Windows 10 stop codes, also known as bug check codes or blue screen errors, can occur when the operating system encounters a critical problem that forces it to shut down or restart. While frustrating, these errors provide important clues that can help troubleshoot and resolve the underlying issue. In this guide, we’ll cover how to find stop codes in Windows 10 and use them to fix common errors.
What Are Stop Codes?
A stop code is a hexadecimal number displayed on a blue screen after a system crash. It indicates the type of error that occurred and provides a starting point for diagnosing the problem. The full name of the stop code, such as “KERNEL_SECURITY_CHECK_FAILURE”, is usually displayed as well.
Some common stop codes you may encounter in Windows 10 include:
- 0x000000F4: CRITICAL_OBJECT_TERMINATION – Indicates a process or driver tried to access an object that no longer exists
- 0x0000003B: SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION – The kernel has detected an exception or violation when calling a system service
- 0x000000D1: DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL – A driver has attempted to access memory it shouldn’t have
- 0x00000050: PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA – Important system data was referenced that isn’t in memory
There are over 200 different stop codes defined in Windows, each pointing to a different type of system error.
Finding The Stop Code
When a blue screen crash occurs, the stop code will be displayed on the screen itself. However, the computer will then automatically reboot, which makes it tricky to locate the code.
Here are some tips for finding the stop code:
- If possible, take a photo of the blue screen with your phone before the system reboots. The stop code will be front and center.
- In Windows 10, you can access the system event log to view recent critical events, including crashes. The stop code is usually included in the description.
- Use a tool like BlueScreenView to analyze crash dump files and extract the stop code from the most recent failure.
Using Stop Codes To Troubleshoot Issues
Once you have the stop code, you can begin investigating the fault. Here are some steps to take:
- Search online to find details about that specific stop code, including common causes and solutions.
- Use tools like Windows Memory Diagnostic to test components like your RAM.
- Check for driver incompatibilities, updates, or rollbacks using Device Manager. Often stop codes point to faulty drivers.
- Monitor system resources like CPU, memory, and disk usage to see if any are being overtaxed before crashes.
- Test software and services by selectively stopping or uninstalling recently added programs.
In many cases, stop codes point to faulty system drivers or programs. Updating, reinstalling, or rolling back these software components often resolves the underlying error. Outdated BIOS, overclocking, damaged hardware, and malware infections can also produce certain stop codes.
Repairing Windows With Recovery Tools
If you can’t resolve the issue through troubleshooting, repairing Windows may be necessary. Some common recovery options include:
- Restart in Safe Mode – Disables non-essential software and drivers. If crashes stop, it points to a software fault.
- System Restore – Reverts Windows configuration to an earlier restore point before crashes begin.
- Startup Repair – Automatically diagnoses and attempts to repair boot-related problems.
- SFC Scan – Scans Windows files and can replace corrupted ones with a cached copy.
- Reset This PC – Fully reinstall Windows 10 while retaining your files.
For serious system file corruption that prevents booting, you may need to completely reinstall Windows 10 from scratch or a recovery drive.
Preventing Stop Codes In The First Place
While occasional stop codes are unavoidable, you can take steps to minimize them by properly maintaining your Windows 10 system:
- Keep Windows fully updated with the latest patches, fixes, and drivers.
- Don’t overtax system resources by running intensive programs concurrently.
- Avoid questionable downloads and always run good antivirus software.
- Don’t overclock components beyond manufacturer specifications.
- Keep your PC physically clean and avoid overheating issues.
Following best practices for software updates, system resources, security, and storage will go a long way toward preventing those pesky blue screen crashes.
While no one enjoys being greeted by a Windows 10 blue screen, stop codes provide helpful clues that technical users can leverage to get systems back up and running. Finding the stop code, researching it online, troubleshooting the possible causes, and utilizing recovery tools can help resolve the underlying problem. With some guided effort, you can often identify and fix issues without needing to wipe everything and reinstall Windows from scratch.
Mustafa Al Mahmud is the founder and owner of Gizmo Concept, a leading technology news and review site. With over 10 years of experience in the tech industry, Mustafa started Gizmo Concept in 2017 to provide honest, in-depth analysis and insights on the latest gadgets, apps, and tech trends. A self-proclaimed “tech geek,” Mustafa first developed a passion for technology as a computer science student at the Hi-Tech Institute of Engineering & Technology. After graduation, he worked at several top tech firms leading product development teams and honing his skills as both an engineer and innovator. However, he always dreamed of having his own platform to share his perspectives on the tech world. With the launch of Gizmo Concept, Mustafa has built an engaged community of tech enthusiasts who look to the site for trusted, informed takes on everything from smartphones to smart homes. Under his leadership, Gizmo Concept has become a top destination for tech reviews, news, and expert commentary. Outside of running Gizmo Concept, Mustafa is an avid traveler who enjoys experiencing new cultures and tech scenes worldwide. He also serves as a tech advisor and angel investor for several startups. Mustafa holds a B.S. in Computer Science from HIET.