What Does the Blue Screen of Death Mean on a Computer?

by Julia Hennessey

Nothing strikes more fear into the hearts of those who embrace the Internet Age than booting up their computers to be welcomed by the Blue Screen of Death. The nickname coined by techies refers to the screen that displays when there has been an error and the computer can't function properly. The screen goes blue and fills with white text and numbers. Luckily, the problem can often be fixed and usually the computer is not actually dead. Take a deep breath.

Reboot

As a first step, always deal with a Blue Screen of Death by rebooting the computer. Press the power button until the computer shuts off. Wait 10 seconds, then turn it back on.

Sections

The Blue Screen of Death lists four sections and information that corresponds to the status of each: the actual error message, the modules loaded into memory, modules that were about to be loaded before the error occurred and the current status of the Kernel Debugger.

Actual Error Message

The actual error message lists a code and a description of the error. The best way to tackle an error is to write down the name and number and do a Google search. Even if you don't understand the information, if you call a tech person, you will have specific information to give him.

Modules in Memory

This section on the Blue Screen tells you what has already loaded. By looking at this list, you know what is definitely not causing a problem.

Modules to Load

This list tells you what was slated to boot up next before the error. Depending on the type of error message your computer is displaying, it can tell you what might be causing the Blue Screen. For instance, if a plug-in's driver is causing the problem, you can unplug it, reboot and fix the issue.

Kernel Debugger

A Kernel Debugger allows two computers running the same operating system to connect via an RAS connection or a null modem cable. When a Blue Screen of Death occurs on the first computer, information from the first computer is sent to the second computer.

About the Author

Julia Hennessey has been a professional writer and editor since 2003. Her work can be found in the "Paralegal Times" magazine and the "New U" newspaper. She lives in California and her interests include careers, people and music. She graduated from the University of California with a degree in literature.