Defeating the Black Screen of Death

Equipment: a Toshiba Satellite A215-S7437 laptop (AMD Turion 64 X2, 2,048 MB DDR2 SDRAM, 200 GB HDD, DVD SuperMulti optical drive, 802.11b/g wireless network card) running Vista Home Premium.

Problem: an atypical Black Screen of Death.  In most cases, the Black Screen of Death appears at boot; often, the mouse cursor is visible and draggable.  In this case, however, the Black Screen of Death would appear randomly during the computer’s operation, causing the computer to freeze, power button being the only way to regain control.  This would happen about once a day.  Typically, Vista would reboot in normal mode without a problem, but every once in a while it would have to go through a lengthy restore process before booting up (I think the behavior at reboot depended on whether the computer was doing anything sensitive when it froze).

Possible solutions that didn’t work: (1) disabling event logging; (2) setting processor minimum to 100%.

Solution that worked: upgrading BIOS software to the latest version available from Toshiba Support.  So far, over a week without a single black-screen incident.

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