Operating system problems can be attributed to hardware, software, networks, or some combination of the three. You will resolve some types of OS problems more often than others. A stop error is a hardware or software malfunction that causes the system to lock up. An example of this type of error is known as the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and appears when the system is unable to recover from an error. The BSOD is usually caused by device driver errors.

The Event Log and other diagnostic utilities are available to research a stop error or BSOD error. To prevent these types of errors, verify that the hardware and software drivers are compatible. In addition, install the latest patches and updates for Windows. When the system locks up during startup, the computer can automatically reboot. The reboot is caused by the auto restart function in Windows and makes it difficult to see the error message.

The auto restart function can be disabled in the Advanced Startup Options menu. The chart shows common operating system problems and solutions.