Help diagnose the blue screen of death with BlueScreenView

The blue screen of death (BSOD) is an infamous blue screen that appears when Windows crashes (not always, though). It became infamous thanks to how frequently it appeared in pre-Vista days. (The introduction of Vista and Win7 saw less BSODs, although they will exist.) Anyone that has encountered the BSOD knows how annoying it can be, especially if BSOD occurs over and over even after the computer has rebooted. So, to help assist with the BSOD problem, there is BlueScreenView.

BlueScreenView is a program that helps you diagnose the blue screen of death, potentially identifying the driver or file that caused it. Here are the features of BlueScreenView as per the developer:

  • Automatically scans your current minidump folder and displays the list of all crash dumps, including crash dump date/time and crash details.
  • Allows you to view a blue screen which is very similar to the one that Windows displayed during the crash.
  • BlueScreenView enumerates the memory addresses inside the stack of the crash, and find all drivers/modules that might be involved in the crash.
  • BlueScreenView also allows you to work with another instance of Windows, simply by choosing the right minidump folder (In Advanced Options).
  • BlueScreenView automatically locate the drivers appeared in the crash dump, and extract their version resource information, including product name, file version, company, and file description.

Take note that BlueScreenView is not a program that fixes BSOD; you cannot “fix” BSOD. Rather, BlueScreenView aims to help identify what caused a conflict with Windows thus allowing the user to tackle the problem and prevent BSOD from happening in the future (good luck with that).

Also, realize since BlueScreenView reads crash dumps from the minidump folder, BlueScreenView will not work if you have cleared your minidump folder or you have configured Windows to to not save minidump files when BSOD occurs.

As with all Nirsoft utilities, BlueScreenView comes in a portable version and an installer version. You may download BlueScreenView from the following links:

Version reviewed: v1.27

Supported OS: Windows XP and higher

Download size: 56.6 KB for portable version and 124 KB for installer version

BlueScreenView homepage

[Direct download portable version]

[Direct download installer version]

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13 comments

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  2. Bas

    @janet:

    Yes, it’s likely the reset button, because there aren’t any other buttons which could be there.
    You could try it, to see if it is the reset button. But take care: close all your programs, browsers and documents because otherwise they’ll lost.
    For example, you can do it just after you started your computer (or just before you are shutting it down).

    Pressing the reset button will cause the computer to restart, a so-called soft reboot. This way, it just shuts down as normal and then starts again.
    The other way of rebooting, a hard reboot, it to hold  the power button for a few seconds, which will cause the power to immediately cut off and the computer is at once off. However, this should really be avoided as it isn’t very good for the computer.
    At almost all situations, the reset button will do it’s work.

  3. janet

    @Bas:

    Thanks!

    1. I don’t have a button below my power button. I do have a little button a few spaces above it. Is that the Reset button? Why is is called Reset and what are its functions?

    2. I’m always afraid of getting into a situation where I can’t use the cursor, as I don’t know anything about keyboard commands (like when you get those black windows with instructions–sometimes I don’t know what to type  to reply……)

  4. Bas

    @janet:

    1. I see you’ve never had a BCOD, so you couldn’t know. A BCOD isn’t just a blue screen, but it also contains some information.
    See this screenshot: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Windows_XP_BSOD.png

    This information will help you to identify the problem which caused the crash.

    As I said, normally the computer will restart automatically, otherwise you have to use the reset button on your computer (normally below the power button).

    2. It takes some time and more important, everything you were working on before the crash is lost. For example, if you had an unsaved text document open, it’s lost.

    3.

    XP:

    1. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> System
    2. Go to Advanced
    3. Under the Startup and Recovery section, click Settings
    4. Under System Failure un-check “Automatically restart

    (source: http://www.tunexp.com/tips/maintain_your_computer/disabling_blue_screen_of_death_auto-reboot/)

    Vista:

    1. Click Start button.
    2. From Start menu Click Control panel.
    3. In Control Panel Click the System icon.
    4. In the System Window look on the Left hand side of the window and you will see a list of options. Click on the Advanced System Settings option.
    5. Because Computer management requires administrative privileges you may find the the User Account Control will pop up. If it does then enter the required information (if you are not the administrator) or, if you are the administrator, click the Continue button.
    6. In the Advanced Settings window look for the Startup and Recovery section and then Click the Settings button.
    7. In the Startup and recovery window look for the section marked System Failure and remove the tick mark from the Automatically Restart option. Now press OK button.
    8. Finally click the OK button on the System properties Window and then close the system window.

    (source: http://vistasupport.mvps.org/disable_automatic_restart_to_read_blue_screen_messages.htm)

    Windows 7:

    1. Click on the Start button and then on Control Panel.
    2. Click on the System and Security link.
    2. Note: If you’re viewing the Small icons or Large icons view of Control Panel, you won’t see this link. Simply double-click on the System icon and proceed to Step 4.
    4. Click on the System link.
    5. In the task pane on the left, click the Advanced system settings link.
    6. Locate the Startup and Recovery section near the bottom of the window and click on the Settings button.
    7. In the Startup and Recovery window, locate and uncheck the check box next to Automatically restart.
    8. Click OK in the Startup and Recovery window.
    9. Click OK in the System Properties window.
    10. You can now close the System window.

    (source: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows7/ht/automatic-restart-windows-7.htm)

  5. janet

    @Bas:

    1. I thought we were talking about a solid blue screen with nothing to click on….How would you restart manually?

    2. If all you have to do is restart, it isn’t really a problem, is it?

    3. Which settings?

  6. Mr.Dave

    Does anyone know how to get Vista to actually WRITE the Minidump files needed by this program?
    I’m one of the unfortunate ones that still gets a BSOD about once every few weeks.  I used to get one every time my PC went into sleep mode for more than a few minutes but that stopped (still don’t know why).  So this program should be very useful to me.
    BUT, I never get any dump files or minidump files created when a BSOD happens.  So there’s nothing to trace through.  I found a setting deep in the maze of Vista’s Control Panel that would let me switch between full dump and minudump files, and could specify where to put them, but changes there were completely ignored by Windows.  Can’t find that setting any more.  Vista can sure make a person feel like an idiot, and I used to think I was very good with computers!
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  7. OldElmerFudd

    Fortunately, I’ve had very few BSODs on any machine since upgrading to XP back when it first came out. 98SE was (in)famous for crashing as I recall. When I install XP Pro on a box, I always install the SupportTools on the XP  CD. This puts Dumpchk.exe at my disposal for verifying crash dumps. Using Debugging Tools for Windows, I’ve always been able to run down the issue.
     
    In six months with Win 7 Pro and Ultimate, nothing’s happened (yet)!
     
    http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/default.mspx