If Windows has ever suddenly shut down, you've probably experienced that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach . When Windows 7 encounters a serious problem that makes it impossible for the operating system to continue running, it shuts down immediately and displays an ominous text message whose technical details begin with the word STOP in capital letters. Because a Stop error typically appears in white letters on a blue background, this type of message is often referred to as a blue screen error or the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). When a Stop error appears, it means that there is a serious problem that demands your immediate attention .
Windows 7 includes a variety of information sources and debugging tools that you can use to identify the cause of Stop errors. Many of the tools are intended for use by developers with professional debugging tools. These topics are covered in more detail in Windows 7 Resource Kit (Microsoft Press, 2009). If you know where to look, however, you can learn a lot from these error messages, and in many cases you can recover completely by using standard troubleshooting techniques .
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