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Blue screens are generally caused by problems with your computer’s hardware or issues with its hardware driver software. Sometimes, they can be caused by issues with low-level software running in the Windows kernel. Regular apps usually won’t be able to cause blue screens. If an app crashes, it will do so without taking the operating system out with it.
A blue screen occurs when Windows encounters a “STOP Error.” This critical failure causes Windows to crash and stop working. The only thing Windows can do at that point is restart the PC. This can lead to data loss, as programs don’t have a chance to save their open data.
When a blue screen occurs, Windows automatically creates a “minidump” file that contains information about the crash and saves it to your disk. You can view information about these minidumps to help identify the cause of the blue screen.
Blue screens also look a bit different, depending on what version of Windows you’re running. In Windows 7 and previous versions, the blue screen looked much like a terminal screen, displaying all manner of information.