Undoubtedly Windows 10 is more reliable, faster and solid compared to any of the previous Windows versions. But it is not yet exempt to the well-known problems of the previous versions. The combination of Windows 10 and latest computer hardware can be quite complex. When some complex problems accumulate, it will result in errors like Blue screen of death popularly known as BSOD or stop error.
When Does BSOD Happen?
There are no predefined reasons for this error, yet following are three stations cause BSOD in general:
- During Windows 10 upgrade
- After you have installed an app or updated hardware driver
- During general usage
The most probable case could be the second reason that you have installed or updated something. The blue screen of death error will look like below:
Generally the error contains a message like below:
Your PC ran into a problem and needs a restart. We’re just collecting some error info, and then restart for you.
Along with this message you will also see the Microsoft troubleshooting page for blue screen of death and the stop error code. In the above screen, the stop error was showing as “MANUALLY_INITIATED_CRASH” since the BSOD was manually triggered by changing registry entries. Though the actual stop error code will appear in other cases like “CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED”, it may not be much useful in troubleshooting purpose.
Are You Able to Access Desktop?
The important aspect of troubleshooting blue screen of death or stop error depends on whether you are able to access the desktop. Sometime BSOD error will not allow accessing the desktop and you will be struck at the booting screen. There are two solutions to this problem.
1. System Restore in Repair Mode
In such a case, Windows 10 will automatically go to repair mode after few attempts. You can use System Restore option to set your computer to earlier date and then open the system. If system restore helps to access your desktop then you can manually disable any automatic updates that caused the issue.
2. Open Windows in Safe Mode and Uninstall Last Update
When booting with repair mode, go to “Troubleshooting > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart” and restart your computer. After restart, press F4 to start Windows in Safe Mode or F5 to start in Safe Mode with Networking.
After accessing your desktop, go to “Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update” section. Click on the “View installed update history” to view all previously installed Windows updates. If you find any recent installation, then click on the “Uninstall updates” to go back to the previous version.
If uninstalling latest updates doesn’t solve the problem then try with the “Recovery options” link which will allow you to reset PC and startup from USB.
How To Fix Blue Screen Of Death In Windows 10 with Desktop Access?
Most of the BSOD errors will allow you to access the desktop screen and will occur again if the conflict happens again. It is often tricky to find out the real cause behind BSOD. But here are the things you should try when fixing blue screen of death in Windows 10.
Solution 1: Check Device Performance & Health
Before going to any other fixes, check the performance of your PC and health status. Search for “Windows Defender Security Center” and open it. Go to “Device performance & health” section and see the health report shows no issues for all listed items like Windows update, Storage capacity, Device driver and Battery life.
If you any issues in health report, try to resolve the issue to get rid of the BSOD error.
Solution 2: Uninstall Application
The important cause for blue screen of death should be one of the apps you have installed recently on your system. If you remember the app you installed recently, just uninstall the program and check the error occurs again.
Follow the below steps to uninstall programs in Windows 10:
- Go to search box and enter “Apps & features”.
- Click on the first option to open the “Apps & features” section under Windows Settings.
- Select the app and click on the “Uninstall” button.
- Confirm the deletion and follow the instruction to remove the app from your system.
As explained above in without desktop access section, you can also uninstall the last updates of Windows to check that helps.
Solution 3: Update Drivers
The device driver files may also cause BSOD issue. If you have done changes to any of the driver files recently then update the files to the latest version. You can do this by going to Device Manager and updating the driver files.
The driver files can be either installed automatically by searching the internet or from the source installation CD.
Solutions 4: Disable Hardware Device
Remember whether you have installed any new devices recently. If yes, go the Device Manager and disable the device.
Also remove all external devices like webcam, secondary monitors, etc. to ensure those devices are not causing the issue.
Solution 5: Undo Last Changes or Modifications
Software updates, driver changes, software installation and various modifications in your system settings could trigger BSOD. One of the ways to resolve the issue is to revert back the system to last known good configuration. But there are no options to boot Windows 10 with the last saved known configuration. The equivalent option is to go for System Restore that will help you to revert your Windows 10 installation back to the prior healthy state.
System restore option will make a backup of drivers, before updated ones are installed. If you suspect that BSOD issue is caused by recent driver updates or installation, then it is a good idea to use System Restore. Follow the below steps, in order to restore your Windows 10 installation to an earlier point. Remember that you should have created a restore point for beforehand in order to restore to that point.
- Search for “system restore” and choose “Create a restore point” option in Control Panel.
- This will open a “System Properties” dialog box.
- Go to “System Protection” tab and click on the “System Restore…” to restore to your computer to the previously saved point.
Solution 6: Increase Paging File Size
Lack of storage space may contribute to the occurrence of BSOD. Windows 10 uses hardware space dynamically and if you use a small partition for OS installation, it’s easy to run out of space. Windows use paging file to store information when system usage exceeds the amount of physical RAM. There is a good possibility that blue screen of death can occur if there’s not enough hard drive space for paging file.
One solution is to move your paging file to the larger hard drive partition. Follow the below steps for doing so:
- Go to “Control Panel > System and Security > System”.
- Click on the “Advanced System Settings” link on the right sidebar and then click on the “Advanced” tab.
- Click on “Settings” under “Performance” section and go to “Performance Options” dialog box.
- Again go to “Advanced” tab and click on the “Change” under “Virtual Memory” section.
- Disable the checkbox “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives”.
- Choose partition or hard drive with the largest space. Click “Custom size”, type in 10000 for both Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB) and click “Set” button.
Your computer will run slightly faster if it has fixed paging file.
Solution 7: Cleanup Disk Drives for Storage
If you are running out free space on all hard drive partitions, follow these steps:
- Go to Windows 10 search box and search for “Disk Cleanup”.
- Select any of the hard drives and click “OK”.
- Make sure “Recycle Bin” and “Temporary files” options are checked and click “OK”.
Repeat the process for other hard drives or partitions on your computer.
Solution 8: Protect from Virus or Malware Infection
Some malware could directly or indirectly cause BSOD. Virus falsely represents itself as Windows Security Essential Installer and shows a fake BSOD. It directs victims to contact “technical support” team. These criminals may trick computer users into downloading more malware and viruses. It disables task manager, hides the mouse pointer and shows a BSOD image on the screen. Ensure you are not clicking on any of the links and submit any details when BSOD occurs.
Antivirus program is your first line of defense against malware and it will be much more complicated once your PC is infected. Make a bootable rescue USB stick using a clean PC with your antivirus software like Avira or Kaspersky; make sure that these programs are fully updated. Boot your PC from the USB flash drive and wait for the completion of the removal process.
When your PC is infected, there will be an alert message in Windows Defender. In such a case, scan your computer for malware and virus infection by navigating to “Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender”. Under “Virus & threat protection” section go to “Advanced scan” option. Choose “Windows Defender Offline scan” option and click on the “Scan now” button.
Solution 9: Check your RAM
Hardware problem is a common cause of BSOD and it can be quite complex to resolve. Faulty RAM modules are probably the most common causes of this problem. If you previously re-attach RAM modules, make sure that they are properly seated. You may replace the RAM module and see whether BSOD still appears.
Follow these steps to check your RAM:
- Go to Windows 10 search box, type “mdsched” and open “Windows Memory Diagnostic” dialog box.
- Choose to restart the computer and run the memory diagnostic tool.
- When the tool opens, you may press F1 to choose basic, standard or extended memory diagnostic options. Apply the desired settings by pressing F10.
- After the test is completed, your computer will restart again and the test results will be shown.
If your computer crashes due to failing RAM module, the tool will restart the computer and confirm that you have memory problem.
Solution 10: Check Overheating of Your Computer
Excessive heat may cause unauthorized shutdown, system crashes and blue screen of death. Computers have internal sensors to track temperatures and these values are shown in computer’s BIOS.
Also check user’s manual for your motherboard and graphics card for appropriate usage. Processor may start to overheat when it goes above 55 degrees Celsius. A simple way to solve this problem is to clean up the interior of your PC from accumulated dust. Weak fans may need to be replaced and fresh thermal paste can be applied.
Solution 11: Update Your Windows
Microsoft occasionally releases latest fixes for BSOD problems. By keeping your drivers up to date, it is possible that BSOD issue can be solved or prevented. Although updates are performed automatically on your PC, it is still possible that you are missing one or more critical updates that may help to prevent BSOD.
Here are things that you should do:
- Search for “Settings” and open “Windows Settings”. Click on “Update & Security” option.
- Choose “Windows Update” option in the right sidebar and click on the “Check for updates” button.
If you find that there’s a new update and you are not able to download it then download cumulative updates and install them.
Solution 12: Use Fresh Start
If none of the above fixes are working for you then try to reinstall Windows as a clean installation. Windows 10 have an option called “Fresh start” to install up-to-date version without deleting the personal files.
Go to Windows Defender Security Center and navigate to Device performance & health section. Click on the “Additional Info” link under “Fresh start” option. On the next screen, click on “Get started” to start the process.
You will see the message like below to inform you that some of the apps might get deleted during fresh installation process. Click “Next” and follow the instructions to complete the clean installation.
Monitor your computer whether BSOD occurs after a fresh start Windows 10 installation.
Blue screen of death may looks scary at first look. But there is nothing to worry unless it was caused due to malware or virus. Try troubleshooting with one of the above solutions and fix the error so that it will not repeat again.
You can really get a BSOD for a hundred reasons. The last two BSODs that I had were caused by faulty RAM modules and an Express Card USB 3.0 adapter that was losing the connection randomly.