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How to force a Windows 'Blue Screen of Death' — and why you might want to

A "stop error," commonly known as the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD), is a nasty error that appears after a serious system crash. It's almost always a terrible thing to come across. However, there are rare times when you may need to force a blue screen error to test your system or an application's resiliency (or if you want to play a prank to a friend).

Whatever the reason, Microsoft actually has a documented process (opens in new tab) to modify the Registry to use a keyboard shortcut sequence to force a Blue Screen of Death on your Windows 10 computer using a PS/2 or USB keyboard with a Scroll Lock key.

If you landed on this guide, but you're hoping to fix a BoSD error, check our guide to troubleshoot the Blue Screen of Death on Windows 10.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to force a BoSD error on your PC.

How to force a Blue Screen of Death error

Warning: This is a friendly reminder to let you know that editing the Registry is risky, and it can cause irreversible damage to your installation if you don't do it correctly. We recommend making a full backup of your PC and saving all of your work before proceeding.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type regedit, and click OK to open the registry.
  3. Browse the following path:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\kbdhid\Parameters
  4. Right-click on the right side, select New, and then click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.

  1. Name the new DWORD CrashOnCtrlScroll and press Enter.
  2. Double-click the newly created DWORD and change its value from 0 to 1.

  1. Click OK to confirm the new value.
  2. Browse the following path:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\i8042prt\Parameters
  3. Right-click on the right side, select New, and then click on DWORD (32-bit) Value.

  1. Name the new DWORD CrashOnCtrlScroll and press Enter.
  2. Double-click the newly created DWORD and change its value from 0 to 1.

  1. Click OK to confirm the new value.
  2. Restart your computer to apply the new settings.

Once you complete these steps, you can use your keyboard to intentionally crash your computer by holding down the (right) Ctrl key, and pressing the Scroll Lock twice.

Windows 10 will then trigger a KeBugCheck and generate a 0xE2 error displaying a BSoD with a "MANUALLY_INITIATED_CRASH" message. This will also create and save a crash dump to your computer that can be used for debugging purposes.

If you no longer need to force a Blue Screen of Death, you can use the same steps mentioned above to revert the changes, but on step No. 3 and step No. 8, right-click and delete the CrashOnCtrlScroll DWORD.

Although we're focusing this guide on Windows 10, the same steps will work in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

15 Comments
  • Haha, cool
  • Learning a new thing everyday is good. Achievement ticked.
  • Here's how I force a BSOD: turn on my PC. :-P
  •   LOL
  • There isn't much of a "why you may want to" section... Which is what I was looking for. .
  • Agreed. I really get the feeling that they're just pumping out content just for the sake of pumping out content at this point.
  • One reason is that its useful when you have random system freeze/lock and you can't find an obvious cause from event viewer or other logs. The keyboard shortcut still likely work (but not always) as its running at a higher irq. This will create your memory dump and you can use windows debugging tools to trawl through the minefield of information, that probably warrants a post on its own for those technically minded, to potentially find the cause. You can also use it to dump the memory of a system compromised by an unauthorized user and use it as evidence in a forensic investigation.
  • "This will also create and save a crash dump to your computer that can be used for debugging purposes." That's all I needed to know. Debugging.
  • Why would want to screw over your friend this way?
  • More easily forgivable than sleeping with their wife.
  • April is not far...
  • Christ, WindowsCentral is really going down the toilet. What is with all these junk "articles"?
  • Couldn't agree with you more. I'm finding there's less and less reason to visit this site anymore. Any Windows related news seems to be covered by other sites a few days ahead of here. I guess they're busy recompiling the rather useless BEST ENERGY DRINKS FOR GAMERS articles, or coming up with articles on how to search for text in Microsoft Edge.
  • As a techie and programmer, this interested me a lot. You can't have a site where everything interests everybody simultaneously. Somethings I'm not interested in, and I therefore utilise that nice feature called "scrolling" to skip it.
  • ...and here I though inverting the screen was a cruel joke to play on someone.