- The Windows blue screen error has been in existence since Windows 3.1. In early versions of the operating system, it was used to signify many different types of error messages. Once Windows XP was produced, it was trimmed down to only be displayed for extremely serious errors in the operating system's kernel. While the error messages have changed through various versions of Windows, the signature blue coloration has remained constant since Windows 3.1.
- The Windows blue screen functions as a catch-all error screen for problems that are serious enough to require a restart of the computer. While the individual messages may vary from problem to problem, the overall construction of the error message, as well as the bright blue background, remains constant, regardless of what piece of software or hardware generated the error.
- Identifying a blue screen error is quite easy, but identifying the cause and effects of the error is a different matter altogether. Blue screen errors can be caused by both software and hardware problems, and while they rarely have an effect on the computer themselves, they are messengers of whatever problem generated them in the first place. To identify the problem that caused a blue screen error, research the exact error message; it is likely that others have encountered the same problem.
- Preventing a blue screen error from appearing is a complex matter. Since they can be generated by both software and hardware, and are not constrained to any particular version of windows, the best way to prevent a blue screen error and its associated effects is to carefully check compatibility of new hardware or software before installing it on your machine.
- Blue screen errors occur immediately after serious problems occur within a computer system. Because of this, a user should try to remember what they were doing immediately before the blue screen occurred, as that may give excellent insight into what the problem is. For example, if they were attempting to install a new piece of software and the computer displayed a blue screen error, that would indicate that the new piece of software is the likely culprit behind the error.