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Windows 11 kills off the Blue Screen of Death… for the Black Screen of Death

Cartoon of Furious office worker is destroying her own personal computer by hammer.
(Image credit: LanKogal / Shutterstock)

Since its inclusion in Windows 3.0 back in 1990, the Blue Screen of Death error screen has been a familiar, though unwelcome, sight whenever your PC encounters a serious problem – but it may be killed off (sort of) in Windows 11.

As The Verge reports, it looks like Windows 11 will have a Black Screen of Death instead. It looks pretty much exactly the same (including that annoying sad face emoji), so it appears that the main difference will be the black background, rather than a blue one.

This raises the question: why? If it’s a relatively minor cosmetic change, was there any reason to change it? While the Blue Screen of Death was never a welcome appearance, it at least made you aware that a drastic problem has occurred. There is a concern that flashing up a black screen with white text could be easily ignored.

Making a change

One of the reasons for the change could simply be just to make Windows 11 stand out from Windows 10. Microsoft has also been working hard on giving Windows 11 a new look, and this could tie in with the company’s ambitions for the operating system to have a distinctive style.

Of course, by the very nature of the now-Black Screen of Death, Microsoft will be hoping that it’s something that you’ll rarely see – if ever.

We’ve been using an early version of Windows 11 since its release earlier this week, and have found it impressively stable, even at such an early stage, and if that continues to the final version, the change to the Black Screen of Death may be a tweak you never even notice.

Matt Hanson

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.