Turn off Auto Restart in Windows Vista From the ABO Menu

Windows Vista is, by default, configured to restart after a major failure like a Blue Screen of Death. Unfortunately, that doesn't give you any opportunity to document the error message so you can solve the problem.

Fortunately, this feature, called Automatic Restart on System Failure, can be disabled from the Advanced Boot Options menu in Windows Vista.

Important: You do not need to be able to access Windows Vista normally to disable the automatic restart on system failure option via the Advanced Boot Options menu.

If you actually are able to enter Windows Vista successfully before the Blue Screen of Death appears, it's much easier to disable the automatic restart on system failure from within Windows Vista than from the Advanced Boot Options menu which is the method described in this tutorial.

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Press F8 Before the Windows Vista Splash Screen

Screenshot of Windows Vista starting up

To begin, turn on or restart your PC.

Just before the Windows Vista splash screen shown above appears, or just before your PC automatically restarts, press F8 on your keyboard to enter Advanced Boot Options.

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Choose the Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure Option

Screenshot of the Windows Vista Advanced Boot Options Menu

You should now see the Advanced Boot Options screen as shown above.

If your computer automatically restarted or you see a different screen, you may have missed the brief window of opportunity to press F8 in the previous step and Windows Vista is probably now continuing (or attempting) to boot normally.

If this is the case, just restart your computer and try pressing F8 again.

Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, highlight Disable automatic restart on system failure and press Enter.

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Wait While Windows Vista Attempts to Start

Screenshot of Windows Vista starting up

After disabling the automatic restart on system failure option, Windows Vista might continue to load. Whether or not it does depends on what kind of Blue Screen of Death or other problem Windows Vista is experiencing.

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Document the Blue Screen of Death STOP Code

Screenshot of a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows Vista

Since you disabled the automatic restart on system failure option in Step 2, Windows Vista will no longer force a restart when it encounters a Blue Screen of Death.

Document the hexadecimal number after STOP: plus the four sets of hexadecimal numbers within the parentheses. The most important number is the one listed immediately after STOP:. This is called the STOP Code. In the example shown above, the STOP Code is 0x000000E2.

Now that you have the STOP Code associated with the Blue Screen of Death, you can troubleshoot the problem:

Complete List of STOP Codes on Blue Screens of Death