How to Get Rid of the Fatal Blue Screen (16 Steps)
By Amanda Knaebel
The fatal blue screen, or blue screen of death, happens when a Windows-based computer detects an error that it cannot fix on its own. The screen can result from a hardware, software or driver error, and it may be difficult to diagnose and correct the problem. Getting rid of the fatal blue screen often requires a lot of trial and error to determine what is causing the issue and how to fix it.
Write down any information printed on the blue screen when it flashes up, such as an error number and any information listed in the driver information section. This information may help you narrow down the problem.
Reboot your computer. If you see an option screen, choose “Attempt to start Windows normally” by pressing “Enter” when the option is highlighted. Sometimes simply restarting your computer will get rid of the fatal blue screen.
Press “F8” repeatedly when your computer is starting up if you were unable to reboot successfully. This takes you to the “Windows Advanced Options” menu screen.
Select “Safe Mode” by pressing “Enter” when the option is highlighted. This will load Windows with only necessary drivers and no automatically loaded software.
Run a spyware and antivirus scan of your system if Windows loads in safe mode. If your spyware or antivirus program finds and removes anything, restart your computer normally to see if it loads.
Restart your computer in safe mode if you cannot start Windows normally after running a spyware and antivirus scan.
Right-click “My Computer” and select “Properties.” Click on the “Hardware” tab and click “Device Manager.”
Expand the corresponding section for any drivers you recently installed or updated by clicking on the plus sign next to the category. Select the device that corresponds to any recently installed or changed drivers.
Click “Roll Back Driver” to go back to a previous driver version. Click “Uninstall” to completely remove a recently installed driver that may be causing the fatal blue screen. Do not uninstall motherboard or video drivers.
Reboot your computer normally to see if any drivers were causing the issue.
Reboot Windows in safe mode if rolling back or uninstalling recently changed drivers did not solve the problem.
Click on the Windows “Start” button. Select “Run.” Type “msconfig” into the “Run” text box, omitting the quotation marks. This brings you to the “System Configuration Utility” screen.
Click on the “Startup” tab and remove the check marks next to any programs that you recently installed. Do not remove the check marks next to “userinit.exe” or “explorer.exe.” Do not remove the check marks next to any other Microsoft programs unless you know what it is.
Press “F8” repeatedly when your computer is starting up to get to the “Windows Advanced Options” screen if your computer will not boot up in safe mode.
Press “Enter” when “Last known good configuration” is highlighted to attempt to boot Windows with the last settings you had that worked. If Windows loads normally, it should get rid of the fatal blue screen. Do not reload any software or drivers that you installed after the last good restore point.
Remove any hardware you installed in your PC and any new peripherals, such as external hard drives or CD drives, before the fatal blue screen appeared. Attempt to reboot your computer.
- Take your PC to a licensed technician to diagnose the problem if you still get the fatal blue screen after troubleshooting your system or if you are not comfortable with performing any of the troubleshooting steps.
Amanda Knaebel is a self-professed gadget geek and loves all things tech, both new and old. Amanda has been working as a freelance writer for over 10 years on topics including technology, health, fitness, nutrition, gardening and many more. She has also worked with Fortune 50 tech and financial companies, both in technical support and content production.