How to find out why my Windows 11 or 10 computer crashed

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Marie-Ange Demory
@marie-angedemory
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support.microsoft.com

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Your computer will freeze from time to time, especially if you are running Microsoft Windows 10/11 or an earlier version of Windows. All computer crashes are logged by your operating system, which can help you figure out what needs to be fixed. However, the key is knowing where to look for these records.

On Windows, you will notice that your computer screen turns blue for a moment before it freezes. The infamous "blue screen of death" (BSOD) is a surefire sign that something needs to be fixed on your computer.



In some cases, however, the blue screen disappears very quickly. You won't be able to log the error code for troubleshooting, but you can still find the details about the cause of the crash. This is exactly what we are discussing in this guide.

Possible reasons why the computer has crashed or stopped

  • Failure or RAM or hard drive
  • Overheating
  • Virus o malware
  • Incorrect, defective, outdated, or corrupted device drivers
  • Weak or fluctuating feeding
  • Occasionally, third party software

Now that you know the possible reasons that can cause system crashes, let's talk about how to determine what caused this. Only once you have determined the cause, will you be able to repair Windows and prevent it from crashing in the future.

Look for critical events in reliability monitoring

Windows introduced Reliability Monitor starting with Windows 7 and has been the fastest and most intuitive way to find system and app crashes ever since.

However, be aware that reliability monitoring does not explicitly state what caused the crash. It is more helpful to review the events that occurred before or during the incident so that you can try to narrow down a potential cause.



You can open the Reliability Monitor by searching for it in the Start menu. Type reliability in the Start menu search bar and select View reliability history su Windows 10 o 11.

Once the reliability monitor is open, you will be able to see the daily columns with the current date on the far right and the events on each of those days. You also have the option to choose a weekly view by selecting Settimane top left.

Freezes and crashes are represented by an X in a red circle. These are the critical events you are looking for in Reliability Monitor as you try to figure out what caused the crash problem.

You'll also see critical events listed at the bottom - double-click an event to get more information on what caused it.

You can view the Event Viewer to also check why your computer crashed. However, you will get the same information about the Event Viewer as the Reliability Monitor.

View crash logs in Event Viewer

You can use Event Viewer to check for errors, warnings, and system messages generated just before the Windows 10 crash. Event Viewer classifies events as follows:

  • Informative: normal events in which a process ran successfully fall into this category.
  • Warning: Events in this category have the potential to cause problems in the future, even if they have not currently caused errors.
  • Error: this is the category where you will find process errors and crashes.

To access Event Viewer on Windows 10 and 11, type event viewer in the Start menu search box and press Submit to select the best match.



When you start Event Viewer, you will see a list in the left sidebar. You will find the crash logs for a BSOD event or your PC crashing for any other reason in the section Windows Logs > System .

You will now see all the events listed, but if you don't want to sift through hundreds of events, select the label Subscription at the top of the first column and will bring all critical events to the top.

Alternatively, you can create a custom view to filter and find critical events. You can do this by selecting Create custom view from the right sidebar in the Event Viewer. A new window will appear.

Select the relevant duration based on when the crash event occurred from the drop-down menu next to the option Registered. Check the box Error in Options event level and select System from the drop-down menu next to the option By register .

When done, select OK .

Name the view and add a description if you prefer. Select again OK to create the view.

You will now see the filtered events in the Event Viewer. Look for events surrounding the blue screen error or PC crash to see what caused the problem.

View error logs using PowerShell

You also have the option to extract error logs on Windows using PowerShell. Near PowerShell in the Start menu and start Windows PowerShell.

Copy and paste the following command into PowerShell:

Get-EventLog -Log system  | where {$_.entryType -match “Error”}


The command will retrieve the entire event log. However, if you only want to last 30 entries, use the following command:

Get-EventLog -LogName System -Newest 15 -EntryType Error

Both commands will retrieve system events that have been classified as errors in the Event Viewer.


How to fix a crashing problem on Windows 10 or 11

Correcting the crash problem depends on the cause. After determining the cause using one of the methods mentioned above, choose a relevant solution to fix your computer crash problem:

  • Restart: Shut down your PC, wait a minute and press the power button again. Often times, a reboot is all it takes to fix a problem.
  • Update Driver: If the BSOD error indicates "Driver Overran Stack Buffer" or "Driver Power State Failure", updating the drivers may help.
  • Disable CPU Overclocking: If your computer crashes due to CPU overheating, unlock it from the BIOS or use a third-party overheat protection tool.
  • Uninstall Antivirus: In some cases, your antivirus may be the culprit. Try uninstalling it to see if that fixes the problem.
  • SFC: If Windows crashes because your PC is missing a system file, you can use the System File Checker (SFC) command in an elevated command prompt to fix it: sfc / scannow.
  • Chkdsk: Chkdsk is a built-in command line utility that checks the hard drive for filesystem errors and bad sectors. To fix crashes caused by filesystem errors or bad sectors, type cmd in the Start menu, right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. Then, run the following command: chkdsk D: / f / r / x
  • System Restore: If your PC has a restore point, you can restore the PC to previous working conditions using the System Restore feature.

However, if you can't start Windows or the crash occurs on startup, you'll need to boot into Safe Mode first.

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