Blue screen is one of the most frightening things that can happen on a Windows 10 laptop or desktop PC. When a Blue screen of death (BSOD) occurs, it will usually show an unhappy sad smiley face with some error messages usually with a STOP code. This post will explain what is a blue screen with sad face on Windows 10, why you are getting it, and how to troubleshoot and possibly fix the error yourself.
The cause of the error can be vast and sometimes unknown. It has always been a very tedious process to troubleshoot and resolve a blue screen with sad face error on Windows 10. We will show you the easiest possible way to identify the problem and cause of the blue screen error you’re getting and how to possibly fix it yourself. The following blue screen with sad face troubleshooting guide can be applied on HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Toshiba or Surface laptop or desktop PC.
Windows 10 Blue screen with sad face causes
Like mentioned, the cause of Windows 10 blue screen can be so vast that it’s literally impossible to list all causes of BSOD ever happen in Windows 10. However, the causes can be narrowed down to a few common categories – driver error, hardware error, software conflicts, missing or corrupted Windows 10 system files.
A corrupted or incorrectly installed driver can cause Windows to fail working with your hardware, thus causing blue screen with sad face. The blue screen can be random while you use your computer, or can also be during Windows startup, making booting into Windows impossible.
If any hardware part is malfunctioning or is starting to show signs of failing, it will also cause blue screen. This is especially common when you have a failing hard disk drive, RAM or a peripheral.
Other causes can be software being not working compatible with each other, or that there is any missing or corrupted Windows 10 system files. When Windows itself is corrupted, you will most likely be stuck in the Windows rollback loop.
How to fix blue screen with sad face Windows 10
To start troubleshooting the blue screen with sad face on your Windows 10 computer, we need every information we can get, such as the error message that comes with the sad face.
Other than the usual error message that reads “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you. (100% complete)“, most blue screen of death will have a line of error code we called STOP code. This STOP code will be able to help us identify the particular problem driver, system file or hardware part that is causing the blue screen error.
Knowing the blue screen with sad face STOP error
For example, in the following screenshot, there is a STOP error listed at the bottom of the blue screen with sad face screen which reads DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL atikmdag.sys. This gives you an idea that the blue screen is actually caused by a driver file called atikmdag.sys, which is a driver file from the AMD ATI graphic driver.
After knowing what’s wrong and what actually causes the blue screen with sad face in Windows 10, you can then do something about it. For the example above, we can try to update the graphic driver, reinstall it or disable the software that uses it such as overclocking software.
If you see a driver file and you roughly know which driver it’s relating to, you can try to update the driver or remove the software which relates to it.
In most cases, especially when you are stuck in a blue screen startup loop in Windows 10, you can try to fix the blue screen with sad face error by applying a few repair tools (commands) during startup. Read – how to startup repair Windows 10 using command prompt.
The STOP error shown above is just an example. You should probably get a different STOP error which you can use to search online for more info about what you are actually encountering.
You can also try to search your STOP error on our site using the search form on the floating menu to learn about the workarounds and solutions we provide.
Our Windows 10 blue screen with sad face solutions
We have written numerous solutions for some of the most common blue screen with sad face errors in Windows 10. Here’s some of our most popular Windows 10 blue screen error solutions.
- Bad System Config Info
- Page Fault in NonPaged Area
- KMode Exception Not Handled
- System Thread Exception Not Handled
- Whea Uncorrectable Error
- Critical Process Died BSOD
Windows 10 blue screen with only the sad smiley face
If you’re getting a blue screen which shows only the sad smiley face, it indicates that even Windows itself couldn’t identify the problem. This is especially common after a new Windows 10 update is released which can be reported as a bug.
If that’s what you’re facing right now, there is nothing you can do other than trying to report the bug to Microsoft, roll back Windows 10 to an earlier build, system restore Windows 10 to a previous date, or reset Windows 10 to factory default.