Windows Blue Screen of Death to Get Revamp

John Lister's picture

Microsoft is to make the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" (BSOD) a little less likely to leave people feeling helpless. Users may be able to hold a smartphone up to the screen and get a link to an explanation of the problem.

The screen appears when Windows encounters a serious problem that causes it to completely crash. When this happens, a blue screen with a cryptic error message is displayed, and sometimes the system will reboot automatically. For the most part, a blue screen involves an incompatibility or fault between Windows and software or a hardware device.

At the moment, the screen simply contains a wall of text that usually includes some codes that refer to the specific cause of the crash. The problem is that these are usually difficult to understand. It is possible to copy down these details and then type them into a search engine, but this relies on the user getting the precise code and numbers without any mistranscribed codes.

New Screen Adds Clearer Detail

Now its reported a new screen to be added to Windows in a summer update will try to do a better job of serving both the casual user and those with more technical knowledge, or those offering support.

The screen will include a website link to a Microsoft page that gives generic advice about what might cause a crash. It will also include a general error code about the type of problem, with a clear note that this error code contains information for somebody providing technical support. (Source:

The screen will also feature a QR code. That's an image that works somewhat like a two-dimensional barcode and is designed to be "scanned" by pointing a phone camera at it. Most smartphones have or can download apps that can read the QR code in this way.

Smartphone Could Link To Solution

In the example screenshots shared so far, the code simply links to the generic help page, which would then appear on the user's smartphone browser. However, it appears that when the new screen launches, the code may be different each time and link to a specific Microsoft page that gives clear information on the particular problem that caused the crash. (Source:

It's also possible the code could automatically generate a report with technical information. The idea would be that the user could send this report to support staff, for example via email, rather than have to read out error messages and codes over the phone.

What's Your Opinion?

When was the last time you saw the Blue Screen of Death? Were you able to understand and use the information that appeared in the message? Are QR codes a good way to provide more useful information to both users and support staff?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Let's hope that the new error codes are considerably better then the current Windows 10 crash screen which reads ":( Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart". In all seriousness, I have not had very many random crashes since Windows 10 version 10586.164 - it seems to be very stable. If only Microsoft and AMD could come to an agreement about supporting older video cards so that I can use the proper screen resolution ...

alan.cameron_4852's picture

I hope that Microsoft will reconsider their choice of embedding a QR code in the BSOD.
It does nothing to help someone without a smartphone, of which I am one.
I hope they will enhance the information of course but not by forcing users to have to use a smartphone. I hate these cursed new-fangled stealers of identity information, and location and other privacy details.

jamies's picture

More obfuscation -
Why not just give a code in text characters, that actually has not only relevant details accessible to users -
BUT sufficient information that is actually going to help the user:
1) Determine if the problem is related to a failure of hardware - and which bit
2) Determine if they should use a safe-mode restart, or a Restore Point
3) Get help removing problematic changes
4) Take the PC to a repair shop for a re-install of widows

or ;)

5) Give up on the windows that is so wonderful that Microsoft is having to force it onto users - Remember - Join the Beta testers (almost all of us with WIn-10) take the update by July - or pay almost the cost of a new PC after that.

ecash's picture

It would be interesting if they REALLY clarified a few of those codes...
Windows was Supposed to be a transition into Easier computer use..

1. PAUSE the error...dont reset until someone tells it to..Some virus, FORCE reset the computer to embed themselves..
2. Label them..M=memory errors, S=software, W=windows, and a few others would be WONDERFUL..

Another thing Iv asked for, is a better Mouse control program..Make it so it pops up, and ASKS you to press each button and TELL windows what to do with it..and work with ALL the buttons/wheels/sliders/...

INXS9000RPM's picture

Without any juice in your car battery none of the dashboard lights will display anything, nor will any functions operate! Similarly, BSOD means the Win OS has crashed, and there in no program running in the CPU to perform any of the above-mentioned "error messaging" suggestions. The BSOD is the result of a few last-gasp instructions - to which the OS switches and executes to retrieve AND display the error status code/s of the failing OS operation. There is no "life" (hardware instructions) still running in the CPU to be able to A) switch to a valid memory address; B) to read any instructions (coding) at that address; C) to interpret and execute such instructions; D) nor to wait for a keyboard key depression when the keyboard control program is kaput.

The CPU is DEAD, Deceased, Not living, Expired, no longer a Parrot ............

Whatever error handling M$ designs into future versions of Windows will face the same problem. No juice means no OS program control is working except for completing some "last-gasp" error-display instructions. So don't expect too much from M$ discussions of future "error recovery" features in Windows after the OS has Crashed other than, say, a prettier type of BSOD.

stekcapofni's picture

This reminds me of back in the early 1990's when Microsoft announced that they had completely eliminated "Unrecoverable Application Errors" (UAE).

What they did was rename them as General Protection Faults (GPF).

So my suggestion to eliminate the "Blue Screen of Death" is to change the screen background color to like a nice fuschia.