How to fix a blue screen error after Windows 10 update?

By ivan.diskin | October 31, 2019 |

greater than 18 minutes

Most security recommendations require users to keep their systems updated. However, you might run into trouble after you download and install certain Windows updates. Yes, some Windows updates are known to break or brick devices. Some of them cause blue screens of death (BSODs) to manifest themselves on computers.

Why do I get a BSOD after updating Windows 10?

You are struggling with a blue screen of death after updating Windows because of certain changes that occurred during or after the installation operations for updates. Some system files have been modified or deleted; new unstable drivers might have been installed.  Of course, Windows Update is not supposed to make your PC go down with blue screens, but things do not always go as planned.

Sometimes, Microsoft releases buggy updates, which cause all sorts of issues for users. Blue screens of death form a small proportion of the problems, which users tend to encounter after the downloading and installation of Windows updates. Other times, when the issue has nothing to do with Microsoft shortcomings, it is down to the updates in view being incompatible with the systems involved or turning out to be unstable for the computer on which they got installed.

A blue screen of death is a special STOP error screen that appears when your computer suffers a serious crash. The crash in view is usually so severe that your computer is unable to recover from it, so Windows has no choice but to restart your computer to prevent damage. Yes, computers restart whenever they encounter an issue that triggers a blue screen of death.

Your PC going down with a blue screen of death (once) is hardly a sign of trouble. A restart might be all you need to get your house in order. If your computer continues to blue screen repeatedly or frequently, however, then you will know you are dealing with a problem (or combination of issues), especially one that is triggering the bad crash.

How to troubleshoot and fix Windows 10 blue screen errors after an update

The ideal troubleshooting path is somewhat dependent on the variables or conditions that defined the blue screen event in your case.

For example, if the blue screen is still up on your machine display, then you have to restart your computer forcefully. You can do it this way: press and hold down your device’s power button for at least 5 seconds to force it to go off, wait briefly, and then give the same power button a tap to make your PC come on.

If you cannot get your computer to boot into the regular Windows operating system environment to get to your desktop, then you have to trigger Automatic repair. You can access the Automatic repair function this way: try to start your system and interrupt the boot sequence at least three times consecutively. Windows is programmed to fire up Automatic repair automatically – if the boot process on a computer gets disrupted three times in a row (or more).

In the platform provided by Automatic repair, you get to access several boot options and system utilities (from Advanced options). We recommend you boot your computer into safe mode. You will be able to work from the environment there without issues.

Here, assuming you can get to the regular Windows operating system environment, then you might want to disable the automatic restart configuration for Windows. Well, Windows is programmed to restart your computer automatically whenever your system encounters a STOP error, especially one associated with a blue screen of death, which means you do not get enough time to view or note down the error code for the blue screen of death.

How to disable the automatic restart configuration in Windows 10:

These are the steps you must go through to do away with the setting:

  • Click on the Windows icon on your desktop to see the Windows Start menu screen consisting of several options and utilities (or give the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard a tap for the same outcome).
  • Input Advanced system settings into the text box (that shows up the moment you begin to type) to perform a search task using those keywords as the query.
  • Once View advanced system settings (Control Panel) emerges as the main entry on the results list, you have to click on it.

Your system will bring up the System Properties window.

  • Click on the Advanced tab – if you are not there already.
  • Locate the Startup and Recovery section and then click on the Settings button there.

Windows will bring up the Startup and Recovery window now.

  • Now, you have to click on the box for Automatically restart (under the System failure section) to get this parameter disabled.
  • Click on the OK button to save the changes you just made to your computer configuration.

How to boot your computer into safe mode:

If you need to get your PC into safe mode, then these are the instructions you must go through:

  • Get to the Windows Start menu screen and then perform a search operation on the text field there using Msconfig as the query.
  • Once System Configuration emerges as the main entry on the results list, you have to click on it or hit the Enter button on your keyboard.

Windows will bring up the System Configuration window now.

  • Click on the Boot tab. Click on the box for Safe boot to get this option selected. ‘Minimal’ will be selected automatically – and that’s fine.
  • Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button to finish things.
  • Now, you must allow your PC to restart. Otherwise, you must reboot your computer when you are ready.

How to resolve the blue screen of death after a Windows 10 update

We already know that the blue screen you are struggling with only started to manifest itself after your computer downloaded and installed certain Windows updates. This information has made things easier in certain ways.

Nevertheless, if you know the STOP code associated with the blue screen of death that you encountered, then you might be able to narrow down the cause of the crash in your case. Certain error codes point toward specific issues in Windows. With the error code known, you can do some research online to find solutions to the problem.

If you cannot determine the STOP code for the BSOD in view or if you could not find specific fixes for the strain of blue screen of death involved, then you will have to make do with the standard procedures used to resolve issues that trigger blue screen crashes. Here, we intend to describe the most effective solutions of the lot.

We need you to go through the fixes on the list in the order we listed them. You are likely to find the solution that applies to the problem in your case faster this way.

  1. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter:

There is a good chance that the blue screen of death error you are encountering is a result of inconsistencies or discrepancies that crept into Windows Update operations and then caused your computer to crash. The BSOD might have also had something to do with a Windows Update error.

The updates released by Microsoft are not exactly flawless, and Windows itself (as an operating system) has some shortcomings or deficiencies. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Windows Update sometimes struggles or the process ends up causing trouble for users.

You cannot figure out what exactly went wrong with the Windows Update process, so you are better off running a troubleshooter to deal with everything. Troubleshooters are tools built into the Windows operating system environment to help users diagnose issues with utilities, setups, or Windows itself and also propose or apply effective fixes to the problems.

The Windows Update Troubleshooter will do its best to identify or isolate the inconsistencies in Windows Update processes and then try to make things right. Anyway, these are the instructions you must follow to run it:

  • First, you have to launch the Settings app.

Click on the Windows Start icon visible in the bottom-left corner of your PC’s screen to see the Windows Start menu utilities and options (or give the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard a tap for the same outcome). Click on Settings (or its icon).

Alternatively, you can fire up the Settings app quickly through the Windows logo button + letter I keyboard shortcut.

  • Assuming your system has brought up the Settings window, you have to click on Update and Security (one of the items on the main menu screen).
  • On the screen that follows, you must look to the list of items close to the left-pane area of the window and click on Troubleshoot.
  • Assuming you are now on the Troubleshoot menu or screen, you have to go through the list of troubleshooters, locate Windows Update, and then click on this troubleshooter to get it highlighted.
  • Click on the Run the troubleshooter button (that only recently appeared).

The Windows Update Troubleshooter window will come up now.

  • Follow the instructions displayed. Pay attention to the processes. Perform whatever task gets requested of you.

If everything goes well, then the troubleshooter will tell you of the issues it detected. It will then ask you if you want it to apply the recommended fixes. Of course, you must go with its offer here. Otherwise – if the troubleshooter only figured out the cause of the problem and offered nothing else, you might have to do some work to rectify the issues on your own.

In other scenarios, the troubleshooter might report that it failed to do enough to fix things. Well, this means you have to try out other solutions. The information the troubleshooter provided about the issue might still come in handy, though.

  1. Fix the problem with your drivers through the rollback function; update your graphics card drivers:

The vast majority of blue screens of death are down to hardware faults or malfunctions. By hardware faults or malfunctions, we are referring not to problems that occur within the physical device but rather to issues with the driver software for the components involved.

Regular applications, for one, hardly ever manage to cause blue screen of death crashes in the Windows operating system environment. If a standard program crashes, then it will go down with its components only (with the operating system remaining unaffected). Driver programs, however, do cause computers to blue screen – because Windows execute operations for their processes at a lower level than it does for regular applications.

Here, we want you to address the issues with your drivers – since they most likely have something to do with the blue screen of death you are struggling with now. It hardly matters that your computer only started to blue screen after the installation of Windows updates. If anything, we must assume that Windows Update tampered with the code for certain drivers on your computer.

The driver for your graphics card is the one most likely involved in causing the BSOD. Since we are assuming the issue is down to Windows installing and using a new unstable driver, it makes sense for you to bring back the old driver, which is known to be stable. Fortunately, you can restore an old driver quite easily using the rollback function accessed from the Device Manager app in Windows.

Follow these instructions to roll back your graphics card driver:

  • Do a right-click on the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner of your machine’s screen to open the list of applications and options that make up the Power User Select Device Manager.
  • Assuming the Device Manager window has been brought up, you have to go through the list of categories there to locate Display Adapters. You will then have to click on the expansion icon beside this category to force it to display its

The drivers for your graphics card devices will be visible now. All computers have an integrated graphics card, so you are guaranteed to see at least one driver. If your PC is equipped with a dedicated graphics card (besides the integrated unit), then you are likely to see two drivers.

The integrated GPU in your computer is usually from the same firm that manufactured your machine’s CPU. If your PC is equipped with an Intel processor, then you will see an Intel integrated GPU. If your computer is equipped with an AMD processor, then we expect you to see an AMD integrated GPU.

As for the dedicated graphics card, we expect you to see an AMD or NVIDIA driver. AMD and NVIDIA manufacture the vast majority of dedicated graphics card chips for computers, so your computer is likely to be equipped with silicon from one of them.

The driver for your dedicated GPU is the one most likely to be involved in the crash, so we strongly recommend that you roll it back. You are free to roll back the driver for the integrated graphics card, though – especially if you suspect that it played a role in triggering the issues that caused your PC to blue screen.

  • Locate the GPU device whose driver you intend to roll back and then double-click on it.

Windows will bring up the Properties window for the chosen graphics card device driver now.

  • Click on the Driver tab. There, you have to check for and click on the Roll Back Driver button (to do the job for which you came here).
  • You will probably have to click on the Yes button to affirm things for the driver rollback operation – if Windows brings up a prompt or dialog to get some form of confirmation.

If the Roll Back Driver button appears to be grayed out – which means you cannot use the rollback function – then it means Windows does not have the previous or old driver for your computer to fall back to or the driver software is inaccessible.

Windows will now act to remove the current driver and install the old driver. If everything goes well, then the Roll Back Driver button will become grayed out (or disabled), which means you cannot use it again (for now) because there is no old driver to which Windows can roll back. Windows keeps a copy of the very last driver that got installed. It does not store the software for all the previously installed drivers. Therefore, you can use the rollback function once (given standard conditions).

  • Anyway, assuming Windows is done with the rollback driver operation for your dedicated graphics device, you have to decide if you want to perform the same task on the driver for your integrated GPU unit.

In fact, you will do well to roll back the drivers for the other components or devices which you suspect have something to do with the blue screen of death you are trying to resolve. All you have to do is go through the same steps above to do the job on the necessary drivers.

  • After you complete the rollback operation for the drivers, you have to restart your computer.

Windows is supposed to bring up a dialog or window to inform you that your hardware settings have changed, anyway. In that case, you will just have to click on the Restart button on the prompt.

  • After the recommended reboot, you have to test things to find out if the BSOD has been resolved for good. You can try to recreate the error or crash (if this applies) and see how far you get.

If your computer continues to go down with blue screens (even after the driver rollback operation for the relevant device) or if you could not use the rollback function for any reason or if the rollback task failed, then you have to update your driver. For one, you have to install a new driver for your graphics card – since this device is the most important of the lot when it comes to BSODs.

Given the uncertainties, risks, and complications that come into play when users have to search for and get the latest drivers for their devices on their own, we recommend you update your graphics card driver through automatic procedures. The driver update function in Windows is not an option, however – since you are dealing with a blue screen of death which might have something to do with the unstable drivers Windows installed for your devices in the first place.

Since you do not want to run the risk of Windows fetching the wrong driver version again, we advise that you get Auslogics Driver Updater. This program will first run a scan on your computer to figure out the bad drivers and also gather the necessary information on them. It will then proceed to search for, download, and then install the newest manufacturer-recommended drivers as replacements for the bad software.

Ideally, you should try to update the drivers for as many devices as possible. Besides issues with your graphics card software, problems affecting drivers for other components might have been involved in causing the BSOD. You do know the faulty or malfunctioning drivers, so you will do well to install good software for all of them. This way, nothing gets left out and the chances of your problem being resolved are as high as they can be.

With the application we recommended earlier, you can get your computer to run the latest drivers for all its devices quite easily. Of course, since the program will handle all the tedious and complicated driver update tasks on your behalf, you get to save valuable time and effort.

In any case, after you are done with the driver update operations, you have to restart your PC to allow your computer to take the changes resulting from the installations into account. As usual, after the recommended reboot, you have to do your best to trigger the BSOD to see if the same issues are still in play. To test things, you might want to reattempt the task with which you experienced the blue screen of death earlier, for example.

  1. Remove/uninstall recently installed hardware/software:

We already established what links blue screens of death have with hardware devices and software or code. The procedure here is geared toward resolving issues in cases where the BSOD only started to manifest itself recently, especially after you introduced a new hardware device (external mouse, for example) or new utility (any regular application).

Well, there is a good chance the new stuff is entirely responsible for your struggles with blue screens, which implies that the connection between the Windows Update event and the appearance of the BSOD is purely coincidental.

If the introduction of a new hardware device applies in your case, these are the steps you must go through to test things and fix problems:

  • First, you have to shut down your computer properly. After your machine gets powered down, you have to unplug every peripheral from its ports or sockets.
  • Now, you must put on your PC to see if the blue screen of death comes up again. Do your best to recreate the scenarios or conditions necessary to trigger it.

If the BSOD refuses to show up (no matter what you do), then you have more or less confirmed that external devices have something to do with the issues that trigger it. In that case, you must continue with the instructions below:

  • Now, you have to plug in the devices (one at a time, one after each other) to test things.

You have to try to find out which device is directly responsible for the blue screen crash. After you figure out the culprit, you can try to update its driver. If the same issues persist, then you might have to give up the device and get a replacement for it. Of course, the replacement should be a new or different device that does not cause BSODs.

  • You might have to restart your computer several times while testing the devices.

If you could not get the BSOD to come up when one of the external devices is plugged into your PC, then you have to try out combinations of the devices. You can plug in two or more devices at the same time to see what happens.

If the crash manifests itself only when a combination of peripherals is involved, then you must take the event as confirmation that some of the devices you use are not compatible with each other (or they cannot function together on your computer).

You can try updating the drivers for the affected devices to see if things get better. Otherwise, you might end up having to make sacrifices to do away with a specific device or get a replacement for it. You just have to do whatever is necessary to prevent your PC from going down with blue screen crashes all the time.

If the installation of a new application applies in your case, then these are the instructions you must go through to resolve the issues:

  • Fire up the Run app by pressing (and holding) the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard and then giving the letter R key a tap.
  • Once your system brings up the small Run window, you have to fill the text box there with this code:

appwiz.cpl

  • Give the Enter button on your device’s keyboard a tap to force Windows to run the code (or click on the OK button on the Run window for the same outcome).

Windows will direct you to the Programs and Features screen or menu in the Control Panel application now.

  • Go through the list of apps there and take note of the ones you recently installed (not long before the appearance of the BSOD).

Ideally, you should uninstall all the programs you installed recently – because this is the only way you get to find out whether they have something to do with the blue screen crashes.

  • To uninstall an app, you have to do this: click on it to get it highlighted, do a right-click on it to see some options, and then select Uninstall.

Windows will now bring up a User Account Control (UAC) prompt to get some form of confirmation for the program removal request.

  • Click on the Uninstall button on the window or dialog.

Your system will now bring up the uninstaller or uninstallation wizard for the application in view.

  • At this point, you have to follow the on-screen instructions and do whatever is requested of you.

You might have to perform the same task for several applications to get rid of them.

  • Anyway, after you finish uninstalling all the recently installed applications (as we requested), you have to restart your PC to round up things.
  • After the recommended reboot, you have to test things to confirm that the issues that trigger the BSOD are no longer in play.

If everything seems fine, then you must take the normal state of events as confirmation that one of the new applications (or a combination of the recently-installed programs) played a significant role in causing the BSOD crashes.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of things or if you just want to investigate things further to isolate or figure out the culprit(s), then you have to install the programs again. Ideally, you should begin by installing the applications individually (one at a time, one after the other) while you test things. You might end up having to do away with the bad application(s) for good.

  1. Get rid of the bad or problematic Windows update:

If you are still struggling with the blue screen of death that came into being only because your computer downloaded and installed a specific Windows update, then it is time you acted to remove the bad or problematic update. Given the importance of Windows updates, we tried to hold off this move for as long as necessary while we walked you through other solutions.

Well, the removal of a single Windows update (or even a good number of them) is unlikely to leave your computer completely exposed to all forms of vulnerabilities or holes. Yes, some security risks might come into play, but their effects are minimal and can be managed. It is only fair that you acted against Windows Update – since its processes (or events involving them) broke your computer in the first place.

Anyway, these are the instructions you must follow to remove the bad Windows update:

  • Use the Windows logo button + letter I keyboard shortcut to launch the Settings app on your computer.
  • Once your computer brings up the Settings window, you have to click on Update and Recovery (one of the items on the main screen or menu).
  • Assuming you are now on the Windows Update menu, you have to check for and click on the View updates history link.
  • On the following screen, you have to click on the Uninstall updates link.

You will now be directed to the Uninstall an update screen or menu in the Control Panel application.

  • Go through the list. Locate the update that your computer recently installed or the one you believe to be the cause of the blue screen of death.
  • Click on the bad update to get it highlighted, right-click on it to see the available context menu, and then select the Uninstall option (usually the only thing on the list).
  • You might have to confirm a prompt by clicking on the appropriate button on the dialog or window.

Windows will now get on with the update removal task. You have to go through the same steps above to repeat the operation on other updates – if you intend to remove several updates.

  • Anyway, once you are done removing all the problematic or bad updates, you have to restart your computer to finish things.

You will no longer be bothered by the blue screen of death – if the blue screen crashes were triggered by the changes resulting from the installation of the updates. Otherwise, not much might change.

There is a good chance your computer will try to download and install the bad Windows updates again (without your permission or knowledge). Your machine is running Windows 10, after all. Users do not have much control over the update mechanism or configuration in Windows 10 – or at least, regular users do not.

Nevertheless, if your PC is running the Pro or Enterprise edition of Windows 10, you can take advantage of certain settings and options to defer or delay the updates. In some cases, you might be able to delay them for up to six months, which is a period long enough for Microsoft to trash out issues with the update.

If your computer is running the Home edition of Windows 10, however, then you might have to consider using unorthodox procedures to block or ward off the updates. Instructions on those operations are beyond the scope of our work here, unfortunately.

Other things you can try to fix the blue screen of death resulting from Windows updates

If you cannot bring yourself to remove the problematic updates to fix the BSOD or if your computer continues to go down with blue screens even after you got rid of the bad stuff, then you have to try out the fixes on our list of solutions.

  1. Run scans using the SFC and DISM tools
  1. Run deep/comprehensive scans for viruses and malware on your computer.
  1. Test your computer hardware (especially your temporary memory and disk) for faults.
  1. Use System Restore.
  1. Reset/repair Windows.
  1. Clean install Windows.
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