Where are the Blue Screen of Death log files located in Windows? Here’s how to read them

When your computer crashes and you experience a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), your system records the details of the crash as a BSOD log, in a predefined location in Windows. This information gives you details on when the crash happened, what caused it, and sometimes even what to do to fix the problem.


In this guide, we will first discuss where BSOD files are located in Windows and then how to identify them. Once you’ve located a BSOD file, we’ll show you how to properly read it to understand the potential causes of the error and fix the problem.


Where are BSOD log files located in Windows?

You can find BSOD log files in Event Viewer, Control Panel, and Registry Editor in Windows. Below we have listed the detailed steps to find these files in these three utilities.

1. Find and read BSOD log files in Event Viewer

Event Viewer is a tool developed by Microsoft to allow users to view system and program related events in Windows. In other words, every issue you encounter (whether it’s a minor glitch or a major crash) will be logged in Event Viewer for later investigation and sharing with Microsoft.

You can check out our detailed guide on what Event Viewer is and how it can be useful if you are unfamiliar with it.

Here is how you can find BSOD log files in Event Viewer:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon in the taskbar and choose Event Viewer from the context menu.
  2. Head to the Stock menu at the top, and choose Create a custom view from the context menu.
  3. In the next dialog, expand the drop-down list for Connected and choose the time when you encountered the problem.
  4. Now go to the Event Level section and choose Mistake.
  5. Expand the drop-down menu to Event logs and check the box for Windows logs.
  6. Click on OKAY proceed.
  7. You will now be prompted to enter a name and description for the custom view you just created. Enter these details and click OKAY.
  8. Once the view is created, you will be presented with a list of errors that occurred during the time period you selected earlier. You can further sort this information in the Date and Time section.
  9. Then locate the BSOD again using details like date and time.
  10. Once you find the targeted journal, click on it.
  11. Check the General and Details tabs for information about this error.

Once you find the error code associated with the crash and the cause, you can search for solutions online or check out our guide on how to fix blue screen errors in Windows.

2. Find and read BSOD log files in Registry Editor

If using Event Viewer does not work for you for some reason, you can use another Windows utility to locate and investigate BSOD log files, Registry Editor.

Windows Registry Editor is an administrative-level utility that allows you to edit the Windows Registry. The registry stores information about the hardware and software components of your system. Registry information is stored in the form of keys and values, and by modifying them with the dedicated registry editor, you can customize your system’s operations.

Below are the steps to find BSOD log files in Registry Editor. Make sure you are logged into your system as an administrator before continuing.

  1. press the Win + R keys to open Run.
  2. Type “regedit” in Run and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to launch Registry Editor as administrator.
  3. Now select Yes in the user account prompt.
  4. Once in Registry Editor, navigate to the following location:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlCrashControl
  5. Next, move to the right pane and right-click on an empty space anywhere.
  6. Picking out New > DWORD (32-bit) value.
  7. Name this value as ShowSettings and double click on it.
  8. Under Value Data, type 1 and click OKAY.
  9. Once done, restart your PC.

Upon reboot, you should be able to view the log files without any issues.

3. Find and read BSOD log files in control panel

The third way to find and read BSOD log files is through Control Panel. Unlike the methods we discussed above, this method provides you with log file information in the form of a graph.

We will access the reliability monitor in the system for this method. Here is all you need to do:

  1. Type Control Panel in the taskbar search box and click Open.
  2. In the next window, choose System and security > Safety and maintenance.
  3. Click on Maintenance then select View Reliability History.
  4. You should now see a graph showing reliability data. Look for red cross icons and blue (i) icons in the graph, as these indicate problematic events.
  5. Click on each of the icons to view its details. Keep repeating the process to locate the event you are looking for.

Information such as the path of the failing application, its name, timestamp of the error module, exception code, etc. will be presented to you. If this app caused a BSOD crash, you can try to end its process through task manager or uninstall the app if it is not needed.

It’s also a good idea to copy this information and send it to Microsoft for review if you can’t find a solution online.

Learn how to read your BSOD log files and troubleshoot your crashes

Windows blue screen errors aren’t new, but since they only show messages like “Your PC ran into a problem” without describing the cause, it can be difficult to find a solution. . Understanding how to read BSOD log files can not only help you identify the exact cause of the problem, but also help you find the right solution. Whenever a component causes your system to crash, you can disable it and switch to a better alternative to avoid the problem.

About Sally E. Bartley

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