Computer problems: blue-screen after start-up

I am currently having problems with my computer getting a blue-screen and restarting.
The computer starts up as normal, until my desktop first loads, and begins to start all my backround start-up programs (such as webcam, sidebar gadgets, antivirus software)
at this point the screen turns blue and a message about shutting down windows to prevent damage appears.

When the computer restarts I am given the option to boot into safe mode which does not give me any problems (I am currently writing this message in safe mode).

The build number at the top of my screen is:
Microsoft® Windows® (Build 7601: Service Pack 1)

After starting in safe mode a window appears giving me options for running diagnostics in safe mode, one of which is an event viewer (I’m not entirely sure what this does but it had interesting things in it)
Under a category called Critical there was an event called Kernel Power, that occurred 4 times (also the number of times I blue-screened).
I’m not sure how much of this information is relevant but hopefully someone can help diagnose the problem. Unfortunately I am also currently in the process of finishing an important assignment, so I don’t want to play around with it too much in case I am unable to start it back up again. I will be more than happy to consider restarting tomorrow, but until then I would appreciate any advice or ideas anyone can offer.

Next time, telling us which version of Windows would help.

Windows Build 7601 refers to Windows 7. Plenty of Google hits, almost all referring to the genuineness (or lack there of) of that version.

I did find one hit referring to your problem. It says to reinstall Windows.

First guess is that your hard drive is starting to go bad, and has lost a sector that contained a critical part of Windows.Boot into safe mode, get to a command prompt, and run chkdsk /f to scan and hopefully fix the bad sector of the hard drive. It will probably want to reboot to run the scan.

I read the forum, and it appears that he was unable to start even in safe mode.
Because I was able to I was worried it might be a hardware problem rather than an issue with my windows installation.

This is kinda what i was afraid of. The computer (it’s a Gateway Laptop) is about 3 years old, is that long enough for a hard drive to go bad? I have never had any problem with other computers that have hard drives 10 years old, so I’m unfamiliar with the situation. I seem to recall now that my computer did run a chkdsk program after one restart, but it still blue-screened after. I will try it again after I finish homework.

As for reinstalling windows if it is necessary, I do have access to Windows 7 or 8 for free (through my university’s computer science department), would that be what i would need or do I need a special installation disk? I am not particularly attached to any of the files on my computer, they are mostly old homework files I don’t need anymore, and applications I got for free.

If my disk is corrupted beyond repair (or just getting older and failing in general) should I look into getting a new hard drive? I’m also concerned about the cost of getting one installed. I have been contemplating building my own computer so this might be a good opportunity to do so if getting a new hard drive installed will be more expensive than it is worth.

Installing a hard drive is super, super simple. Modern laptops have a panel that you can remove with maybe 3 screws holding it in place, then there’s probably a plastic tab to pull to disconnect it. Pop the new one in, fasten the panel, and voila. The drive may be in some sort of tray as well, again, just remove the screws holding it in.

Then install windows from scratch, and most likely Windows will find all the drivers you need automatically. I promise, this takes no specialized knowledge at all.

As for your files, it’s likely that at this point, all (or almost all) are easily recoverable. That may change the longer the drive is used, but for now, just boot into safe mode and copy whatever you need onto a thumb drive before doing the steps in paragraph one.

The most useful piece of information will be the “Stop code” which should appear near the top of the blue error screen.

This will be a long hexadecimal number (digits are 0-9 and A-F). That will tell you / us why your Windows 7 system is failing.

Depending on the particular code, it may be something obvious (0000007B is “You changed your BIOS from legacy to AHCI mode”, for example) or something more difficult to pin down. The fact that your computer starts in Safe Mode and works well enough to get onto the Internet to post your question would indicate that it isn’t totally broken.

Reinstalling Windows (either on top of the existing install or as a “format and start over”) would be a very last resort if the problem can’t be identified and corrected.

You mention that your school has a CS department that can give you a Windows 7 / 8 license and install disk. Chances are that somebody there is capable of diagnosing the problem and getting your PC working. It probably won’t be the first person you talk to, though. There’s a fair amount of the “Nuke it from orbit - it’s the only way to be sure” mindset for reinstalling from scratch in most computer support organizations.

The very first thing you should do is back up your critical files, or ideally the entire computer, in case the problem gets worse or the support person you work with disregards your request and reinstalls Windows. I suggest the entire computer simply because people forget what / where stuff is that needs to be saved and don’t realize it until too late.

I have played around a little bit and tried to gather as much information as I can.

As suggested I ran the chkdsk function, which waited until I started, then scanned my disk. It reported 0 bad file records, 0 EA records 44 reparse records, and 960 large file records. Reported 0 unindexed files.

After the chkdsk the login screen appears, and after I log in the welcome message with the little circle appears as normal.
After this I get a black screen with the cursor and the “wait” circle then after a while my desktop appears. It loads the volume, power, network drive info, date/time desktop shortcuts, taskbar programs, then I get the blue-screen.

The top reads" windows has encountered a problem and is shutting down to prevent damage".
underneath is

and near the bottom is the stop code 0x000051 (some number of zeros i couldn’t count
and in brackets several more numbers 0x00001, 0x8A0000(then maybe 2A).

The blue-screen disappeared before I could write down all the numbers.

After rebooting in safe mode a window appears with this information.

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.1.7601.
Locale ID: 1033

Additional information about the problem:
BCCode: 51
BCP1: 0000000000000001
BCP2: FFFFF8A000024010
BCP3: 0000000000EB4000
BCP4: 0000000000000374
OS Version: 6_1_7601
Service Pack: 1_0
Product: 768_1

Files that help describe the problem:

I opened the event viewer and a critical event that corresponds to the blue-screen time has the following information.

  • System

    • Provider

    [ Name] Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-Power
    [ Guid] {331C3B3A-2005-44C2-AC5E-77220C37D6B4}

    EventID 41

    Version 2

    Level 1

    Task 63

    Opcode 0

    Keywords 0x8000000000000002

    • TimeCreated

    [ SystemTime] 2013-01-24T05:30:32.974011300Z

    EventRecordID 137760


    • Execution

    [ ProcessID] 4
    [ ThreadID] 8

    Channel System

    Computer My-Laptop

    • Security

    [ UserID] S-1-5-18

  • EventData

    BugcheckCode 81
    BugcheckParameter1 0x1
    BugcheckParameter2 0xfffff8a000024010
    BugcheckParameter3 0xeb4000
    BugcheckParameter4 0x374
    SleepInProgress false
    PowerButtonTimestamp 0

(upon preview the four bug check parameters seem to match the 4 numbers in brackets after the stop code, so it was likely 24 not 2A)

After poking around on the internet I tried to install a debugger to analyze the .dmp file but the installation did not succeed. From what I read however It seems that the problem might be that some component is not getting enough power. Is it likely that the problem is with my battery? or is there more likely a fault in some component. All of the blue-screens occurred when the laptop was plugged in and fully charged.

I will take a trip down to the CS department and see if they have anyone willing to help me tomorrow as well. I am not really attached to any of the files on my computer, I just need a working laptop for school so if they want to nuke the hard drive that’s not really a big problem, any software I need I can easily re-download.

Sorry for the lengthy post and thanks everyone for the help.

Sounds like a driver problem to me. If so, this tool and forum might assist in ID’ing it.