I’ve been fairly lucky with most of my computers over the past five years. Rarely have I seen the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). For those not familiar with this name, it shows when Windows had a very serious problem. The name comes because the screen is blue with a lot of unintelligible white text. At least normal humans don’t understand it.
Unfortunately I’ve seen 10-15 blue screens of death with my new computer. Some would say it has something to do with running Windows 7. I don’t think the fault is truly with Windows 7. Typically the BSOD is caused by a bad driver or something else really low level such an anti-virus utilities. The problem is that it is extremely difficult to pinpoint the problem based solely on the information on the blue screen.
That leads me to NirSoft BlueScreenView (free download at very bottom of the page). It can read the “dump” files created when you get a BSOD error. Admittedly you still have some pretty technical information to decipher, but it is a lot more helpful than the blue screen itself. Since installing BlueScreenView over a week ago, I’ve only had one BSOD and I think I’ve solved the problem. My best guess is that it was a combination of a bad driver that has since been updated and a bad desktop gadget that I no longer use.
While the process was a bit frustrating, BlueScreenView definitely gave me enough details that I could hunt down the problem. I think some of the issue was that drivers for Windows 7 were really new and that will resolve itself quickly now that large number of users are moving to Windows 7. If you are getting the dreaded BSOD, get a copy of BlueScreenView and start diagnosing.