Stop (blue screen) error caused by a device or driver

You received this message because a hardware device, its driver, or related software has caused a stop error, also called a blue screen error. This type of error means the computer has shut down abruptly to protect itself from potential data corruption or loss. In this case, we were unable to detect the specific device or driver that caused the problem.

The following troubleshooting steps might prevent the stop error from recurring. Try them in the order given. If one step does not solve the problem, then move on to the next one.

Steps to solve this problem

Download and install the latest updates and device drivers for your computer

  1. Use Windows Update to check for and install updates:
    1. Tap or click to go online to the Windows Update websiteTap or click to go online to the Windows Update website

      If Microsoft Update is installed, you'll be taken to the Microsoft Update website.

    2. Click Custom to check for available updates.

    3. In the left pane, under Select by Type, click each of the following links to view all available updates:

      • High Priority

      • Software, Optional

      • Hardware, Optional

    4. Select the updates you want, click Review and install updates, and then click Install Updates.

  2. If you recently added a new hardware device to your computer, go online to the manufacturer's website to see if a driver update is available.

    How do I find my computer manufacturer?

    Click Start, click Run, type msinfo32, and then click OK. Your computer manufacturer is listed as the System Manufacturer in the right pane of the System Information window.

    Go to and search for "computer manufacturers"Tap or click to go online to see contact info for most computer manufacturers

  3. If you recently added a new program to your computer, go online to the manufacturer's website to see if an update is available.

Scan your computer for viruses

Many blue screen errors can be caused by computer viruses or other types of malicious software.

If you have an antivirus program installed on your computer, make sure it is up to date with the latest antivirus definitions and perform a complete scan of your system. Check your antivirus product's website for information on getting the latest updates.

If you do not have antivirus software installed on your computer, we recommend using a web-based scanner to check your computer for malware. Many of the top antivirus software providers offer this service free of charge on their websites.

To see a list of Microsoft and third-party providers of antispyware, anti-malware, and antivirus software, go online to the following website:

Go to and search for "Security software"Security software: Downloads and trials

To see a list of antivirus software vendors, go online to the following Knowledge Base article:

Go to and search for "49500"List of antivirus software vendors

Consider scanning your computer using more than one web-based antivirus scanner, even if you have an antivirus program installed on your computer. This will help make sure that you are using the most up-to-date antivirus definitions and allows you to benefit from the different strengths of each antivirus software manufacturer. If you do run multiple antivirus products, make sure you run only one product at a time. Running multiple antivirus products simultaneously can produce incorrect results.

Check your hard disk for errors

You can help solve some computer problems and improve the performance of your computer by making sure that your hard drive has no errors.

  1. Tap or click Start, and then tap or click My Computer.

  2. Press and hold or right-click the hard drive that you want to check, and then tap or click Properties.

  3. Tap or click the Tools tab, and then, under Error-checking, tap or click Check Now.

    To automatically repair problems with files and folders that the scan detects, select Automatically fix file system errors. Otherwise, the disk check will report problems but not fix them.

    To perform a thorough disk check, select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. This scan attempts to find and repair physical errors on the hard drive itself, and it can take much longer to complete.

    To check for both file errors and physical errors, select both Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.

  4. Tap or click Start.

  5. Depending upon the size of your hard drive, this might take several minutes or longer. For best results, don't use your computer for any other tasks while it's checking for errors.

    If you select Automatically fix file system errors for a disk that is in use (for example, the partition that contains Windows), you'll be prompted to reschedule the disk check for the next time you restart your computer.

    For more information, go online to read the following article:

    Go to and search for "315265"How to perform disk error checking in Windows XP

Steps to work around this problem

These steps are designed to address a particular problem but might do so by temporarily disabling or removing some functionality on your computer.

Remove any new hardware or software to isolate the cause of the blue screen

If you received the blue screen error after adding a new hardware device or program, and downloading updates didn't solve the problem, try removing the device or program and restarting Windows. If removing the new device or program allows Windows to start without the error, contact the device or program's manufacturer to get product updates or to learn about any known issues with the device or program.

Restore your computer to an earlier state

If the blue screen error occurred after installing a system or program update, consider using the System Restore feature to remove the changes. System Restore uses "restore points" that have been saved on your computer to return your system to a point in time before the problem began. This won't fix the problem, but it can make your computer work again.

Do one of the following:

If Windows doesn't start:

  1. Restart the computer and, when the screen becomes blank during startup, repeatedly press F8 until the Windows Advanced Options Menu displays.

  2. Use your arrow keys to select Safe Mode with Command Prompt, and then press ENTER.

    For more information about safe mode start up options, go online to read an article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    Click to read KB315222Click to read KB315222

  3. If you are prompted to select a version of Windows, select the correct version, and then press ENTER.

  4. Log on to the computer using the Administrator account or an account that has administrator credentials.

  5. Type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER:


    (Where [systemroot] is the drive and directory where your Windows system files are located -- for example, "C:\Windows")

  6. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore the computer to an earlier state.

Or, if Windows starts:

  1. Log on to Windows using an administrator account.

  2. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Restore.

  3. On the Welcome to System Restore page, select Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next.

  4. On the Select a Restore Point page, click the most recent system checkpoint in the On this list, click a restore point list, and then click Next. You might receive a message that lists configuration changes that System Restore will make. Review this list, and then click OK.

  5. On the Confirm Restore Point Selection page, click Next. System Restore restores the previous Windows configuration, and then restarts the computer.

  6. Log on to the computer as an administrator.

  7. When the System Restore Restoration Complete page appears, click OK.