9 Fixes to Red Screen of Death Error in Windows

We all know what the Blue Screen of Death and the Black Screen of Death are and why they appear on our Windows computers. Like these two the Red Screen of Death is also an indicator of Windows issues and is dangerous.

As the color suggests, this is a sign of one or more critical issues on your PC. Begin reading to learn more about this problem and how to fix this, if you ever come across the Red Screen of Death.

What is the RSoD?

The Red Screen of Death, Red Screen of Doom, or the RSoD, is a critical error that is known for showing up on classic Windows Operating System versions like Windows 98, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.

The modern Operating Systems such as the Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and their variants show you a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) with different error codes and reasons, instead of the RSoD. 

This term was created by the Microsoft OS developers when they had reports of users receiving error messages on a red screen if they encountered a BIOS issue or a hardware error. 

The RSoD is also known to appear on the PlayStation 2 console display when an incompatible disk or no disk is inserted in the drive and an attempt to run the game/media is made by the user. This error has also been spotted in the Xbox 360, Atari Jaguar, and GameCube consoles. The red screen error is also reported to have appeared on iPhones.

Different Red Screen issues

The Red Screen of Death is not an individual problem and there are several problems that make users see Red Screen errors. It is important for you to find out the type of issue you are dealing with to fix them.

  1. Startup Red Screen – This red screen appears during the starting up of the Operating System (OS). Old drivers or third-party software can be responsible for this.
  2. Loading Red Screen – This unusual problem can come up when the computer gets stuck on a red screen loading screen. 
  3. Cursor – Audio Red Screen – This red screen is caused by the audio drivers or the graphics card.
  4. Laptop Red Screen – This issue can appear on your laptop, when it goes through graphics card driver issues.
  5. Nvidia Red Screen – This error comes when you overclock Nvidia Graphics cards
  6. Red Flashes – If you see a red screen flashing on your screen, this is also because of overclocked configurations. 
  7. Excel Red Screen error – MS Excel can also be responsible for these types of red screen issues on Windows. 
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Causes for the Red Screen of Death on Windows 10

There are four software conflicts that cause the Red Screen to appear on your Windows 10 computer. 

  1. If your graphics card is being put to maximum usage for a while, playing games, rendering content, watching videos, or performing any task that stresses your Graphics card, can bring the Red Screen of Death up.
  2. Incompatible drivers caused by out-of-date BIOS/UEFI can also cause Red Screen errors to come up.
  3. Negligently overclocked Graphics card or processor can show you the Red Screen.
  4. Using a recently installed hardware component without having the drivers essential for the functioning of these components is also a reason for the Red Screen of Death error. 

9 Ways to solve the RSoD

  1. Boot up your OS in Safe Mode
  2. Update BIOS or UEFI in Safe Mode
  3. Change overclock settings
  4. Update the Graphics card drivers
  5. Uninstall programs that cause the Red Screen error
  6. Recover atikmdag.sys
  7. Check the power supply
  8. Check for Hardware malfunctioning
  9. Change Settings.ini File

Methods to Fix Red Screen on Windows 10

Boot up your OS in Safe Mode

Launching your Operating System in Safe Mode can help you pinpoint the source of any problem that you are facing, regarding your Windows computer. When you start your computer using safe mode, only the most important functions run. You should not be able to see the problem exist when the Safe Mode is active.

If your Windows 10 OS boot-up is interrupted thrice, the Automatic Repair mode is launched on the fourth time. This is the easiest way to start Safe Mode:

  1. Press the power or restart button on the CPU, while your desktop PC starts. Hold the power button down for around 4 seconds to interrupt the booting process if your device is a laptop. 
  2. After the Automatic Repair finishes loading, choose an account through which changes have to be made. It should have administrator permissions. 
  3. The OS, then, performs a diagnostic of the PC and its storage drive. This may take a while.
  4. From the Automatic Repair window, choose Advanced options.
  5. Follow this path:

Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart

  1. Choose the Safe Mode method through which the computer has to be launched in. 

There are many methods for Windows users to launch Safe mode. We have an entire article devoted to Safe Mode, containing instructions on How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Update BIOS or UEFI for Motherboard

The UEFI/BIOS is the software that is embedded in the computer’s motherboard. UEFI/BIOS issues can cause various kinds of problems, including the Red Screen of Death.

However important it is to update BIOS on your computer, you need to know that if the BIOS update is not completed properly or if an error occurs while you update it, a series of system crashes may be triggered and you could be looking at permanent damage to your system. 

Users can find the latest version of the BIOS update file and the instructions to install it, on the websites of most motherboard manufacturers. Read the instructions very carefully, before you start the process. 

If you have an interface application that comes with the PC, you can use it to update the system, BIOS, and also driver. This is easier than updating the BIOS manually.

Change Overclock settings

Overclocking is the process of altering the hardware clock rate, voltage, and multiplier to extract the best performance from the components. When being overclocked, the GPU produces more heat than usual, causing the CPU to become unstable and thus causing the Red Screen of Death error.

It is important that you stop using the overclocked settings, once you see errors popping up on your screen. Extensive usage of these settings configuration can cause severe PC issues. This is a complicated feature and is not designated for basic users.

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Update the Graphics card drivers

Outdated hardware driver software can cause inconveniences. Updating these drivers may fix this issue and also provide newer features than the current driver. 

This is how you can update the drivers:

  1. Type in Device Manager in the search bar and open the best match. Alternatively, users can also open the Run tool (Windows + R key) and use the “devmgmt.msc” command to open the same.
Windows Device Manager window
  1. Look for the Display Adapters section and click on it to expand.
  2. Under the display adapters section, you should be able to see the video drivers that are present on your PC.
  3. Right-click on the video driver that you want to upgrade and choose Update driver.
Update Driver option for the dedicated video card
  1. In the Update driver dialog box that appears, you just have to follow the instructions to download the latest version of the driver.

If you have a graphic driver interface application like the Radeon Adrenaline or the GeForce Experience, updating this is easier. Restart your PC to finish the fix.

The Nvidia GeForce Experience home window

Uninstall programs that cause the Red Screen error

  1. Enter Add or Remove Programs into the search bar and Click on the topmost result.
  2. You’ll see a list of all the applications that you think might be causing this issue for you. You might have an idea of which application was last installed before the issue showed and you might want to delete that.
The Apps & Features page in the Windows Settings
  1. Click on the application for more details.
  2. Press the Uninstall button to bring up the uninstall wizard.
Uninstall button for an application, in the list of programs
  1. Follow the instructions in the dialog box. 
  2. Restart your PC again.

If this does not fix the issue, you can download the application again.

Recover atikmdag.sys 

Atikmdag.sys is the system file for computers with AMD graphics cards. This is the driver software that is responsible for the communication between the Radeon GPU and the Operating System. Failure of this can also be a cause of the RSoD error.

Follow these steps to fix this:

  1. Open the File Explorer and go to the AMD driver folder.
  2. You will find the atikmdag.sy_.
  3. Send a copy of this to the desktop.
  4. Then, Open the Command Prompt utility by searching for it in the search bar and clicking on Run as Administrator.
The search results for cmd, with a few other options
  1. First, enter this command to set your current folder to the Desktop:
chdir desktop 
  1. Press Enter and type in the next command line, which is:
EXPAND.EXE atikmdag.sy_ atikmdag.sys
  1. Close the Command Prompt window and open your File Explorer.
  2. Copy and paste this in your address bar:

C:\Windows\System32\Drivers

  1. Locate the atikmdag.sys file and change its name to atikmdag.sys.old. This is to help the OS differentiate between the old and new files. 
  2. Return to your desktop and move the atikmdag.sys file to 

C:\Windows\System32\Drivers

  1. Once you finish all these steps, you will have to manually restart your device.

Check the power supply

There are chances that you might have an improper power supply while using the computer. This could mean that all the components of the PC may not receive an adequate amount of electricity required to function properly. 

You can try fixing the components correctly or removing some extra parts like the CD/DVD drive or the Secondary storage unit so that there is an even supply of power. If removing these does not help, you can change your power source.

Check for hardware malfunctioning

If the error is not fixed after trying all the above methods to fix the Red Screen of Death error, you might have to change certain hardware components. It is possible for their performance to deteriorate over time, like every other machinery. 

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It is very hard to locate the faulty hardware component on your computer. But, you can use the Event viewer to take a look at the crash report of the RSoD error.

These are your steps to look for hardware malfunctions:

  1. Open the Run tool. Press Windows and R key on the keyboard or search for the Run utility in the search bar, to launch this. 
  2. Enter the following line and click Ok to run it:

Eventvwr.msc

  1. In the Event Viewer window, expand the Custom Views option from the left pane and click on Administrative Events.
The Administrative Events side-heading on the left panel
  1. On the list of Errors, find your RSoD error and select it.
  2. You should be able to see details of the error under the list, in the Details tab.
The Administrative Events page, with the Details tab on the bottom
  1. If you can find out which part is malfunctioning, check if you have driver updates for it before you replace this or consult tech support. 

Change Settings.ini File

Many users reported that this issue came up when they played Battlefield: Bad Company 2. If this is your case, fixing this is simple.

  1. Open Documents in the File Explorer.
  2. Double-click on the BFBC2 folder and open the Settings.ini document.
  3. Find the Dxversion line and change its value from auto to 9
  4. Save these changes and launch the game again. It should run without any trouble.

Fixing the iPhone Red Screen

If you see the red screen on your iPhone, it is not a problem at all. You just have to press the power button till the Apple logo appears on your screen again. You can also try updating your latest iOS version. Starting your iPhone in Recovery mode might also help.

Conclusion

The Red Screen Windows error might seem very threatening. But the above methods have been tested out on various scenarios and can fix the Red Screen windows error on your PC. You do not have to worry about the RSoD. This article contains everything you need to know about this.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the red screen of death error?

The Red Screen of Death (RSoD) is an error window that is displayed when there is a hardware failure on your PC. This is also known to appear on iPhones, PlayStation 2, Atari Jupiter, Game Cube, and Xbox 360 consoles.

How do I fix red screen of death error?

RSoD errors can be fixed by launching the system in Safe mode, looking for component damages, changing overclocking settings and deleting dangerous software from the PC. 

What is a red screen on computer?

A Red Screen error on Windows is a warning screen that comes up when there are graphics card issues are on your PC. This issue has to be fixed as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage to the CPU.

How do I fix my red screen?

Windows users can fix the RSoD errors on the computer by booting up in Safe mode, removing suspicious software, download updates, and modify overclocking configurations on their system to fix the RSoD problem on their device.

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