Definition

red screen of death

The red screen of death is a term coined by some early testers of Longhorn (the code name for Microsoft's latest Windows operating system) who, in May 2005, came across an error message appearing against an all-red display screen. The error screen reminded them of the notorious blue screen of death that users of some earlier Windows systems have experienced in certain circumstances.

One Microsoft developer who encountered the situation said that he had made "a small set-up change" and altered the registry in some sort of destructive way. Greg Sullivan, a Microsoft spokesperson, said the red screen appeared as the result of a boot loader failure and called the red screen a "tempest in a teapot" that would disappear in the next version of Longhorn.

A page on Microsoft's support site indicates that Windows 98 users could also encounter an error message with a red screen if they had a hardware or Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) problem.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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