How to Fake a Blue Screen of Death

How to Fake a BSOD (Don't Worry - It's Harmless)

Screnshot of a 0x5C / HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows 8
A Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows 8.

Yes, believe it or not, you can actually create your own Blue Screen of Death!

Microsoft created this possibility as long as you're willing to make a harmless change to the Windows Registry.

Generating a BSOD on purpose might be useful if you'd like to test your Startup and Recovery settings or maybe you'd just like to see one if you never have. Either way, it's kind of fun and it works on Windows 10Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Note: We have two sets of instructions below, the first of which requires you to make changes to registry keys. Take care in making only the changes described. We recommend that you back up the keys you're modifying in these steps as an extra precaution. See How to Backup the Windows Registry if you need help.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: The registry changes needed to fake a BSOD take less than 15 minutes to complete

How to Fake a Blue Screen of Death

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Locate the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder under My Computer and click on the (+) sign next the folder name to expand the folder.
  3. Continue to expand folders under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE until you reach the ...\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\kbdhid registry key.
  4. Select the Parameters key under kbdhid or i8042prt.
  5. From the menu, select Edit, then New and finally DWORD Value.
  6. On the right-hand side of the screen, a new value will appear. Name this new value CrashOnCtrlScroll. The value must be named this exactly to function properly.

    Tip: Double-check how you spell this registry value. It can not have any extra letters, spaces, etc., or it won't work correctly. Copy/paste the name if it helps.
  1. Double-click on the CrashOnCtrlScroll DWORD value you just created and set the Value data to 1.
  2. Click OK and then close Registry Editor.
  3. Restart your computer and log back into Windows as you normally do.
  4. To generate the BSOD, press-and-hold the Ctrl key on the right side of the keyboard while you press the Scroll Lock key twice in quick succession.

    Warning: Your system will lock up and need to be restarted after causing the BSOD, so make sure any work you are doing is saved and all programs are closed before initiating the keystrokes above.
  1. The BSOD will appear on the screen.

    The specific STOP code generated will probably be 0xDEADDED (MANUALLY_INITIATED_CRASH1) but could be 0x000000E2 (MANUALLY_INITIATED_CRASH).

    Note: If the BSOD appears but the system reboots immediately, you will need to disable the automatic restart on system failure option in Windows.

Did That Not Work?

If the above method didn't create a BSOD, head back to Step 3 and instead of kbdhid, find the i8042prt registry key and follow the remaining instructions from there.

You should be able to use the kbdhid for all USB keyboards but on some computers, especially ones that still use PS/2 keyboards, you'll need to use i8042prt instead.

How to Fake a BSOD With Notepad

This method for creating a fake Blue Screen of Death is much easier than the one described above but isn't a "real" BSOD. It won't look the same as the one you see in the screenshot above because, as you can see below, the entire screen is created using this custom code.

This method can be a bit more fun because you can trick someone into thinking they have a Blue Screen of Death without needing to restart the computer.

  1. Copy the text you see below.
  2. Paste the code into Notepad or some other text editor for Windows.
  1. Save the file but choose "All Files" as the file type, and type .bat at the end of the file name. For example, name it fakebsod.bat.
  2. Open the BAT file to see the fake BSOD. Immediately, Command Prompt will open and a new file, bsod.hta, will be created in the same folder as the BAT file. It's that HTA file that actually opens and displays the fake blue screen.
  3. To close the BSOD, either use the Alt+F4 keyboard shortcut or use the Start key on your keyboard to see the taskbar so that you can manually exit the BSOD window.
@echo off
echo ^<html^>^<head^>^<title^>BSOD^
</title^> > bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^<hta:application id="oBVC" >> bsod.hta
echo applicationname="BSOD" >> bsod.hta
echo version="1.0" >> bsod.hta
echo maximizebutton="no" >> bsod.hta
echo minimizebutton="no" >> bsod.hta
echo sysmenu="no" >> bsod.hta
echo Caption="no" >> bsod.hta
echo windowstate="maximize"/^> >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^</head^>^<body bgcolor="#000088" scroll="no"^> >> bsod.hta
echo ^<font face="Lucida Console" size="4" color="#FFFFFF"^> >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>A problem has been detected and windows has been shutdown to prevent damage to your computer.^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
UAL^</p^> >> bsod.htaecho. >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>If this is the first time you've seen this stop error screen, restart your computer, If this screen appears again, follow these steps:^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>Check to make sure any new hardware or software is properly installed. If this is a new installation, ask your hardware or software manufacturer for any windows updates you might need.^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>If problems continue, disable or remove any newly installed hardware or software. Disable BIOS memory options such as caching or shadowing. If you need to use Safe Mode to remove or disable components, restart your computer, press F8 to select Advanced Startup Options, and then select Safe Mode.^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>Technical information:^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>*** STOP: 0x000000D1 (0x0000000C,0x00000002,0x00000
000,0xF86B5A89)^</p^> >> bsod.htaecho. >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>*** gv3.sys - Address F86B5A89 base at F86B5000, DateStamp 3dd9919eb^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>Beginning dump of physical memory^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>Physical memory dump complete.^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo ^<p^>Contact your system administrator or technical support group for further assistance.^</p^> >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo. >> bsod.hta
echo ^</font^> >> bsod.hta
echo ^</body^>^</html^> >> bsod.hta
start "" /wait "bsod.hta"
del /s /f /q "bsod.hta" > nul
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