What Makes The BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) Appear

by on April 26, 2007

Q: What is the run command that makes the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) appear?

A: The infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), common to Microsoft Operating Systems, is a stop error which occurs when the Operating System encounters a critical error and cannot continue running. When this happens, Windows performs a Memory Dump saving whatever was in memory at the moment when the error occurred to a file on the computer’s hard drive.

Technically, there is no run command that will make the BSOD appear at will, however, there is a way to modify Windows (NT, 2000, and 2003) to allow you to view a memory dump by performing a few keystrokes. This technique will allow you to see some of the information that would normally appear on a BSOD with information that would be written to the accompanying memory dump while the system is still running. It can be used to help troubleshoot system hangs or freezes that may or may not normally result in a BSOD.

You can enable this function by making some changes to the Windows Registry. Microsoft’s Tech Net database has an article that walks you through the process of enabling this function in Windows. If you are uncomfortable with editing the Windows Registry you may want to seek the help of a more experienced Windows user or an IT professional to avoid damaging the Registry.

For fun you can also download the Sysinternals BlueScreen Screensaver which mimics the authentic Windows BSOD using information from the system it is running on.