It can be very alarming when your Windows PC crashes, freezes or reboots itself. Chances are, the blue screen of death was displayed even if you might not have noticed. In order to find out why your Windows PC crashed, you will need to find the error details and analyze it.
This isn’t the easiest task, but if you have a basic understanding of how your computer and Windows works, just follow the steps below.
How to find out why your Windows PC crashed
The first thing you should do is check the Windows Reliability Monitor. This handy tool shows recent application and system crashes. It’s been available since Windows Vista so you can use it on this Windows version as well as more recent ones.
Click the Start button, type “reliability” and click on the result called “View reliability history”.
The Reliability Monitor has both daily and weekly views, although assuming the crash was recent you can stick to the daily view. The days that show at least one red “X” are when your PC crashed or froze.
If you click on that day’s column, additional details will be displayed at the bottom of the window. In most cases, you should be looking for a critical event although that’s not always what caused the error. Sometimes it can be a faulty app, so if you just installed an app and the crash happened soon after, that could be the culprit.
To view more information about a certain event, double-click it and a separate window will open. In the example above, the error was caused by a hard disk problem.
In the Reliability Monitor window, you can make use of the “Check for a solution to all problems” option. To be honest, this troubleshooter doesn’t usually find a solution but it’s certainly worth a try.
While the Reliability Monitor won’t help you fix what caused the system crash or freeze, it does allow you to find when the crashes and other errors occured and the events they’re related to.
It’s also worth mentioning the Event Viewer and the Reliability Monitor use the same event logs to pull their data so you can use the Event Viewer if you like it better.
If you experienced a blue screen, it’s a good idea to check the blue screen crash dump details. The system automatically dumps the memory files to a local file when blue screen errors occur.
The easiest way to access this data is using a free tool called BlueScreenView, developed by NirSoft.
Once you run the tool, you can click on a dump file to see the details it contains. You should be looking at the “Bug Check String” and “Bug Check Code” values since this is exactly the same information that was displayed when the blue screen appeared.
You can easily search for more information regarding the error which in most cases will help you find and even fix the problem.
BlueScreenView also displays a list of drivers at the bottom of the main screen and that might also be of use to you. In some cases, the blue screen can be caused by a specific driver file which means either that file has somehow become corrupted or the associated hardware is damaged.
All of the tools above can help you identify what type of error you’re dealing with and that’s an excellent starting point since you can use this information to search for the problem and solutions online.
Nevertheless, if you’ve experienced a one-time system crash or freeze there’s no need to panic. This can happen from random bugs and you might never experience it again.