ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Where did the blue screen of death come from?

Updated on April 2, 2009

Origins of the Blue Screen Of Death

It is one of the most dreaded computer problems because of the problems that may be lurking behind it:  The Blue Screen of Death.  The blue screen of death (BSD) appears when a major problem has occurred and the operating system has crashed.  Is it the end?  Can the computer be saved?

Sometimes the problem that arose is fixed simply by rebooting, and is never seen again.  Then again, your computer may not reboot at all, only resulting in the BSD.  If this is the case, then there are some serious problems behind the scenes, and you’ll need to take action.  The BSC can happen as a result of various problems ranging from memory compatibility issues, CPU voltage issues, heat or hard drive issues to name a few. 

The BSD is Windows general protection fault error sign.  It can contain important information on what just happened to create the crash, and help you try to fix it.  At the top of the screen, it will contain an error message and a series of numbers which indicate the type of failure. 

In researching where the name originated, I actually found differing stories.  The first one comes from blogger Wally McClure who noted that the blue screen of death actually used to be a black screen under Windows 3.0.  When an error would occur during DOS programming, a black screen would occur with the cursor blinking in the upper left hand corner.  It would ultimately need to be rebooted.  According to McClure, the origin of the term came from

Coca-Cola in Atlanta, GA in 1991 when the user would try to run WordPerfect and get the dreaded screen. 

McClure visited Novell developers in 1994 who asked him about his boss, Ed Brown.  As it turned out, Brown was famous at Novell because he coined the term BSD.  He would scream about it and no one could figure out what he was talking about. 

Another story I came across stated that the term originated during the OS/2 pre-release development at Lattice, Inc., the makers of early Windows and OS/2 compiler.  The screen would occur during porting of certain tools and when the NULL pointers were de-referenced in application.  When describing the process and feedback to IBM Austin, the developers termed the stop screen as the Blue Screen of Death.  This occurred sometime during the late 1980’s. 

Regardless of where the term originated, it certainly gets it point across.  If and when it does happen to you, be sure to jot down the numbers and words that appear to help easier diagnose the problem.  I would save this information if in the event the same message reappears, which will indicate a memory module problem.  Often times drivers are the root if the problem.  If the problem is beyond your capabilities, consult a computer tech that may be able to easily fix the situation.

Blue screen of death in its natural environment


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have to agree. Something like this may not be looked up, but a lot of curious people like me is grateful for this valuable information. I don't know about other people, but it's pretty interesting to where it came from. The dreaded BSD has certainly become a knowing part of life. Only if there was an ultimate utility tool to keep computers safe and secure without using that much RAM and CPU space. Like some websites that everyone goes to contains viruses which get into the computer and a lot of people have these anti-viruses that don't detect the website as harmful and they get put onto the computer to which they have to try their best to get it off and going through an entire disk may take a long time depending on the amount of space that is used. Where there is people who like to use the internet for a common good, there will always people who corrupt it and cause chaos for that user.

    • earnestshub profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Great article on the dreaded BSD.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)