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Creating a Computer Crash?

written by: •edited by: Eric Stallsworth•updated: 10/17/2009

Whether you want to play a joke, or just want to see what it looks like, forcing a computer to crash isn't that difficult. Learn two methods of doing it right here.

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    While I’m not sure why you would want to force a system crash, I do know two ways for doing it. Any Windows owner should be used to their systems crashing around them anyway, especially Vista users.

    A computer crash is regarded as a situation when software stops working, or the system stops responding or spontaneously reboots. For Windows users this normally results in the Blue Screen of Death or BSOD. Named after the blue screen that appears after the PC has crashed.

    The blue screen can often contain information about what happened but is often more confusing than having no information at all. If you system crashes, the best place to look once it has restarted is the Event Viewer.

    So, there are two methods of forcing a Windows system to crash. The first uses notepad to create a batch file, and is more suitable for using as a prank than anything else. It will take a little clearing up though, so read this whole section all the way through before attempting it.

    Remember, I may be telling you how to do these things but I’m certainly not advocating you actually doing them.

    Open notepad and type start multiple times while pressing Enter after each. Then miss a line and type crash.bat. Name the file crash.bat and save it somewhere safe.

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    Crash File 

    It is important that the name of the file at the end of the notepad is the same as the saved filename. So in my example the notepad file was saved as crash.bat.

    Copy this file to the computer you want to crash. Here you can either just double click it, or for maximum impact add it to the start menu. The next time the computer reboots it will run this file and crash again. It will keep doing it until the computer is booted into Safe Mode and the file removed.

    The more times you type start, the quicker the PC will crash.

    The other method of forcing a system crash includes a registry tweak. Only do this if you are confident in the registry, and know how to create and delete keys. If you intend to use this method then I suggest creating a Restore Point beforehand.

    Open regedit, by Start, Run, then type regedit.

    Locate the following registry key, or create it if it doesn’t exist.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\i8042prt\Parameters

    \CrashOnCtrlScroll

    Set the value to 1 after you have found/created it and quit regedit.

    Once you reboot the computer, you can test out the new tool by holding down the CTRL key while pressing Scroll Lock twice. This should generate a Blue Screen of Death.BSOD 

    Once you reboot the computer, you can test out the new tool by holding down the CTRL key while pressing Scroll Lock twice. This should generate a Blue Screen of Death.