The infamous Blue Screen of Death might be turning black in Windows 11

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(Image credit: reddit - MartinNobel_1)

The dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), which has been a part of the Windows experience since the 1990s, might now be turning into the Black Screen of Death, according to a report from The Verge. The color change is just one of many changes you can expect as we get closer to the release retail build of Windows 11 later this year.

According to a source at Microsoft, the color of the BSOD will change from blue to black to match Windows 11’s other aesthetic changes. It'll contain the usual error message code, QR code, and THAT sideways frowny face we've grown accustomed to since Windows 8, but on a black background instead of the classic blue. Somehow, going from blue to black makes that error screen seem just a bit dire, doesn't it?

The Black Screen of Death doesn't show up automatically on the preview build of Windows 11. Suppose you want to experience the new BSOD for yourself (and why wouldn't you?): Tom's Hardware explains that the way to get the black screen is by changing your registry (at your risk, please be careful) to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl and making DisplayPreReleaseColor to 0. Restart your PC, and the next time your Windows bites the dust, it should reward you with the Black Screen of Death.

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This isn't the first time Microsoft has messed with different colors for error screens. A preview build of Windows 10 used a green BSOD for a while. Windows 98 and Vista had Red Screens of Death for graphics card-related issues back in the day. But the Blue Screen of Death has been with us for 30 years, with subtle changes in the last few years. 

We've reached out to Microsoft and asked if the new BSOD is coming to the final version of Windows 11, or if it's strictly for the current preview build that's available now. 

Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware, from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for over ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, Tom's Guide, and a bunch of other places on the world wide web.