Blue Screen of Death – no longer a mystery!

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Blue screen of Death or BSOD have been in the Windows operating systems for a long time and efforts from Microsoft to eliminate them from the operating system completely are really worth mentioning here.

One of the important things to understand is the difference between a Crash and a Hang. If you ask this question to a non-IT Professional, he may not know the difference but as IT professionals, we definitely should know this basic difference.

A Crash is an unexpected or unhandled exception that occurs in kernel mode due to which operating system stops to avoid corrupting data. Most of the Blue screen errors are termed as system crash and it is important to remember that the contents of RAM are saved in a Memory dump file from which the exact error can be identified.  A memory dump file is also known as crash dumps.

A Hang on the other hand occurs when a processor becomes unresponsive due to a higher priority request. It could be due to software becoming unresponsive or waiting for it to complete the processing which takes longer than usual. The big difference is that a crash will automatically create a Memory dump but a hang requires a manual intervention to force a memory dump.

Both can occur due to software or a hardware issue. Incorrect Drivers can cause crashes; software can crash a computer or make it hang; so it becomes very important to diagnose the issue in the right direction.

The best way to start diagnosing the issues is to start checking Memory dump file and event viewer. Memory dump usually provides information about the last state of a program, application and system before they were crashed or terminated. The information usually consists of memory locations, program counters, program state and other related details. Memory dump is also caused by memory leak, when the system is out of memory and cannot continue its operations.

The developing world of technology seems to have forgotten BSOD which was very prominent back in the Windows 98 days and to some extent till Windows Vista but now in 2014, there are a variety of ways to troubleshoot Blue Screen issues, in fact the process have been simplified to a great extent with lot of softwares which will give a clear explanation of the issue.



Iam a Microsoft Certified IT Professional with certifications in Active Directory, Network Infrastructure and Server 2008. Apart from passion for learning new technologies, I speak German and very much interested in sharing my knowledge, whether it is German or Information Technology.

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1 Comment

  1. Jason March 12, 2015 at 7:49 am

    How do you read a crash dump file?

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