Windows 11/10 Computer Blue Screen When Idle (Fix)

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Seeing a blue screen on a Windows 11 or Windows 10 computer can really throw you off. This screen, often called the “Blue Screen of Death” or “BSOD,” means something big went wrong, and your computer can’t run safely anymore. These errors can pop up for a bunch of reasons, like hardware problems or software not getting along. Oddly, some folks have noticed their computers run into this blue screen just when they’re not doing anything with it. It’s important to get why this is happening and how to fix it. We’re going to look into why your computer might show a blue screen when you’re not even using it and what you can do about it.

Also see: How to fix blue screen with sad face on Windows 10/11

Windows 11 10 Computer Blue Screen When Idle

Common causes of Windows BSOD when idle

Let’s start by understanding what can make a BSOD happen. While lots of things could cause it, here are some usual suspects when your computer is just sitting there:

  1. Computers try to save power when they’re not being used. But sometimes, this can mess with the computer’s hardware or drivers, causing a blue screen.
  2. If something inside your computer isn’t working right or isn’t connected properly, it might cause problems when the computer tries to use it while idle.
  3. Drivers help your computer work with its hardware. If they’re not getting along (conflict), especially when the computer is trying to relax, it might crash.
  4. Sometimes, programs or background tasks try to do things when the computer is idle, which can cause crashes.
  5. Even when idle, parts of your computer could get too hot, especially if the fans slow down and don’t cool them properly.
  6. Problems with your hard drive, like bad sectors or corrupted files, can cause a blue screen when the computer tries to read them while idle.

Here’s a look at some common BSOD errors in Windows and how to fix them:

How to fix PC blue screen when idle in Windows 11 or 10

Fixing a blue screen when your computer is idle needs a bit of detective work to figure out and fix what’s wrong. Let’s dive into the solutions for the problems we talked about:

1. Resolving power management issues

Modern PCs save energy with power-saving features. But sometimes, these can cause a blue screen. Here’s what you can try:

  • Update your drivers. Out-of-date drivers can sometimes mess with power settings.
  • Adjust power settings. Switching to the “Balanced” power plan or tweaking settings might help. You can also play with how long before your computer sleeps or turns off the screen.Balanced Power Plan Windows 11
  • Disable selective USB suspending. This feature turns off USB devices to save power, but it can cause issues.USB selective suspend setting Windows 11
  • Sometimes the problem is in your computer’s BIOS or UEFI. You might need to check your computer or motherboard’s manual to see how to do this.BIOS Load optimized defaults UEFI

Linked issue: Computer restarts randomly in Windows 11 (Fix)

2. Addressing faulty hardware

Problems with your computer’s parts can also cause a blue screen, especially when it’s not being used. Here’s how to check for hardware issues:

  • Re-seat components. Sometimes, parts can move a bit from where they should be.Re-seat computer hardware components
  • Test RAM with MemTest86. Bad memory can cause crashes. MemTest86 can help check this.Run MemTest86 to check laptop RAM
  • Monitor system temperatures. Overheating parts can cause problems. Use HWMonitor to check if anything’s too hot.Monitor CPU and GPU temperature
  • Check the hard drive. Problems with your hard drive can also lead to crashes. Use the command prompt to run a check.CHKDSK Windows 11

Recommended read: Why is my CPU overheating and how to fix it

3. Resolving driver conflicts

Drivers let your operating system talk to your hardware, but they can cause blue screens if there’s a problem. Here’s how to fix driver issues:

  • Update all your drivers. Make sure they’re all up to date. Check Device Manager for any warning signs.Windows 11 Unknown Device Update driver
  • Roll back problematic drivers. If a recent update caused problems, you might need to go back to the older version.Roll back graphics driver to previous version Windows 11
  • Use System Restore. If the problem started recently, you might be able to go back to a point before the issues began.System Restore Windows 11
  • Boot in Safe Mode. This starts your computer with the bare minimum, so you can see if a specific driver is causing trouble.Enter Safe Mode Windows 11

4. Addressing software conflicts

Software that doesn’t play nice, especially in the background, can cause a blue screen. Here’s how to deal with software problems:

  • Check for Windows Updates. Keeping Windows up to date can prevent a lot of problems.Check for Windows Update
  • Disable or uninstall suspicious software. If new software is causing problems, getting rid of it might help.
  • Check background processes. Use Task Manager to look for anything unusual that might be causing issues.Check for high resource consuming processes in Windows 11
  • Perform a clean boot. This starts your computer with just the essentials, helping you find out what’s causing the problem.
    1. Press Windows + R, type “msconfig” and press Enter.
    2. In the System Configuration window, click on the “Services” tab.
    3. Check the “Hide all Microsoft services” checkbox, then click “Disable all.”Clean Boot Windows 11
    4. Now, go to the “Startup” tab and click “Open Task Manager.”
    5. In Task Manager, disable all startup items.Disable Startup Programs in Windows 11
    6. Close Task Manager and click “OK” in the System Configuration window.
    7. Restart your computer.

    If the BSOD doesn’t show up during a clean boot, that means a software or service is the issue. You can turn them back on one by one to find the troublemaker.

  • Check for virus and malware. Bad software can also cause crashes. Make sure to scan your computer.Run a full virus scan on Windows 11

5. Managing overheating issues

Getting too hot can cause a computer to crash. Here’s what you can do about overheating:

  • Check component temperatures. Use software to see if anything’s running too hot.
  • Clean your PC (physically). Dust can make your computer hot. Blow it out with compressed air.Cleaning laptop dust
  • Optimize airflow. Make sure air can flow freely inside your computer. If you’re using a laptop, a cooling pad might help.
  • Replace or upgrade cooling systems. If your cooler isn’t cutting it, you might need something better. Also, check your thermal paste.Cooling Laptop to improve gaming FPS
  • Adjust system settings such as overclock settings: Sometimes, dialing back the performance settings can help with heat.Overclock disable Event ID 41 Windows 10

Useful tip: How to test CPU throttling in Windows 11

6. Analyzing system logs and minidumps

When a blue screen happens, Windows saves some info that can help figure out what went wrong. This part is a bit technical, but here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Access the event viewer

  1. Press Windows + R, type “eventvwr.msc” and press Enter.Open Event Viewer via Run
  2. In the Event Viewer, go to “Windows Logs” then “System.”
  3. Look for any critical errors or warnings around the time of the BSOD. These clues might help find the cause.Check Event Viewer for Blue Screen Error

Step 2: Setting up minidump

If you’re not already saving minidump files after a BSOD, here’s how to set it up:

  1. Right-click on “This PC” or “Computer” on the desktop or in File Explorer, then click “Properties.”
  2. Click on “Advanced system settings.”Windows 11 advanced system settings
  3. Under “Startup and Recovery,” click “Settings.”Startup and Recovery Settings Windows 11
  4. Make sure “Small memory dump (256 KB)” is selected. Note where the dump files will be saved.How to change type of memory dump file Windows 11

Step 3: Analyzing the minidump

With a minidump file, use BlueScreenView or WhoCrashed to see what went wrong.

  1. Download and run the software, then open the minidump file.
  2. It’ll show details about the crash, including the driver or software that might have caused it.Analyze blue screen crash in Windows 11
  3. Look at the “Bug Check String” and “Caused By Driver” to figure out the problem.

Ending notes

Getting a BSOD when your computer is idle can be worrying, but you can usually find and fix the problem by checking hardware, drivers, software, and for overheating. Using tools like Event Viewer and minidump analyzers helps get direct info on what’s wrong.

If you still have BSODs after trying these steps, you might want to ask for professional help or look for answers online. And always keep your data backed up to avoid losing anything important if your computer has issues.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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