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Troubleshooting Error Messages on a Blue Screen that may Occur During Startup or Boot

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There are many reasons that a computer does not startup or boot into the Windows operating system. If your computer will not start or boot, you will see or hear symptoms to indicate the general area of the problem. If you are not sure what the problem is, see Overview of How to Troubleshoot Problems When a Computer Does Not Start Up or Boot Properly .

Startup Symptom: Computer displays a blue screen or continually re-starts

Use this document if the LED lights glow or you hear the sound of a fan or hard drive spinning, and the HP or Compaq logo displays briefly, but then the notebook stops responding and displays a blue screen. In some cases, the computer may be operating in Windows but suddenly crash and stop responding. In most cases, an error message is displayed on the blue screen, the computer does not respond to commands typed on the keyboard, and it is necessary to press and hold the power button for 15 seconds or more, to turn off the computer.
The most common cause of this problem is conflicting instructions from multiple programs or drivers. Installing a new program that is not compatible with the hardware or another program may cause a blue screen error.

DO THIS FIRST - Perform a hard reset

If a PC suddenly fails to boot properly, you should perform a hard reset as the first procedure.
  1. Disconnect all peripheral devices and remove all USB devices and media cards. You want to test the computer not the accessories!
  2. Disconnect the AC power adapter, remove the battery, and then press and hold the power button for at least 15 seconds .
  3. Reconnect the AC power adapter (but do not connect the battery), Press the Power button, Look for glowing LEDs near caps lock and num lock keys, and Listen for sounds of a disk drive and fan turning.
Actions to take after performing hard reset


Search Web for Specific Error Message
When a computer freezes and displays a blue screen it also displays an error message, however, if the computer is set to automatically restart on an error condition, the message may be cleared off the screen before you can see it. If you are unable to view an error message or the Windows desktop, or if the computer tries to reboot automatically, you can disable the Windows automatic restart feature. This will enable you to view any specific error messages.
    1. Turn off the computer and wait 5 seconds.
    2. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f8 key to enter the Windows Advanced Options Menu.
    3. Use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select Disable automatic restart on system failure and then press the enter key.
    4. Press the enter key again to restart Windows.
    1. Click Start , right-click My Computer , and then click Properties .
    2. Click the Advanced tab.
    3. In the Startup and Recovery section, click Settings .
    4. Under System Failure , deselect the Automatically Restart check box.
    5. Click OK to close the Startup and Recovery window, and then click OK to close the System Properties window.
    6. Restart the computer.
Automatic restart is now disabled. When you restart the computer, if a specific start up error message is displayed, search the following web sites for a specific solution:
If the displayed error message does not appear in the list, search the following web sites for a specific solution:
If there is no specific error message on the blue screen, there are several things you can do to troubleshoot possible causes. You must be able to access Safe Mode with Networking and have a broadband internet connection to perform the following steps.
If none of the above solutions resolve your blue screen error, please search www.microsoft.com for information on resolving the error or contact HP for technical support .
You can use Microsoft System Restore to reset the computer setting to a time prior to the occurrence of the blue screen error, called the "last known good configuration". There are three ways you can reset the computer to the last known good configuration:
    To select a restore point using f8 to boot into Safe Mode and run a Microsoft System Restore, follow the steps below.
    1. Turn off the computer and wait 5 seconds.
    2. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f8 key to enter the Windows Advanced Options Menu.
    3. Use theUp Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select Safe Mode , and then press enter .
    4. Wait while Windows files load.
    5. Login at the Windows login screen.
    6. After Windows starts, click Start , type restore into the search field, and then select System Restore from the list to open System Restore.
    7. On the System Restore window, click Next , and then follow the on-screen instructions to select a restore point.
      Your computer will now start into Windows using the last settings at a time when the computer was working correctly, undoing any recent settings changes that may have caused the current problem.
    CAUTION:If you use HP Recovery Manager to perform a system restore, you cannot undo the restore.
    To select a restore point using HP Recovery Manager, follow the steps below:
    1. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f11 key to launch HP Recovery Manager.
    2. In the HP Recovery Manager window, click Advanced options , and then select Microsoft System Restore .
    3. Click Next , and then follow the on-screen instructions to select a restore point.
    Your computer will now start into Windows using the last settings at a time when the computer was working correctly, undoing any recent settings changes that may have caused the current problem.
    To select a restore point using the Last Known Good Configuration using Microsoft System Restore, follow the steps below:
    1. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f8 key to open the Advanced Boot Options window.
    2. Use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select Last Known Good Configuration (advanced) , and then press enter .
    Your computer will now start into Windows using the last settings at a time when the computer was working correctly, undoing any recent settings changes that may have caused the current problem.
NOTE:Using a System Restore Point to go to the last known good configuration may cause you to have to reinstall any recently installed software, if the software was causing the problem.
For more information about using a System Restore Point, please see HP Notebook PCs - Using Microsoft System Restore .
Many computer problems are related to soft failures (or degraded performance) on the hard drive. The HP Hard Drive Self Test will repair soft errors on the hard drive, but it will not report the errors. After the test is complete, restart the computer to see if test repaired the problem you may been experiencing.
Use the steps below to test the hard drive in a computer using the HP Hard Drive self test.
  1. Plug the AC Adapter into the computer.
  2. Turn off the computer and wait 5 seconds.
  3. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f10 key to enter the BIOS Setup menu.
  4. Use the Right Arrow or Left Arrow keys to navigate through the menu selection to locate the Primary Hard Drive Self Test option. Depending on your BIOS, this may be located below either Diagnostics or Tools .
  5. Select Primary Hard Drive Self Test , and then press the Enter key to start the test.
    NOTE:The exact wording of the option for your particular BIOS may be slightly different.
The Hard Drive Self Test performs a Quick Test followed by a Comprehensive Test . During each test, the window displays a status bar and an estimated time to completion. See HP Notebook PCs - Testing a Hard Disk using the Built in Self Test for additional information.
  • If any test fails , contact HP service and support for instructions on how to order a replacement hard drive.
  • If all of the tests pass, the hard drive is not damaged. As a rule, HP will not replace a hard drive under warranty that does not fail the HP Hard Drive Self Test.
  • If there is no physical problem with the hard drive or memory, then try reinstalling your Windows operating system to troubleshoot the problem.
To perform a memory self test, follow these steps:
  1. Plug the AC adapter into the computer.
  2. Turn off the computer and wait 5 seconds.
  3. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f10 key to enter the BIOS Setup menu.
  4. Use the Right Arrow or Left Arrow keys to navigate through the menu selection to locate the Diagnostics .
  5. Press Up Arrow or Down Arrow keys to select Memory Test .
  6. Press Enter , and then Yes to perform memory test.
  7. After test completes, press f10 to Save and Exit , and then press Enter to Exit Saving Changes? .
If the test fails, one or more of the memory modules may not be seated properly. Check for and reseat loose memory modules.
If computer does not boot into Windows, press the Power button to start the computer, and repeatedly press the f8 key. On the Advanced Boot Options screen, select one or more of the following options to resolve the startup problems. Select the options individually and press the enter key to restart the computer.
  • Select Disable automatic restart on system failure to view error messages.
  • Select Last Known Good Configuration (Advanced) to return settings to an earlier point in time.
A blue screen error may occur after installing a software program that is not compatible or conflicts with an existing program. You can clear the blue screen error by uninstalling the program in the Safe Mode. You may also go to program manufacturer's web site and look for support information.
To uninstall the application in Safe Mode, do the following steps.
  1. Turn off the computer and wait 5 seconds.
  2. Press the Power button to start the computer and repeatedly press the f8 key to enter the Windows Advanced Options Menu.
  3. Use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select Safe Mode from the Advanced Boot Options menu and then press enter .
  4. When Windows starts in the Safe Mode, click Start , Control Panel , and then select Add or Remove Programs .
  5. Select the application or program from the list that was most recently installed.
  6. Click Change/Remove and follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the application.
  7. Once you have uninstalled the recently added program in Safe Mode, click Start , and then Shut Down to restart your computer.
    1. If the computer starts up normally to the Windows desktop, no further action is necessary.
    2. If the notebook continues to stop responding at the Windows splash screen, continue troubleshooting by proceeding to the next process.
For more information about uninstalling software programs, please see HP Notebook PCs - Uninstalling Software in Windows Vista .
A blue screen error may occur if the BIOS or a device driver is out of date or is not compatible with some other hardware or software component. Try updating the BIOS and device drivers to resolve the problem. To locate a BIOS or updated device drivers for your computer, follow the steps below:
  1. Go to the hp.com web site. Click Support and Drivers , select the Download drivers and software (and firmware) option, and then enter the model number in the Enter a product name / number field.
  2. Click Go to start the search, and then select the operating system that is installed on the computer.
For more information about updating the BIOS and device drivers, please see HP Notebook PCs - Using HP Update Tools to Update HP Software, Drivers, and BIOS .
Sometimes a blue screen error occurs because you do not have the latest updates for Windows. Microsoft may have an update for Windows to resolve the blue screen error. Be sure to install all of the latest Windows updates. For more information about using Windows Update, please see HP PCs - Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update .
  • In XP, click Start , then Control Panel , and then select Windows Update in the left panel.
  • In Vista, click Start , type system into the search field, select System from the list, and then select Windows Update in the left panel.
If none of the above actions has resolved this condition, you may have a corrupted operating system. Therefore, you need to reinstall the Windows operating system on the notebook. See HP Notebook PCs - Repairing or Reinstalling The Operating System for additional information.
If none of the above steps has resolved the issue, please contact HP for help.
To contact HP for support or technical assistance, click the Contact HP link near the upper left corner of this web page, or go to Hewlett Packard Technical Support web page at www.hp.com/support , select a Country or Region, a Language, and then click Contact HP .
After you have completed the troubleshooting process and your computer has booted normally into the Windows operating system, you should:
  • Run HP Assistant to update HP software and drivers.
  • Run Windows Update to update operating system and software.
  • Run anti-virus program to remove any virus.