Blue screen of death

Data recovery after blue screen of death

The dreaded blue screen of death is often a transitory event and is fixed by rebooting. Sometimes though it can be more serious and can prevent the system rebooting. It is not common for this error to cause data loss, but fixing the problem can sometimes involve having to repair or reload the operating system. To prevent any loss of data, this is the correct stage to ensure you have a valid backup of your data. The following steps can be carried out. As it is normally only the system drive causing the problem then this is the only one we will concentrate on. CnW Recovery software (download here) will enable data to be recovered before the system is repaired, even from a very damaged or corrupted disk.

Stage 1

Remove the system drive and set it up as a slave drive on a different PC. It is often easiest to use a USB caddy to do this. If you are ‘lucky’ the drive will display as a logical drive, and all data files can be copied off and stored in a safe location. If the drive does not display as a logical drive, or the operating system suggests that it should be reformatted, the proceed with stage 2

Stage 2

As above, set the drive up as a slave drive, eg in a USB caddy, and load CnW Recovery on to the host PC. Ensure that the host PC has adequate space for the data to be recovered. Start CnW Recover and on the first screen select the ‘failed’ drive and then press the icon of the drive which will start initial analysis of the drive. A Blue screen is not normally caused by major hardware failure so one would expect the first physical test to work. The second test does some basic verification of key sectors on the drive. If these pass, then it is worth proceeding with the wizard to do a full recovery. However, if the disk is full and only certain files are required, at this point it may be better to go to the main program and do a manual recovery allowing for file selection. The file filter can be used to select or skip certain files.

When recovering a system disk there will be a mix of application files and data files. Although both types of files can be recovered it is often impossible to just copy the applications back and expect them to work. This is due to registry settings being required. Put simply, it is easiest to re-install applications, and add back user data. The other reason not to recover application and systems files is that one may be corrupted and could be reason for the blue screen of death.

Stage 3
Once all user data has been recovered and stored safely it is time to try and take care of the blue screen problem. Depending on operating system it may be possible to reboot in SafeMode or use the Microsoft Recovery console. Further options including doing a repair reload - retaining all data and settings. If this fails, then a full reload will be necessary which will remove all logical paths to existing data. At this point it is essential to know that all data is safely stored elsewhere. NB, if this stage is done without recovering the data first, typically CnW Recovery can still recover the user files