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Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death Gets a Makeover for Windows 11

The "B" in "BSOD" isn't going away, but now it seems it will stand for black instead of blue.

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Windows blue screen of death
Screenshot: MitrandirLK (Other)

Much to the dismay of countless users, Microsoft’s Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) has been a mainstay in Windows throughout the years, but now for Windows 11, it looks like the BSOD is getting a makeover with a brand new color: black.

According to The Verge, while the new black screen of death isn’t fully implemented in the latest preview build of Windows 11, Microsoft is switching to a new black background for system crashes, potentially to better match the new black logon and shutdown screens in Windows 11.


The history of the BSOD can be traced all the way back to Windows 3.0, with it getting a handful of updates over the past 30 years—the latest being the addition of a sad face ASCII in Windows 8. In Windows 11, aside from its new black background, it seems the rest of the BSOD is remaining unchanged, including the use of a QR code and relevant error code.


Because the new black screen hasn’t been officially implemented yet, those who are running the first preview build of Windows 11 will need to take a few extra steps to see the new bsod.

According to @xenopanther on Twitter (via Tom’s Hardware), the way to get the new black screen is to change your registry by going to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl and changing the DisplayPreReleaseColor to 0. (Warning, please don’t do this unless you have experience editing your Windows registry.) After that, all you need to do to see the new BSOD is restart your system and then cause a system crash by killing a critical Windows process or some other method.

Somewhat annoyingly, if the blue screen of death gets changed to black, it may cause some confusion among Windows users, as there’s already an existing meaning for getting a black screen of death, which typically occurs when Windows freezes on a black screen during OS installation.

It’s also important to note that because Microsoft has yet to officially comment on the new black screen of death, it’s possible the new BSOD could simply be something Microsoft is testing out during the preview phase of Windows 11. That said, with Windows 11 set to get a massive UI redesign, it wouldn’t be a big shock to see the old BSOD get a small update too.