Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So, my GF's Windows 7 notebook was getting frequent BSODs and the culprits were diagnosed to be a fried RAM module and a somewhat faulty hard drive. The RAM was replaced, the hard drive too.

The old HD was put into an external frame with USB adapter. When she tried to retrieve her older files from that hard drive by plugging it into the USB port of the notebook, however, she got the BSOD again.

Would that indicate that there's still something else wrong with the notebook, or can an external faulty hard drive cause a BSOD?

share|improve this question

Would that indicate that there's still something else wrong with the notebook, or can an external faulty hard drive cause a BSOD?

Yes, there might still be a problem with the laptop. Yes, an external faulty hard drive can cause a BSOD. The two are not mutually exclusive. All the BSOD proves is that there is still a problem. The details of the BSOD can more specifically indicate what the problem is, but the mere presence of the BSOD itself doesn't tell you what the problem is.

If the laptop operates without error, without the hard drive in question, and ONLY shows the BSOD when the drive is connected, then that would indicate the issue is most probably with the drive. If you connect the drive to another computer and you get a BSOD on that machine, this would most certainly prove it out. However, if you connect other USB storage devices to the laptop and still encounter the BSOD, then you would have to point to the laptop as having the issue, as opposed to the hard drive. Of course, if connecting other USB storage devices causes a BSOD on the laptop, and the external drive also causes BSODs on other computers, then you see that both could be causing issues.

In short, there isn't enough information to say exactly what the problem is. Connect the drive to another computer. Connect other storage devices to the laptop. See what happens.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, will try that. – Lagerbaer May 5 '13 at 4:10
But now I just have to ask: How is it possible that plugging in an external device causes such a spectacular system failure? Why can't the OS just tell me that the disk is bad? – Lagerbaer May 5 '13 at 4:13
The OS might be displaying the BSOD error code for it's failed attempt at determining whether or not the drive is bad. The way that the drive is damaged could be something on the Printed Circuit Board, causing a short... damaged chips... any number of things that as soon as the OS attempts to access the drive, it receives a return signal that causes the BSOD. That's why the details of the BSOD are important. Yes. Bad hard drives cause BSODs all the time. – Bon Gart May 5 '13 at 4:16
You can check the system logs in Event Viewer. Open Event Viewer > Windows Logs > System. In the right hand panel select filter current logs > check error and critical. Click OK. This should give you an idea of what the system is reacting to. – Ben Plont May 5 '13 at 22:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .