Although the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) has changed a bit in Windows 8, Windows computers still crash. Those messages display a bunch of cryptic phrases and numbers, and they aren't very helpful. Maximum PC has a useful guide deciphering the BSOD.
Photo by Jared Goralnic
Each BSOD has certain key elements as Maximum PC explains:
There are many parts to a BSoD, but the most important is right at the top. The actual name of the error is presented in all caps with an underscore between each word. In some cases this will be all that's needed to get to the root of the problem (thanks to the handy guide you are about to read). Most of the time, however, more information will be required.
Nearly every BSoD includes a portion of text with some basic troubleshooting advice, the first of which recommends restarting your computer. Gee, thanks for the tip Microsoft. Before you restart, copy the exact all-caps error code and hexadecimal values shown above and below this portion of generic text. The next paragraph provides sound advice, alerting the user to check to make sure their hardware is installed properly, or to undo any recent software or hardware upgrades.
Knowing what these mean is handy, and Maximum PC also has a big list of the most common BSODs codes, what they mean, and how to fix them. Check out the link for all the details.