How to troubleshoot and fix Windows 10 blue screen errors

 If your PC gets a blue screen error, use this guide to troubleshoot and fix this problem on Windows 10.

The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) — also known as “blue screen,” “stop error,” or “system crash” — could happen after a critical error occurs that Windows 10 is not able to handle and resolve automatically.

You will typically experience a blue screen error during the upgrade process of Windows 10, when the computer boots up, or randomly when actively using the device. The most annoying part is that you’ll only see a solid blue background and a sad character face without enough information to determine the real cause of the problem.

The system will display a message like, “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re just collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you.” Or general stop error codes (such as VIDEO_TDR_TIMEOUT_DETECTED, PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGE_AREA, CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED, SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION, DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION, or IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL). Or hexadecimal codes (such as 0x000000D1, 0x0000000A, or 0x0000007B), but they’re just hieroglyphics for regular users.

Although a stop error does not have a straight answer, it’s almost always a problem with a quality or feature update for Windows 10, recently installed driver, incompatible program, or hardware-related issue.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the several troubleshooting steps to resolve a blue screen error.

How to fix blue screen error during upgrade on Windows 10

When you upgrade to a new version of Windows 10, a blue screen error may appear for many reasons. For example, it could result from a compatibility problem with an old program or security software. Or it could be because of corrupted files in the current installation or damaged installation media.

Typically, when an error occurs, the setup will revert the changes to the previous installation without an explanation.

If you are dealing with errors during the installation, uninstalling non-essential apps, clearing out corrupt downloads, disconnecting non-essential peripherals, or doing a clean install of Windows 10 may resolve the issue.

Uninstall incompatible app

To uninstall an app that may conflict with the Windows 10 installation, use these steps:

Open Settings.

Click on Apps.

Click on Apps & features.

Select the app that is causing issues and click the Uninstall button.

Click the Uninstall button again.Quick note: If this is a classic desktop application, you may need to continue with the on-screen directions to complete the uninstall process.

Once you complete the steps, you may need to repeat the steps to uninstall additional apps, and then you can try the upgrade one more time. After the update, you can reinstall the apps again.

Redownload installation files

Sometimes, if you use the Windows Update option to upgrade a device, you could see a Blue Screen of Death when installation files were damaged during the download process. In this case, you can use the Settings app to clear the previous files, allowing the system to redownload the upgrade bits.

To redownload the upgrade files through Windows Update, use these steps:

Open Settings.

Click on System.

Click on Storage.

Under the main drive section, click the Temporary files item.

Clear the already selected options.

Check the Temporary Windows installation files option.

Click the Remove files button.

After you complete the steps, open the Windows Update settings and proceed with the steps to upgrade the computer one more time.

If you continue with the same problem, you should consider using the Update Assistant utility to perform an in-place upgrade. Or, if the utility does not work, try using the Media Creation Tool to create an installation media to install the new version of Windows 10.

Analyze upgrade problem

Alternatively, you can also troubleshoot blue screen errors with the “SetupDiag” tool. SetupDiag is a Microsoft tool that offers an optional download to diagnose and determine why an update or upgrade failed to apply, which is valuable data that can help resolve any problems.

To use SetupDiag after the upgrade of Windows 10 failed with a blue screen, use these steps:

Open the SetupDiag download page(opens in new tab).

Click the Download SetupDiag button.

Select a destination folder to save the file.

Click the Save button.

Open File Explorer.

Open the folder where you downloaded the file.

Right-click the “SetupDiag.exe” and select the Run as administrator option.

Right-click the SetupDiagResults.log file and select the Open option.

Once you complete the steps, the default text editor will open the file with the diagnostic results based on the known rules.

If an error was detected, the logs will describe the information to determine why the device blue screened during the update, and if it’s a known issue, you’ll also get the steps to resolve it.

Sometimes you won’t get any recommendations. If this happens, follow the link that might be available in the log file or use the error code or any meaningful information to research the problem online. (Use this guide for more detailed instructions.)

Disconnect non-essential peripherals

Windows can also crash due to a hardware-related problem. As a result, it’s always recommended to disconnect all non-essential peripherals, including external hard drives, printers, secondary monitors, phones, and other USB or Bluetooth devices, before proceeding with an installation to minimize the chances of errors. The upgrade process only requires a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and internet connection.

After the installation, you can always reconnect the peripherals. If the issue persists, it could be a compatibility problem. You can usually resolve this issue by downloading and installing a newer driver version from your manufacturer’s support website.

If the computer uses the most recent driver, and the problem continues, it could be a compatibility issue with the new version of Windows 10, or the hardware in question may need to be replaced.

You can always visit the Microsoft health dashboard website(opens in new tab) to review any issues available with the latest release of Windows 10.

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