Today I had a need to manually trigger and sustain a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) inside a Windows Server VM. The goal was to be able to trigger a BSOD so that I could work on the detection of powered on but failed VMs inside a server environment. All major hypervisors have this feature built in, but without testing it I do not want to enable the feature before we put it into production.

At first, I tried all of the usual tricks – running out of RAM, nailing the CPUs. Nothing worked. I’m happy to say that Windows stability is now an issue because it’s just so stable!

I finally found a registry hack that allows you to manually initiate a crash over at MSDN.

Voila! Use the USB keyboard registry key. Set it and reboot the machine. To trigger it, hold right-control and hit scroll lock twice.

BOOM! Immediate manually-initiated BSOD. Neat, huh?


Just set the machine to not reboot upon failure and you can trap this state for outage detection testing.

NOW – please do not do this in production, of course. This feature should be used for good and not evil.