Screen of death

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

In many computer operating systems, a special type of error message will display onscreen when the system has experienced a fatal error or is "bricked". Computer users have dubbed these messages screens of death as they typically result in unsaved work being lost and often indicate serious problems with the system's hardware or software. Screens of death are usually the result of a kernel panic, although the terms are frequently used interchangeably. Most screens of death are displayed on an even background color with a message advising the user to restart the computer.

Notable screens of death[edit]

A Linux Kernel Panic, forced by an attempt to kill init
The Mac OS X kernel panic alert. It can also be referred as a "black screen of death" as it is on top of a black background. This version was first used in Mac OS X 10.6.

Other screens of death[edit]

White window of death in Windows 9x. This message is shown when default Windows Explorer is corrupted.

The following refers to screens of death that are not based upon computer operating systems and appear instead in other media.

  • A White Screen of Death appears on several other operating systems, CMS[1] and BIOSes. The most famous one is in iOS 7, and the screen of death appears when a white iPhone 5 or later or a white iPod touch (5th generation) is frozen or "bricked". Everything on the screen goes white, and a black Apple logo is all that's displayed on the screen.[2]
  • A Yellow Screen of Death occurs when an ASP.NET web application encounters a problem and crashes.[3]
  • A Green Screen of Death is a green screen that appears on a TiVo with a message that includes the words "a severe error has occurred". Its appearance often means that the hard drive of the device has failed.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Drupal White Screen of Death". 
  2. ^ Ulanoff, Lance (2006-09-12). "The Apple iPod's White Screen of Death". Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  3. ^ Busoli, Simone (November 15, 2007). "ELMAH - Error Logging Modules And Handlers". [self-published source?]
  4. ^ Carter and Bellomo. How to Do Everything with Your TiVo. McGraw-Hill Professional. 2004. pp 245, 246 & 344. Google Books.
  5. ^ Krikorian. TiVo Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools. O'Reilly Media. 2003. Page 24.