Here are some of the most commonly received blue screen of death (BSOD) questions we receive at Micro Center:
Q: What causes my computer to crash?
A: There are many things that can cause crashes. Usually it is something software or Windows related. Crashes can be caused by hardware issues as well, but that is uncommon.
Q: Did I do anything to make my computer start crashing?
A: Not necessarily. Crashes, popularly called the Blue Screen of Death, can happen for a multitude of reasons, many of which are not user error and can occur on their own. Try to avoid downloading unfamiliar programs and avoid making changes to your hardware if you are unfamiliar with that kind of work.
Q: My computer crashes and turns off but it does not give me a blue screen error - is something else wrong?
A: That could still be caused by a software issue but it is more difficult to say. You can still apply many of the troubleshooting steps discussed in this FAQ and see if they help, but there is a higher chance of a hardware related issue with your computer or monitor in those cases.
Q: What do I do when my computer is crashing?
A: Try to narrow down when and where the crash occurs to isolate the cause and go from there. There are several troubleshooting steps you can go through to try and fix the issue which this FAQ will deal with. If the computer displays a Blue Screen with an error code, try to record that error code and look up the meaning.
Q: My computer only crashes when I play video games, what should I do?
A: Reinstall your video card drivers. Follow this guide to do a clean uninstall and reinstall of your video drivers: https://community.microcenter.com/kb/articles/133-how-to-clean-install-video-card-drivers-in-windows-10
Q: My computer started crashing after I got a Windows update, what do I do?
A: Try a system restore. Instructions for that can be found at: https://community.microcenter.com/kb/articles/85-how-to-use-system-restore-in-windows-10
Q: My computer only crashes when I use a specific piece of software, what do I do?
A: Reinstall that specific program. If your computer still crashes, verify the software is compatible with your version of Windows.
Q: What do I do if my computer is crashing at random times?
A: Start your computer in safe mode first. Instructions for that can be found on our website at: https://community.microcenter.com/kb/articles/95-how-to-boot-into-safe-mode-in-windows-10
If the crashes do not occur in safe mode, then it is likely a software or driver issue in Windows. Reinstall the drivers for your computer, downloaded from the manufacturer’s support page for your system. Do a clean boot as well - instructions for that can be found at: https://community.microcenter.com/kb/articles/65-how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-on-windows-10
Q: My computer is crashing even in safe mode, what do I do now?
A: First, run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to scan for hardware issues with your RAM. You can find instructions for how to run the Diagnostics here: https://community.microcenter.com/kb/articles/128-how-to-run-the-windows-memory-diagnostic-tool-in-windows-10
If the test passes, at that point the next best step is refreshing or resetting your Windows installation. Instructions for that can be found at: https://community.microcenter.com/kb/articles/64-how-to-reset-refresh-windows-10
If the crashes occur even after resetting, there is most likely a hardware problem.
Q: My computer is crashing as soon as I turn it on and I cannot get into Windows, is there anything I can do?
A: You may be able to get into the recovery screen and go from there. If it automatically prompts you to go into recovery options or do some troubleshooting, select that option. If not, shut down your computer and turn it back on. As soon as it starts to boot back up, immediately turn it back off. Repeat that process three times and look for a screen that says it is preparing automatic repair or something similar. If you can get to the recovery screen, you should be able to navigate through and find several recovery options such as resetting your computer, doing a system restore, and booting in safe mode, as well as a few others.