Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) at Startup: Fix

Perhaps one of the most frustrating times to experience a full system crash, accompanied by the blue screen of death (BSOD), is at startup. This issue typically occurs after a major system update or the introduction of some new third-party software or hardware to the system, and may display the error message “0x0000008E.” Fortunately, there’s a relatively straightforward process you can use to solve this problem in the majority of cases.

Follow these steps:

  1. Startup in safe mode (tap the F8 key on your keyboard repeatedly as the computer is starting up)
  2. Select a method of safe booting from the menu (first try with networking; if the crash still occurs, try without networking)
  3. Once the system has booted, click the Start button and type MSCONFIG then press enter in Windows Vista (in Windows XP, click the Start button, then click “Run” and type MSCONFIG then press enter)
  4. Go to the startup tab
  5. Uncheck any third-party and nonessential startup items–on most systems, this would includeall items on the list. Apply the changes and press OK, then restart the system if it does not happen automatically. Startup normally (i.e. not in safe mode)
  6. If the blue screen does not occur, go back to MSCONFIG and start re-enabling items in groups. Enable a few items, then restart and check to see if the blue screen occurs. If it does, boot into safe mode again and disable some of those items then re-attempt a normal startup. Keep enabling items until you find the culprit, then leave that service turned off permanently or uninstall it.

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