivers and uninstall the ones that might be causing the problem.
Another obvious thing to check is that Windows itself is up to date. To achieve this click on the search area of the taskbar and type windows update, then select the matching option and when the Update panel appears click on Check for Updates.
Check your hardware
If you’re on a desktop machine, then it could well be worth opening up your machine and ensuring that the hardware is all seated correctly. If a card isn’t fully pushed into its slot then there is the outside chance that it might cause a BSOD. Of course if you’ve replaced a graphics card, or maybe your RAM, recently then this would again be a thing to investigate, as the new hardware could be causing the problem.