General discussion

Windows 10 BSOD, RedSOD and BlackSOD, oh my, I need help!

So . . . over the last few weeks I've experienced the Blue Screen of Death multiple times; and the RedSoD; and the BlackSod. No warning, just an apologetic message about a "difficulty" and an "Unexpected Store Exception" or a "Kernel Data Inpage Error" (which as far as I am concerned might mean exactly the same thing; but then I only speak English) and "We need to restart", etc. And sometimes not even that. I am frequently instructed to run the Hard Disk Check - and, short or long, it passes the test every time.

Over the same period I have been given more Windows 10 64-bit updates for my HP Envy than you can shake a stick at - and when these started I was obscurely grateful, thinking that Microsoft had noticed and identified the problem - surely a software problem rather than my hardware? - and now the problem would stop. It didn't.

I can't be the only one to suffer, can I? Is there any word from on high? Or word of comfort from down below? Or do I just need a new rubber band? It can't be the fault of the hamster in the treadmill because he looks just fine... Any advice on where to start or how to troubleshoot these issues? Thank you!

--Submitted by Phil W. from UK

Post was last edited on July 12, 2019 4:38 PM PDT

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Reply to: Windows 10 BSOD, RedSOD and BlackSOD, oh my, I need help!
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Something needs clarifying. The RED SOD

Was not on full release Windows but on Vista and not on a released version.
"The Red Screen of Death (RSoD) refers to the error message that appeared on some of the beta versions of Windows Vista".

Is there more to this story?

Also, my last HP was my last HP as HP had sold models with a defective BIOS. HP never issued a fix so if the BIOS ever shows the make "Insyde" then I would stop trying to fix it and start asking for a full refund so you can start over.

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Been there

I have seen quite a few Blue SOD but not RSOD or Black SOD in Windows 10 Pro.

It's always something with IRQ. I updated all drivers to latest and it still happens.

Finally, one day, it won't let me in. I have to resort to restore BOOT record. It kept happening a few times whenever BSOD. Eventually, Windows 10 DIED. I can't reboot back to it.

However, I can still clean boot, start from scratch. Luckily, I used Paragon Back and Restore (free) to incrementally backups and I put all my data on 2nd drive (drive D) so I can get back on my feet as quick as I can. After fresh installation completed, I restore some files in AppData/Roaming so I can continue my work. But I lost weeks of time and I am still not working properly as I once did.

I wish I can stop installing Windows Update as it causes more harm than fixing stuff. Yes, I pause Windows update and delay feature update to the max. I wish I could start using Linux but there are many programs only works on Windows. Yes, there is Wine & VBox, but it's still different than running directly from Windows. So my options are quite limited. Oh well. I wish Microsoft to stop proving new features but start fixing all bugs first, not just major ones, so Windows 10 becomes as stable as Windows 7.

Good luck. Get a list of program you installed and their product keys, backup, refresh, and reinstall. It's better this way.

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Something Else to Consider

After an MS update, BOTH drivers and settings may have changed or reverted to previous settings. So immediately AFTER the update, be prepared to redo drivers (use the device manager to check) and make sure you also update firmware as that goes hand-in-hand with driver updates. Also, if your computer is fairly new, you can hit F12 during the early stages of the boot. At least DELL, provides recovery boot concepts from the boot order screen.

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Done that

Thanks. F12, done it. Worked it. Finally, failed.

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Black SOD? Blue SOD?

One thing that I found with Win 10 updates is what many think is a BLACK SOD. In most cases, the problem is not what people think. It is ONLY a black screen (temporary). In the last semi-annual, I had a Black screen, but I moved the mouse around (yes, I know, you can't see it -- just move it anyway) and then did a few random double clicks. The screen came right back on, with the progress bar at around 78%. In the previous semi-annual, I got a solid black screen. The first thing to check is your hard drive light. If it still is blinking, just step away from the computer. It's best if YOU DON'T WATCH. It is truly annoying to users of previous versions of Windows when updates lasted 5 to 10 minutes. The Semi-annual is NOT one of those kind of updates. It is closer to a complete re-installation of Windows without a lot of user input. One of my semi-annual updates ran closer to 12 hours. The last one was less than 4 and it was mostly my fault for falling asleep and missing the "reboot" message.

For Blue SOD, experience and research shows that about 95% of those are due to bad drivers or improperly installed drivers. My suggestion is to go to your OEM manufacturer (Dell, HP, ACER, etc.) and find their support site. Go to software downloads drivers and firmware. If possible, use your serial number or service code rather than your "model number" to pin-point your exact hardware configuration. If you bought hardware after initial setup, such as a new HDD or SSD, you should get the drivers and firmware from the manufacturer website for those items. Make sure the driver is for Win 10 (many times a Win 7 driver will NOT work for Win 10 -- nor XP for higher OS versions). Also, if you have a 32-bit WIN 10 or a 64-bit Win 10, you should match that in your driver selections. MS is "trying" to supply drivers in their updates but that doesn't always cut it. I'm NOT saying MS is faultless in any of this. The design of the latest update process leaves a LOT to be desired. You should NEVER design something that confuses any user, such as a dumb black screen without a progress bar. My opinion only there. By the way.. components in notebooks and tablets are NOT standard like you see on full desktops. Many have custom devices such as pointing devices, pads, weird eMMC drives, and drives so be especially careful with these systems and drivers.

To summarize, try to keep your drivers AND firmware up-to-date and be careful NOT to power off the computer in the middle of updates. If you have a plain, black screen, first try to move and double-click your mouse and, if that doesn't help, check the HDD light or just walk away for an hour or two. If you keep the drivers current, you may also want to keep the last set handy on removable media in case MS puts the wrong driver in place.

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In the Real World
"You should NEVER design something that confuses any user..."

Now, Mr. Forman, I know that, given your obvious level of experience and knowledge, you KNOW that what you are asking here is beyond any real-world possibility, particularly when given a user base as widespread and richly varied as that enjoyed by Windows 10. And you are also aware that, in any comprehensive update like the major Windows upgrades, there are times when the screen must go to black.

If any company can devise a system of any type in any field that can eliminate BDU and PEBCAK errors, I shall happily invest in their stock. Windows Update provides prominent warnings NOT to turn off your computer until the updates complete, and that completion may take some time, and I am at something of a loss to think what more they might do in that regard.

You had a major update that took 12 HOURS? What, were you on an XT?
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12 HOUR UPDATES. I see that.

Not on any of our laptops at the office but clients bring them is. We usually find the HDD is failing. Not failed, FAILING. I don't want to write too much here but go get SPECCY and check out the HDD SMART VALUES 01 and 07. If they are in the thousands you usually find an owner waiting hours on updates along with other complaints.

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Was Just ONE Update

And, I noticed that, even in these semi-annual updates, there is at least ONE time that it was requesting that I click to reboot. Of course, I was NOT around as I've giving up "watching" updates. I know I've run disk tests, including S.M.A.R.T., that have all passed. This was, I think, my first semi-annual update. There seems to be, Bob, a big difference between the usual monthly and even cumulative updates as compared with the semi-annual. My last semi-annual update ran only a few hours and most of that was me missing a click while I fell asleep.

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I Disagree

I've been doing IT for over 51 years. It is one thing to have tech expertise from both experience and training but a lot of the classes I took were in system design. You always design for the user/consumer. In the old days of Windows, the screen NEVER went black. Ever. It might "blink" but never sit there for 0.5 to 1.0 hours of a black screen. As you pointed out, there is a very diverse user group out there now. We really didn't see that until after the creation of the World Wide Web in the 90s. Before that, users were techies, for the most part. But here, we have two issues. Number one, a black screen lasting more than, I'd say, a few minutes will upset anyone who has worked with previous versions of Windows where screens didn't go black for that length of time (in most cases, the entire update used to take less than 1/2 an hour. So, you can ask around with that group and most will tell you (including the OP) that they never expect a totally black screen for that length of time and will most likely try various things to remedy what appears, to them, to be an unexpected and serious issue. (Lastly, holding down the power button or pulling the plug which are never good ideas especially with the HDD light blinking away). In the second case, with Facebook and other activities, you have people buying computers that have never seen one before. As part of my job, I had to train this middle-aged woman how to use a mouse, if you can picture that. Today, kids are practically born with a mouse in their hand and schools train students how to use a computer. But there will always be those that fall into the cracks. You said you would be "at a loss" in what people would do... well, that's not so much of an IT question as it is a psychology question. But, it is a bit after the horses got out of the barn, but I'm pretty sure those who are used to Win 3.0, 4.11, 98 SE, NT, 2000 would still be confused by a totally black screen lasting as long as it does. A screen that, with a bit of programming talent, can easily be replaced by something other than black maybe with a progress bar.

So, you think the screen MUST go black? It never did in previous versions of Windows, to my best recollection? Can you remember that happening? If you did an experiment with a room full of users doing a simulated "update" and arranged for the screen to go black for, let's say, 30 minutes, do you think some of those people would get up and comment to someone "in charge" that the update crashed or who would hold down the power button? Judging by the comments we have already seen here in Cnet on all things Windows 10 update, I'd bet many people would do those things. So, after they crash the update, they have Windows being a "mixed bag" and the user notes that something is still wrong even after restarting. Yes, I had to fix someone's laptop where they did all of these things. Ended up using my jump drive with the updated Windows on it and didn't lose any of her programs or data.

Personally, I just think MS could have done a better job. It's one thing to tell users that it will take a long time but a black screen that lasts and lasts?

As for my 12-hour update... I made up my mind that I would let it run overnight and it was the computer's FIRST update. I think the issue is that it doesn't have an SSD but, rather, a single TB HDD and is probably slow. Even with 12 GB RAM, this was a VERY inexpensive brand new computer (less than $500). So, yeah, it takes a bit of patience.

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The 12 hour update machines were...

All 1TB Seagate equipped and all had many thousands in the SMART values 01 and 07.

-> These drives had not failed. There were slow because, well, that's been well discussed.

Microsoft does not code to deal with these drives. Why should they?

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I Wasn't Complaining

I actually expected a LONG update time. I have a Toshiba DT01ACA100. I just assumed, since that was the first time I would be seeing a semi-annual update, that it would take a long time with cheapo hardware and 64-bit Win 10 Pro. I wasn't upset by the time it took. Others? maybe assuming most updates are done in 10-15 minutes may have had different expectations.

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"But you will be."

I'm getting mixed messages out of Redmond. Update times are going to get better but then again they don't support the (rather awful) 32GB Windows machines we saw recently. And slow drives are not considered to be a problem at all.

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Power Option Setting Can Make Screen Go Black

Windows 10 and earlier have a default setting to turn off the display after a certain number of minutes when Power Plan is set on Balanced or Power Save. So, Windows Update can be downloading or preparing to install and the screen may go dark.

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Probably NOT During an Update Like This

Technically, I don't have ANY power options set that way and, if you think about it, Windows isn't actually running during this update. There was zero screen saver and all BIOS settings were to be full power on as well as the Win 10 power settings. Also, this was booted from a jump drive and was well into the upgrade. I appreciate the points though. My "last" screen going blank was at 78% of the install per progress bar.

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Windows 10 SODs possible RAM issue

UNEXPECTED STORE EXCEPTION points to data corruption. I had a similar repeated failure and suspected a RAM problem. Windows 10 memory test found nothing. What worked was the memory test I found as an option when booting UBUNTU Linux,
It identified data error problems with one of my memory modules. I used the error information to get an RMA and a replacement module.

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memtest86 is a very old but very well regarded test of system RAM. From what I've heard, it is considered by many as the gold standard to test memory for obscure and elusive problems. Load it on a memory stick, boot from it, and let it run overnight. If your memory has glitches, chances are memtest86 will have reported them on your screen when you come back to it in the morning.
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I too had the blank screen

And it lasted way longer than i thought reasonable. Did hard shutdown, rebooted back to blank screen shutdown , rebooted, blank screen. Scratched my head and then the comp rebooted and installed the updates and life returned to bliss.

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That's What I Thought

Personally, I've NEVER seen black screens for more than a second, a blink, until Win 10. As someone who programmed internal operating systems for mainframes/assembler, those black screens would be unacceptable to me. True, this a psychology thing. I came close to hard reset a couple of times, but I know enough to check the HDD light. But that is me. I can't expect that sort of thing from others. People just don't know.

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I do too

and the HDD light was steady like the comp had froze.

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No HDD light

And what do you do if you have a cheap laptop (like many these days) that doesn't have an HDD light?  It really frosts me that a major manufacturer would cheap out these days and not include an HDD light.  The state of this light is often a major diagnostic tool.

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12 Hour Update?

My Win 10 Home laptop began notifying me each day that there was an update pending and the computer would be restarted when it was time ("outside active hours"). Restart sequence displayed the usual Windows -is-getting updates-ready-don't-shutdown-your-computer message. Upon restarting, the same message would appear but only for a second or two then it would boot to normal desktop screen. Then the "Failed update" message would appear. This repeated on for days during which i ran scandisk, dsk chk, disk cleanup, etc. all to no avail. Eventually, i found a link on a forum to a Microsoft page for resetting Windows. Clicked on and within 15 or 20 minutes i was looking at a fresh desktop .... but it was Win 10 version 1607 ! Hmm, a bit strange. Went to Settings/Update/Check for Updates, and it found 4 available updates, one of which was (i think) a "feature update". Anyway, i thought what the hey, let's do it. Clicked on Install. Downloading updates progress bar got to 95% and didn't progress over the next half hour. I left it running and went to bed. Got up next morning, wiggled the mouse, and - voila! Windows 10 version 1809 was there. So far, it works great. Made a System Image backup on an external hard drive, and set metered connection in Wi-fi/network settings to hold off further updates for awhile. So far i like this version 1809. And, by the way, the screen did go dark a few times along the way.

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I Did Things Shorter Than the Full Reset

The ones I helped with were done using the selections that were shorter than the full reset and allowed me to keep files and settings so no re-installs were necessary. I think if you check out Settings --> Update & Security --> Recovery --> Reset This PC, it allows for keeping files and settings. If that doesn't work, I could always go to the full-on reset applying a clean copy of Windows (as described on the bottom of that screen). In your case, you did well, but others might not have the patience. My "friend" got a black screen so someone had her hold down the power key. Then she rebooted and the system was exceedingly slow as it was recovering. When you interrupt a large update, you get a half-in, half-out situation. The recovery slowed down the computer so she powered off a few more times but couldn't get it "instantly" back to normal so she just powered it off and left it. Called me a few weeks later so I just used update media/jump drive and saved all her programs and settings. The point being is that some people have more experience than other people so you get different reactions. Impatience is not anyone's friend. Really.

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Depends on the message

Sometimes it can be a hardware problem, the CPU can be too hot, the bios can be wrongfully configured, I had this problem, the PC was restarting and sometimes the blue screen would go on. I had to overclock a little the bios and now it is stable, somehow the default configuration does not work on my board. Also, keep all heat sink clean and the airflow free from obstructions. Good Luck.

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