The other day I came across a clients computer that was getting the infamous Blue Screen of Death (aka BSOD). However, since the computer had the “Automatically Restart if the event of a bluescreen” option switched on, the system would restart and the blue screen disappear too quickly for me to read. Most technicians will just go into Safe Mode and switch this off, but what if you cant get into Safe Mode? What happens if the option to “Disable Automatic Restart” doesn’t show in the F8 menu either?
I had this happen to me and I found a way around it. Read on.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the blue screen of death. It is a screen that shows up when Windows has a critical failure. It has messages of what went wrong with the computer and can greatly help technicians figure out what is causing the error.
Anyway, most of the time this “automatically restart” option isn’t a problem for computer technicians because we can just log into Windows Safe Mode (F8) and turn it off by doing the following:
Right Click on “My Computer” and goto “Properties”. Then goto the “Advanced” tab and under the headline “Startup and Recovery”, press the “Settings” button. Untick the “Automatically Restart” box and press Ok.
However, in this instance Safe Mode wouldn’t start up either. In most cases if you press F8 after a BSOD crash you will have the option “Disable Automatic Restart”. I wasn’t getting that either. So here is my way to turn off Automatic Restart.
Note: You will need access to a working computer to do these steps. You will also need a fairly good knowledge of computers, BIOS and registry editing in order to do this. This article is aimed towards computer technicians.
1. If you don’t have it already, download UBCD4Win using one of the mirrors here. To run it, create an ISO and burn it to CD you can read the instructions here. I wont write the instructions here because the ones on the previous link are better and this article is more targeted at computer technicians and most of them already have this CD.
2. Once the CD has been created, goto the BIOS and make sure your CDRom is set as the first boot device. Start up the computer with UBCD4Win in the CDRom and you will have some boot options. Choose the “Launch The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows” option.
It will take a few minutes to load fully, but when it does you should see a Windows XP like interface like in the picture below:
3. In the UBCD4Win interface, goto Start > Programs > Registry Tools > RegEdit(Remote)
4. The program will then ask “Do you wish to load remote user profile(s) for scanning?”. Choose Yes.
5. It will then ask you to “Select User Profile”. Choose the main user account. It may be “Administrator” or some other username (but not Local Service, NetworkService or systemprofile). In the instance of the screenshot below, its “Julia”.
6. Now you should see a Window named “Registry Editor” which is identical to the usual “regedit” under Windows. Navigate to the following key:
7. In here you will find a key named “AutoReboot”. Double click on it to edit its DWORD Value and under “Value Data:” the current value should be 1, which means AutoReboot is turned on. Change this to 0 (which turns it off) and press OK.
8. Restart the machine and try and boot into the normal Windows mode. You should now see the blue screen of death. Write down the “STOP:” number and the error message. You can look for the solution up using Google or check out our article on common blue screen error messages.