Windows 11 getting a redesigned BSOD – the dreaded Blue Screen of Death that pops up when a PC crashes – might be a joke on X (formerly Twitter) right now, but it highlights a serious issue.
OK, 'joke' might be a strong word, but the BSOD mock-ups presented by Lucia Scarlet on X are certainly tongue-in-cheek, featuring colorful emojis which are rather cutesy – not what you really want to see when your PC has just crashed and burned.
this will be BSOD in 2025 pic.twitter.com/A3ag4khydyJanuary 6, 2024
That said, the overall theme of the design, giving the BSOD a more modern look, isn’t unwelcome, even if the emojis aren’t appropriate in our book.
That said, there are comments in the threads of those tweets that highlight how some folks are disappointed that these aren’t real incoming redesigns for Windows 11. In some cases, there are people who appreciate a more friendly emoji appearing, as opposed to the frowny face (a text-based one, mind) which has been present on BSODs.
Insider version pic.twitter.com/Sg8B8kTvAAJanuary 6, 2024
Analysis: The blue screen blues
That disappointment is likely, at least in part, to be a more general indicator of the level of dissatisfaction with the BSOD – particularly in regards to the lack of information the screen provides, and shortfalls with the help that is supplied.
When a BSOD appears, it’s usually highly generic, and tells the Windows 11 (or Windows 10) user very little – you’ll read something like “a problem happened” with no elaboration on exactly what went wrong.
Meaningless error messages (known as stop codes that can pop up elsewhere in Windows 11, too) which are a jumble of hexadecimal letters and numbers might be cited, or a techie reference to a DLL perhaps, none of which are likely to be a jot of help in discerning what actually misfired in your system.
Never mind visual redesigns, Microsoft improving the info and help provided with BSODs would be the biggest step forward that could be taken with these screens. We've witnessed one innovation in the form of the QR codes provided – as seen in the mock-ups above – but these were introduced way back in 2016, and haven’t progressed much in the best part of a decade, often linking through to not fully relevant or up-to-date information.
We feel there’s definitely more Microsoft could do to improve BSODs, and in fairness, a more modern touch for the visuals wouldn’t hurt – though there’s another thought that occurs. Should we still be getting full system lock-ups at this point in the evolution of desktop operating systems?
Ideally not, of course, but to be fair to Microsoft, BSODs are definitely a whole lot less common these days than in the past. For those who do encounter them, though, we have a handy Blue Screen of Death survival guide.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).