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Help Troubleshoot the Blue Screen of Death by Preventing Automatic Reboot

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One of the most frustrating things about troubleshooting random blue screen errors is that the computer reboots before you have a chance to write down the error messages so you can Google them later. Here’s how to fix that.

This is especially annoying if you keep getting blue screen errors because of some device conflict—I remember watching one of my friends trying to time it so he could snap a picture with his camera before it rebooted…

Disable Automatic Reboot after Blue Screen Errors

The quick and easy solution is to just turn off the automatic reboot option and force the blue screen to stay there, so that’s what we’ll show today.

Right-click on the Computer icon and choose Properties. Windows 7 or Vista users will be taken to the system properties screen, so click on Advanced system settings.

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The Advanced tab should already be selected, so you’ll want to click the Settings button under “Startup and Recovery”.

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Here we go… just uncheck the option for Automatically restart under the System failure section.

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Next time you get a BSOD you’ll be able to see it and able to write down the error message. You’ll have to manually reboot the computer if this happens, of course.

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Here’s a few other similar articles that you might find interesting:

This article made me start thinking… are there any horror movies based on the blue screen of death?

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/4/10

Comments (22)

  1. Mihai Criveti

    Hi. Nice blog by the way. Here’s a couple more ways to get even more details from a Windows system crash:

    I should point out that the errors will show up in Windows Event Viewer and, of course, in the kernel memory dump or minidumps if you have WinDbg.

    Start – run – eventvwr.msc to start the Windows Event Viewer. Vista has an interesting tool called the “Reliability Monitor” which monitors various crashes also. Start – run – perfmon.msc

    Anyway, if you install Microsoft Windows Debugging Tools (WinDbg and the Debugging Symbols) you can perform very simple analysis on the memory dumps (it’s as simple as loading the memory dump in WinDbg and typing “!analyze -v” and maybe looking at the list of loaded drivers (lm kv), running the deadlock verifier (!deadlock), listing memory usage (!vm) and examine the current thread (!thread) and process list (!process 0 0).

    I’ve done something a bit more advanced here using Windows Driver Verifier (helps pinpoint faulty drivers) and WinDbg:
    http://unixsadm.blogspot.com/2007/10/windows-crash-dump-analysis-pinpointing.html

    I’m simply pointing out that even regular home users can look at the output and get a general idea on what could be wrong with their system. As it turns out, most crashes are caused by bad hardware (a simple memtest86+, sensors and S.M.A.R.T. tests should point that out fairly quickly) and, of course, faulty drivers (usually solved by updating to the latest and greatest version available).

    With the right tools and a bit of reading, it’s simple enough to fix most computer issues :-).

  2. Lara W.

    Ah, you’re the best! Marry me? ;-)

  3. bob

    hi. a curly one.how can we convert flv and wmv downloaded medical clips to mpeg2?.this according to panasonic is required,to enable us (national digestive disorders trust,reg. no ak/1295197)to view the dvd-rw on a panasonic dmr-es15 video recorder/player.we hope you will respond personally,(or steer us in the right direction) to the above email address,thanks in advance,bob tasman.

  4. Erik

    Ok, so i froze the blue screen and wrote down the error code…now how do i find and fix the error?

  5. jason

    thanks alot for this info.

  6. Willy

    :o
    nothing helped for me. I get this shity error but it doesn’t work for me.
    so i did this
    1.2.3.
    1.get you’re windows vista/xp install disk
    2.select boot from disc and wait some time
    3.go to start,last known changes that work.
    well now it’s working.
    Thank you Willy!
    Np like to help
    xD
    see ya

  7. Fiona

    If it’s too late to change these settings because your system won’t even boot, just flicks to BSOD and reboots before you have a chance to take a photo, take a video instead and pause THAT.

  8. KB Prez

    “I remember watching one of my friends trying to time it so he could snap a picture with his camera before it rebooted…”

    Did your friend ever get the shot??? LOL.

  9. Hatryst

    I’d never turn this feature on, because i don’t want to look at this screen for too long :)

  10. wtortorici

    It’s funny, but a lot of win pundits claim win 7 is the most stable ever.

    In the 8 years or so that I ran xp I only had one bsod. In the 3 years with vista, none. win 7 about once a month. Sometime spontanious and other times while shutting down it freezes and after 4 or 5 minutes, bsod.

    Starting in safe mode and selecting repair, the choice is from either repair disk or hd. No matter which one I choose it says it can’t because of missing component.

    Selecting recover from an earlier point or the last known successful start are the only reliable recovery.

    If only I had an oem disk instead of a pre-install with recovery on the hd I’d could like the good old days, do a clean install.

  11. beckerist

    If you see the screen that mentions a reboot in 60 seconds (lsass crash for instance) you can abort it:

    Start > Run (or Windows Key + R)
    Type: shutdown -a

  12. will

    bluescreenview from http://nirsoft.net is a standalone app that helps decipher blue screen dumps

  13. Ekstor

    @wtortoric

    I would say you are more of the exception than the rule. Win7 has been rock solid for me. More so than either Vista or XP. I suspect something else is going on with your configuration/hardware/drivers.

  14. Jojo

    Instead of preventing your system from rebooting, just use this program after your system comes back up.

    http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html

    If by chance your system is unrecoverable, you can always run this tool from WinPE or mount the disk in another windows system.

  15. Crimson

    If the system doesn’t boot, you can also try tapping F8 at startup, and when you get the Windows Advanced Boot Options, you can also select “Disable automatic restart on system failure”. Your system will remain showing the Bluescreen after it restarts.

  16. Sepehr

    How did you get the shot?
    Did you typed it??

  17. benyahuda

    I get a lot of BSOD’s with Win 7 too. At least one a week.

    I almost never get them with my (still extant and often used) Win XPx64 install. Over all though I like Win 7 better though.

    I think Vista was just one nightmarish Multi-colored never ending screen of death.

  18. Willis

    On Windows 7: 0 BSODs so far. (1 year)
    On Windows Vista: about 3 BSOD’s per month depending on Vista’s failure to properly retrieve Wi-Fi through the USB adapter or if the adapter doesn’t go haywire and stop responding. Also, I’ve experience hard drive failure. (after 3 years)
    On Windows XP: 0 BSODs. (5 years)

  19. Castro

    You can also use who crashed software to analyze crash dump files in your default dump directory and get to the root of the problem. It has saved me plenty of time.

  20. Alex Kay

    It prompts me for my dad’s password. IDK! Ahhhhhh when am i gonna get this problem solved?!

  21. LMcasanova

    Hi all i got the blue screen before my computer reset its self but for some reason it didnt boot back up. It has power when i turn it on but dosent boot at all. Any ideas or info will be helpfull. :(

  22. Alex

    If BSODs happen on the same hardware but a different version of Windows, like above in case of Windows 7, it most probably is the compatibility or quality of drivers on Windows 7. The system is very good, the problem is with incompatible or badly written drivers which unfortunately is still the case with Windows 7, even though the system has been in use for quite some time now.

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