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Beginners Guides: Crash Recovery & The Blue Screen of Death

Beginners Guides: Crash Recovery & The Blue Screen of Death - PCSTATS
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Abstract: PCSTATS lays out the ground rules to fixing the problems that can cause a Blue Screen of Death. Or, you can just reinstall your ENTIRE PC... it's your choice!
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Mar 23 2013   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Basic troubleshooting for all BSOD errors

First off, note down all relevant information when you see a BSOD flash across the screen. This includes the error number and friendly name from the 'bugcheck' section of the stop error (see above), and any file names specified in the 'driver information' section.

If the BSOD comes up on the screen for a split-second before the PC restarts and wipes all the useful information away, we need to change some settings within WinXP. In most cases, it should be possible to stop your PC from automatically restarting when it develops a major error, allowing you enough time to jot down the BSOD error message. If you are using WindowsXP, right click on my computer > Properties > Select the 'Advanced' tab > and under 'startup and recovery' click the 'settings' button. This will open a new window, and under the 'System Failure' heading, uncheck 'Automatically restart.'

Continuing on, attempt to restart the computer normally into Windows. If the BSOD occurred while booting Windows, you may be taken to a troubleshooting menu and will have to select 'attempt to start Windows normally.' If your computer starts correctly, continue using it and store the error information for later reference. If the BSOD reoccurs at random or irregular periods, see Section D below on troubleshooting intermittent stop errors.

If your system does not start correctly or the stop message happens again, reboot the system. When the POST (memory checking) screen comes up, press F8 repeatedly. This will bring you to the Windows advanced options menu.

In the Windows advanced options menu choose 'safe mode' to attempt to boot into Windows Safe mode. Safe mode loads Windows XP with a minimal set of drivers and no automatically loaded software. If faulty software or drivers are causing your BSOD problem, safe mode should load correctly. If safe mode loads correctly, refer to Section A below on 'troubleshooting software stop messages.'

If safe mode does not load correctly, and/or you get the same stop message upon attempting safe mode, it's time to try the 'restore last known good configuration' option in the advanced options menu.

Restart your computer, pressing 'F8' again to load the advanced options menu and select 'last known good configuration (your most recent settings that worked).' This uses Windows XP's built in system restore utility to restore the most recent save point, which should be the last time you installed any drivers or other software. If your system boots normally after this operation, hopefully your problem has been fixed.

If you are still receiving a Blue Screen Of Death after the above procedures, or if system restore was disabled on your system, note down any new information on the error and start thinking. Did you install any new hardware or software just before this problem occurred? The driver information section of the BSOD may help with this.

If you did install new hardware or software, and you think you know what it might be that is causing the problem, this gives you a big boost in resolving the situation.

Otherwise, proceed to the advanced troubleshooting sections below. Chances are your error is hardware or system file based and will require more effort to repair.

Specific Repair Instructions

If you have a reoccurring Blue Screen Of Death or crashing problem, and can't use Windows effectively because of it, it's time to look at more specific methods of troubleshooting your problem. Depending on the results of the basic troubleshooting steps above, you should have a good idea of whether the problem that is causing the stop messages is related to software or drivers you have installed, or is a hardware or system file issue.

Essentially, if you can't boot into Windows XP safe mode because of crashes or Blue Screens Of Death, you likely either have a hardware error or one or more essential system files is corrupted or missing. If you can boot into Windows XP safe mode, but get constant or frequent BSOD's when running XP normally, you have a software or device driver problem.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Crash Recovery & The Blue Screen of Death
 Pg 2.  Reading the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD)
 Pg 3.  Why Do BSOD's happen?
 Pg 4.  — Basic troubleshooting for all BSOD errors
 Pg 5.  Section A: Troubleshooting Software & Driver stop messages
 Pg 6.  Fixing device drivers
 Pg 7.  Fixing software problems
 Pg 8.  Section B: Troubleshooting hardware and system file based BSODs
 Pg 9.  Section C: Troubleshooting Windows XP install BSODs
 Pg 10.  Section D: Troubleshooting Intermittent Blue Screens or Crashes

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