The Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) is a relatively famous computer error for Windows Users. However, the screen of death can come in many colors, including an eye-catching pink! If you’ve recently started experiencing a Pink Screen of Death (PSOD), you might be wondering how to avoid it in the future. Let’s examine this error report and how to fix it.
What Is the Pink Screen of Death? What Does It Mean?
The PSOD isn’t as well-known as the BSOD because it’s a less common error. Blue Screens of Death occur when the computer encounters a STOP error, which is when it has a critical failure that requires it to stop all operations to protect its health and components.
Conversely, Pink Screens of Death occur when the computer encounters an error with the graphics card driver or the system overheats to the point where the CPU tells the system to shut down. They are not to be confused with a black screen, which could indicate the graphics card shutting down from overheating.
While the Blue Screen of Death is by far the most common, screens of death are actually color-coded and come in a variety of flashy shades that tell seasoned technicians what’s wrong by the hue alone. Colors besides blue are generally pretty rare. However, you may see screens of death in purple, brown, orange, and yellow, among other colors. Today, however, let’s examine how to fix the pink screen of death.
Step 1: Perform a Reboot
You want to start with an intentional, safe reboot. This process alone can clear up many issues with hardware or software compatibility. So, you may find that you don’t have to do more than restart your computer.
Open the start menu by pressing the Windows Key or navigating to the Start Menu button on your taskbar.
Then select the Power Options in the bottom left-hand corner of the Start Menu.
Select Restart and let the computer do its thing. This process can take a few minutes if your computer has been experiencing errors. So, just give it time and be patient.
Step 2: Update Graphics Card and Display Drivers
Start by checking Windows Update to see if there are any necessary or recommended updates from Microsoft. You can do so by pressing Windows + I to open the settings window. Once you’re in the settings window, you want to search “Update” in the search bar.
Open the update window and check for updates to see if your computer has any recommended updates from Microsoft. Then, just update your computer if necessary. However, if your computer isn’t showing any essential updates and you’re still getting a PSOD, you can try to update your device drivers manually.
To update your drivers manually, you’ll open your taskbar search menu and search “devices.” Open the Device Manager and find “Display Adapters.”
Right-click the device under “Display Adapters” and select “Update Driver.” Doing so will bring up this window.
Then, you just need to select “Search Automatically for Drivers.”
Step 3: Rollback Your Drivers
Suppose you’re still having problems with your computer throwing up Pink Screens of Death. In that case, ironically, the next step is to rollback your drivers, a fancy computer term for restoring your drivers to a previous version.
While it’s possible to rollback specific drivers, doing so can break other drivers you updated. So, it’s best to roll them all back together. You can do so using Windows Recovery. Open up your taskbar’s search feature and search for “Recovery.” Don’t select “Recovery Drive.” Choose “Recovery,” the recovery utility window in the Control Panel.
Select “Open System Recovery” and follow those steps. Remember that System Recovery requires you to make regular images of the operating system from which you can recover. We recommend making a recovery image before you make any significant updates.
Step 5: Observe System Heat
Using the Windows Task Manager, you can observe information like component utilization and heat records. Open your taskbar search and search for “Task Manager” to open it.
Then, navigate to the “Performance” tab. Here, you’ll see various statistics for different components, including the CPU, GPU, and RAM. If you have a discrete graphics card, it will monitor how hot it is running, making it easy to chart whether it’s overheating.
A good rule of thumb is that any temperature above 185°F (85°C) is too hot for your GPU. At this temperature, the card’s internal components and chipset are at risk of heat damage.
Step 4: Undo Any Overclocking
Pink Screens of Death can also indicate the system is overheating. If you’re the type to enjoy a little bit of friendly overclocking from time to time, it might be a sign you’ve pushed your system past its reasonable limits.
Use whatever method you used to overclock your components and revert them to their original state. You can even try underclocking them if your components are running too hot. After many years of use, a component may need to be underclocked even when it used to run smoothly at higher loads.
Step 5: Unplug Any Unnecessary Peripherals
You only need a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to run a computer. If you’re getting a consistent pink screen of death, you might want to try unplugging all your extra peripherals. Leave yourself with enough peripherals to operate the computer, but any dongles, headsets, speakers, and additional monitors must be unplugged. Start slowly adding them back and see if you can find one that triggers the PSOD.
Step 6: Clean Boot Windows
Clean Booting is a lot like starting Windows in Safe Mode, except it gives you agency over what programs you want to boot with. To Clean Boot, you’ll need to navigate to the System Configuration window. Open the taskbar search function and search for “msconfig.”
Once you’re in the System Configuration window, you’ll want to navigate to the “Services” tab and check the “Hide All Windows Services” button in the bottom left-hand corner. Then select everything that’s left and hit “Disable All.”
When you reboot with these settings, you’ll Clean Boot your computer. Once you’ve rebooted the computer in a Clean Boot state, you can start reactivating services individually to see if they trigger a PSOD.
Optional Step: Uninstall and Reinstall Software
You can try uninstalling and reinstalling the program if you get a Pink Screen of Death when using specific software, typically PC games and other graphically intensive tasks. Uninstalling and reinstalling the software can sometimes clear up hardware or software discrepancies.
Last Resort: Find a Technician
We can’t all be computer technicians. That would be terribly boring, honestly. If you’re not a computer technician, you probably don’t have the means to do the in-depth diagnostics needed to diagnose a persistent PSOD. If you haven’t been able to clear it up, there’s no shame in getting someone who knows better to do it for you.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Alpha / Flickr.