How to Find What Causes Blue Screen of Death from BSOD and Minidump information.

Last updated on December 12th, 2016

When Windows crash, they display a blue screen of death – aka "BSOD" –  screen, only for a few seconds and then they immediately restart. The BSOD screen contains a short description of the STOP error and some very general instructions to resolve the crash problem. The error details that are displayed on the blue screen are minimal and for most users – even advanced – looks gibberish.

Resolve Blue Screen Problems

how to find what causes blue screen of death by reading minidump

At the same time that the BSOD occurs, Windows create a small memory dump file (aka "minidump"), into the "C:\Windows\Minidump\" directory that contains some additional details about the BSOD error and may additionally help you to resolve the BSOD crash problem easier.

In this tutorial you can find detailed instructions on how to find out the problem that causes Windows to crash by reading the blue screen error message or by viewing the BSOD MiniDump file(s).

  • Related Article: How to FIX Blue Screen Of Death BSOD Problems (Common Solutions)

How to Read BSOD & Minidump Files in order to Find Out What Causes the Blue Screen Of Death problem – Windows Vista, 7, 8 & 10.

In order to find the cause for the BSOD problem, you can examine the details of the crash error from the Blue Screen Of Death or by analyzing the BSOD Minidump file.

Method 1. Find the Cause of the Blue Screen from BSOD screen details.
Method 2. Find the Cause of Blue Screen from BSOD Minidump file.

Method 1. Resolve Blue Screen problems from Blue Screen Of Death.

Step 1. Prevent Windows from Automatically Restarting after a BSOD Crash.

First of all, prevent Windows from restarting automatically when a system crash occurs in order to have enough time to read the complete BSOD error message that is displayed on the screen. To disable the Automatic Restart:

1. Open Windows Explorer and at the left side right-click at the Computer (or This PC) icon and select Properties.



2. Choose Advanced system settings.

change advanced settings windows


3. Open the Startup and Recovery settings.

startup and recovery


4. Uncheck the Automatically restart* option and press OK.

disable Automatically restart



Step 2. Examine Blue Screen Of Death  BSOD.

After disabling the "Automatically Restart" feature, you should have enough time to read the blue screen of death details the next time your system crashes.

How to find what caused the System Crash from Blue Screen information (details).

In Windows 7 or Vista:
– The most important information of a BSOD screen is located at the near top and contains the actual crash error along with the filename of the application or driver that caused the BSOD problem (if any).*

* e.g. At the screenshot below, the file that has caused the BSOD Crash problem is the "ntoskrnl.exe" and the error message is "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL"

– The other information that may be useful is located near the bottom of a BSOD screen (right after the troubleshooting advices) and it contains the STOP error number (aka "Bug Check Code") on this form "0x<eight (8) alphanumeric characters>" and followed in parenthesis with the parameters of the error. *

* e.g. The Stop Code in the below bsod screenshot is: "0x0000000a"

{Blue Screen Of Death (sample) in Windows 7 or Windows Vista}

read blue screen of death

After reading and finding out the error from the BSOD screen, then perform a web search (Google is your friend) to find for a solution for the bsod problem. *

* e.g. Search Web for: "ntoskrnl.exe IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" or  "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL 0x0000000a", etc.

In Windows 10, 8.1 & 8

The blue screen of death on Windows 10 and Windows 8, has a new look (at last), but it is as unhelpful as in the previous versions of Windows. Now the BSOD screen contains only the crash error (marked with red in the screenshot below) and only an advice to search for the error online.

{Blue Screen Of Death (sample) in Windows 10 & Windows 8}.

examine blue screen of death

Method 2. Resolve Blue Screen problems from Memory Dump – Minidump – file.

The second method to find out the BSOD Crash reason is to read the details that were stored in the BSOD Minidump file(s).

To view the minidump file information, you can use the free NirSoft’s BlueScreenView (Blue Screen Viewer) utility that can scan all minidump files created during the “blue screen of death” system crash and then displays the details about all crashes in one table.

How to find what caused the System Crash from the BSOD Minidumb file.

1. Download NirSoft’s free BlueScreenView utility according your OS version (32 or 64 bit). *

* Note: You can download even the full Installer or the Portable version of the program.

2. Launch BlueScreenView and the program will automatically find and analyze the minidump files that were created during the BSOD crash.

– At the top pane of the BlueScreenView utility, you will see a list of all the minidump files that were created when your system crashed, shorted by the date/time, plus the Stop Error displayed in the blue screen (the Bug Check Code and its parameters), and the details of the driver or module that possibly caused the crash (filename, product name, file description, and file version).

– At the bottom pane the BlueScreenView utility displays highlighted the application or the driver or the module that is possibly responsible for the crash and you should pay attention to it.

blue screen viewer


3. Right click at any line line and select "Google Search – Bug Check + Driver" or "Google Search – Bug Check" or "Google Search – Bug Check + Parameter 1" to search for the additional solutions for the BSOD problem online.

bsod viewer


Additional BlueScreenView Useful Features.

1. BlueScreenView gives you the ability to view the same blue screen that was displayed by Windows during the BSOD crash. To do that, from the main menu go to Options and choose Lower Pane Mode > Blue Screen in XP Style.

minidump viewer


2. Double click at any line (on the upper or the lower pane) in order to see more details about the BSOD problem.

read minidump


3. If the crashed system cannot load Windows, then you can transfer the Minidump (C:\Windows\Minidump\) folder to another working computer and examine the minidump files from there. To do that:

1. Select the Advanced Options icon which is located under the File menu or go to Options > Advanced options.

view bsod minidump


2. Then press Browse and then point BlueScreenView to search for the minidump files to the transferred Minidump folder.

open minidump


That's it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

If this article was useful for you, please consider supporting us by making a donation. Even $1 can a make a huge difference for us in our effort to continue to help others while keeping this site free: