The Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) refers to the error screen displayed by the Windows operating system when it has experienced a critical error. When your computer experiences an error resulting in the BSOD, it will shut down after freezing and displaying the critical operating system error code on the computer screen. Causes of the BSOD include device driver errors when installing new hardware on a computer, lack of virtual or physical memory for the operating system to conduct the programs being run or overheating your computer.
1. Verify the amount of RAM installed on the computer by right-clicking the “My Computer” icon on your computer desktop and selecting the “Properties” menu option. The computer RAM installed on your computer will be displayed on the subsequent dialog menu. Consider upgrading the amount of RAM on your computer if you have less than 2 GB installed.
2. Check the amount of hard drive space available on your computer by double-clicking the “My Computer” icon, right-clicking the computer hard drive icon and selecting the “Properties” menu option. If less than 50 percent of the hard drive is free, the BSOD can be triggered when running multiple programs at once.
3. Free hard drive space by removing applications that you no longer use by clicking “Start > Settings > Control Panel.” Open the “Add/Remove Programs” application and click the “Remove program” button by computer programs that you no longer use. Repeat the process for each program that you no longer use.
4. Remove or transfer any pictures, music files or movies that you have on the computer to portable media to free additional hard drive space. The method of transfer will vary depending on what type of portable media you are using. If using a portable hard drive or USB memory stick, you will need to insert the drive. Open Windows Explorer by clicking the “Windows + E” keys simultaneously. Navigate to the folder containing your multimedia and select multiple files by pressing the “CTRL” key and single-clicking each file to transfer. Keeping the “CTRL” key depressed, drag the files to the letter drive corresponding to the portable media storage device.
5. Remove unnecessary programs from Windows startup. Select the “Start” and “Run” menu options and enter “msconfig” (without quotes), followed by clicking the “Enter” key. Choose the “Startup” menu tab and uncheck all programs listed that you do not desire to run on computer start such as “QuickTime,” “iTunes,” and other third-party programs and toolbars that you do not use every day. This will save system resources and help prevent your computer from using all of the available memory resulting in the BSOD.
6. Enable automatic Windows update by clicking the “Start > Settings > Control Panel” and choosing “Windows Update” application. Click the “Settings” menu button and click the top pull-down menu to select the “Automatic update” option. This will ensure that the latest operating system and driver updates produced by Microsoft are loaded on your computer to prevent errors from new or existing hardware.