The Blue Screen of Death is an infamous error screen most closely associated with Microsoft Windows. Some nerd humor sites collect famous examples of the Blue Screen of Death, such as error screens which pop up on the monitors which are meant to display arrival and departure information at airports. As a general rule, one does not like to see this screen, as it is an indicator of a critical system error.
The most distinctive feature of the Blue Screen of Death is, as you might imagine, the blue background color used. Anyone who has seen one can instantly conjure up the unforgettable glaring blue of the background, which offsets white lettering used to display information about what caused the system error which led to the message. This error only occurs when a computer is forced to shut itself down to protect itself from a critical error, and it is typically accompanied with data loss, unless the user happened to save right before the error occurred.
A computer may shut down automatically after displaying the Blue Screen of Death, or the user may be forced to manually shut it down. After the shutdown is complete, the computer is typically restarted, and the computer may run diagnostics to determine what caused the fatal error and to retrieve as much data as possible. If the Blue Screen appears repeatedly, it can be an indicator of a very serious problem, and the user may need to reinstall the operating system or go into so-called “Safe Mode” to address the problem. Safe Mode features a stripped down version of the operating system which allows the user to troubleshoot problems.
For people who are not computer programmers, the information displayed on the Blue Screen of Death can look like gobbledygook. In fact, the information is extremely useful, because it identifies the error by number, the parameters of the error, and provides an assortment of other information which could be used to track down the problem and prevent it from happening again. Programmers can use Blue Screen of Death information to quickly identify the root cause of the problem, whether it is a hardware issue or a problem with the kernel software.