If you’ve ever booted up your computer and faced a blue screen, you know the feeling that results. Most computer users at some point have experienced the sweaty palms and feelings of dread that seem to go hand-in-hand with the occurrence of a blue screen error. Will your computer ever boot up properly again? Is it dead? Will you lose your files? How did this happen? These panicked thoughts are all too common. In fact, not too long ago MY computer blue-screened.
The dreaded blue screen has been a feature of all Windows-based operating systems since Windows 3.1. Software developers invented the term ‘blue screen of death’ to accommodate the color of the screen and the finality of the situation . . . but only the situation, not the computer. It refers to the “death of your computer processes” not the “death of your computer.” And, this is almost always the case. Your computer is still alive. The processes are dead, is all.
The Blue Screen of Death is more formally and accurately referred to as a STOP error. It’s an error serious enough to ‘stop’ the computer’s processes. Troubleshooting is challenging, since a STOP error requires a restart. It is often necessary to seek out the help of a qualified computer repair shop to assist you in troubleshooting the error. File issues can cause these errors, but hardware problems are also common. These can include a faulty power supply, physical memory issues, and overheating. The causes can be wide-ranging. This is part of the challenge to finding a solution.
In most cases, a STOP error provides an error code. This is the key to rectifying the issue. Unfortunately, some error codes are more difficult to manage than others.
Three of the most common blue screen error codes:
1. UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_DEVICE: A corrupt of missing low-level system file is the most common cause for this error message. The issue can be related to a physical failure in the drive, though the problem is most commonly associated with file corruption.
2. PAGE_FAULT_IN_NON_PAGE_AREA: This is one of the less descript error messages. This category of error is very general and can be related to numerous types of errors. The full error code can be useful to narrowing down the problem. Troubleshooting this type error can be especially challenging. Chasing down these error codes can be analogous to going down a rabbit hole.
3. DRIVER_IRQ_NOT_LESS_THAN_OR_EQUAL_TO: A device driver is the cause. The name of the file should be indicated in the error messages. A common solution is to boot the computer in safe mode, remove the offending driver, and then download the latest version of the file. The driver should be found on the manufacture’s website. A simple solution can usually be found.
Depending on the operating system, a blue screen error consists of a hexadecimal error number, the name of the error in CAPS, and four parameters that can assist the computer technician in identifying and fixing the error. It might also include the address where the error occurred. Be sure to record the error messages; they can be instrumental in finding the right solution.
In most cases, a blue screen error code is not the end of your computer or your data. An experienced error code troubleshooter can, in most cases, solve the problem without a loss of data or computer functionality.
If you find yourself faced with a blue screen, there’s probably no reason to panic. Your local computer expert can probably find the solution quickly and effectively.
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