How do you know when a Windows user is having a very bad day?
It may sound like a riddle, but in fact, the answer is the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD). Basically, it means that a major error has occurred. Even worse, it means any data that hasn’t been backed up is most likely lost.
You’ll know if you’re experiencing the BSOD by a blue screen with white text. This isn’t an app or browser crash. This is a full machine meltdown. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean your computer is a goner. However, it will convince you to take advantage of cloud computing if you haven’t done so already.
7 Steps To Handle The Dreaded Blue Screen Of Death
The blue screen of death (BSOD) is officially called the stop error. While it doesn’t bode well for work that hasn’t been backed up, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
1. Identify Whether It’s BSOD Or Malware
First of all, don’t forget that hackers are savvy. They devise new tactics daily to trick their victims into falling for their scams.
With this in mind, know that what you think is the blue screen of death may actually be malware. If you see action requests to click, download, or contact someone – pump the brakes. While we know the blue screen induces panic mode, it’s important to stay calm. Take a few deep breaths and critically read through the screen.
An actual Windows BSOD will likely suggest that you restart your computer and will offer steps if the problem persists. Follow those steps as best you can. However, if you aren’t confident in your IT skills, then it’s time to get an IT expert on the phone. How you handle the BSOD aftermath may determine whether you’ll soon be in the market for a new computer.
If you’re facing the blue screen of death or other IT issues, find the solutions you need with Waterdog Computer Works. Contact us today to learn more.
2. Reboot Into Safe Mode
If you’ve decided to power through the BSOD, then you’ll first reboot your computer. This isn’t your regular turn off then turn back on. Instead, you need to reboot your computer into safe mode.
To do this, you’ll turn off your computer. Then, wait at least 5 seconds. Next, turn the computer back on while holding down the F8 key as it reboots.
If this is done correctly, then a boot-command prompt will give you the option to select safe mode. Make sure to select the safe mode option during this step.
Safe mode enables Windows to launch with only the most basic applications running. If your computer successfully loads in safe mode, you are most likely dealing with a software issue.
3. Scan For Malware
Once the computer is back up and running, it’s time to put your anti-malware software to work.
While BSOD occurs after a hardware or software malfunction, you want to make sure there’s no malware impersonating the blue screen. Scan your computer for malware to make sure you’re safe to proceed.
Make sure your network is secure, so you can confidently run your business. Reach out to Waterdog Computer Works to get started.
4. Update Your Computer
Before resorting to taking your computer back to default factory settings, you need to check for updates. You know those notifications to update your computer that you’ve been ignoring? That could be the cause of your BSOD. So it’s time to visit your Windows Update page and let it do its thing.
However, drivers may also need to be updated. Again, if this is beyond your IT capabilities, call in the reinforcements of an IT expert. If you feel confident in your abilities, follow Windows step-by-step instructions to update your drivers.
After you’ve completed updating your computer and its drivers, restart your computer again. But this time, do it in its normal boot mode.
If your computer is now operating properly, you can move on to the next step. However, if you are still experiencing issues, the error may be due to a recent driver install or update. Yes, we know this is confusing, but that’s why we recommend getting the help of an IT expert in your corner. Uninstalling drivers can be tedious and could cause you to uninstall programs you rely on every day.
5. Determine If You Need A New Hard Drive
It’s important to realize that the BSOD could result from a faulty hard drive. You will figure this out by determining whether you can safely recover your data.
To be safe, we recommend that you backup your computer to an external hard drive immediately. This way, if something else happens, you’ll already have your data in a safe and retrievable place.
Now that your data is securely stored on an external hard drive, it’s time to put your computer’s hard drive to the test. Can you access your files? Open and run programs and software?
If the answer is yes, you can move on to the next step. But if the hard drive still seems to be giving you trouble, it means you probably need a new hard drive. This process involves buying a new hard drive to replace your existing one. You will need to actually open up the computer with tools to do this. And once again, we recommend you outsource this to an IT professional. If anything goes wrong, you may permanently damage your entire machine.
6. Start A System Restore
To avoid completely going back to the factory settings, you can start a system restore.
This option is better than a total reinstall because you can get back to your preferred programs, software, and settings faster. A reinstall takes the computer back to how it was when you first bought it. A restore puts the crucial system files back in place.
The appeal of a system restore is that you won’t lose all your data and start from scratch. However, if the issue is malicious software or code that is not fixed by the system restore, then you need to move on to the next step.
7. Reinstall Your Operating System
If the system restore does not fix your issue, your next and final option is to reinstall your operating system.
While this will take your computer back to its factory settings, it’s not the worst thing in the world. After you reinstall your operating system, you’ll have a blank slate. Yes, you will need to reinstall any third-party software and re-do your preferred settings. But you’ll still have a working machine.
Bonus Step: Call Waterdog Computer Works
If the blue screen of death is knocking, then your best bet is to get in touch with Waterdog Computer Works. We work with small to medium-sized businesses just like yours to keep your IT matters running smoothly.
Moreover, we can back up your files so that a BSOD doesn’t mean a total loss of data. Feel confident in your IT services, solutions, and security with the IT experts in your corner. Contact us today!