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How to fix Blue Screen of Death errors on Windows 11

Windows 11 fix Blue Screen of Death
(Image credit: Future)

On Windows 11, Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) refers to the error on the screen when the system cannot handle a specific operation that causes the device to crash without warning. 

Usually, you will see a "blue screen" (also referred to as "stop error," "system crash," or "bug check") during an upgrade, starting up the system, or "out of the blue" when you're actively working with applications. Furthermore, you will only see a blue background with a sad kaomoji with insufficient information to determine the reason for the problem.

However, the issue can usually be narrowed to a buggy update, device driver, compatibility issues with a specific app, or a piece of hardware that needs replacing.

This guide will walk you through different steps to troubleshoot and resolve most problems causing blue screen errors on Windows 11.

How to resolve blue screen errors during an upgrade on Windows 11

A Blue Screen of Death is not uncommon while upgrading to Windows 11. Usually, the error may occur because of a compatibility problem with an application or security software. However, it can also happen because of corruption in the current setup or damaged files in the installation media.

If the installation wizard rolled back to the previous setup, uninstalling non-essential apps, disconnecting non-essential devices, re-downloading the setup files, or performing a clean installation can fix the problem.

Uninstall problematic apps

To uninstall an application causing a blue screen on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click the "Apps & features" page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Under the "App list" section, click the menu (three-dotted) button and choose the Uninstall option for the incompatible app.
  2. Click the Uninstall button again.

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  1. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

Once you complete the steps, you may need to repeat the steps to uninstall other non-essential apps. After removing all the conflicting applications, you may try to continue with the installation process.

Disconnect non-essential devices

When a hardware problem is detected, you are likely to see a blue screen of death. As a result of this potential issue, it's a good idea to disconnect the non-essential peripherals from your computer. 

For example, you may want to disconnect external hard drives, printers, secondary monitors, phones, and other USB or Bluetooth devices.

After the installation, you can reconnect the peripherals. 

It might be a compatibility issue if you continue to see the problem. 

Typically, updating the device driver to the latest version can resolve the issue. However, if the computer already has the most recent driver, the problem may be with the new version of Windows 11, or the hardware coincidently got damaged and needs to be replaced.

Microsoft lists all the known issues for the different versions of Windows on the health dashboard page (opens in new tab)

Redownload setup files

If you try to use the upgrade option from the Windows Update settings and you see a blue screen, it may be that one or more files are damaged. In this case, you can clear out the files and try to re-download the setup files one more time.

To clear and download the Windows 11 installation files again, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Storage page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Temporary files setting.

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  1. Clear the default options.
  2. Check the "Temporary Windows installation files" option.
  3. Click the Remove files button.

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After completing the steps, you can click the "Check for updates" button to re-download the installation files in the Windows Update settings.

If the problem remains, you may have to use the Installation Assistant to perform an in-place upgrade.

Check upgrade logs 

Microsoft's SetupDiag is a tool for administrators that can help troubleshoot and determine why an installation failed, which could be critical information to resolve the problem.

To determine why the upgrade failed to apply to the SetupDiag tool, use these steps:

  1. Open the SetupDiag page (opens in new tab).
  2. Click the Download SetupDiag button to save the installer on your computer.

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  1. Right-click the "SetupDiag.exe" and select the Run as administrator option.
  2. Right-click the SetupDiagResults.log file and select the Open option.

Once you complete the steps, the app will open the log file for review with the default text editor.

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In the case that an error was recorded, and it's a known issue, then the log should include details on how to resolve the issue. If the file doesn't have any details, you may find a link or error code that you can research to fix the problem. 

Clean installation 

If you want to prevent problems, such as blue screens, the best way to upgrade to a new version of Windows 11 is to perform a clean installation since this process will erase everything and set up a fresh copy of the system, which can also help to resolve other issues and improve performance.

The process of doing a clean installation requires the device to start from a USB flash drive. If your computer can't start from USB, you will have to change the boot order in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware.

Usually, to access your device firmware, you must use one of the function keys (F1, F2, F3, F10, or F12), the Esc key, or the Delete key during startup. However, since the settings are different per manufacturer and per device model, you should check your computer manufacturer for more specific details.

While in the firmware, you will need to navigate to the "Boot" page and change the boot order to start from a USB flash drive. After completing these steps, you must create an installation media and use that media to continue with the clean installation.

To delete everything on the hard drive and do a clean install of Windows 11 to prevent the blue screen of death errors, use these steps:

  1. Start PC with installation media.
  2. On "Windows Setup," click the Next button.
  3. Click the Install Now button.

Windows 11 install now

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  1. Click the "I don't have a product key" option to continue (assuming your computer was already properly activated).

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  1. Select the edition of Windows 11 that the product key activates (if applicable).

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  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Check the "I accept the license terms" option to continue.
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Click on the "Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)" option.

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  1. Select the partition with the current installation of Windows (usually "Drive 0"), and click the Delete button to remove it. 
  • Quick tip: If you have multiple partitions on the primary hard drive (Drive 0), select and delete each one. The setup will recreate the required partitions automatically. You don't need to delete partitions from secondary drives.
  1. Select the empty drive labeled Drive 0 Unallocated Space.
  2. Click the Next button.

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Once you complete the steps, the setup will begin installing Windows 11, avoiding many blue screen errors. After the installation, you'll need to continue with the out-of-box experience (OOBE) (opens in new tab) to finish setting up the device. 

How to resolve blue screen errors during startup on Windows 11

If the device has problems starting up, you can use the Windows Recovery (WinRE) environment to troubleshoot and resolve the blue screen error with System Restore, Safe Mode, or Advanced Startup settings.

Fix errors with System Restore

Windows 11 still includes the legacy System Restore, which enables you to undo changes to resolve problems after installing a bad driver, system update, or application. (The only caveat is that this feature will only work if you have previously enabled it manually (opens in new tab).)

You can access the tool through the Advanced Startup settings if you want to use System Restore.

Access Advanced Startup from boot

To launch the Advanced startup settings to access System Restore, use these steps:

  1. Start PC.
  2. As soon as the Windows logo appears, press and hold the power button to interrupt the boot sequence.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 two more times.

(Image credit: Future)

After the third interruption, Windows 11 should open the recovery environment and continue with the steps below to access System Restore.

Access Advanced Startup from USB

Alternatively, you can use installation media to open the advanced settings with these steps:

  1. Start PC with USB media. 
  • Quick tip: If the computer isn't starting from USB, you'll need to change your system's UEFI settings to ensure it can start from USB. You can usually access the UEFI by powering up your device and pressing one of the function, Delete, or Esc keys, but make sure to check your manufacturer's support website for more specific details.
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Click the "Repair your computer" option from the bottom-left corner.

Repair your computer

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Once you complete the steps, continue with the "Restore Point" instructions below.

Fix blue screen of death with Restore Point

To fix blue screen problems with a restore point on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Click the Advanced Startup option. 
  • Quick note: The "Advanced Startup" option is only available when using the Windows automatic repair feature, not when using a USB media.
  1. Click the Troubleshoot option.
  2. Click on Advanced options.
  3. Click the System Restore option.

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  1. Click the Windows 11 option.
  2. Confirm your account credentials (if applicable).
  3. Click the Continue button.
  4. Click the Next button.
  5. Select the restore point to apply to the blue screen error.

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  1. (Optional) Click the "Scan for affected programs" button to determine the apps that may be affected using a restore point.
  2. Click the Close button.
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Click the Finish button.

After completing the steps, Restore Point will apply the checkpoint you selected, which will undo updates, drivers, apps, and system changes to the problem.

Fix errors with Safe Mode

On Windows 11, Safe Mode is a startup environment that loads only the essential services, drivers, and applications to access the desktop to troubleshoot problems.

If you don't have access to the desktop, you can boot your computer through the Windows Recovery environment.

Access Advanced Startup from boot

To launch the Advanced Startup settings to access System Restore, use these steps:

  1. Start PC.
  2. As soon as the Windows logo appears, press and hold the power button to interrupt the boot sequence.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 two more times.

(Image credit: Future)

After the third interruption, the system should enter the recovery environment and continue with the steps below to access the Safe Boot option.

Access Advanced Startup from USB

Alternatively, you can use installation media to open the Windows Recovery environment with these steps:

  1. Start PC with USB media. 
  2. Click the Next button.
  3. Click the Repair your computer option from the bottom-left corner.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, continue with the instructions below to access the Safe Mode environment.

Fix bug check on Safe Mode 

To access Safe Mode to diagnose Blue Screen of Death errors on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Click the Advanced Startup option
  2. Click the Troubleshoot option.
  3. Click on Advanced options.
  4. Click the Startup Settings option.

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  1. Click the Restart button.
  2. After your computer reboots, press the F4 (or 4) key to select the Enable Safe Mode option.

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After you complete the steps, you can use the next set of instructions to uninstall updates and drivers that may be preventing your computer from operating correctly.

Fix errors with WinRE

Since the Safe Mode environment loads the essential elements, you can still use Device Manager to remove drivers and Event Viewer to troubleshoot errors. However, the Settings app won't work to uninstall updates, but you can still use Command Prompt to complete the task.

Uninstall conflicting update

To uninstall a system update with Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command. 
  2. Type cmd and click the OK button to launch Command Prompt as an administrator.
  3. Type the following command to view the most recent installed updates and press Enterwmic qfe list brief /format:table
  4. Confirm the HotFixID and InstalledOn information to determine the update to remove.
  5. Type the following command to uninstall the update from your computer and press Enterwusa /uninstall /kb:KB-NUMBER 

In the command, replace KB-NUMBER for the KB number of the update to uninstall. This example removes the update KB5013889 from Windows 11: wusa /uninstall /kb:5015732

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  1. Click the Yes button.
  2. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

Once you complete the steps, you may need to restart the computer to apply the changes.

Uninstall conflicting driver

To uninstall an incompatible driver with Safe Mode, use these steps:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select the Device Manager option.
  2. Search for Device Manager and select the top result to open the app.
  3. Expand the branch with the device causing the problem.
  4. Right-click the device and choose the Uninstall device option.
  5. Click the OK button.

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After you complete the steps, repeat the steps to remove other drivers as necessary, and then restart the computer to find out if the problem has been resolved.

Check Event Viewer 

The Event Viewer is another tool that you can use to find out more information about the Blue Screen of Death error to diagnose the issue.

To troubleshoot blue screens with the Event Viewer on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select the Event Viewer option.
  2. Expand the Windows Logs group.
  3. Right-click the "System" category and choose the Filter Current Log option.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Filter tab.
  2. Use the Logged drop-down menu and select the time range when the error occurred — for example, Last 12 hours.
  3. Under the "Event level" section, check the Critical and Error options.

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  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Double-click to open each log to learn more details about the problem. 
  • Quick note: The blue screen errors may appear as "BugCheck" in the "Source" column.
  • Check event log details for clues about the error.

Once you complete the steps, the "General" tab will give you some technical details that you can use to diagnose and resolve the blue screen problem on Windows 11.

If the error doesn't provide enough information, you can copy the description, source, and event ID and use it to search online for a possible solution.

Fix blue screen error with Windows Recovery

If a recently installed update is causing the computer to blue screen, you can use the Advanced Startup settings in Windows Recovery to uninstall it.

Access Advanced Startup from boot

To launch the Advanced Startup settings, use these steps:

  1. Start PC.
  2. As soon as the Windows logo appears, press and hold the power button to interrupt the boot sequence.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 two more times.

(Image credit: Future)

After the third interruption, the system should enter the recovery environment and continue with the steps below.

Access Advanced Startup from USB

Alternatively, you can use installation media to open the Windows Recovery environment with these steps:

  1. Start PC with USB media. 
  2. Click the Next button.
  3. Click the Repair your computer option from the bottom-left corner.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, continue with the instructions below.

Uninstall quality or feature updates

To uninstall the most recent update causing the bug check error, use these steps:

  1. Click the Advanced Startup option.
  2. Click the Troubleshoot option.
  3. Click on Advanced options.
  4. Click the Uninstall Updates option.

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  1. Click the "Uninstall latest quality update" to remove a recent update. Or click the "Uninstall latest feature update" option to roll back to a previous version.

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  1. Confirm your account credentials (if applicable).
  2. Click the Continue button.
  3. Click the Uninstall quality update button.

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  1. Click the Done button.
  2. Click the Continue option.

After you complete the steps, the system will remove the update to fix the Blue Screen of Death error.

How to resolve blue screen errors during normal use on Windows 11

When the blue screen occurs after signing into your account, the problem is typically a driver, missing update, or application.

Install latest updates

If you still have access to the desktop, you may be able to fix the bug check by installing the latest updates for Windows 11, drivers, and apps.

System updates

To check for updates on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click the Check for updates button.

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Once you complete the steps, if the computer is missing an update, the system will download and install them automatically. 

Driver update

To check for driver updates on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click the Advanced options page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Under the "Additional options" section, click the Optional updates setting.

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  1. Select the driver update to install.
  2. Click the Download & install button.

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Once you complete the steps, the most up-to-date driver should download and install automatically. 

If the system can detect any new updates, check the manufacturer's support website to download a more recent driver using their instructions. 

Since the problem could be a known issue, you may also want to check for a beta version of a driver, which may include a patch for bug check.

App update

If a compatibility issue causes the blue screen with an app, installing the latest version may resolve the problem.

To update apps on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Store.
  2. Click on Library.
  3. Click the Get updates button.

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Once you complete the steps, any available updates will download and install automatically.

If you are dealing with an app you acquired from outside the Microsoft Store, you will need to check for updates in the app's settings or the software vendor support website.

Uninstall problematic apps, drivers, and updates

Sometimes, software, as well as hardware companies, release updates with bugs that can cause the Blue Screen of Death, among other issues.

If you have access to the desktop, you can remove these system updates, drivers, or apps to mitigate the problem until a newer version rolls out with a permanent fix.

Remove updates

To uninstall updates on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click on Update history.

Open Update history

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  1. Under the "Related settings" section, click the Uninstall updates option.

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  1. Select the update causing the blue screen and click the Uninstall button.
  2. Click the Yes button.

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After completing the steps, the update will be removed from the computer, hopefully fixing the bug check problem.

Remove drivers

To uninstall a device driver on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Right-click the device and select the Uninstall device option.
  4. Click the OK button.

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Once you complete the steps, the driver will be removed from the computer.

Rollback driver version

Alternatively, you can try rolling back to the previous version of the driver if a newer version is causing BSoD on Windows 11.

To rollback to a previous version of a driver, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the console.
  3. Expand the category of the device with the problem.
  4. Right-click the device and select the Properties option.

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  1. Click the Driver tab.
  2. Click the Roll Back Driver button (if available). 

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  • Quick tip: If the option isn't available, the system doesn't have a backup of the previous driver.
  1. Select one of the available options to answer the question.
  2. Click the Yes button.

After completing the steps, the driver will roll back to the previous version to resolve the blue screen problem.

Disable drivers

If you don't want to uninstall or roll back the driver, you can disable it to confirm whether the device is causing the issue.

To disable a device driver on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Expand the category of the device with the problem.
  4. Right-click the device and select the Disable device option.
  5. Click the Yes button.

Device Manager disable driver

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Once you complete the steps, the device will no longer be available on Windows 11 but will remain installed.

Remove apps

If you are dealing with a compatibility problem, you will probably experience a Blue Screen of Death randomly or upon launching the app. In this case, you can try updating the app to a newer version or uninstall the app in question to overcome the problem.

To uninstall an app on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click the Apps & features page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Select the app, click the menu (three-dotted), and choose the Uninstall option.
  2. Click the Uninstall option again.

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  1. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

After completing the steps, the app will no longer be available on the computer, mitigating the blue screen problem. Once an update becomes available to resolve the bug check permanently, you can then reinstall the app.

Disconnect non-essential devices

On Windows 11, a Blue Screen of Death error message may appear after connecting a new piece of hardware (for example, USB drive, graphics adapter, etc.). If this happens, you are probably in front of a compatibility issue, the hardware is broken, or the system is installing the wrong driver.

In the case of a compatibility issue, you can contact support for assistance, or you may need to replace the hardware with a compatible alternative.

If the system is trying to install the wrong driver, uninstall the current driver, and install the correct version using the manufacturer's support instructions.

Run DISM and SFC commands

If you see a blue screen as a result of an installation problem, you may be able to use the Deployment Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) tools to resolve the issue.

To resolve installation problems with DISM and SFC commands on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to repair the Windows 10 image and press Enter: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  4. Type the following command to repair the Windows 11 setup and press Enter: SFC /scannow 

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  • Quick tip: If errors exist, run the command multiple times to ensure that everything has been repaired correctly.

Once you complete the steps, the DISM command will repair problems with the local system image, and the SFC command will use the files in the system image to repair damaged files in the current setup of Windows 11, hopefully fixing the Blue Screen of Death.

Check Event Viewer 

If you still have access to the desktop, the Event Viewer can help find out the reason the device is getting bug check errors.

To review event longs on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Event Viewer and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Expand the Windows Logs group.
  4. Right-click the "System" category and choose the Filter Current Log option.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Filter tab.
  2. Use the Logged drop-down menu and select the time range when the error occurred — for example, Last 12 hours.
  3. Under the "Event level" section, check the Critical and Error options.
  4. Click the OK button.

Event Viewer find bug check errors

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  1. Double-click to open each log to learn more details about the problem. 
  • Quick note: The blue screen errors may appear as "BugCheck" in the "Source" column.
  1. Check event log details for clues about the error.

Once you complete the steps, the "General" tab will give you some technical details that you can use to diagnose and resolve the blue screen problem on Windows 11.

If the error doesn't provide enough information, you can copy the description, source, and event ID and use it to search online for a possible solution.

Troubleshooting and fixing Blue Screen of Death errors can be difficult and time-consuming. However, typically, it's an issue with a driver or application conflicting with Windows 11 (or vice versa).

Finally, in addition to blue screens, you may also come across a black screen, which is usually related to display connection issues, graphics driver problems, or something else happening in the system.

More resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources: