I've started getting random blue screens from my (admittedly aged PC). Unfortunately it reboots straight away so I don't get chance to read the error. It's been happening when browsing Stack Overflow in Google Chrome and Firefox so I'm assuming that it's something fairly fundamental.

Most of the time it puts up the "Report the error to Microsoft" dialog and I've checked the data files it wants to send but can't find the information there. I'll freely admit I could be looking in the wrong place.

I'm running Windows XP SP3 and I'm fully up to date with the updates.

The CPU is an Athlon XP 2600+, I've got 2 GB of RAM installed, an nVidia Quadro4 980 XGL driving two DELL 2001FP flat panels at 1600 x 1200 pixels (32 bits/pixel).

I've checked the CPU fan (which has been recently replaced) and that seems to be turning freely. The insides are a little dusty, but not excessively so.

So I need to either stop it rebooting or find out where the error code is stored so I can read it after the reboot.

UPDATE 22/09/2009

OK - just had the BSOD and it's in win32k.sys. I'm doing some research to see if I can find anything that might help. If I get stuck I'll post a new question. Thanks for all the suggestions.


Quickest thing to do is go in to Control Panel > System (Windows Key+Pause/Break) and then under Advanced, you should see "Startup and recovery", click Settings and you can disable Automatic restart on system failure.

Next time a BSOD occurs, you can see what the cause is.

FYI - A CPU fan failure is very unlikely to cause a BSOD, it would simply cause a thermal error on the motherboard and an instant shutdown.

Also, you may want to see BlueScreenView, a very good tool to help you see previous Blue screen errors.

  • Thanks - I've disabled the automatic restart. Just got to wait for the next BSOD before accepting the answer. – ChrisF Sep 16 '09 at 22:39
  • Point taken about the CPU fan - I was just trying to think of anything that might be relevant. I've been lucky with PCs in the past in that I've not had many problems, but it does mean I'm not sure what to do when they do occur. – ChrisF Sep 16 '09 at 22:44
  • If you haven't changed the hardware configuration recently, it's either a driver issue or less likely failing hardware. Silly things like anti-virus filter drivers can sometimes conflict other drivers and cause BSODs – EmmEff Sep 16 '09 at 23:54
  • I've accepted this even though my machine hasn't crashed since (famous last words) as it answers the part of the question I really wanted answering. – ChrisF Sep 21 '09 at 22:33


  1. Go to My Computer
  2. Click System Properties on the top menu my computer
  3. Click Advanced system settings system settings
  4. Under "Startup and Recovery", click "settings" system properties
  5. Uncheck "Automatically restart" no auto restart
  6. Click OK
  • 1
    nice screenshot tour! +1 – studiohack Feb 7 '11 at 7:07
  • @studiohack, a picture's worth 1000 words... or at least a few rep ;) – nhinkle Feb 7 '11 at 7:08
  • I see 4,000 words @nhinkle ;) – studiohack Feb 7 '11 at 7:09
  • Haha, clever. :D – nhinkle Feb 7 '11 at 7:13

Note: This procedure is the same for Win XP, Vista and 7

Open the System Properties window, and move to the Advanced tab.

In the Start up and Recovery section, click the Advanced button.

Within the System Failure section, uncheck the Automatically Restart option.


Tutorial: Debug Memory Dumps (Figure out what is causing a BSOD)

  • Thanks - once I know what the error is this link might be useful. – ChrisF Sep 16 '09 at 22:40

I tend to favour whocrashed for post BSOD analysis. Sure there's more direct ways, but this tends to do all the heavy lifting for you.

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