There is no Win32 API function to create a blue screen

Posted on:August 02 2007

This cannot be said often enough: There is no Win32 API function to create a Blue Screen of Death. And if there is one, we are not using it. What I am talking about here:
The problem is that some people with special hardware or drivers, playing 3D games or using 3D engines such as Irrlicht sometimes discover unusual behavior of their system: freezes, blue screens or resets. Sometimes it's a bit better, for example the Irrlicht application slowing incredibly down when drawing graphics in D3D mode or using a special feature. And it's not the fault of the game, not the fault of Irrlicht, and in most cases not the fault of your hardware. The reason for this is usually a badly written video driver. A normal program such as a game or an Irrlicht application is not able to cause bad failures such as system freezes. Only the driver can do this. The guys at NVidia or ATI just did a mistake when writing their driver. The only thing you can do about this is report the bug to ATI or NVidia, and update or downgrade to another driver version.
This is a problem that every game using graphics, every 3D engine, and of course also Irrlicht has to struggle with. I had some more questions like this one in my inbox recently, so I thought it would be a good idea to write about this again. I've heard with the new driver model of Vista the part with the freezes and resets has become better, but I don't have any first hand exprience with this yet.


ah, the fancy 'driver does a boo-boo' :-) ATI had managed to do this in a quite reproducible fashion for one of their Mobile Radeon (and maybe other) drivers, when calling CreateStateBlock immediately after initializing the device -> BSOD, reboot... made the feature quite useful.
2007-08-03 10:24:00

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