Earlier this year it looked like Microsoft would permanently change the colour of its familiar, if dreaded, ‘blue screen of death’ (BSOD) on Windows machines from blue to black.
The BSOD is something of an institution in the Windows world, serving as the very clear signal that something has gone wrong with your PC. Over the years, Microsoft has updated the screen with more detail as to exactly what has gone wrong, but the screen has almost always been blue.
Here are ZDNet’s current top picks for a variety of use cases.
Microsoft never explained why it changed the error screen to black, but, as spotted by Ars Technica, the company is rolling back that color change, with the a return to blue in a Windows 11 preview to Beta and Release Preview Channels released on Friday.
Way down its list of improvements in Windows 11 preview Build 22000.346 is a bullet point stating that: “We changed the screen color to blue when a device stops working or a stop error occurs as in previous versions of Windows.” If you’re lucky you’ll rarely if ever get to see that particular screen, of course.
Windows 11 has gradually been dealing with bugs in core features of the user interface and system, including the Taskbar, Start menu, File Explorer, Search and more – many of which its engineers had been addressing prior to the October 5 official mainstream release date, and continue to fix in the latest Windows preview releases as it adds new Teams chat features to the desktop OS.
The latest preview includes improvements for the Start menu, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), Search, issues affecting hibernation, a few lingering networked printer issues, Xbox One and Xbox Series audio peripheral issues, and File Explorer bugs.
It’s still early days for Windows 11. Microsoft is ramping up availability of Windows 11 to more devices, but the roll out is expected to take some time due to Microsoft’s minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11.
ZDNet’s Ed Bott estimated almost two-thirds of the 1.3 billion PCs currently running Windows 10 won’t be eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade due to those requirements. That’s roughly in line with the results of a survey of 30 million enterprise PCs by IT asset management company Lansweeper, which estimated that 55% of those PCs wouldn’t meet Microsoft’s hardware requirements.
Microsoft is expected to release Windows 10 version 21H2 imminently, but it hasn’t said whether, after this release, it would make two Windows 10 feature releases a year as it has in the past – only that Windows 10 would be supported until October 14, 2025.
In a blogpost last week, however, Microsoft was encouraging users on Windows 10 version 2004, which expires on 14 December, to upgrade to Windows 11, while playing down Windows 10 21H2 as only having a “scoped set of features focused on productivity and security”.