Say goodbye to the recent Blue Screen of Death drama in your life with these new fixes from Intel

If you’ve recently been confronted by the fearsome Blue Screen of Death (also known as BSOD… yes, it’s got its own acronym) when using Windows 11, Intel might have pinpointed the cause and is offering a fix. According to Intel, the recent BSOD is likely caused by a faulty Wi-Fi driver, for which it’s released an update that should resolve this. It’s also released an update for Bluetooth, version 23.30, that should bring additional stability. 

Intel WLAN driver version 23.30 is Intel’s February 2024 Wi-Fi update that should stop Windows 11 from crashing and showing the BSOD. This update addresses more than just the crashing issue in Windows 11, as detailed in Intel’s full release notes for the update. Other improvements include an improved Quality of Service (QoS) which will help devices prioritize internet traffic better, and Windows Latest explains that this could improve the overall internet performance of a device connected to a router used by multiple devices. Intel has also made changes that should improve network latency, which is good news for those who like to play games online.

Since installing the initial driver update, users have been reporting issues like Windows System Event ID 5002 errors have been a common occurrence. Other issues included problems with finding Wi-Fi networks and connecting to monitors using the wireless Miracast function. 

Windows 11 Update showing on laptop in an office

(Image credit: TechRadar)

How and when you can expect these updates

If you have a suitable Windows 11 device with Intel Wi-Fi and Bluetooth components, you can expect these updates to land in your device’s Windows Update app. If for whatever reason you do not see these or you want to speed up the process (given they’ve not been installed already), you can use the Intel Driver and Support Assistant (iDSA) to download and install them. You can do this by going to Intel’s website and downloading the installation file for the iDSA, and opening up the app once installed. Get the app to check for updates, and if they’re available for your device, they should show up. If you have issues with the updates once they’re installed, you should be able to revert to older versions using the Device Manager app.

If you’re having other issues with your Windows 11 device, Intel-based or not, you can download and install the Windows 11 February 2024 optional update. This version comes with a host of updates and fixes and should also deliver a boost in performance. These are set to be installed automatically with Microsoft’s Windows 11 Moment 5 updates but are available to try in this optional update. Fixes for connectivity and Wi-Fi issues are always good news, so this is a welcome development from Intel, and I would always recommend installing updates that are available both for improved functionality and the most up-to-date security improvements.

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Windows 11 hack keeps your PC alive (sort of) after a Blue Screen of Death crash

A Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows 11 is when the PC locks up entirely, with no possible recourse – except to reboot there and then – unless you’ve hacked the operating system, that is.

Tom’s Hardware reports that NTDEV, the maker of Tiny11 (a lightweight version of Windows 11) flagged up on X (formerly Twitter) that NSG650 has a project on GitHub which is a driver that modifies the normal BSOD behavior, firing up a Linux emulator when a crash occurs.

In other words, instead of just having the option to reboot, you get a RISC-V Linux emulator popping up post-crash. How is this done? It leverages the bugcheck callback feature in Windows – which is part of the BSOD process, and allows for code to run after a crash – and in this case, the code inserted brings up the emulator.

Now, all the Linux emulator consists of is a basic command line (like the old days of DOS, just a text interface), and you can’t really do anything with it – it’s just showing what can be done (see the video clip below), rather than actually implementing anything useful.


Analysis: An opportunity for Microsoft?

With this methodology discovered, this raises the question that with some work, could something more advanced be concocted along these lines? Something that does allow you to do useful things after a BSOD, like plug in a USB drive and back up files, for example, if you’re worried they might be corrupted. Or maybe to run some kind of lightweight recovery utility.

Having seen this in action, though, it’s entirely possible Microsoft will patch this out, as it could be seen as a security risk in Windows 11 (and Windows 10 for that matter).

However, we can but hope that it might inspire Microsoft to look at doing something more useful, as mentioned, with the BSOD, and allowing at least some post-crash options, if indeed it’s possible to work anything meaningful in that way – which we don’t know, we should add.

For the moment, this little trick remains an interesting novelty, with a tantalizing possibility that it could become more than that in the future. Whatever the case, even if nothing happens along those lines, we think Microsoft could definitely improve BSODs in other ways – though if you happen to encounter one, at least we have a Blue Screen of Death survival guide.

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These fake Blue Screen of Death mock-ups highlight a serious problem with Windows 11

Windows 11 getting a redesigned BSOD – the dreaded Blue Screen of Death that pops up when a PC crashes – might be a joke on X (formerly Twitter) right now, but it highlights a serious issue.

OK, 'joke' might be a strong word, but the BSOD mock-ups presented by Lucia Scarlet on X are certainly tongue-in-cheek, featuring colorful emojis which are rather cutesy – not what you really want to see when your PC has just crashed and burned.

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That said, the overall theme of the design, giving the BSOD a more modern look, isn’t unwelcome, even if the emojis aren’t appropriate in our book.

That said, there are comments in the threads of those tweets that highlight how some folks are disappointed that these aren’t real incoming redesigns for Windows 11. In some cases, there are people who appreciate a more friendly emoji appearing, as opposed to the frowny face (a text-based one, mind) which has been present on BSODs.

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Analysis: The blue screen blues

That disappointment is likely, at least in part, to be a more general indicator of the level of dissatisfaction with the BSOD – particularly in regards to the lack of information the screen provides, and shortfalls with the help that is supplied.

When a BSOD appears, it’s usually highly generic, and tells the Windows 11 (or Windows 10) user very little – you’ll read something like “a problem happened” with no elaboration on exactly what went wrong.

Meaningless error messages (known as stop codes that can pop up elsewhere in Windows 11, too) which are a jumble of hexadecimal letters and numbers might be cited, or a techie reference to a DLL perhaps, none of which are likely to be a jot of help in discerning what actually misfired in your system.

Never mind visual redesigns, Microsoft improving the info and help provided with BSODs would be the biggest step forward that could be taken with these screens. We've witnessed one innovation in the form of the QR codes provided – as seen in the mock-ups above – but these were introduced way back in 2016, and haven’t progressed much in the best part of a decade, often linking through to not fully relevant or up-to-date information.

We feel there’s definitely more Microsoft could do to improve BSODs, and in fairness, a more modern touch for the visuals wouldn’t hurt – though there’s another thought that occurs. Should we still be getting full system lock-ups at this point in the evolution of desktop operating systems?

Ideally not, of course, but to be fair to Microsoft, BSODs are definitely a whole lot less common these days than in the past. For those who do encounter them, though, we have a handy Blue Screen of Death survival guide.

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