May 30, 2010

UPDATE : Blue Screen of Death

Recently I have written about the troubleshooting of "Blue Screen of Death". Its just about a little information, but I write everything i.e a complete informational guide about the blue screen of death over here.

  A BSoD from Windows 2000. The red portion highlights the error that crashed the computer.

The Blue Screen of Death which is also known as a stop error, BSoD or Blue Screen of Doom. BSoD is an error screen displayed by some operating systems, mostly the Microsoft windows. When this screen appears there isn't any solution to continue using of system unless you restart your system , or the system itself shutdowns to prevent irreversible damage to the hardware.

The term Blue Screen of Death originated during OS/2 pre-release development activities at Lattice Inc, the makers of an early Windows and OS/2 C compiler. During porting of Lattice's other tools, developers encountered the stop screen when null pointers were dereferenced either in application code or when unexpectedly passed into system API calls. During reviews of progress and feedback to IBM Austin, Texas, the developers described the stop screen as the Blue Screen of Death to denote the screen and the finality of the experience

BSoDs in Windows operating systems

According to Microsoft, blue screen's on NT-based  Windows systems are usually caused by poorly-written device drivers or malfunctioning hardware. In the Win9x era, incompatible DLLs or bugs in the kernel of the operating system could also cause blue screens. They can also be caused by physical faults such as faulty memory, power supplies, overheating of computer components, or hardware running beyond its specification limits. Bluescreens have been present in all Windows-based operating systems since Windows 3.1; earlier, OS/2 suffered the Black Screen of Death, and early builds of Windows Vista displayed the Red

Windows 1.0 and 2.0
                                          Windows 1.0

The very first Blue Screen of Death happened in Windows 1.0 (And possibly also in Windows 2.0). If a computer fails to boot up properly, it will show random "garbage" data from Code page 437 symbols. If Windows 1.0 encounters any (MS-DOS related) critical system errors, it will instead show a Black Screen of Death.

Windows 3.0, 95, 98, 2000 and ME
                                           Windows ME

The first Blue screen of death to look like today's BSoDs is current in the Windows 3.0 series. Similar errors also appear in Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows ME. This may show if there has been a critical boot up error, there has been a serious error or it tries to access a file which no longer exists. In Windows 2000, they are sometimes referred to as stop errors.

During a showing of a Windows 98 beta by Bill Gates at COMDEX in April 20, 1998 an incident occured in which a BSoD displayed in front of public. The demo computer crashed with a BSoD when his assistant (Chris Capossela, who is still working for Microsoft as Corporate VP in the Information Working business unit) connected a scanner to the PC, trying to demonstrate Windows 98's support for Plug and Play devices. This event brought thunderous applause from the crowd and Gates replied after a nervous pause: "That must be why we're not shipping Windows 98 yet.

Windows NT
                                           Windows 9X

In Microsoft Windows NT-based operating systems, the blue screen of death (displayed in 80×50 text mode as opposed to 9x/Me's 80×25) occurs when the kernel or a driver running in kernel mode encounters an error from which it cannot recover. This is usually caused by an illegal operation being performed. The only safe action the operating system can take in this situation is to restart the computer. As a result, data may be lost, as users are not given an opportunity to save data that has not yet been saved to the hard drive.
                                         Windows NT
The text on the error screen contains the code of the error along with four error-dependent values in parentheses that are there to help software engineers fix the problem that occurred. Depending on the error code, it may display the address where the problem occurred, along with the driver, which is loaded at that address. Under Windows NT and 2000, the second and third sections of the screen may contain information on all loaded drivers and a stack dump, respectively. The driver information is in three columns; the first lists the base address of the driver, the second lists the driver's creation date (as a Unix timestamp), and the third lists the name of the driver.[3]

By default, Windows creates a memory dump file when a blue screen error occurs. Depending on the OS version, there may be several formats this can be saved in, ranging from a 64kB mini-dump to a complete dump, which is effectively a copy of the entire contents of physical RAM. The resulting memory dump file may be debugged later, using a kernel debugger. A debugger is necessary to obtain a stack trace, and may be required to ascertain the true cause of the problem; as the information on-screen is limited and thus possibly misleading, it may hide the true source of the error.

Microsoft Windows can also be configured to send live debugging information to a kernel debugger running on a separate computer. Windows XP also allows for kernel debugging from the machine that is running the OS. If a blue screen error is encountered while a live kernel debugger is attached to the system, Windows will halt execution and cause the debugger to break in, rather than displaying the BSoD. The debugger can then be used to examine the contents of memory and determine the source of the problem.
Windows CE 5.0

A BSoD can also be caused by a critical boot loader error, where the operating system is unable to access the boot partition due to incorrect storage drivers, a damaged file system or similar problems. In such cases, there is no memory dump saved. Since the system is unable to boot from the hard drive in this situation, correction of the problem often requires booting from the Microsoft Windows CD. After booting to the CD, it may be possible to correct the problem by performing a repair install or by using the Recovery Console (with CHKDSK, or fixboot).

Source: Wikipedia, Microsoft forums
Image source: Wikipedia

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