Anyone who has used a computer with a version of Windows before Windows XP is familiar with the Blue Screen of Death (hereafter referred to as the BSOD), indicating that your computer has crashed and your only recourse is to reboot it. One of the supposed “advantages” of Windows XP is that the BSOD is gone, nevermore to confuse the user.
Not so. The BSOD has simply been turned off in Windows XP. Now, when your system crashes, it just spontaneously reboots with no apparent warning. This means that you now have no clue what caused your system to crash. It just sort of, well, happened as far as you can tell.
No information about the crash makes it hard to find and fix the problem causing the crash, especially if it is happening repeatedly like on my husband’s computer last week as I was rebuilding the software installation. Fortunately, there is a way to turn off the automatic reboot setting in Windows XP, allowing the BSOD to reappear AND GIVE YOU AN ACTUAL ERROR MESSAGE.
If you ever need to do this, first make sure you are logged on to your system as an Administrator-level user. This is critical!!! Click on Start->Control Panel->System, click on the Advanced tab, and click the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery section. Look in the section of the message box labelled System Failure. Uncheck the box beside Automatically Restart, and the next time your system crashes you will get a BSOD with an error code and hopefully some other information.
You’re on your own, though, for deciphering the error code and determining the fix. I suggest Googling the error code as a first step. Good luck (unfortunately, you’ll probably need it)!