Blue-screens are the users fault, right?

Of late one of my computers has been randomly blue-screening on startup. It started after Microsoft’s March update, disappeared in May, came back after the July update, and keeps on coming back. Sometimes it’s so apocalyptic a lockup that all I can do is crash the machine off at the wall and start from dead cold.

It’s taken me a while to figure the problem out via Microsoft’s help documentation. Turns out that their system always works and therefore the problem can only be between the desk and the chair. And it’s obvious when you think about it, isn’t it? Turning the computer on only involves hitting a switch and the computer does the rest. Apparently if someone can’t get something working when all they have to do is hit a single switch, they have to ask whether they should really be using a computer at all.

See? Either Microsoft borked the KB4540681 in March so badly that they had to publicly suspend everything except security updates until July, at which point the KB4549951 and KB4566782 updates renewed their high-speed drive into system flake-land, all while their help systems failed to acknowledge what their development arm had done. Or I’m too stupid to have a computer.

And that’s without even considering KB4566782, released on 11 August for those with Windows build 19041.450. On some installations this update blows the Win SxS folder and creates a 0x800f0988 error (I’m not making up gibberish here).


Copyright © Matthew Wright 2020

10 thoughts on “Blue-screens are the users fault, right?

  1. Oh dear… -gives her Win7 dinosaur a great bit kiss-
    Unless Micro$oft pulls a rabbit out of the hat with Win11 or whatever they’re going to call it, Linux is looking better all the time.

    That said, I’m sorry for your pain, Matthew. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The worst of it is that it’s only this particular computer – another, with the exact same Windows 10 installation, has no problems. Nor does this one crash any time except at startup. I’ve checked for hardware issues down to running a component RAM check. Nothing. I suspect the problem is a motherboard driver/firmware incompatibility with Windows that kicked up with the March update. However, according to Microsoft’s help files, it’s possible that vknhq676ijuhqwe with aihaikjus8867heiqa could oqw88880065jhquwhe a ouhq##checksumaiwuhe and oahaiuwshqwqw, but only q88573oiuhqiwu889eh nouihqaowuhuih hhhww. And their corporation is never wrong, so if my hardware isn’t faulty then there can only be one answer. Simple, really… Now where do I download a stable version of Linux Red Hat from?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LMAO and ROFL!! I’ll do you a deal, if you can get Red Hat working to your satisfaction, how about teaching me as well. Maybe we could start the great Exodus from Microsoft!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So it might have been Microsoft responsible for my system going haywire recently, to the degree that I in panic reset the system, with the option to keep all my data. Well it kept most of it, and I’m still reinstalling apps… Then again it might have been to do with my mouse going haywire and nibbling at bits of windows. Who knows? What fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s like the ‘good old days’ (read ‘bad old days’) of MS-DOS when computer users had to be at least part-time geeks just to get the things running properly, still less do anything with them. As I understand it, there are a raft of reasons why Windows has problems, including getting its own update database tangled – it’s the first thing that the system looks at when booting up. There always have been issues with their updating system but it seems to have fallen over very badly since about March this year, which can only be put down to corporate sub-culture. Hopefully they’ll sort themselves out.


  3. Microsoft’s first line tech support are completely useless unfortunately. From what I’ve seen they know less than a typical teenager even remotely into computers.

    A blue screen is always a hardware problem so it is highly likely this is a driver issue, if it isn’t an actual component failing.

    I’m glad you’ve done a RAM check as failing RAM can be very intermittent and throws up so many errors that look like something else.

    I’ve been building computers since I was about 16 (so, gulp, almost 30 years now!! How did that happen?!) so if you’d like some help, just let me know.

    Some things it would be good for me to know:

    What did you use to do the ram check? Memtest86 I think is what I’ve trusted in the past.
    What computer is it? If it’s pre-built or a laptop then the make and model number, if it’s a custom one then the motherboard make and model, CPU model, RAM type (DDR3 or 4 most likely) and hard drive make and model/size.

    Regarding linux, I know it’s frustrating when things go wrong with Windows, but linux takes a serious investment of time to get even the basics. It’s surprising how much you’ve learnt about Windows that you only realise when you try to use another operating system 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your offer – I may yet take it up. I’ve been working with computers much the same period myself but can’t say I am an expert on every aspect. The machine in question is one of my custom gaming rigs, which worked perfectly until it installed the March updates. The only issues are on startup, and intermittently. The post doesn’t outline what I’ve been doing. I covered the hardware as a belt-and-braces check; the causality makes clear it’s software. I have it down to two possibilities, one of them a driver, but haven’t had the time to take it further yet. (And that is why I haven’t bothered with Linux – yeah, it’s free, but only if one’s time is also free, quite apart from everything else. Fun to threaten ditching the Microsoft ship for it, though.)


      1. Feel free. Just reply on here. I’m no expert either, but it sounds very similar to when I’ve twice had faulty RAM. Both times I had some other coincidental happening (changing some hardware, installing new software) that had me spending a frustrating amount of time testing the wrong things. The worst case I replaced practically my whole PC piece by piece. It was my ship of Theseus – it still lived in the same case but I think only one hard drive was actually from the original PC 🙂

        The trouble with faulty RAM is it can display the same symptoms as basically every other technical problem and the intermittency of it only makes it harder to diagnose. eg. you think it’s a driver for the GPU. You remove the GPU/reinstall drivers/roll back to a previous state and it works. But it turns out it was just the problem being intermittent and it shows up as another issue 3 days later. Argh, I’m getting flashbacks!

        My advice would be to run 10 memtests on the ram. If it fails at any point on any of them, remove all but one stick and re-run 10 times. Repeat for each stick.

        Saying all that though, the fact it’s only on start up is odd. Sigh, it’s the nature of the beast with a PC though isn’t it? I look at it like owning an antique car – you have to accept that part of the ‘fun’ is diagnosing problems 🙂

        Well, good luck Matthew. I hope you get it sorted and I’d be interested to hear the results so I hope you keep us posted.

        And yes, completely agree with what you say about linux and the dream of ditching Microsoft 🙂


        1. Update: I finally decided to load the August feature update. Microsoft had been borking updates so routinely since March (when the bluescreen problem began) that I figured it’d more likely cook the whole system. Actually, it seems to have fixed it – and did so by resetting the database table that Windows consults on boot to determine which updates are loaded. So it seems not only did Microsoft’s updates damage their own OS, they also broke the very database on which the system relies to boot.

          There was that adage in the ’90s – if you got the computer working, don’t mess with it. Today’s business model? Mess with it. Gaaaah!


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