Those of us who have used Windows for an period of time will at some point have come into contact with the infamous windows blue screen of death. There are a variety of causes, that fit into one of two categories; Hardware or Software based.

What is the blue screen of death?

In the majority of cases the blue screen will only display for a very short period of time before your computer restarts itself. What actually happens on the blue screen is the memory (RAM) is dumped and the computer tries to shut itself down in the least damaging way possible. Occasionally the computer will just freeze if it cannot shut down and will require rebooting.

The good news is that in the vast majority of cases, the windows blue screen of death is a one off, and simply rebooting the computer will solve the issue. If this is the case all it means is that there was a temporary glitch (most likely software based) that Windows could not recover from without rebooting.

Blue screen while Windows is booting.

A common issue faced is while your computer is booting up, it gets to the windows loading screen, a blue screen flashes and the computer instantly reboots. This can be very scary to most people, but has two primary causes from my experiences:


One common issue is that your computer's memory is damaged or malfunctioning in some way. There are a couple of ways to diagnose this; remove a stick of RAM from inside your computer and try booting up the computer again. You can then repeat this for each stick of RAM. I would, however not suggest doing this unless you know your way around the inside of a computer.

The other option, assuming you have another computer with a CD burner, is to download and burn a copy of a memory checking application such as "memtest" which can run from the CD before windows boots! This will test the memory and determine if there are any defects.


The other primary cause of the windows blue screen of death is a corrupted operating system that causes the system to crash when trying to load a corrupted file. Fortunately this issue is easily fixed, assuming you have a windows recovery disk on hand! The recovery disk will usually be able to auto repair this, causing Windows to boot correctly on the next reboot!

If you take anything away from this article, I strongly suggest going and making a Windows recovery disk now, before it is too late!