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: Changes to registry keys are made in these steps. Take care in making only the changes described. I 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.

More BSOD Resources

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