The official home of It's Geek to Me on the web!

Issue #310: June 30, 2013

Q: Lately my computer quite often is showing the BSOD. A screen comes up very briefly giving a message which, at the bottom shows memory dump. My question; is there a way to slow down this screen before going away so as to read the information, or is there a way of going into some of the tables in admin to see what info is included in that screen? It times out so fast I can’t read it before it disappears.

– Richard T.
Crestview, Florida

A: For those readers not in-the-know, the “BSOD” that Richard is referring to is the so-called Blue Screen of Death that appears when things go so wrong that Windows goes into a sort-of panic mode where everything you’re used to seeing on the screen is replaced with a solid blue background filled with white text that is, to everybody but a Microsoft tech, mostly gibberish.

Richard, obviously that text isn’t meant to be read as it’s being displayed.  The text is probably only displayed so that you can tell something is still going on in the system so you don’t prematurely shut your computer off before it finishes the dump.  Next time you get a BSOD, look at the rest of the screen.  The BSOD is also known less colorfully known as the “Stop Screen”, and there should be a stop code prominently displayed on it.  This code describes the general reason why Windows crashed, but probably isn’t going to be specific enough to help you find the exact cause.  The code by itself is just numbers and letters without a translation.  You can find a supposedly-complete list of Stop Codes by clicking over to

Most of the time, a BSOD is caused by an unusual confluence of events in a computer, and a simple restart clears it, allowing you to go happily along (and perhaps redo whatever work was lost in the crash).  If you’re inclined to get to the heart of the matter on exactly what caused it (for example, if your system frequently BSODs, or if you suspect something more sinister is behind the crash) there are things you can do to debug the dump.  As this discussion is way too intense for my simple little column, I offer you a link to a thread on one of my favorite Geek forums, where you can become even more confused:  Good luck!

Q: A new, insidious, and ubiquitous internet thing is happening in both Firefox and IE9, a pop up that reads, “ATTENTION! It is recommended that you download Flash Player to continue. To learn more, click OK.” This pop up has nothing to do with the real Flash Player but its dialogue box pops up (I click the X and not the OK button), and I then close out the underlying web page it presents. This is happening at every site I visit, shortly after the page loads. It also happens when I’m at the same web site for a while, almost as if, “hello…. we’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. Click OK.”

– Bill R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: Hmm, sounds like a movie trailer: “A new, insidious and ubiquitous internet thing is happening!  It cannot be stopped!  No one is safe!” (Sorry, but until I.G.T.M. makes the leap to radio or TV media, you’ll just have to imagine the deep, raspy voice.)

Relax, Bill, it’s not as bad as all that.  What you have is a simple piece of scareware, although based on its behavior, I’m guessing that it’s a type of malware infestation known as a ROOTKIT, which can be particularly difficult to remove.  I congratulate you on recognizing that it’s not legitimate, since it appears to need your click to fully install something else that would surely not be good for your computer.

When it comes to combatting rootkits, my weapon of choice is a free tool from Kaspersky called TDSSKiller.  You can download it here:  After it completes, run a good anti-malware program, such as MalwareBytes AntiMalware, which you can download here:  Once you get this stuff off your system, remember that these infections don’t happen in a vacuum.  Something you clicked on caused this – probably a pop-up or a banner ad that said something was out-of-date on your system.  It is important to learn what legitimate software updates look like, so this doesn’t happen again.

Leave a Reply

June 2024

Search the site


Copyright Notice

All content on this site is Copyright © 2007-2024 by Jeff Werner – All rights reserved.