What are some steps that you usually take? Are there any good ways of finding out what they mean etc.?

For example I have gotten these ones where it pretty much only says "IRQ less or equal to" (or something like that) which I must say, doesn't really tell me much! Another one I got more recently was something in the lines of "Some application changed some files it shouldn't have". And there were of course no information on what files, or what application...

What can you do?

4 Answers 4


Firstly, ensure that minidumps are being taken.

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Run (only if using XP, otherwise you can type straight into the Vista/7 search box)
  3. Type wmic recoveros set DebugInfoType = 3 and click OK. This does the same as going into System Properties and enabling the Small Memory Dump option there. Use whichever method you prefer.

There is free software called BlueScreenView which then allows you to delve into the minidump files and get an idea of exactly what files might have caused the blue screen to happen. I.e. whether it was a graphics driver, a sound driver, a program or whatever.

If you want to manually analyse the crash dump files using Microsoft's debugging tools, you will still need to follow the steps at the top to enable minidumps.


You should definitely write down the hexadecimal stop code, it can often provide clues as to what actually went wrong. Googling it often produces a bunch of other people with the same problem and sometimes even fixes, though that is far less common. Usually you find out that the error can be caused by a multitude of things.

  • So that hexadecimal stop code is actually useful? I thought it was just a random memory address or something... =/ will have to note it down the next time, hehe
    – Svish
    Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 9:58
  • The message is just a description of the code itself. There's the code and often a number of parameters. By interpreting the code you can find out what the parameters mean and get a bit more information about the error. Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 11:17

BSOD are usually caused by buggy drivers, so you should check a new driver has been installed or upgraded recently. It could happen silently when a new usb device is connected to the pc, for example.

You can find here some information on how to troubleshoot the Blue Screen of Death.

  • Problem is when it happens randomly and you don't have a clue which driver it could be.
    – Svish
    Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 8:17

I have had some success working out the cause of a blue screen using windbg for a driver error.

Guide here.

  • The link was broken, I replaced it with an archived version. Anyway: "Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline."
    – and31415
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 21:38

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