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Question: How to Fix a Bluescreen on Vista
When your computer experiences an unrecoverable hardware or software problem, Windows Vista shuts down or restarts your computer. When this occurs, Vista will sometimes display a blue screen that contains a message that states that "Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer." At other times, Vista displays a message after you log in that indicates that Windows has recovered from a serious error or an unexpected shutdown. Then Vista prompts you to check for a solution to the problem. These errors are known as BlueScreen or STOP errors, and they can be caused by several things.
*Before you Begin
BlueScreen errors may be caused by either a software problem or a hardware problem. This article contains steps that you can take to try to resolve only software problems. If you cannot resolve the problem by following these steps, you might be experiencing a hardware problem. In that case, you need to contact your computer manufacturer or a computer hardware technician for help with hardware issues.
When a program stops working, Windows can check for a solution for you. Even if Windows didn't find a solution when the problem first occurred, Windows may have found a solution since. Therefore, you should try this method first.
*To check whether Windows has found solutions, follow these steps:
*Click Start, and then click Control Panel. Or point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
*In Control Panel, double-click Problem Reports and Solutions. Or click System and Maintenance, and then click Problem Reports and Solutions.
*In Problems Reports and Solutions, in the Tasks pane (on the upper left side of the window), click Check for new solutions. Windows will check for solutions to problems. This process may take a few minutes or more.
*If a message is displayed indicating No new solutions found, click Close. Or, if any links appear under Solutions to install or Information about other problems, click each of the links and follow the steps provided to solve those problems.
Note: Some problems and solutions can only be viewed and fixed by an administrator. Therefore, you must log on to the computer by using an administrator account to view and fix these problems.
*Check Required Updates
Windows updates help protect your computer's security and reliability. If you want to, you can set Windows to automatically install recommended updates at a time that you specify, or you can manually check for updates.
To run Windows Update manually and check for updates and new drivers when you are using the Vista Start menu, follow these steps:
Click Start, and then click Control Panel. Or point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
In Control Panel, double-click Windows Update. Or click System and Maintenance, and then click Windows Update.
If the window that opens says Windows is up to date, go to the Check for and install updated drivers from your computer manufacturer section. Or, if Windows finds updates, click Install.
For more information about Windows Updates, see the following Help and How-to topic:
Install Windows Updates
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If these steps resolve the problem, you are finished. If these steps did not resolve the problem, let's see whether you may have to install updated drivers for your hardware and other software.
*A driver is software that allows your computer to communicate with hardware or devices. Without drivers, the hardware that you connect to your computer--for example, a video card or a webcam--will not work correctly. Computer manufacturers revise their drivers periodically to allow for changes in software and hardware. If your computer is not using the latest version of a driver, it may have a problem communicating with some of the hardware or software that is installed. To update drivers for your computer hardware, visit your computer manufacturer's Web site and follow their steps to locate, download, and install updated drivers. Here is a list of support sites for popular computer manufacturers:
*If this resolves the problem, you are finished. If this does not resolve the problem, let's see whether we can fix the problem by using the Startup Repair tool.
*Use Start up Repair
Startup Repair is a Windows Vista recovery tool that can fix certain problems, such as missing or damaged system files that might prevent Windows from starting correctly. When you run Startup Repair, it scans your computer for the problem and then tries to fix it so that your computer can start correctly. If you cannot start Windows, Startup Repair may run automatically. If it does not run automatically, try to run it manually. For information about how to run Startup Repair manually.
If this resolves the problem, you are finished. If this does not resolve the problem, let's see whether we can fix the problem by using the System Restore feature.
*Use System Restore
System Restore is a Windows feature that helps you restore your computer's system files to a point in time before a problem might have started. It's a way to undo system changes to your computer without affecting your personal files such as e-mail, documents, or photos. To restore your computer to a previous restore point, follow these steps:
First, save any open files and close all programs. You need to do this because System Restore will restart your computer when it finishes.
Open System restore. To do this, click Start, and then click All Programs (or Programs).
Click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click System Restore.
User Account Control permission
If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
When the System Restore wizard opens, click the Choose a different restore point button.
Choose a restore point that you estimate was created before the problem started.
Click Next, and then click Finish.
Wait while System Restore restarts your computer.
If there were no restore points that you could use or if using System Restore does not fix the problem, unfortunately you will have to perform a clean installation of Vista to fix the problem.
*Install New clean version of Windows
If you have a restore, or recovery, disc (CD-ROM or DVD) from your computer manufacturer, you can use it to quickly restore Windows and all the software that came preinstalled with your computer. However, you must reinstall any software that was not already installed by the computer manufacturer, if you use this method. In most cases, you can insert the disc and then restart your computer to start the restore process.
If you do not have a restore CD-ROM or DVD, you can install a new, or clean, version of Windows by using the Windows installation disc. However, you must reinstall all of your other software separately in this case.
For more information about how to reinstall Windows from the Windows installation disc, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 918884(<===Might not work!) How to install Windows Vista
For more information about advanced software troubleshooting, or to troubleshoot a hardware problem, contact your computer manufacturer or a qualified hardware technician.