My Computer Crashed…Or Hung…Or Blue-Screened!

Sep 13, 2011

Network Security

When your computer misbehaves, it’s often challenging to put into words exactly what transpired with your computer. Many people tell support their system blue-screened when an application only hung. Others may say that their computer crashed, when it just froze up. So, what is the difference between all of these bad behaviors?

Blue Screen

Commonly called the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD for short), this is typically seen when a Microsoft operating system completely crashes. It will display a message and the computer will usually reboot. Most often, blue screens are caused by problems with computer hardware or with the device drivers that your Windows operating system uses to interact with that hardware.

Sometimes, these may simply be resolved by the restart of the computer. If the issue persists, the error codes in the blue screen message will need to be evaluated further.

Tech Solutions


You normally notice a hang while working within an application in Windows. You will be working along, fine and dandy, and suddenly the application will cease to be responsive. In fact, if you click on anything, the application may somewhat fade into and even say that it’s not responding.

A hang may release after a few minutes, or it may turn into a freeze or an application crash. If it continues, restarting your computer is always a good idea. If it is consistent, your Windows event logs might provide more clues as to what’s causing the issue.

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A crash can happen both with Windows itself and also with applications. This is where the application, or operating system, ceases to function properly and it will often exit after it has displayed errors. Before the crash happens, the program, or operating system, may freeze up completely or hang. If the crash is with the operating system, it may lead to a blue screen.

If the crash was a program, simply restarting the program may be enough to get you back on your feet. If your entire operating system crashed, a restart of your computer may be all that’s required to square you away.

Microsoft windows - IT Support

Boot Loop

A boot loop will usually keep you from being able to get into Windows. Before you reach Windows, your computer will automatically restart. You may or may not have time to notice any error messages, but this issue will usually require advanced troubleshooting to resolve it. Windows 7 will attempt to fix this for you automatically, but if you’re on an older version of Windows, you may need to do some deeper work, possibly repairing your Windows installation.

Here is an example of a boot loop:

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of exactly what your computer system is doing when it behaves badly.

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